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Posts Tagged ‘b12 in vegetarian/vegan diet’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013



Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your blood levels of vitamin B12 drop to an unhealthy low. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency for an extended period, then you are risk for pernicious anemia. Today, experts believe that vitamin B12 deficiency is an overlooked epidemic striking millions of US citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

How common is B12 deficiency?

In 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture stated that nearly two-fifths of all US citizens had some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Their source of information was the Framingham Offspring Study, which found vitamin B12 deficiency in nearly 40% of 3,000 Framingham, Massachusetts residents between the ages of 26 and 83.

“I think there is a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there,” said study author Katherine Tucker.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Today, reports indicate that close to 47 million Americans suffer from middle-low to nearly depleted levels of vitamin B12.

Conflicting reports

So why do government reports such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claim that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among Americans is much lower- closer to 3% with severely low levels, and 20% with borderline B12 anemia?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed and ignored by doctors for many reasons:

First, we’ve been led to believe that pernicious anemia is no longer a fatal or even detrimental disease, so it has essentially fallen off the radar. Many doctors no longer test for vitamin B12 deficiency in their patients, because they believe that it is a non-issue.

Second, standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency are remarkably low and inefficient. Serum vitamin B12 screenings only look for lethally-low levels of vitamin B12, which occur only in a rare percentage of people with pernicious anemia. Middle-low ranges of vitamin B12 depletion that nevertheless cause debilitating symptoms are often ignored.

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Finally, even people with “normal” levels of vitamin B12 in their system may exhibit symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as the blood screenings don’t separate active vitamin B12 from stored vitamin B12. This is an important yet overlooked distinction, as only active molecules of vitamin B12 are able to carry out the biochemical functions necessary for survival.

B12 deficiency in vegetarians

According to a recent report on vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, vegans are at a higher risk for developing anemia from low vitamin B12 levels compared with vegetarians, and people who follow a vegetarian diet from birth are more at risk than those who made a change to their diet in adulthood.

In the scientific study conducted by the Department of Nutrition Science, the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians is as follows:

  • Pregnant women- 62%
  • Children- 25-86%
  • Teens- 21-41%
  • Elderly 11-90%

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Signs of B12 deficiency

Some of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for chronic depression, anxiety, or age-related dementia. Since vitamin B12 is needed for maintaining myelin, some of the symptoms of low vitamin B12 mimic those of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased motor control
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, twitches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue

Do you currently get prescriptions for vitamin B12 shots ? If so, do you feel that you don’t get enough to prevent symptoms between doses?

Also read:

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Image courtesy of xedos4

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

Thursday, October 31st, 2013



To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s important to include an assortment of foods that have vitamin B12 in your daily diet. This is harder than it sounds! The majority of the foods that are highest in vitamin B12 are sadly missing from the average American diet. As a result, a rising number of people are suffering the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, due to a lack of this crucial nutrient in the blood supply.

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

It’s important to note that eating foods that are high in vitamin B12 is only helpful for preventing vitamin B12 deficiency if you are able to digest it naturally. For many, vitamin B12 malabsorption prevents you from digesting vitamin B12 naturally from foods, causing your vitamin B12 levels to diminish steadily.

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

The rule applies for taking vitamin B12 pills. If you are one of many individuals who suffer from vitamin B12 malabsorption, then your risk of developing pernicious anemia increases with time, regardless of your diet.

Foods highest in vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 only occurs in animal-based products- meat, fish, eggs, and milk. Still, certain foods in that category contain significantly higher amounts of vitamin B12 than others. So you may think you’re taking in enough chicken or beef to keep your vitamin B12 at a normal level, when really you’re missing out on some of the richest sources of this essential B vitamin.

(If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it is crucial that you supplement with vitamin B12 regularly in order to prevent debilitating symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.)

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?


Seafood provides some of the most nutritional sources of vitamin B12. One hundred grams of cooked clams provides 98.9mcg of vitamin B12; that’s 1648% of the amount recommended to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency!

Other excellent food sources of vitamin B12 from the seas include mackerel, crab, sardines and caviar.

Organ meat

A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef liver delivers a whopping 70.7mcg of vitamin B12. In fact, before vitamin B12 supplementation, doctors used to prescribe a concoction of pre-digested beef liver (Ew!) as a cure for pernicious anemia.

Chicken Liver pate, moose liver, and grilled chicken hearts are also good food sources of vitamin B12.

Red meat

Not ready for pan-fried liver? A serving of lean chuck beef has about five or six micrograms of vitamin B12, which is the minimum to get your recommended daily allowance.

Lamb chops are also good; they provide half of a day’s worth of vitamin B12.

Milk and eggs

If you follow a vegetarian diet, then it’s important to include lots of dairy foods into your daily diet in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency. One cup of nonfat yogurt delivers 25% of the RDA for vitamin B12, while the same amount of Swiss cheese brings you to 60 per cent.

Chicken eggs are not the best source of vitamin B12; one egg yields 36mcg of vitamin B12, or 6% RDA. Comparatively, one duck egg provides 63% RDA of vitamin B12. And if you can get your hands on a goose egg, then you’ll get 122% of the recommended amount of vitamin B12 in one serving!

Please tell us…

Do you eat any of these foods that are highest in vitamin B12? If you follow a vegan diet, then do you supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent deficiency?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Benefits and Sources of Vitamin B12, and How to Avoid Deficiency

The DASH Diet: Good Source of B12?

Image courtesy of jiggoja/freedigitalphotos

New Recipes for Richer B12 Diet

Monday, July 6th, 2009
It has been long established that the most important meal of the day is breakfast, so much so that in some countries the following saying has been ingrained in the culture for hundreds of years – “Eat your breakfast yourself, share your lunch with your friend and give your dinner to your enemy”. There are a variety of reasons that the morning meal has attained this reputation, but the following are the most important:
1)      People tend to consume healthier dietary choices during breakfast than any other meal, as common breakfast foods tend to be richer in fiber, vitamins and minerals
2)      Correlation studies show that people who eat breakfast have lower heart pressure, bad cholesterol levels and weight while having higher mental and physical energy, strength and endurance.
Breakfast can be used to provide a powerful morning boost of vitamin b12 (and other supportive vitamins and minerals) in a delicious, fun way while allowing the body to remain healthy and happy. The secret to a great nutritious breakfast is to stick to fresh raw ingredients which you’ve prepared yourself vs throwing a tray of goop-like items into the microwave. This is clearly true for any meal, as research shows a powerful and fairly obvious correlation between eating fresh home-cooked meals and the state of one’s health.
However B12 can be an illusive vitamin to absorb, as has been discussed here previously. Problems with absorbing B12 may stem from the lack of the intrinsic factor or the lack of B12 sources in a typical vegetarian/vegan diet. Although even if there is no obvious issue with B12 absorption, increasing the ability of your GI to soak up nutrients will impressively increase your overall feeling of health. Absorption can be aided through more “medical” approaches, such as taking supplementary aides, such as the black pepper extract or digestive enzymes, or through consistent dietary upkeep.
Absorption can be increased by daily consuming some yogurt with live cultures, as this provides a rich and healthy source of digestive enzymes and probiotics. Many detox programs suggest downing a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice on an empty stomach. Adding a “shot” of fibre, such as a psyllium husks mix will further help to cleanse the gut allowing it to fully reap the benefits of a healthier, nutrient-based breakfast. Following are a set of recipes delicious morning recipes, made healthier and more fortified. These particular recipes will also help you get a boost to your B12 levels even if you are partial to a vegetarian and vegan diets.
B12 Rich French Toast Recipe:
  • 1 to 2 Whole Beaten Eggs
  • Instead of refined bread: Whole wheat 7+ grain bread – somewhat stale
  • instead of regular milk:  milk mixed with a bit of kefir, creme fresh, soured cream or even cultured yoghurt
  • a tiny pinch of salt
  • and sugar to taste – these can be both sweet and savoury
Dunk the stale slice of bread in your cultured milk mixtured for a moment. Next placed the bread into the egg mixture. Place the bread on a cookie sheet with lightly greased bakers paper beneath it. Instead of frying the toast, grill/bake it under a high heat. When crispy and golden brown place them on  your plate and top with any number of items, from scrambled eggs or cheese (for some extra B12) to fresh fruit and berries.
Enjoy this healthy, fortified toast with servings of fresh fruit and plenty of hydration. Although it is difficult to establish meat-free sources of B12 in foods, it does not mean that  the vitamin  must come in a form of a supplements for individuals who cannot consume meat. Following articles will discuss further recipes which can be modified to serve as great sources of vitamins and minerals and especially B12.
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