Okay, so now you’re vegan. You’ve told friends and family, and everyone is suddenly very worried about if you’re getting enough nutrition. Maybe you haven’t thought about it until they asked. Maybe you don’t know anything about it. Or maybe a YouTuber said you didn’t need anything other than fruits and veg (yes, they do say that) and you were like “what?”.
But let’s dive in! What is the deal with B12 and why should you be concerned about it?
Firstly, it’s important to say that we’re not doctors. We’ve done our research and will present facts based on credible sources on vegan diets. Any big change in your diet should be discussed with your GP (doctor) and blood work should be done regularly to see that everything is OK.
As a vegan, the biggest worry is vitamin B12. This vitamin isn’t something our body makes on it’s own. Most people get their daily ration of B12 through animal products, so as a vegan, you don’t really have many sources for this vitamin. That means you HAVE to take a supplement. Having too low levels of B12 is very dangerous and can, among other things, actually give you irreversible brain damage. In addition, it isn’t always easy to see whether your levels are low or not, so waiting to see if you need a supplement means taking a big risk!
You can take B12 as a supplement in the form of a spray or a pill, or in cases where there is a deficiency you get a shot. The recommended doses, as written in a post by the Vegan Society – based on several research studies – recommend:
At least 10 mcg B12 every day
At least 2000mcg B12 once a week
As b12 is water-soluble, excess B12 will be flushed out of your system. The weekly dose is high because the bigger amount you take, the smaller the percentage of what you’re actually using gets. Following these guidelines, you’re sure to get your daily quota of B12.
Now, it’s important to say that even meat eaters can lack in B12. Some people can’t digest the B12 they consume and have to take shots every few months no matter what they eat. But vegans, vegetarians and some other groups with dietary restrictions are more exposed to B12 deficiency. Taking B12 doesn’t mean that your diet isn’t good enough or that it’s lacking in any way. Vitamin supplements are a normal part of people’s lives, and you’re taking it just to be safe.
Stay tunes for more posts about vitamin supplements on the vegan diet!