Are you getting enough Vitamin B12?

Food & Recipes door thijs

As a vegetarian I know it can be quite a challenge to ensure you get all your nutrients. Especially because you can’t always tell you have a deficiency. Luckily I’ve got a sister with a degree in Food and Nutrition, who’s currently working on her masters in Health Sciences. I was unaware of any deficiencies until she got me hooked on oat milk, which I heat up to put in my morning coffee. The best thing about oat milk for me is that it has added Vitamin B12 – which, I later realized, I wasn’t getting enough of. I am now, and I feel so much better. What about you? Are you getting enough Vitamin B12?

Why is B12 so important?

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a nutrient that our bodies are unable to produce naturally. This means that the only way to get B12 into our system, is by absorbing it through food or supplements. And it’s definitely something to look into. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to various physical complaints, like (extreme) fatigue, anaemia, muscle weakness, stomach problems and damaged nerves. But it can also result in cognitive issues, like a lack of focus, poor memory, confusion and an increased risk for depression. Long story short: both your body and your brain need B12 to function properly.

How do I make sure I get enough Vitamin B12?

The issues mentioned above can, of course, also be the result of another deficiency or medical issue. However, if you’re (mostly) plant-based, you’re at a higher risk of not getting enough B12. This is because the nutrient is mostly found in animal products like meat, fish and dairy. If you suspect a B12 deficiency, take a look at some other products with added B12. Many types of oat milk, soy products, meat substitutes and granola are enriched with B12. That said, vegetarians and especially vegans may need to get a supplement to get the daily recommended amount. Luckily, there are plenty of options these days. B12 is one of the 7 most important supplements that help you thrive on a plant-based diet. Always ask for expert advice from a health care professional before you start taking supplements, so you know you get the formulation that works best for you.