In recent years, vitamin B12 has been increasingly studied and considered in our diet. If Vegans and Vegetarians are cited among the populations at risk, many other parameters can lead to a deficiency of this vitamin and affect other types of consumers.
In this article we return to certain points to know about vitamin B12, whatever the diet observed.
The impact of vitamin B12 deficiency on cellular aging
The impact of vitamin B12 deficiency is very significant since it concerns all of the body's cell renewal processes.
Difficult to detect, vitamin B12 deficiency often goes unnoticed because its symptoms are similar to those of other pathologies.
One of the first visible symptoms concerns hair loss because the lack of vitamin B12 in adults is generally a vector of accelerated aging due to lack of efficiency of cell multiplication.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be detected by negative changes in blood parameters (number of red blood cells, etc.) and certain clinical signs (fatigue, muscle pain, tingling, etc.).
The NRV (Nutrition Reference Value) defined in Europe for vitamin B12 is very low (2.5 micrograms per day); the recommendation in the USA is 6 µgr/day in the USA, which is more realistic for defining the average needs of an adult.
Remember that there is no defined maximum safe dose for vitamin B12: when in doubt, it is always better to have 'too much than too little'.
Factors that affect the assimilation of vitamin B12
We often imagine that the simple consumption of products enriched with vitamin B12 or meat will be enough to avoid a deficiency.
There are actually many other factors that influence the variation in the assimilation of Vitamin B12:
- Specific pathologies such as diabetes
- Taking medication ( metf ormin e )
- The additional needs of growing young people
- Populations with increased needs: pregnant women, athletes
- Losses of around 30% when cooking meat
All these factors can negatively influence the assimilation of vitamin B12 in the body.
Several studies show that a significant proportion of the population (excluding vegans and vegetarians) suffers from a Vitamin B12 deficiency. This is not trivial.
Note that between 10 and 24% of elderly people (seniors) have a vitamin B12 deficiency, a prevalence which increases with age !
For these different reasons, it is necessary to better target minimum daily intakes of 10 µg/day.
Food sources of vitamin B12:
Consumption of animal proteins does not solve everything!
It is commonly said that only animal products contain vitamin B12 in significant quantities (hence the absolute need for supplementation for vegetarians and vegans), which is true.
However , the vast majority of animal products (meat, milk, fish) have modest levels of vitamin B12. Only offal from ruminants (calf liver, etc.) has very high levels of vitamin B12, as shown in the table below.
(* average values subject to variations of around 30%)
This allows us to understand that in practice, many omnivores who favor white meats and dairy products may have insufficient Vitamin B12 intake.
Only regular consumers of livers and other offal, which are very limited in number and constantly decreasing ( the average annual consumption of “cattle livers” is around 150 grams per inhabitant/year in France - source: Agrimer 2014) , are protected from a possible lack or deficiency of vitamin B12.
Flexitarian behavior which consists of significantly reducing the intake of animal products to favor plant sources as well as all weight control programs which aim to moderate intake (particularly in 'red' meats) are particularly susceptible to insufficient intake and of vitamin B12 deficiency and, let us repeat, even more so with advancing age.
Our food supplements against vitamin B12 deficiency
It is obviously easy and economical to secure Vitamin B12 intake at a reasonable cost.
Among our Vegan Argalys Essentiels food supplements , we offer two formulas for this:
- For daily use: Multivitamins and Minerals dosed at 10 µgr of B12 per capsule.
- For weekly use: B12 'haute dos e' (1 mg) and iodine and selenium.