Is B12 really necessary? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-31-2016, 12:29 PM
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Is B12 really necessary?

Hello, so I've been eating almost vegan (except for honey) for only a week, but I intend to go fully vegan in the nearest future.

My question is about B12, I think it's a very common thing to be asked about, but I wanted to know if B12 is really that important for our bodies that we absolutely have to take it.

I found some B12 supplements in my country that are quite expensive (or maybe I'm just too stingy) and I don't really want to buy them. I know it's also found in whole foods, but in a small amount.

Is it really necessary for me to take it or can I leave it out and still be healthy?
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#2 Old 03-31-2016, 01:05 PM
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Hi Chou,


Every mainstream vegan organization recommends that vegans take a B12 supplement, or consume B12-fortified foods.


Taking B12 tablets may be less expensive than you think. Depending on the potency of the B12 tablets that are sold in your area, you may not need to take B12 every day. Here are recommended B12 dosages: http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/rec

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#3 Old 03-31-2016, 06:35 PM
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I wouldn't risk not taking B12. While it does take a few years to deplete B12 stores in the body, the long term effects of B12 deficiency are severe and some are irreversable.

I have taken a B12 supplement just one or two times a week for the last five years (dose between 500 and 1200 mcgs), while occasionally consuming fortified foods and drinks with B12 from time to time. I had my B12 level checked a few weeks ago and it is very healthy in the upper 600 range with just supplementing once or twice per week. It takes me sometimes six months to go through a bottle (I take sublingual drops and sprays mostly). I don't think it's that expensive to supplement. No need to buy anything too fancy as far as a supplement.
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#4 Old 03-31-2016, 07:39 PM
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I'd take B-12 just to be safe.
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#5 Old 03-31-2016, 08:37 PM
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Yes you should take it.

I would look around for a cheaper one. It costs me about 2-3 cents canadian per day to get my B12. The brand I use is called NOW, if that helps at all.
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#6 Old 04-01-2016, 03:57 AM
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Thank you for your answers.
Then I will wait a bit so that my body gets used to non-animal products and then go to a doctor for some check ups and maybe they can recommend me a decent B12 supplement, because I found too many offers on the internet and I don't know which one I should pick.
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#7 Old 04-01-2016, 05:37 AM
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You might find these helpful:

http://www.theveganrd.com/2015/02/fi...upplement.html
http://www.theveganrd.com/vegan-nutr...trition-primer

B12 supplementation is a requirement of a vegan diet. The potential consequences are severe enough (permanent nerve damage) that delaying isn't a good idea. Hope you can find an affordable supplement -- eating B12 fortified foods (check labels to be sure) is another way to get B12, but I still think a supplement is a prudent backup plan.
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#8 Old 04-17-2016, 07:53 AM
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The easiest way to supplement B12 is to look out for foods that are enriched. Examples of where I get it are:

- breakfast cereal
- non-dairy milk
- nutritional yeast
- yeast extract (eg Vegemite)

No need for tablet supplements if you eat these things. You can work out from a portion size how much you need to eat a day. Also, our body can store it, so as long as you keep it topped up, you don't need to worry about it in a daily basis.
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#9 Old 04-17-2016, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganKiwi View Post
The easiest way to supplement B12 is to look out for foods that are enriched. Examples of where I get it are:

- breakfast cereal
- non-dairy milk
- nutritional yeast
- yeast extract (eg Vegemite)

No need for tablet supplements if you eat these things. You can work out from a portion size how much you need to eat a day. Also, our body can store it, so as long as you keep it topped up, you don't need to worry about it in a daily basis.
If you're relying of fortified foods you DO need to eat enough daily. Most are fortified with 25% DAILY values. If you're not getting your daily total you need to multiply it many times-
Heres a good chart-
http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/rec

Last edited by silva; 04-17-2016 at 05:18 PM.
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#10 Old 04-17-2016, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chou View Post
Thank you for your answers.
Then I will wait a bit so that my body gets used to non-animal products and then go to a doctor for some check ups and maybe they can recommend me a decent B12 supplement, because I found too many offers on the internet and I don't know which one I should pick.
You can, of course, get a B-12 supplement over the internet, but I get mine from a drugstore or my local supermarket (in the vitamin section). I don't think I need to supplement with other B vitamins, so I just get one with B-12 only. I've heard that sublingual supplements that you let dissolve in your mouth are absorbed better. But the tablets have a LOT more than you need each day- I think that's to make up for poor absorption.

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#11 Old 04-17-2016, 02:24 PM
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Definitely take it! My sister was b12 deficient (omnivore. So... who knows how that happened...) and got VERY sick until she had injections to remedy it. Not worth the risk and b12 tablets taste delicious...

Is it a myth it's only absorbed sublingually though? That makes no sense because when you eat meat you don't do it sublingually...
Wha?
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#12 Old 04-17-2016, 02:44 PM
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Yes, it's a myth. The "sublingual" tablets you can either chew or let dissolve in your mouth. It is better to either chew or let it dissolve, though, since a substance in your saliva helps more B12 survive your stomach acid and be absorbed and utilized: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptocorrin

I think this may be one of the reasons B12 isn't efficiently absorbed from a multivitamin, but I can't confirm that.
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#13 Old 04-18-2016, 12:37 AM
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Thanks for the chart! That looks helpful. I think I'm fairly generous on portion size, but will re-read the stated content on the packaging to make sure I'm in tip top condition!
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