Vitamin B-12 is very important for a person’s health. A person’s physical and mental health might be harmed by a deficiency of vitamin B-12 in their diet.
Because vitamin B-12 is mostly found in meat, eggs, and dairy products, vegetarians and vegans must take extra care to receive enough of it. As a result, a vegan or vegetarian is more prone to develop a vitamin B-12 deficit.
In this post, we look at how much vitamin B-12 is needed and provide vegetarian and vegan sources.
There are several possibilities for vegetarians who want to enhance their vitamin B12 intake. The following are some solid B-12 options:
- nutritional yeast
- low-fat milk
- fortified cereals
- fortified plant-based milk
While seaweed, algae, and some mushrooms all contain trace levels of vitamin B-12, further research is needed to determine the amounts and bioavailability.
A vegetarian should eat enough of the meals listed below on a regular basis. It’s critical to know how much vitamin B-12 each of these foods contains:
- 8 ounces (oz) of yogurt contains about 1.1 mcg of vitamin B-12
- 1 cup of low-fat milk can provide 1.2 mcg of vitamin B-12
- 1 oz of Swiss cheese can contain 0.95 mcg of vitamin B-12
- 1 large egg contains 0.6 mcg of vitamin B-12
Because to their high bioavailability, fortified grains are a smart choice. This means that the vitamin B-12 does not need to be broken down before being absorbed by the body.
Nutritional yeast is popular among vegetarians and vegans alike since it is simple to use and has a rich, cheesy, nutty flavour. Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on food and snacks or incorporated to cooked dishes.
A person can use nutritional yeast in the following ways:
- prinkle it on popcorn
- mix it into cheese sauces
- mix it into mashed potatoes
- sprinkle over scrambled eggs or tofu
- stir into a creamy soup
- add to pasta dishes
- put it on salads
Foods for vegans
Vegans may rely on vitamin B-12 fortified foods, such as specific breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast, because they forgo all animal-derived goods. Because plant foods do not manufacture vitamin B-12, vegans must seek out additional sources of the vitamin in order to maintain their health.
The following foods can be fortified with vitamin B-12:
- fortified non-dairy milk
- meat substitutes
- breakfast cereals
- nutritional yeast
- vegan spreads
It’s critical to examine the labels on all of these foods because some may not be vitamin B-12 fortified. Supplemental B-12 in the form of capsules or injections may be required for patients who are already B-12 deficient.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B-12
It is critical for a person’s health to get adequate vitamin B-12 in their diet. The vitamin’s health benefits include:
- the formation and division of red blood cells
- protecting the nervous system
- synthesizing a person’s DNA
- providing the body with energy
B-12’s recommended daily amount (RDA) is determined by a person’s age:
- Adults and teenagers: 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day
- Children between 9 and 13 years old: 1.8 mcg per day
- Children between 4 and 8 years old: 1.2 mcg per day
- Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old: 0.9 mcg per day
Infants aged 7 to 12 months require 0.5 mcg of B-12 per day, whereas newborns aged less than 6 months require only 0.4 mcg.
Pregnant women require 2.6 mcg per day, whereas breast-feeding mothers require 2.8 mcg.
Symptoms of B-12 deficiency
A vitamin B-12 shortage can be extremely harmful to one’s health. Anemia, some neurological abnormalities, and stunted growth and healing are all symptoms of vitamin B-12 insufficiency.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency:
- mood swings
- a decline in memory, judgment, and understanding
- pale skin
- loss of appetite
- tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears)
- nerve damage
- weakness and fatigue
- tingling in the hands and feet
- blurred vision
- difficulty walking
- problems with the digestive system
- a sore tongue or mouth ulcers
- feeling faint or dizzy
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away. The doctor will enquire about their symptoms and do tests to see if a vitamin B-12 deficiency is to blame.
Vegetarians and vegans should take precautions to ensure that they get enough vitamin B-12 in their diet. Health professionals can advise patients on where to locate vitamin B-12 sources and how much to take.
Without adequate vitamin B-12 levels, a person may have major adverse effects such as nerve damage and depression.
Vegans and vegetarians should be aware of alternative sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified goods, because no plant-derived foods contain it.