Why do I need vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is essential for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis as well as being another B vitamin required for metabolism.
Where can I find it?
This vitamin is found readily available in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. It is generally not present in plant foods, but some foods (like the unfavourable carbs such as breakfast cereals and bread), are fortified with B12 so that vegetarians can make sure they reach their daily quota.
How much should I have?
2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day is required per day for both men and women (a little more during pregnancy and lactation like with most vitamins and minerals). To give you an idea of where you can get this from, a 100 g serve of salmon contains 4.9 mcg and a serve of beef sirloin has 2.4 mcg so as long as you’re eating the recommended protein every day at lunch at dinner from lean animal sources you should be reaching your required daily amount.
What happens if I don’t get enough?
Those at high risk of deficiency are vegetarians and people with intestinal disorders. Common signs of deficiency include anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. As well as less common signs like difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. The neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can occur without anemia, so early diagnosis and intervention is important to avoid irreversible damage
What happens if I have too much?
There have been no adverse effects found to have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals as any excess can be stored for years in the liver.
Essential for vegetarians and other people at high risk of deficiency, including older adults, people with anaemia and those who have GI disorders like Coeliac disease and Crohn’s.
So, all you need to remember is…
Make sure you get your intake of B12, even though it can be stored in the liver, it is encouraged that we have a daily intake of the vitamin by eating plenty lean animal protein every day! Vegetarians and coeliacs, ensure you’re having your supplements and maybe get regular check ups to ensure your levels are adequate!