Vegan Diet and Vitamin B12

As a person slowly transitions himself into adapting a vegan diet, he realizes that there is one tiny thing that he may have a problem about:  a tiny vitamin only found in foods that vegans are not supposed to consume.

It has long been argued that veganism is not a healthy diet option as it crosses out the consumption of vitamin B12, which is naturally found in meat, seafood, and milk.  This water-soluble vitamin plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as in the metabolism of every cell of the body especially the DNA synthesis and regulation.  This vitamin is also responsible for the synthesis and energy production of fatty acids.

Lack of vitamin B12, meanwhile, can cause potentially severe and irreversible damage to the body, especially to the brain and nervous system.  Fatigue, depression, and poor memory may be diagnosed as vitamin B12 deficiency, while more severe cases may include symptoms associated with mania and psychosis.

Vegans usually get their intake of vitamin B12 through food supplements and fortified foods such as some soy products, some breakfast cereals, and even yeast extract spreads like Vegemite and Marmite.  There has also been research that vegans can also get their much-needed vitamin B12 by consuming plants and water that have been contaminated by the B12-producing bacteria.  Meanwhile, the human body conserves vitamin B12 so efficiently that it has enough supply in the liver to last for several years.

Eating fortified foods makes sense especially if you need alternative ways of getting much-needed vitamins without the health risks.  For instance, your body can make vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight, but with the risks of skin cancer, it is much better to get vitamin D from fortified foods.