If you are vegan, we would be extremely surprised if you havn't been asked this question on numerous occasions - how do you ensure you are getting your daily intake of B12 on a vegan diet?
Again, another good question that TheVeganKind Team are more than happy to discuss!
Firstly, let's talk about why B12 is so important. Vitamin B12 is responsible for the creation of red blood cells, DNA and keeping your nervous system healthy & happy. It also promotes quality brain function which helps with alertness and energy levels. Without B12, you are at risk of becoming anaemic due to low blood cell formation as well as the running the risk of extreme tiredness, depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and memory problems. In other words, low levels of B12 can play havoc with your overall health and well-being.
So now that we know its importance, how can we get B12 through our diet?
Unfortunately, this is when it becomes a little more difficult for anyone on a plant-based diet. B12 is mostly found in meat, eggs and dairy and we are often told that in order to ensure we are getting enough, we need to be consuming animal products. Even though the main source of B12 is commonly known to be animal products, this doesn't mean that you have to succumb to eating them. In fact, getting your daily dose of B12 on a vegan diet is pretty straightforward.
B12 is actually created through bacteria, not through the animals themselves. Animals are able to obtain their B12 intake through bacteria found in unsanitised water which they drink and through eating, well, poop (no, we do not recommend this!). By eating animal products, humans are able to obtain B12 from the bacteria that the animals digest through these not-so hygienic habits. However, B12 can actually be found in a number of plant-based foods such as fortified cereals and cereal bars, some non-dairy milks, nutritional yeast, tempeh and seaweed and let's not forget the abundance of B12 supplements that are currently on the market.
In fact, consuming your B12 intake through plants and supplements can also help aid digestion issues. This is because vegan-friendly B12, unlike B12 found in animal products, is not bound to protein. When B12 is consumed through animal products, our digestive system has to work to extra hard to break it down in order for it to be absorbed. Vegan-friendly B12 has a 'greater bio-availability' which means that it has a far easier and faster rate of absorption through the gut lining and we all know that a happy gut means happiness all around.
The daily recommended dose of B12 is also pretty small. In order to remain healthy, the average adult needs roughly 2.4 mg per day which is achievable by either eating two to three servings of fortified plant foods (mentioned above) per day or by taking a B12 supplement.
Yes, it is that simple.
So there you have it, getting your recommended does of B12 on a vegan diet is not only achievable, but better for your gut health, health in general and does not negatively impact the animals or the plant.