Why Should Every Vegan Consume Vitamin B12?

(Last Updated On: August 28, 2017)

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Over the course of two months, a 62-year-old man developed numbness and a “pins and needles” sensation in his hands, had trouble walking, experienced severe joint pain, began turning yellow, and became progressively short of breath. The cause was lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream….

Vitamins are required in organisms in limited amounts; however, the problem with vitamins is that a human body cannot produce sufficient quantities of these compounds on its own. Therefore, they must be acquired through food. B12, in particular, is an important vitamin that supports several functions of the brain and nervous system in humans. It is also instrumental in metabolism, red blood cells formation and DNA synthesis.

2The Natural Sources Of B12

Foods Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) on a wooden background.

One of the significant facts about Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is that animals and plants cannot synthesize it by themselves. It can only be produced by microorganisms in the domain of bacteria and archaea.

The only proven natural food sources of cobalamin are of animal origin, namely meat, fish, milk and other dairy products. The slight possibility of finding this vitamin in plants exists only because of symbiotic bacteria.

There are no B12 rich vegetables or fruits that one can eat. Consequently, this proves that like some other nutrients, vegans have to find an auxiliary means of including B12 in their diet. A detailed discussion on the plant based diet and vitamin B12 can be read here.

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Dr Rahul has Masters in Maxillofacial Surgery with an overall experience of six years. Since the last 2 years, he is working in the Medical operations team of Portea. An Alumni of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health and Science, he has previously worked with Nationwide- The Family Doctors while as their Chief Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Implantologist. He has a special interest in Facial Trauma Surgery, Dental Implantology and Facial aesthetic surgery. It is not only medicine that fascinates Rahul. He is a die-hard sports enthusiast with a strong passion for Football, Basketball, and Cricket and occasionally strums the guitar, too.


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