When talking about a vegan or plant-based diet, usually the main concern tends to be Vitamin B12 which is practically non-existent in plant foods and with good reason because B12 is extremely important for the optimal functioning of our bodies. Inadequate intake of B12 can be responsible for just about anything that goes wrong in our body, from abdominal distension, chronic diarrhea, Parkinson’s like symptoms, darkening of the skin, swollen hands and feet, numbness and tingling of hands and feet, muscle cramping and so on.
B12 levels start to drop within months of cutting meat from our diets, so it’s not something that happens immediately which is the reason some people may lower their guard and not think its that necessary but it is imperative to find a reliable source of B12 and consume the right dosage to avoid all the issues mentioned above.
Thankfully, supplementing vitamin B12 is very easy and inexpensive. For about $20 you can buy enough B12 supply for 4 years, although I do not recommend keeping it for longer than 3. Another recommendation when it comes to buying a B12 supplement would be, go for sublingual or chewable. The reason for that is, our saliva contains a protein that specifically binds to B12 helping carry it safely to where it needs to go in your body. Also, try to stay away from multivitamins that contain B12. Usually, the high concentration of vitamin C, Thiamine, and Copper in multivitamins will form something called Analogs. These Analogs can destroy most of the active B12 and block the absorption of what little is left.
Lastly, there are two types of Vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin and Methylcobalamin. When buying your supplement, I recommend choosing Cyanocobalamin because it is the most stable form which makes it easier to absorb and more efficient. Methylcobalamin is very unstable which means the amount you absorb is actually much less than what you take. It is also susceptible to photodecomposition which means it gets destroyed by light making it even more inefficient.
So, although B12 is not present in plants, it is very easy and cheap to supplement and should not be a reason to deter you from making a switch to a healthier diet.