Vitamin B12 is completely essential to every aspect of your body’s health. From the proper function of the digestive system to healthy skin, you need Vitamin B12 in your diet. But for those following restrictive diets for personal or health reasons, this can be a real challenge. Especially for those who have adopted vegan or vegetarian diets. Here we will tell you more about the dangers of Vitamin B12 deficiency among vegans and vegetarians. We will also tell you how to rectify this problem.
Why are Vegans and Vegetarians at Risk?
Lots of foods contain Vitamin B12. However, lots of these foods are meat. This includes things like some fish, as well as liver. While some vegetarians (pescetarians) elect to eat some seafood and can get Vitamin B12 this way, some of them elect to eat no meat at all. For these vegetarians, choices are limited. However, they can still get some Vitamin B12 from products like cheese, milk, and eggs. For vegans, however, who eat no animal products, there are nearly no foods (except fortified ones) that offer sufficient B12 for their dietary needs.
Side Effects of a B12 Deficiency
Not getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet can lead to a Vitamin B12 deficiency. A Vitamin B12 efficiency can be pretty nasty for your body. Some of the common symptoms of this issue include:
- Lethargy (or being extremely tired);
- Problems concentrating;
- Tingling in the hands and feet;
- Pale skin;
- A tongue that may feel sore;
- Digestive issues that can range from diarrhea to constipation;
- Stomach pain, as well as extreme weight loss;
- Bruising your skin very easily;
- Bleeding. In some case, you may even notice that your gums are bleeding;
If you feel that you may have Vitamin B12 deficiency, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Getting the B12 You Need
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, how can you get the Vitamin B12 that you need? One of the easiest ways is by taking a Vitamin B12 supplement. These may be taken orally or via injection. Some forms of Vitamin B12 are synthetically developed in labs. This means that no matter your dietary restrictions, you can take them. In mild cases, a simple change of diet to incorporate some other foods that you may not be eating much of now could help. Talk to your doctor to find out more.