How Much Vitamin B12 Should You Take For Weight Loss What Vegans Should Know About B12

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What Vegans Should Know About B12

Symptoms of B12 deficiency

Clinical deficiency can cause anemia or damage to the nervous system. Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid clinical deficiency. Two subgroups of vegans are at particular risk of B12 deficiency: long-term vegans who avoid common fortified foods (such as raw food vegans or macrobiotic vegans) and breastfed infants of vegan mothers whose own intake of B12 is low.

In adults, typical deficiency symptoms include loss of energy, tingling, numbness, decreased sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations, and personality changes. These symptoms often develop gradually over several months to a year before they are recognized as being due to B12 deficiency, and they are usually reversible with the administration of B12. However, there is no completely consistent and reliable set of symptoms, and there are cases of permanent damage in adults from B12 deficiency. If you suspect a problem, get a skilled diagnosis from a doctor, as each of these symptoms can also be caused by problems other than B12 deficiency.

Infants typically show symptoms sooner than adults. B12 deficiency can lead to loss of energy and appetite and failure to thrive. If not corrected promptly, this can progress to coma or death. Again, there is no completely consistent pattern of symptoms. Infants are more vulnerable to permanent damage than adults. Some emerge fully, but others show delayed development.

The risk to these groups alone is reason enough to encourage all vegans to give a consistent message about the importance of B12 and lead by positive example. Any case of B12 deficiency in a vegan infant or ill-informed adult is a tragedy and brings veganism into disrepute.

Is there a vegan alternative to B12 fortified foods and supplements?

If for some reason you choose not to use fortified foods or supplements, you should recognize that you are conducting a dangerous experiment—one that many have tried before with consistently low success. If you are an adult who is neither nursing an infant, pregnant, or trying to become pregnant and want to test a potential B12 source that has not already been shown to be insufficient, then this may be a reasonable course of action with appropriate precautions. For your own protection, you should arrange to have your B12 status checked annually. If homocysteine ​​or MMA is even modestly elevated, you are putting your health at risk if you continue.

If you are nursing an infant, are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or are an adult considering performing such an experiment on a child, do not take the risk. It is simply indefensible.

Claimed sources of B12 that have been shown to be insufficient through direct studies of vegans include human gut bacteria, spirulina, dried nori, barley grass, and most other seaweeds. Several studies of raw food vegans have shown that raw food offers no special protection.

Reports that B12 has been measured in a food are not enough to qualify that food as a reliable source of B12. It is difficult to distinguish real B12 from analogues that can interfere with B12 metabolism. Even if true B12 is present in a food, it can be rendered ineffective if analogs are present in comparable amounts to true B12. There is only one reliable test for a B12 source – does it consistently prevent and correct deficiency? Anyone proposing a particular food as a source of B12 should be challenged to provide such evidence.

A natural, healthy and compassionate diet

To be truly healthy, a diet must be best not only for individuals in isolation, but must allow all six billion people to thrive and achieve a sustainable coexistence with the many other species that make up the “living earth”. From this point of view, the natural adaptation for most (possibly all) people in the modern world is a vegan diet. There is nothing natural about the abomination of modern factory farming and its attempt to reduce living, sentient beings to machines. When vegans choose to use fortified foods or B12 supplements, vegans take their B12 from the same source as every other animal on the planet—microorganisms—without causing suffering to any sentient being or causing environmental damage.

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