This water soluble B vitamin is important for energy metabolism, formation of red blood cells, and maintence of the central nervous system.
Vegetarians and B12
B12 is definitely a nutrient that vegetarians should be aware of. B12 is made by bacteria, fungi and algae. Therefore, only animal foods contain B12 since plants can’t make or store this nutrient. Animal and fish are able to save B12 from bacteria and concentrate it in their cells which is what makes them a good source. Organ meats, shellfish, and poultry are some of the richest sources of this key nutrient.
Fortified cereals are a reliable plant-based source of B12. Some nutritional yeast and crimini mushrooms have been shown to contain vitamin B12, albeit in minute amounts.
Low levels of B12
Not getting enough B12 can lead to anemia, deranged DNA synthesis and hyperhomocysteinemia. These are associated with increased risk of vascular disease, susceptibility to cancer and depression.
How much do we need:
Adult males and females need 2.4 mcg/day. This is one of the lowest daily requirements when it comes to our B vitamins but certainly does not make it any less important to obtain.