Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy body and lifestyle. Vegan or not, many of us are deficient in vitamin B12. Here’s How To Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life.
What Is Vitamin B12 And Why Do You Need It???
Vitamin B12 (AKA cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system via the synthesis of myelin (myelinogenesis) and (in partnership with vitamin B9: folate) the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, especially affecting DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.
Vitamin B12 is a VERY important vitamin, especially in a vegan diet.
How Much Vitamin B12 Do You Need In Your Diet
In the UK it is recommended that adults (19-64 years) need about 1.5 µg (micrograms) of vitamin B12 per day. However, national recommendations for B12 intake vary significantly. The US recommended intake is 2.4 µg per day for ordinary adults rising to 2.8 µg for nursing mothers. The German recommendation is 3 µg per day.
It is possible to take a daily, or a weekly, supplement.
Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Deficiency in vitamin B12 can result in anaemia. Symptoms of anaemia caused by a lack of vitamin B12 include:
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- A lack of energy or lethargy
- Being out of breath
- Feeling faint
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Lack of appetite.
Other symptoms associated with a lack of vitamin B12 include:
- Yellowing of the skin
- Sore, red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Changes or loss of some sense of touch
- Feeling less pain
- Walking problems
- Vision problems
- Mood changes, irritability, depression or psychosis
- Symptoms of dementia.
How To Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life
No fungi, plants, or animals (including humans) are capable of producing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes needed to synthesise it. Animals obtain vitamin B12 by eating foods that are covered in bacteria or from the bacteria that already line their own guts (absorbing B12 from gut-lining bacteria is not possible for humans).
B12 is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin. It is produced industrially through bacterial fermentation (it is always vegan). This industrially produced vitamin B12 is used to fortify foods and supplements.
What can you do To Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life?
There Are Only Two Ways To Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life
There are only TWO ways to get vitamin B12 into your vegan diet: fortified foods and supplements.
In fact the best way to ensure you get enough B12 into your vegan diet is to combine fortified foods and supplements (either daily or weekly supplements).
How To Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life – Fortified Foods
There are a number of types of gluten-free, vegan fortified foods available. You should check the ingredients to ensure they are suitable for your diet and if and by how much they are fortified but look out for fortified:
- Non-dairy milk such as Essential Waitrose Unsweetened Soya Drink* which contains 0.4 g B12/ 100 ml
- Breakfast cereals
- Nutritional yeast, yeast extract and other spreads (check the ingredients as some contain barley), such as Meridian Natural Yeast Extract*
- Fake meats and cheeses are sometimes fortified with vitamin B12, for example Violife Slices” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Violife Slices* contain 2.5 g of B12 per 100 g.
* Affiliate link.
How To Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life – Supplements
There are lots of different types of gluten-free, vegan vitamin B12 supplements available, in different formats. There are supplements that contain:
- Vitamin B12 on its own, such as Solgar Vitamin B12 1000mg chewable tablets* and Nature’s Plus Source Of Life Garden Vitamin B12 capsules*
- Vitamin B complex containing a combination of B vitamins, for example Viridian High Five B Complex With Magnesium Ascorbate capsules*
- Multi-vitamins containing a number of different vitamins and minerals, I use Viridian High Five Multivitamin & Mineral Formula capsules*.
* Affiliate link.
Want To Work Out How Much B12 You Are Consuming?
If you want to work out how much B12 you are consuming (through food and supplements) in your gluten-free, vegan life you could keep a food diary; logging everything you eat and drink. You can then work out exactly how much B12 you are getting on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You should keep the diary for quite a few weeks for it to be representative of your intake.
I have a FREE Food Diary you can download. Just click the button below to sign-up and download.
How Do You Make Sure You Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life?
There are lots of tips and tricks to get enough Vitamin B12 In Your Diet – this is my tiny selection of thoughts…
What do you do to make sure you Get Enough B12 In Your Gluten-Free, Vegan Life? Drop a comment below or ping me on social media! 🙂