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What is B12? Where does it come from? Where can you get it?

Published: 17 Jun 2017 @

How many times have you heard, "You have to eat meat to get all the protein and vitamins you need to be healthy". Well that's strange because last time we checked more people were dying from animal based diets than plant munchers. Are meat eaters consuming SO MANY vitamins & minerals that it's killing them? Didn't think so.

When was the last time you heard:"Unfortunately Jim died yesterday because he was eating way too many carrots. He wasn't getting enough animal fat in his arteries to live a long and healthy life with high blood pressure and heart disease"? NEVER, LITERALLY NEVER! So let's get rid of this ridiculous and stereotypical notion that because you don't eat meat you must lack the vital vitamins and nutrients needed to be healthy, shall we!

Let's get to the point and clear some things up.

What is B12?

B12 is a vitamin. A vitamin is something that plays an important role in the growth and development of several systems in the body. B12 Specifically is involved in the cellular metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. It is essential in the production of blood cells in bone marrow, the nervous system and proteins.

Where does it come from?

B12 is NOT produced by humans OR ANIMALS! It is produced by a form of bacteria known as a 'Prokaryote'.

Where can you get it?

Prokaryote bacteria can be found in the gut of humans & animals. Humans excrete this bacteria along with the B12 & so do many animals meaning they still need to find a source for this vitamin the same as we do. This leads us on to the slightly gross aspect of this article (You've been warned).

Many animals eat their own faeces to obtain B12, they don't go around munching on steak! Some can absorb the vitamin in the gut but humans generally can't hence why we need to find it somewhere else.

A scientific study carried out in the 50's even proved that if B12 deficient vegans consumed their own excreted B12, it cured their deficiency, GROSS.

So that is why B12 IS NOT A MEAT PRODUCT and you do NOT need to consume meat to get this vitamin!

The following products are usually fortified with B12:
Soya Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Cocount Milk, Breakfast Cereal, Nutritional Yeast, Tofu, Meat substitutes, Marmite, Dairy free yogurts.

You can also take multi vitamins from health food stores but make sure to ask if it's vegan!

Reference material:
Herbert V. Vitamin B-12: plant sources, requirements, and assay. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48:852-8.