One of the common misperceptions that I hear is that as a vegan, I must be lacking Vitamin B12, an essential vitamin typically derived from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. The reality is that though B12 is found in animal products, the reason it is in animals is because it is a bacteria created inside the animal’s gut.
B12 is an essential vitamin that helps produce our DNA and blood and without enough of it, we can become very sick. In reality, both carnivores and vegans can become B12 deficient and getting a sufficient amount is very important for everyone.
As we age, our ability to absorb B12 decreases so regardless of your lifestyle, a B12 supplement should be considered for everyone. Though there are some mushrooms and algae that B12 can come from, most people don’t forage for them so supplementation is recommended.
Common symptoms of B12 deficiency can be fatigue, depression, confusion and memory loss among other problems. Alcoholics, people with certain intestinal or stomach disorders and people taking some medications are also at risk of becoming B12 deficient so it is important to be aware of your risk.
Personally, I consume a green drink every day and take a good multivitamin with more than the recommended daily amount of B12. I have been doing this for well over 20 years so I don’t concern myself with not getting an adequate amount in my food. The most important thing to know is that regardless of your lifestyle, educating yourself about your food is vital to healthy living.
Susan is our resident vegan. She’s been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for 3. She has researched both lifestyles extensively and is constantly exploring new recipes, add her own twist. She is a long time SPUD customer, and now our very own resident vegan blogger!