Vitamin B12 deficiency: What vegetarians need to know

You might have heard about vitamin B12 deficiency. Deficiencies are rare, as the body is capable of storing many years of it. But, what are the symptoms? If you don’t use any animal products at all, you might want to take one of these pills every day or so.

I hear you (adults) need no more than about 2.5 micrograms a day. That’s a small amount. But, it may vary depending upon what your body requires and who you ask. I get my vitamins and minerals from whole fruits and vegetables. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin pill I take.

So, if you take 1000 mcg’s like I do, (because I’ve been a vegetarian now for many years) knowledgeable sources say excess isn’t harmful to your system. I take it whenever I think about it. This might be every day, every other day or once a week. It just depends. I kind of go by ‘how I feel’. Maybe, you need one like mine once a month or so.

I use cyanocobalamin b12 1000 about mcg once a week: But, methylcobalamin is supposed to be better absorbed and retained

If you lack enough vitamin B12 you might suffer from

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weak muscles
  • Numbness or tingling feeling in hands and feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Intestinal problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Irritability and/or mood disorders
  • Deficiency may be associated with heart and blood vessel disease
  • Dementia

What is vitamin B12? It’s actually bacteria found on vegetables pulled out of the ground, like on carrots. It is microorganisms found in the soil and water. Our distant ancestors spent many hours foraging for food.

They pulled up roots and tubers and ate them unwashed; and guess what? They got their vitamin B12 from eating these along with drinking water from a nearby stream (B12 producing organisms.)

B12 is the only vitamin vegetarians have to worry about the lack of. Protein is a macronutrient prospective vegetarians waste their time stressing out about not getting enough of.

We get higher quality protein from beans or legumes and lentils instead of animal meat and vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) from whole fruits and vegetables.

What about vitamin D deficiency? Glad you asked!

To conclude, it is also important to get out in the sun each day. When you get your skin red by the sun, that’s how vitamin D is made. Vitamin D is a hormone. It’s called the wonder vitamin because it does so many good things.

Many of us don’t get enough sun, therefore may be deficient in vitamin D. This is more prevalent than you might think, especially if where you live isn’t very sunny most of the year and you work inside in an office all the time.

Remember, we aren’t meant to be cave dwellers! Thousands and thousands of years ago, we humans did things like stay outside and pick berries.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms may include…

  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • If you have dark skin, you may need ten times as much sun!
  • You are feeling down, blue or depressed
  • You are older than 50
  • You are obese or overweight
  • You sweat excessively
  • If you have any intestinal trouble, this may inhibit vitamin D absorption
  • Don’t run from the sun, drink filtered water and breathe fresh air!

Lastly, our bodies do have a store of b12, but if you feel you are running low, you might need a supplement if you don’t consume animal products. The daily RDA if you are 14+ years old is 2.4 mcg’s per day [1]. See how you feel after you take it.

But, you take more than the recommended daily amount, (of which I take 1000 mcg’s whenever I think of it) your body sheds off the excess. From what I hear, there is no toxicity with how much vitamin b12 you take.


Website Title NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Article Title Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12
Date Accessed January 25, 2018

Note- before you change your diet contact your doctor.

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