One important worry when stopping eating animals is: How will we get enough Vitamin B12? And that is an important question indeed, because our brain and nervous system can’t live without it and it’s true, we can’t find them in plants! But before you’d run back to your beef burger with pig bacon and cow’s cheese on top with an excellent excuse to rule out veganism for life, read this post. My hope is that the lid will come off, the steam will be led out and the air will clear around this special vitamin, so you can be a confident and well-informed vegan!
B12, aka. Cobalamin is a water soluble vitamin. Like all vitamins, it’s job in our bodies is to vitalize and activate certain molecular level processes. B12 plays important part in cell metabolism, especially DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism which all are essential for our brains and a healthy nervous system. B12’s vitamers are: Cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. These chemical compounds all carry out the same B12 vitamin functions through their synthesis, the difference is in how they synthesize and how easily our body can utilize and absorb them.
B12 deficiency, anemia is a serious condition. Although there are some natural plant sources one can get B12 from (namely, chlorella, spirulina, and some fermented products), their bio-activity and therefore vitalizer effect were found not strong enough. So it’s true, we can’t get B12 from plants, but he source of Vitamin B12 is not animals either!
B12 is a waste product of bacteria (and archaea) that can be found in soil and inside your body: your mucosa, bacteria in your mouth, around the teeth, in the nasopharynx, around the tonsils and in the tonsillar crypts, in the folds at the base of the tongue, in the upper bronchial tree and in your intestine.
Deficiency is a result of individual health conditions like absorption problems and our civilisation’s practices: Farming and soil sterilisation, urban conditions and sanitation requirements.
In our bodies, B12 vitamer synthesis can be impaired by antibiotics, taken as a medication or within animal products (like cow’s milk, or meat), as well as by alcohol, smoking and stress. So these are avoidable.
In case you have a good bacteria ‘family circle’ in your body – because you were allowed to play in the dirt when you grew up or were kissing a lot with someone who did – you could be just fine!
So to be clear, yes, animal meat can contain some B12, but it is because farm animals like cows, pigs and chickens are on B12 supplements. In this way, meat-eaters “supplement” through the animal flesh they eat. Ideally we should be able to get our B12 from plants, natural water sources (wells and streams) but our own bodies but in our civilisation it got a bit more complicated than that.
What to do?
Go to the doctor and ask a blood test where they measure your B12 level.
If you never take supplements and still, your result say that you’re B12 is looking fine, then just continue what you are doing and go back for checks every now and then.
If you occasionally take supplements and your result come back fine, continue what you’re doing and go back for check ups every now and then.
If you, for some reason don’t want to go to the doctor, then take supplements as a precaution. We don’t know about overdosing on B12.
With Supplement Pills (gives 400%, to assure that 100% of the needed amount is absorbed)
10 mcg /DAY
2000 mcg / WEEK
Through Fortified Foods
3 mcg / DAY