I received an email telling me about an article all about B12. I’ve been told that I had low B12 before and didn’t really know what that meant. The conversation was about the problem omitting what it meant, what it could become and how to solve it. So I wasn’t feeling very empowered and I left it there. I didn’t ask questions or do much about it. It can’t be serious if we didn’t discuss what to do or what it meant, I thought! Anyway I’ve read this article now and feel the need to share it. Do you think it’s important? Have you got any experiences to share re lack of B12 or how to improve the level of B12 in the body?
There are two types of B12 deficiency: mild and overt.
Overt B12 Deficiency:
B12 protects the nervous system. Without it, permanent damage can result (e.g., blindness, deafness, dementia). Fatigue, and tingling in the hands or feet, can be early signs of deficiency. B12 also keeps the digestive system healthy.
Mild B12 Deficiency:
By lowering homocysteine levels, B12 also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. Vegans and near-vegans who do not supplement with vitamin B12 have consistently shown elevated homocysteine levels. See the section Homocysteine, B12, Vegetarians, and Disease.
B12 is generally found in all animal foods (except honey). The overwhelming consensus in the mainstream nutrition community, as well as among vegan health professionals, is that plant foods do not provide vitamin B12. (Luckily, vitamin B12 is made by bacterial fermentation such that it does not need to be obtained from animal products.) Despite this, some vegan advocates still believe that “plant foods provide all the nutrients necessary for optimal health” and, therefore, do not address vitamin B12 when promoting the vegan diet. Other vegan advocates acknowledge the need for B12, but only as an afterthought.
The result is that many vegans do not eat B12 fortified foods or supplements. Many have developed overt B12 deficiency. In some cases, the symptoms have cleared up after taking B12 supplements, but not everyone has been so lucky.