Vitamin B12 – B sure you’re getting enough.

In the UK around 6% of people under 60 are Vitamin B12 deficient. It doesn’t sound a lot overall, but it occurs most in particular groups of people, which is why it’s important to know about it if you are in one of those groups. 

Older people, vegans and vegetarians, women following strict diets and people with conditions which impact on their ability to absorb nutrients such as coeliacs or people with other gastric problems all have higher levels of deficiency. 

As a vegan who is also taking gastric medication which impacts absorption I’m alert to the need to be mindful to include this vital vitamin in my supplement programme for my wellness. 

What does it do

Vitamin B12 is POWERFUL. It helps make your DNA and your red blood cells and powers your nervous system. 

Why do I need it

Vitamin B12 deficiency is also known as a type of anemia. Symptoms are pretty drastic and some can be irreversible:

  • Fatigue, tiredness, weakness
  • Heart palpitations
  • shortness of breath, dizziness
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Tingling, pins and needles.
  • Changes to your vision
  • Depression or other mood changes
  • Difficulty walking

How can I get it

You don’t make B12 in your body so you have to get it from somewhere. 

If you are a vegan then this is going to come from fortified foods such as yeast extract, cereals and plant based drinks. 

If you are likely to experience a deficiency you can take a supplement. If you experience side effects then stop immediately. Side effects could include gastric problems, rashes, dizziness, rashness and even heart failure. Some medicines can interact with B12, so do check your patient information or with your health professional. 

Recommended Daily Intake is suggested at 2.4mcg for adults. You may need more if you aren’t absorbing it properly due to gastric medication or problems. The Vegan Society in the UK recommends 10mcg per day in a supplement, or more if you take it less regularly. They cite no known toxicity, and that it’s better to be sure that you have enough. 

Sources of information

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