Managing Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Vegans, vegetarians and people with conditions like diabetes, digestive malabsorption due to food reflux and regular intake of antacids or some antibiotics are at a higher risk of developing of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.

Considering that Vitamin B12 is hugely beneficial for our body and plays an important role in its growth, one may be tempted to pop a multivitamin to maintain its levels in the body. But that surely is not the best way forward.

The best approach would be to eat a healthy balanced diet of foods that are nutrient dense. It’s not as hard as it sounds, if one simply starts replacing low-nutrient foods for high ones, one by one, and soon we would have transitioned to a new way of eating.

We,at DietCareNutrition shall help you in the process of making better food choices. First and foremost, one must understand that Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products. However synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods like cereals.

Also, if our gut is healthy, it too can produce some amount of Vitamin B12 with the help of bacteria. Therefore, try to add good quality probiotic in your diet for proper absorption and natural formation of B12.

If one is wondering about how one can get more B12 into one’s life, I have listed below foods containing Vitamin B-12. These have been categorized according to the diet preferences of people.

Vegetarian Diet

  • Vegetarians, who do not eat meat, and want to maintain a natural diet, should incorporate the natural vegetarian foods listed below into their diet.
  • Cottage Cheese (Paneer)
  • Milk and Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Whey – Once thought the sole domain of body builders, whey powder is now entering main stream as more people are going vegetarian. Whey powder is a common addition to breads and smoothies,

Vegan Diet
While vegetarians can obtain vitamin B12 from dairy foods and eggs (in case they are eggetarians), vegans do not consume these foods. Vitamin B12, is naturally found solely in animal foods and therefore can be virtually non-existent in their diets. It thus becomes imperative for vegans to supplement their diets with fortified foods or supplements.

  • Fortified Cereals
    A wide array of cereals now exist with the percent daily value (DV) of vitamin B12 added in. Vegans can eat the cereal with soy, rice, or almond milk.
  • Fortified Soy Products
    Most vegans consume soy both as a dairy substitute, and as a source of protein. Many soy products now come fortified with vitamin B12. One should check the label, for nutrition facts of the product, to be sure.

  • Fortified Drinks
    As more and more people are becoming vegan, companies have started fortifying drinks with vitamin B12. Drinks like Vitamin Water are now available in the market and are a healthy alternative to other drinks.

Non-Vegetarian Diet
Most animal products are rich sources of vitamin B12.

  • Eggs – When it comes to chicken eggs, the raw yellow has most of the vitamin B12.
  • Red Meat – Lamb, beef and pork have the maximum amount of B12.
  • Fish – Sardines, salmon and tuna are rich sources of B12.
  • Seafood – It is the best source of vitamin B12. Even 85 gm of shell fish, mussels is enough to provide the daily requirement of B12.

In the chart below, we have provided the amount of Daily Value (DV) of B12 that some foods provide. This would act as a guideline for how much of a certain food you need to consume daily to avoid B12 deficiency.

Don’t forget to include these foods in your daily diet to keep B12 deficiency at bay and maintain healthy DNA levels in the body.

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