Vitamin B12 – Are You Getting Enough?
Vanessa Rogers, Holistic Wellness & Weight Loss Expert, written for The Planted Table, vegan organic meal delivery service.
Hello, My Fellow Plant Eaters,
Let’s talk about vitamin B-12. It’s a hot topic!
B-12 helps us with our cells, brain and nerve functions, and supports the central nervous system. It’s super important. This can impact mood and energy levels and a deficit can cause a lack of energy, confusion, mood swings, a quick and intense response to stress, and more.
Have you heard that plant-based eaters might be at risk for getting too little B-12? Well, here’s the reality.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that vitamin B-12 is not only sourced from animal products but is actually solely bacteria based. It is synthesized by bacteria so it is found in areas of bacterial growth, like dirt and soil. For 1000s of years human beings ingested bits of much-needed soil while eating their vegetable roots, but today we wash that off (which is a good thing). Soil is not what it used to be.
There is a pre-requisite for B-12 absorption: a healthy digestive system. A “leaky” digestive tract from food sensitivities, and/or a lack of probiotics present in the microbiome will prevent necessary B12 assimilation. You are what you digest!
Here is the good news! Vitamin B-12 can be found in fortified plant foods like Nutritional Yeast (I love the one from Trader Joe’s)! One tablespoon has 40% of your recommended daily amount.
B-12 is also found in Algae sea vegetables like Spirulina and Chlorella (I also like the Organic Spirulina tablets from Trader Joe’s). Sea veggies have endless amounts of additional health benefits, like plant protein, and are heart health enhancers and inflammation reducers. Win, win, win.
Tempeh, nori, and kombucha also provide small amounts of B-12.
Your food should provide up to 3 micrograms of B-12, or a daily supplement should provide 10 micrograms. Both of those account for a 50% absorption rate to meet your daily needs.
Because of this, I recommend supplementing B-12. My absolute favorite supplement that I have been using for years is Garden of Life organic vegan B-12 spray. One spray delivers around 8000% of the daily value, so you can just use a half, sprayed under your tongue. It tastes great, too!
Garden of Life also has an organic raw B12 Supplement, which contains 23 fruits and veggies PLUS vegan probiotics and enzymes. A Stanford study showed those who took probiotic supplements greatly increased their B-12 levels.
You can check if your B-complex or daily multivitamins contain B-12. The Garden of Life dailies do, with 12 micrograms and up to 200% daily value (they often have Selenium too, but that’s an article for another day). When in doubt, check the label.
I hope this helps! Thank you for being a part of the Planted Table family.
If you’d like more information, please feel free to reach out to me, here.
source: Homocysteine in health and disease, ed. Ralph Carmel and Donald W. Jacobsen, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-65319-3
Vanessa C. Rogers
Holistic Wellness & Weight Loss Expert