The Importance of Vitamin B-12

Many people go vegan or raw vegan for many different reasons.  When choosing vegan or raw vegan some of us, including myself do so in hopes becoming healthier.

But most of the time we enter this way of eating without doing adequate research about the supplements and other vital nutrients our body needs.

If you follow a vegan or raw vegan way of eating and find yourself feeling worse than you did before changing your diet, then you had better have your blood tested.  Because you may be lacking certain nutrients that your body so desperately needs.

Some so called experts will encourage you to stay away from supplements and tell you that all you need is in the food you eat.  Do not believe the hype!

There are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs and if you do not get them, you can end up being worse off than we were before you changed your diet.

Vegans and raw vegans must be careful, making sure you get an adequate amount of calcium, vitamin D and B-12.  Why is this?  Because these are the nutrients that vegans/raw vegans test low for.

Today is Vitamin B-12 day.  Learn what it is, why you need it and what can happen if you don’t get enough of it.

What is Vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B-12 is a large and complex molecule, with the mineral cobalt at its center.  (page 166)

Vitamin B-12 helps build DNA and is crucial for those cells that reproduce rapidly, such as red blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow.  It also helps protect the fibers surrounding the nerves.

Vitamin B-12 works with amino acids to help rid the body of homocysteine, a potentially damaging breakdown product of the amino acid methionine that can injure the delicate inner lining of artery walls and be a trigger for heart disease.

These symptoms are easily avoided by ensuring that you have a reliable source of this essential nutrient.  (page 167)

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency Symptoms

Megaloblastic Anemia – A condition in which the red blood cells fail to divide properly.  As a result this can lead to fatigue, weakness, decreased stamina, shortness of breath, palpitations, and skin pallor.

Nerve Damage
– This can cause mental changes, such as confusion, depression, irritability, mood fluctuations, insomnia, and inability to concentrate, plus physical symptoms, such as tingling and numbness in fingers, arms, and legs, difficulty with balance, lack of sensation, and eventual paralysis.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances – Sore tongue, reduced appetite, indigestion, and diarrhea.

Elevated Homocysteine in Blood – Homocysteine increases, atherosclerotic plaque accumulates, and arteries begin to clog, resulting in heart disease and strokes.  (page 167)

Proven Approaches for Getting Vitamin B-12

It does not matter if you eat a raw vegan, vegan vegetarian, or non-vegetarian diet, the most dependable source of Vitamin B-12 is typically bacteria.  To be safe, use a trusted source of B-12 before deficiency symptoms appear. (page 173)

Ways You Can Obtain a Reliable Supply of Vitamin B-12

Everyday – Choose a vitamin or multi-vitamin mineral supplement that includes at least 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12

Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula – Nutritional yeast that is grown on a vitamin B-12 – enriched medium.  Recommended intake is about 1 tablespoon of mini flakes or 1 1/2 tablespoon of large flakes.

Once a week – Take 2,000 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 sublingually (under the tongue) or in supplement form. (page 173)

As you can see Vitamin B-12 is very important. Do not wait until you begin experiencing symptoms.  Start today, making sure that you get the adequate amount of vitamin B-12 that your body needs.

All information was obtained from Becoming Raw written by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina with Rynn Berry.

*My review of this book is coming soon.*

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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

9 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Evelyn says:

    @Travis, You are so right. I don’t think anyone should go cold turkey overnight. It is always best to gradually make the transition while learning as much as we can. This allows for better success. It helps keep the frustration at bay. Thanks for your feedback and for stopping by!

  2. Travis says:

    Well said. Although I’m not a vegan, I DID become a vegetarian years ago, and one of the initial mistakes I made was making the “overnight switch.” While this works for many people, i jumped in head first with a severe lack of knowledge about where such a lifestyle would take me, and so for the first 2 weeks I felt miserable. Fast forward to now and I’ve accumulated a wealth of information about the lifestyle I choose to live… however I’d rather people take things slow then jump in head first, get frustrated with things, and revert back to their old ways.

  3. Evelyn says:

    @Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey, Thanks, Jarrod and I am glad you found it helpful. 🙂

  4. Jarrod says:

    Very informative Evelyn. I can tell you are very knowledgeable on Vitamin B-12 and raw foods. Thanks for sharing this has been helpful for me!!

  5. Evelyn says:

    @Fruitfulvine2, We must always do what is best for us and what we know works for our bodies. Each person is different with different needs nutritionally.

  6. Fruitfulvine2 says:

    When we first changed our eating habits I was a bit confused about the supplement issue. Now, I have come to the conclusion that no matter what anybody else says I will do what’s best for myself and my family. To me supplementation is important. Unless I can eat and drink all the healthy things that I need on a daily basis, I will supplement.

    Thanks for the info on Vit B12. I’ve come across that too and that’s what sealed the deal for me when it comes to supplementation.

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