Are you deficient in vitamin B12 if you don't eat meat?

Sep 09 2020Gill

Are you deficient in vitamin B12 if you don't eat meat?

Why do we need vitamin B12?

First of all, what role does vitamin B12 play in the body? Well, it’s important for the production of red blood cells, which are required to transport oxygen around the body and deliver it to vital organs and tissues.

Plus, vitamin B12 is required to form the myelin sheath – a fatty substance which protects your nerves from damage. Without B12, the sheath can become damaged and fail to do its job properly which can, in turn, affect the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B12 is also important for energy, mood and supporting your cardiovascular health. So, we can see why it’s so important to keep your vitamin B12 levels topped up!

What happens if we don’t get enough?

In the UK, it’s recommended that we consume at least 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day in order to avoid becoming deficient. This is the very minimum adults should be consuming, without which you increase your risk of a range of symptoms.

Firstly, a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anaemia, due to its important role in the production of red blood cells. Without sufficient production of healthy red blood cells, you may start to notice symptoms of weakness, light-headedness and low energy levels, all of which are symptoms of anaemia.

Plus, you may notice symptoms which affect your nerves and muscles, such as numbness and tingling in your limbs, muscle weakness and pins and needles. This can be a result of damage to nerves which require more vitamin B12 to contribute to the myelin sheath which protects the nerves from damage.

Best sources of vitamin B12

So, it’s important to keep your vitamin B12 levels topped up for lots of reasons! But, which foods contain the highest quantities of this essential vitamin?

Well, plants have no requirement for B12 which means they don’t have the ability to produce, store or absorb this vitamin, so we must get our vitamin B12 from animal products. The best sources of vitamin B12 include liver, salmon, beef and eggs.

Vitamin B12 can also be found in products which have been fortified with the vitamin. However, if you follow a strict vegan diet, you may be best to use a supplement to help meet your daily requirement for B12.

Are you deficient in B12 if you don’t eat meat?

So, this brings us to our main question: are you deficient in B12 if you don’t eat meat? Well, when it comes to a vegetarian diet, you might still be able to consume enough vitamin B12 through eggs and dairy even if you don’t eat meat.

However, if you follow a strict vegan diet then you are more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12 as we cannot get enough of this vitamin from plant sources alone. As a result, in order to avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency, vegans must either eat foods which are fortified with vitamin C, or take a supplement.

Certain cereals and plant milks are fortified with vitamin B12, so look out for this on the label. However, a quicker and perhaps more convenient way of maintaining adequate vitamin B12 levels while adhering to a vegan diet is to use supplements.

I would recommend this Vegan Health Oral Spray from BetterYou. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients that tend to be lacking in a vegan diet: vitamin B12, iron, iodine and vitamin D. Using an oral spray like this one is a great way to get essential vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream quickly, without fiddling with multiple tablets and sachets!

But BetterYou’s Health Spray isn’t just for vegans. Anyone looking to top up their levels of these essential vitamins and minerals would benefit from a handy spray like this one, which has all four combined into one easy spray.