Vegetarian Diets and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12-vitIf you consider becoming a vegetarian or follow a vegetarian lifestyle then getting enough vitamin B12 should be a concern. Researchers have long known that a strict vegetarian diet which excludes all animal products including dairy and eggs may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and possibly heart disease

Vitamin B12 is abundant in meat, poultry, and especially fish and seafood and in smaller amounts in eggs, cow’s milk, cheese,

yogurt and other dairy products and unlike some other B Vitamins it is not found in any plant based food.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin is made by bacteria in the soil and water. Animals eat foods containing these bacteria, and then the animals become sources of vitamin B12 for humans. The functions of Vitamin B12 is to form and maintain healthy red blood cells, form and maintain healthy nerve cells and to make DNA, the genetic material in cells.

If you are a vegetarian and have been for a long time, if you are taking antacids, or are getting older and experience some gastrointestinal disorders the most likely missing nutrient could be Vitamin B12.

Sources of vitamin B12 are vitamin B12 fortified soy milk, vitamin B12 fortified cereals, Vitamin B12 fortified meat analogues (food made from wheat gluten or soybeans to resemble meat, poultry, or fish), vitamin B12-fortified energy bars, and vitamin B12 supplements. These are vitamin supplements that do not contain animal products