Yes, You Need B-12
Tell Me a Story
I LOOOVE talking about B-12. It brings up memories of highschool, when I was in Mr. Butler’s Biology class, my favorite class, and I would race to the bulletin board at the back of the room as soon as our test grades were posted.
My friend Kristen and I would shoulder past each other to get there first and see who made the highest grade. (It was always one of us.) We were both usually over 100% because of extra credit. “103 vs. 104, you got me this time!” OK, yeah, I know, NERD ALERT! I own it with pride.
I continued to virtually shove myself to the front of grades postings when I took classes after college to get a second undergrad in Nutrition; in chemistry, anatomy, physiology… and in all those vitamin trainings and herbal conferences over the years when I worked in health and body.
These are blissful memories for me, and I got to relive my super science nerd highschool self when I attended an in depth online Seminar on B-12 this month, with my favorite nutrition know-it all, Dr. Michael Greger. He reads EVERY SINGLE study that comes down the pipeline, and I trust him above all others for speaking only of facts and not feelings when it comes to our nutrition. (I just know he would have been a blast to take Biology classes with!)
The infamous nutrient that all plant based folks are asked about to the ends of the earth. Many a meat-eater has used B-12 to make their case for the health and necessity of meat. Their logic makes sense, however, they aren’t working with ALL of the information. WE ALL need to supplement B-12, it’s just that meat eaters are eating meat that was supplemented for them, so they are getting it second hand.
What is it?
B-12 is a microbe that covers the earth. It does not come from plants or animals. It comes from dirt and rivers and streams. Since we have evolved to live over 30 years old by decontaminating (sanitizing) our food and water so that we don’t catch diseases, we have also destroyed our natural sources of B-12. Meat eaters get B-12 because their meat was supplemented when it was alive. We are much better off taking the supplements ourselves.
What does it do?
Everyone on earth needs B-12. It makes our DNA. It keeps us from anemia. (the kind that makes you tired and weak) It keeps our nerve and blood cells healthy.
What if I don’t take it?
Not taking care of our nervous system can have extreme effects! Nerve disorders, a loss of balance, dementia, depression, fatigue. In infants, a failure to thrive if their breastfeeding mothers are deficient. We absolutely need it. It’s a non negotiable.
How much should I take?
Here comes what you have been waiting for! Although I spent years in the supplement world with a natural foods company, studied at herb and vitamin conferences, attended trade shows, trainings from over a hundred different brands, behind the scenes visits to vitamin factories, and have spent my life researching optimum health; I defer this to someone who has loads more experience than myself and add in my knowledge in to narrow the scope to what is easiest to understand. This is where Dr. Greger’s research comes in and I wholeheartedly agree.
The current and most up to date data based on a culmination of all studies and research leaves us as follows:
How Much B-12 do I need?
Adults: 50mcg/day OR 2000mcg 1xwk
Kids 6mo- 3y: 5mcg/day
Kids 4-10: 25mcg/day
Kids 11+: as adult, 50 or 2000
Seniors 65+: 1000mcg/day
What kind should I take?
Cyanocobalamin. It has shown to have the most efficacy, remains stable when exposed to air and light, and BONUS! It’s less expensive! When is something both BETTER and CHEAPER? Cyanocobalamin for the Win Win.
Liquid or Sublingual: For us to receive the B-12, we need it to dissolve in our saliva first. So the less expensive, more stable cyanocobalamin in the liquid drops, spray, or sublingual tablet, out shines even B-12 injections for it being appropriately absorbed and used. Yay!
USP certified: This is important. Herbs and supplements are not regulated. So even though I am very fond of some companies who have worldly superior products, the supplement industry can put just about anything they want into a pill or drop. Some might not even contain one iota of what’s on the label, and may contain harmful stimulants or other substances. The studies on this are shocking.The USP (United States Pharmacopoeial convention) is a non profit scientific organization founded exactly 200 years ago in 1820. Their role is in ensuring what is on the label is in the bottle. Without their stamp of approval, you could be taking strawberry guano.
Can I get it from my Diet?
You can. It’s harder and more expensive. It comes from supplemented meat (nope, I cannot recommend) or from fortified foods. You’re getting it as a supplement whichever way you look at it unless you want to go into the wild and eat grass, dirt and poopy. (That’s how monkeys get it)
Fortified nut milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast are the best dietary sources, but your consumption must be very high. Three tablespoons of nutritional yeast a day, or reading the labels on each serving and doing math- you will need larger amounts on a more regular basis when absorbing from food. I find it much easier, and easier to comply with, to take a supplement, although I do not discourage nutritional yeast or nut milks.
Do not worry about getting too much, you cannot O.D. on B-12. So if you are using supplements, and you use some nutritional yeast, don’t worry about it!
Who will be buying some B-12 today?
I hope that you are reading this and raising your hand at the screen yelling “Me!” That’s what I am envisioning as I write this. I see all of the pajama-panted, veggie-eating, blog-reading winners like you saying Heal Yeah! To B-12! (PS I did borrow the phrase “Heal Yeah” from an awesome podcast, check it out.)
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