If you have thought about being vegan or vegetarian, you have probably heard that it is not healthy because you won’t receive some important nutrients that you can only find in animal food. Is that true?
One of those nutrients is vitamin B12, which is not found in all vegetables, but you can find a few sources and use vegan supplements if those sources are not easy to find where you live. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First off, what is vitamin B12, and why is it an essential nutrient for vegans and non-vegans?
In this article, we’ll cover pretty much everything you need to know about this vital vitamin. We will discuss the basics, the benefits of vitamin B12, the symptoms of deficiency, and what you can do if you are at risk or suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with many essential functions. Although B12 is commonly found in animal products, it can also be found in plant foods, such as mushrooms, seaweed, and algae.
This water-soluble vitamin is important for the proper development and maintenance of red blood cells and plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins.
It performs various biochemical functions, including DNA synthesis, cell division, and the formation of myelin, myelin sheaths, and red blood cells.
In other words, vitamin B12 is involved in thousands of enzymatic reactions throughout the body.
Your body can’t synthesize vitamin B12, so food is the only way to get it. It is not like vitamin D, which can be synthesized through a bit of sun exposure.
If you don’t eat Vitamin B12-rich foods from time to time, there’s a risk of deficiency. But the good news is that your body can store the excess vitamin B12 and use it when you’re not eating vitamin B12-rich foods.
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