Vitamin B12 is mainly found in meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. For this reason, professionals advise anyone vegan, and even vegetarian should supplement this vitamin since it will not be able to meet the requirements through food and would end up developing a long-term deficiency. Supplementation with this vitamin does not pose health risks and is completely safe.
Also known as cobalamin, is the most complex chemical structure. Its discovery must be placed in 1920 at the hands of the American doctor of medicine George Hoyt Whipple. He was researching the development and cure of pernicious anemia by analyzing the diet of dogs. At one point, he found that animals that consumed the liver recovered more quickly. The reason? The presence in this food of iron and vitamin B12. A curious finding that led to one of the most necessary nutrients today.
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What is vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 belongs to the group of B vitamins and is found in foods of animal origin. It is a nutrient that helps keep neurons and blood cells healthy. Also, it contributes to the development of DNA. It also prevents megaloblastic anemia, which causes tiredness and weakness in people.
What is it for?
Vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining the health of neurons, the brain, and blood cells. A nutrient that, in general, helps to strengthen the nervous system and increase concentration. Also, it is essential for the formation of red blood cells, cell metabolism, the metabolism of amino acids, and the creation of DNA.
Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients responsible for reducing tiredness and fatigue and increasing energy. It is also responsible for supplying the necessary energy so that the body can cope with all day-to-day activities.
From a physical point of view, this vitamin is essential for our performance. Athletes lose a large number of minerals and vitamins during training. The contribution of this vitamin and other nutrients will be key to increase muscle mass and regain strength and endurance.
Foods that contain vitamin B12
The amount of vitamin B12 a person needs per day depends on their age and physical condition. For example, vegetarians and vegans, professional athletes, and people with a high level of stress should consume a greater amount of vitamin B12. This can be found in a large number of foods of animal origin. Of all of them, those that contain the greatest contribution are beef liver, steamed shellfish, cooked oysters, and clams.
Besides, fish (especially herring, salmon, tuna, and trout ), poultry, cooked meat, eggs, powdered cow’s milk, and other dairy products such as mozzarella cheese should be included here. , Swiss cheese, and yogurt.
There are not many plant-based foods rich in vitamin B12, at least naturally. That is why those people whose diet is exclusively vegetarian should acquire this vitamin through supplements or with fortified foods or beverages.
Among the latter are vegetable drinks (almond, soy, coconut, or oat drinks).
A very interesting option for vegans is the intake of nutritional yeast. Rich in vitamin B12, it is very similar to brewer’s yeast. But, unlike this one, it is free of dairy, gluten, and soy.
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Vitamin B12 deficiency
People with a long-term vitamin B12 deficiency may experience anemia, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite or weight, and tingling in the hands and feet. In turn, they are at greater risk of having problems in the nervous system, balance difficulties, episodes of depression, or poor memory.
The groups of people with a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are vegetarians and vegans in the long term and 15% of the elderly. Those individuals who, due to disease, have difficulties absorbing the vitamin may also suffer from this deficiency. In the latter case, they will have to be treated by a specialist.
Vitamin B12 deficiency and deficiency can be alleviated with capsule supplements. However, the intake of these supplements should be accompanied by medical advice. Otherwise, we can fall into excess vitamin B12. The causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be the following:
- Food deficit
- Disorder in the synthesis of vitamin B12
- Intestinal diseases
- Alteration in the use of the vitamin
In short, vitamin B12 is one of the most necessary nutrients for our bodies. Its presence is very beneficial in ensuring that the body can perform at its best. A diet rich in foods of animal origin will help us to enjoy the necessary supply of this vitamin every day.