What You Need To Know About Vitamin B12 When Adopting A Vegan Diet

Vegan diets are becoming more and more popular, as people choose to eschew animal products in an effort to attain better health and preserve the planet. If you're thinking of adopting a vegan diet, or you have recently adopted one, there is one nutrient you need to know a little about: vitamin B12. Unlike other vitamins, this vitamin cannot be found in plant foods. Thus, as a vegan, you'll need to have your vitamin B12 levels monitored, so you can undergo an infusion or take supplements as needed.

Vitamin B12 Sources

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, and it can also be made by the good bacteria living in your gut. However, many peoples' gut bacteria is not as healthy or thriving as it could be, and thus they do not produce enough vitamin B12 for sustained health. If you're eating only plant foods and no animal products, then it is highly likely that you will develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency may not show up overnight, since your body can store some B12, but after a few months or years as a vegan, you may begin to notice symptoms of deficiency starting to creep up.

Signs of Low Vitamin B12 Levels

As a vegan, you should have a blood test to measure your vitamin B12 levels whether or not you are displaying signs of a deficiency. However, if you're experiencing the following symptoms, you should be especially prompt about having your blood tested, as you are likely deficient in B12 and will need infusion therapy to bring your levels back up to normal:

  • Extreme fatigue and tiredness
  • Shortness of breath, even after normal activities like walking
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

Infusions and Other Supplement Options

If your blood test indicates that your levels of vitamin B12 are low, your doctor will likely recommend infusion therapy to raise your levels. This is a much quicker method than taking supplements and waiting for the body to absorb them. You'll travel to a center, like the Idaho Arthritis Centerbe, be hooked up to an IV, and vitamin B12 will be infused into your bloodstream.

If you are only slightly deficient in B12, or if your levels are normal but you plan to continue following a vegan diet, your doctor will likely recommend oral vitamin B12 supplements rather than an infusion. Many B12 supplements are not vegan, but there are some artificially derived ones that are -- you'll have to read the labels carefully. The supplements should keep your levels high enough that you won't become deficient.

A vegan diet can be healthy, but you must be careful to monitor your vitamin B12 levels when you're not eating any plant foods. If you're new to this style of eating, have your blood tested and start taking supplements now, so you hopefully don't have to undergo infusion therapy.

About Me

health care for the uninsured

Unfortunately, not every American has health insurance. Although there have been great strides made in the attempt to ensure that every single person living in this country has health insurance, people still struggle to find the means to insure themselves and their families. Without insurance, health care is too expensive to consider going for regular exams and even for basic illnesses that do require some kind of medical attention. So, what can you do to make the cost of healthcare more affordable when you don't have insurance? This blog will show you about the different health care clinics and options that you have so that you can get the care you need when you need it.

Latest Posts

6 February 2017
Hair loss from radiation therapy and chemotherapy might not be permanent, but while it's happening, it's certainly no fun. If you've decided to try we

24 October 2016
After you have given birth to one or more children, your vagina isn't going to look the way that it did before. This is due to the vagina stretching o

12 August 2016
Dealing with cancer can be frightening and one of the hardest challenges you will ever face. You likely have many decisions to make about lifestyle ch

Tags

Search