Vitamin B12 in the Vegetarian Diet

Tempo de Leitura: 3 minutos

Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of our body, being necessary for the formation of red blood cells, maintenance of the central nervous system and production of DNA. It’s an important vitamin for everyone, but especially for vegetarians, who may have a hard time getting adequate amounts of this vitamin in their diet. In this article, we will explore the main sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians.

What is vitamin B12 and why is it important?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the formation of red blood cells, maintenance of the central nervous system, and DNA production. It is mainly found in animal products such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy. However, vegetarians, especially vegans, who do not consume any animal products, may have difficulty getting adequate amounts of this vitamin in their diet and their deficiency can lead to anemia, neurological damage and other health problems.

As such, vitamin B12 supplements seem to be the easiest and most effective way to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of this vitamin in your diet, often found in multivitamin supplements, but it can also be purchased as an individual supplement.

However, soy milk is a popular alternative to cow’s milk for vegetarians because it is often fortified with vitamin B12. In addition to having options such as the nutritional yeast, however, the amounts of this vitamin in yeast can vary and not be sufficient to meet the daily needs of an individual, which makes it necessary to use strategies such as the use oflguns algae, such as nori and wakame or even theSome fermented foods such as tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi.

B12 status among vegetarians

Deficiency may occur due to altered absorption or nutritional insufficiency, which are common in the elderly as a result of secondary hypochlorhydria due to drug treatment or physiological alteration of the gastrointestinal mucosa itself. However, malabsorption can also occur in cases of gastric or ileal resections, inflammatory bowel disease or genetic defects in transport proteins and cell traffic.

In this context, a systematic review of the literature based on the blood concentration of cobalamin among vegetarians observed that a deficiency was present ranging from 0% to 86.5% among adults and the elderly, up to 45% in infants, from 0% to 33.3% in children and adolescents, and from 17% to 39% among pregnant women. Thus, the use of supplements or fortified foods seems to prevent deficiencies, indicating that a well-planned plant-based diet has proven to be adequate and sustainable. However, despite the use of fortified foods, deficiency can occur over a period of five years, demonstrating continued insufficient intake or a possible decline in absorption capacity due to aging. In all likelihood, even when supplementation occurs, it is possible that not enough concentrations are reached to prevent the reduction of body stock in the liver, blood and kidneys. Therefore, p liver is the main reservoir with capacity around 1 to 1.5 mg of cobalamin.

In this way, vitamin B12 is essential for nervous system health, blood cell formation and energy metabolism. Although it is mainly found in animal foods, vegetarians can get enough vitamin B12 through supplements or fortified foods. However, it is important for vegetarians to monitor their vitamin B12 levels regularly and consider supplementation if necessary, to ensure an adequate intake of this vital vitamin for health.

Clinical practice

PFor vegetarians, especially vegans, it can be challenging to get adequate amounts of this vitamin in your diet. However, there are several sources of vitamin B12 available for vegetarians, including supplements, fortified foods, nutritional yeast, algae, and fermented foods. Because of this, it’s important to monitor your vitamin B12 levels and consider proper supplementation if necessary. In addition, with the guidance of a health professional and a balanced diet, it is possible to get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet.

Bibliographic references

Study suggestion:
Vegetarianism and vitamin B12

Watch the video on Science Play with Rodrigo Manda:
Vitamin B12 Metabolism

B12 and vegetarians
Rizzo G, Laganà AS, Rapisarda AMC, La Ferrera GMG, Buscema M, Rossetti P, Nigro A, Muscia V, Valenti G, Sapia F, Sarpietro G, Zigarelli M, Vitale SG. Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation. Nutrients. 2016; 8(12):767.

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