Although the majority of our nutritional needs can actually be met reasonably easily on a plant-based diet, this is not always true of B12. This essential vitamin is most commonly found in meat and dairy products. If you are following a plant-based diet then it is a great idea to take the following advice into consideration so that you do not experience a deficiency in this essential vitamin!
If you do not consume an adequate amount of B12 then you run the risk of damaging your nervous system, as well as experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness, and even problems with your memory! A deficiency can take several years to present itself and can be difficult to recognise or diagnose. However, this is more the case in adults rather than children, and B12 deficiency in children will present itself more rapidly. Health problems that are caused as a result of low levels of B12 can usually be treated and reversed by working to meet the daily recommended allowance.
If you follow a diet that is primarily focused on raw foods then it is all the more important that you work to avoid a deficiency in this vitamin, as you will naturally be exposed to it much less.
Sources of B12
The only reliable ways to get an ample amount of vitamin B12 on a plant-based diet are to either take supplements or eat foods that are fortified with B12. Fortunately the latter of these two methods has become much simpler in recent years as more foods are fortified with this vitamin. These products include plant-based milks, soy products and a variety of cereals.
If you are opting to take a supplement to ensure you meet your vitamin B12 quota, then you should aim for either 10 micrograms every day, or a once weekly supplement of 2000 micrograms.
If you are getting your B12 through fortified foods then it is advisable to do so regularly, as your body absorbs it best in small amounts. However, it is also worth remembering that there is no harm in exceeding the recommended amount. So, when considering your B12 intake – more is always better!
A healthy, varied diet that includes a large selection of whole, natural foods is the best way to avoid a deficiency of any kind.
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