Ever felt low on energy right at start of the day? Or feel like lying around all the time due to fatigue? To top it up, are you on strict vegan/vegetarian diet? Well turns out you may have Vitamin B12 deficiency!
Vitamin B is primarily important for our body to carry out the metabolic activities. It is water soluble and is in fact a group of 8 vitamins – Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (ribiflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridioxine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folate) and Vitamin B12 (cobalamins). Each of these carry out a different function which directly or indirectly contributes to metabolism.
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Our body needs each of these 8 vitamins for a good metabolism. Most of these vitamins can be easily obtained from commonly available plant and animal foods. Vitamin b12 is the only one which is hard to get from vegan/vegetarian sources. And because it is only abundantly availble in animal sources of food, majority of vegetarian population is deficient.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamon B12 exists in different cobalamins like cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. First two – cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin naturally occur in our body. These cobalamins are water soluble and are involved in metabolism of every cell of our body. Vitamin B12 also plays a major role in maintaining healthy nervous system. It is a cofactor in DNA synthesis and promotes red blodd cells in bone marrow.
Why we need Vitamin B12?
- Metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins
- Production of blood cells in bone marrow, nerves and proteins
- Helps make DNA
What happens if you are deficient?
- First symptoms include tiredness, weakness and fatigue
- Can cause certain kinds of anemia
- It can also cause loss of memory, poor memory and depression
- Worst case, it can affect nervous system adversely
- Beef liver, clams
- Fish, meat, eggs and few dairy products including milk
- Certain fortified foods like breakfast cereals which have vitamin b12 added to make them wholesome
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How to get complete required dosage?
The required level in adults is 190-950 picograms per milliliter(pg/ml). To achieve these values, daily dose of 2.4 micrograms (mcg) is recommended. For a non-vegetarian diet, achieving these levels should be easy enough as most of the animal food sources provide vitamin b12 in good quantity.
For vegans and vegetarians, it is a good idea to start incorporating dietary supplements to compensate for the low vitamin b12 levels. Talk to your physician to discover the whether you are vitamin b 12 deficient. If you are, dietary supplement is a must for you. It is always better to opt for natural sources to get all the needed nutrients but it is a good idea to switch to alternative ways before it’s too late.
There are numerous kinds of dietary supplements available in market today for you to choose from. Go and get one!
health really is the true wealth!
A | XOXO
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