B12 – What? Why? How? – Not just for vegans

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Since becoming a vegan, I have done a lot of research and questioning about what is needed, nutrition wise, to keep my body functioning at its best.  Enter the B12 supplement. I learned that B12 deficiency happens in both vegans and omnivores.

Do you have ringing in your ears?

Don’t think you are off the hook as a meat eater… nope… many humans are B12 deficient and don’t even know it.  What is scary about this is that deficiency in B12 can be deadly. Yikes!

Here is more about what is B12, why we need it, how to know if we are deficient, and what to do about it.

What is B12?

MedicalNewsToday describes B12 as follows: “Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin, like all other B-vitamins. – This means it can dissolve in water and travel through the bloodstream. The human body can store vitamin B-12 for up to four years. Any excess or unwanted vitamin B-12 is excreted in the urine. – Vitamin B-12 is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin. It occurs naturally in meat products and can only be industrially produced through bacterial fermentation synthesis”. Here is the link of what I found to be an interesting newsletter by MedicalNewsToday

Why we need it.

B12 – not just for vegans.. I’ve learned through my own research (via books and google) that our bodies need the B12 vitamin to make healthy blood cells, to keep our nerves working properly, and to help make DNA found in all of our cells.  We need an adequate amount of B12 for so many other things.  eg: to promote healthy hair, skin and nails.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency.

WebMd has a post on webmd.com (click here to read article) that says the following:

“A mild deficiency may cause no symptoms. But if untreated, it may lead to symptoms such as:

  1. Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness

  2. Heart palpitations and shortness of breath

  3. Pale skin

  4. A smooth tongue

  5. Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas

  6. Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking

  7. Vision loss

  8. Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes”

Detecting B12 deficiency.

A simple blood test is all that is needed to find out if you are deficient in B12.  If you feel that the symptoms above resonate with you, or if you think you have the potential of being B12 deficient, even without any symptoms, have a conversation with your doctor.  Find out for certain and avoid any potential future issues.

B12 supplements VS food.

Harvard Health Publishing has an article that talks about the best sources of B12. According to the article, you may be getting enough B12 through your diet via fish and fortified foods like soy milk, non-fat yogurt, breakfast cereal, and vegetarian meat substitutes. Or maybe, your body needs a little extra help via B12 supplements. You can read the article by clicking here.

Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, has a lot of information on the subject. (click here for his link on “The Healing Benefits of B12”) In this article, Anthony William explains that whatever your symptoms “acne, SIBO, eczema, weight problems, depression, allergies, cancer, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, ringing in the ears, thyroid problems, aches and pains, rheumatoid arthritis, memory issues, brain fog, or any other symptom or condition, the right kind of B12 is important.”

Finally, I hope that this article helps at least one person who may be in need of B12 supplements and didn’t even know it. That not only vegans may become deficient in B12. You matter. Each an every one of us humans matter. Please take good care of your yourself.

Yours in health ~ Nancy Shimmy