How to get more vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that you cannot find in a plant-based diet. It is naturally found in soil, so as we gradually started practising better hygiene by washing our vegetables, our B12 intake was reduced.
This vitamin is found in meat, dairy, and eggs because some animals do consume soil, while others are injected with a B12 supplement. When humans eat animal products, vitamin B12 is therefore transferred to them.
Vitamin B12 is very important for the working of the body, so anybody eating a fully plant-based diet should take a supplement.
What is a vitamin B12 deficiency?
If you don't consume enough B12 over an elongated period of time, you may become B12 deficient. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include mouth ulcers, a sore tongue, yellow-tinged skin, pins and needles, and changes in the brain, including memory loss, depression and irritability.
A GP will diagnose a vitamin B12 deficiency with a blood test and will treat the condition as soon as possible. The symptoms do improve with treatment, but if they are not treated promptly enough, some can't be reversed.
Preventing vitamin B12 deficiency
The best way to treat a vitamin B12 deficiency is to not develop one in the first place! Luckily, they are easily avoidable. If you experience any of the above symptoms, be sure to see your GP as soon as possible to start treatment right away.
If you don't have any symptoms, you can still take steps to ensure that you are getting enough B12. If you eat animal products, you should naturally consume enough B12, but speak to your GP if you are worried about this.
If you follow a plant-based diet, check your vegan milk and cheeses to see if they are fortified with vitamin B12. You could also add nutritional yeast to your diet, which is a cheesy, nutty-tasting meal topping that contains plenty of B12.
Alternatively, take a supplement. You can get vitamin B12 on its own in any pharmacy, or you can take a combined supplement. At Kollo, our collagen supplement contains a range of vitamins, including B12.