Hey vegans, fun fact! Your ancestors probably sourced much of their vitamin B12 from the dirt, manure and unsanitised water they consumed alongside the plant foods they ate. But why was that ok then, but not now?
Because of modernisation and the evolution of sanitisation, this practice would be considered unacceptable. We understand pathogens better and we have advanced ways in which we stop these pathogens from causing illness. One of these ways is by staying away from contaminated sources like dirt, manure and dirty water.
Grass fed animals still eat dirt and manure and drink the dirty water that is rich in vitamin B12 producing bacteria, and that’s why they are our primary source of vitamin B12 for meat eaters. However, modern industrialised factories do not have animals grazing but instead, they are in feedlots which minimises their exposure to dirt. For this reason, many factory-farmed animals need to be supplemented with B12 and the ones that don't, do not produce B12 to the meat-eater consuming them, causing a widespread B12 deficiency in meat eaters as well!
How to Get Your Vegan Vitamin B12
Vegans need to get their vitamin B12 from somewhere, but if not from animals (or dirty food), then where? Experts suggest either fortified food or supplements.
Fortification of food occurs when scientists add a vitamin to a food product that would otherwise be deficient in that vitamin. This certainly provides a convenient way for those following a plant-based diet to get their vitamin B12. If you choose fortified foods, then be sure those foods are actually healthy and you aren't purely eating the food for the B12. Many fortified foods such as plant-based milks are nutritionally poor options to start with or contain additives, so we wouldn't suggest relying on these as your B12 source.
Another source of B12 that often gets cited is mushrooms. Although mushrooms do have a small amount of B12, the B12 is not high enough to be your only source as a vegetarian.
Supplementation is another option and possibly the best option. If choosing a vitamin B12 supplement, you always want to look for quality. As with the fortified foods you consume also be sure the supplement you select is vegan and/or vegetarian.
Fortified foods and vitamin B12 supplements are both great options as part of your vegan diet.
Vegan Vitamins You Should Take Alongside B12
Vegans have a predisposition to certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some additional vitamins you may need to consider include vitamin D, iodine, zinc, calcium and omega 3.
Plant-based diets may contain low amounts of these nutrients or contain these nutrients in forms that are poorly absorbed by your body. Because of these factors, it puts you at a higher risk of deficiency.
The best way to address your vitamin and mineral needs as a vegan is by looking into supplements and fortified foods to meet your requirements and to get regular check-ups from your health professional.
Ode daily is a vegan supplement designed to complement a vegan diet to ensure all your B12 needs are met.
Ode Daily Supplement
What is Ode Daily? A science-backed daily vitamin powder made specifically for plant based, vegan or flexitarian individuals who are looking to fill the gaps in their nutrition in the form of a tasty drink. Does Ode Daily really work? The active… read more