If you eat a raw food diet, how do you get enough vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a member of the B complex of vitamins. It is created inside the bodies of animals by bacteria. In fact, humans produce this vitamin in their colon but it is not useable because it is excreted by the bowls. If you are on a raw food diet or a cleansing diet
for many years there is a small chance you may need to use a B12 supplement.
This important vitamin is used by the body to help produce red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. Someone who does not have enough of this vitamin, either due to a long term raw food diet or a condition called pernicious anemia (they cannot absorb it from their food), may have symptoms of being excessively tired, out of breath and listless (not wanting to move or do anything). The body is pretty amazing in that it releases B12 in the bile and then reabsorbs it back into the body and stores it. In fact, vegetarians are thought to reabsorb most of the vitamin that is used in digestion. Because of this neat trick, it can take as much as 20 years for a deficiency to appear.
The most reliable sources for B12 are animal products. This includes meats, dairy products and eggs. Some research has been done on plant sources from sea weeds, soya products and algae. Fermented soya foods, seed weed such as nori and algae such as spirulina contain a compound nearly identical to this vitamin and they were thought to be acceptable sources. Currently, the science tells us that these similar compounds are not used by the body and can actually inhibit B12 absorption.
Raw foodists are encouraged to eat foods fortified with B12
People on a raw food diet
are recommended to consume foods that have been fortified with B12. These kind of vegetarian foods will include yeast extracts, certain brands of vegetable stock, veggieburgers, textured vegetable protein, soya milks, and breakfast cereals. Some vegetable margarines have also been fortified with B12. If you choose to consume any of these products, remember to read the label to check for the total amounts of vitamins present.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B-12 is 1 to 1.5 micrograms for most adults (1000 micrograms = 1 mg). Children need less, depending on their age. If you are a lactating mother, than you will require 2 micrograms. B12 has very low toxicity and taking high amounts is not thought to be dangerous. If you are a raw foodist or have been on a strict vegetarian diet for many years, it may be necessary to supplement your diet with vitamin B-12. Consult a health care professional if you have any concerns about a deficiency.
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