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Clean, plant-based eating is one of the best things you can do for your body (and your wallet). One thing I often hear, though, is the importance of getting enough B12 if you are vegan or near-vegan.

nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast

Most vitamins are found in abundance in plants, but B12 is only in animal products. So if you eat meat, eggs, poultry, cheese, and so forth, you’re fine. If you’re a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy regularly you should get plenty of B12.

But if you’re vegan and/or have coeliac or Crohn’s disease, which prevent your body from absorbing nutrients, you need to think about how to get enough B12.

 

Why? According to the Harvard Health Blog a B12 deficiency has some pretty serious consequences:

  • strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellowed skin (jaundice)
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations
  • weakness
  • fatigue

Eventually, severe deficiencies can cause neurological damage.

It is not a chance worth taking!

Vegan food sources of B12 include fortified breads, cereals, nutritional yeast and plant-milks. If you follow a gluten free diet that eliminates most breads and cereals, which makes it tricky. Unless you’re happy to eat nutritional yeast every day, or guzzle a lot of fortified plant milk, you probably want to take a supplement. There are lots of multivitamin, B-vitamin and specific B12 options out there.

If you have a preferred brand to recommend please do so in the comments!

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