B12 Vitamin and Omega-3: Important in the Vegan Diet

B12 Vitamin

Among many myths associated with a vegetarian or vegan diet, some nutritional care are legitimate and must be observed. The only nutrient that actually lacks in a vegan diet is vitamin B12, and so there is a practical and safe solution. All vegan, at any stage of life, you should definitely make use of a supplement of vitamin B12 or ensure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of food fortified with the vitamin. As for the lacto-ovo vegetarians, the use of the supplement is also essential for pregnant women, women breast-feeding, children, adolescents and the elderly, and is optional in adulthood, but still strongly recommended. Therefore, this latter group is the only one who could consider not make use of the supplement, while all vegans and even the lacto-ovo-vegetarians at critical stages must necessarily supplement vitamin.


The recommended dose for an adult may be weekly or daily: 2.000 mcg (micrograms) once a week or 10 mcg once daily. To be more practical and equally effective, I recommend the use of the first week. The children should use a dose of 1,000 micrograms once a week and less than 2 years at a dose of 500 micrograms in the same frequency. While this will work for most fans, there may be exceptions (eg, the elderly and people with gastric disorders do not absorb very well the vitamin), which may require an increase in dose or even the use of an injectable supplement. If the injection actually prove necessary, the dose will vary with the degree of disability, and that must be prescribed by a physician. To avoid the need for this, which is generally used to correct an already installed deficiency, it is best to work with the prevention, making use of an oral supplement dietary since the transition.


For any individual, the best way to assess the dosage of the vitamin B12 levels are measured in the body of a substance called methylmalonic acid. Although this is the best test, it is extremely expensive and is not refundable by most health plans. Thus, we can use other tests to determine the level of vitamin B12: complete blood count, serum homocysteine and B12. With these results in hand, a nutritionist or a doctor can assess the individual need to supplement vitamin. But if you are vegetarian or vegan, no need to wait for a test: start the supplement now.


The supplement of vitamin B12 can be purchased at pharmacies on presentation of a prescription from a doctor or nutritionist, or may also be purchased freely in pharmacies that have imported. Unfortunately, the Brazilian industry does not seem to see a good market for the product and therefore not found in pharmacies vitamin B12 supplement manufacturing or national packaging.


Whatever the presentation, vitamin B12 tablets sold will not be of animal origin, since it is produced by bacteria or synthesized in the laboratory. What can happen is the tablet formulation contain some ingredients of animal origin, such as lactose, used as a carrier (to fill the space of the tablet), or any product used to enclose the compressed as gelatine, for example.


Stated that the use of a vitamin supplement is needed is not to say that a vegetarian or vegan diet is not natural to our species. The need for supplementation is justified by the fact that our modern habits have us away from our natural environment. In the specific case of vitamin B12, this departure did cause us to consume bacteria the way we did when our diet was more natural and less sanitized, as well as other lifestyle habits were also characterized by hygiene less developed. As vitamin B12 produced by bacteria, such change has led to a reduction in its use, but which can be solved using modern solution, which is supplementation.



Another nutrient that deserves special attention in vegetarian and vegan diet is the omega-3, commonly obtained by most people from the consumption of cold water fish. Although we have an excellent plant source of this fatty acid (a type of fat), this not always part of the majority of habit, although it is more common among those who opt for a healthier eating style.


This is the flaxseed, whose share of omega-3 is concentrated in its oil. Therefore, instead of consuming flaxseed, more efficient option is to consume the oil extracted from it (linseed oil). It is true that to consume the seed, we are also consuming the oil contained therein, but to consume the oil are getting concentrated way the nutrient in which we have the greatest interest in food, which is omega-3.


A vegetarian or vegan adult should consume daily at least one teaspoon of flaxseed oil. This same minimum dose also applies to children while pregnant and breast-feeding should double this minimum daily dose.


Both vitamin B12 and the omega-3 play an important role in the health of the entire cardiovascular system. Both also play an essential role in the formation and maintenance of the nervous system and its deficiency, especially during the training phase of the fetus (pregnant) and during breastfeeding, can have serious consequences for the child. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to the supplementation of both. In adulthood, if a deficiency is detected at an early stage, it can be easily corrected with the use of oral supplements, but it is best to make use of preventive supplementation. With the right information and precautions that can be easily put into practice, the choice of veganism offers many benefits with minimum risk.

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