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Experts have warned about the risks of vitamin B12 deficiency among vegans and recommended ways on how to get sufficient levels of the vitamin.
A vegan diet is rich in fiber and low in cholesterol, but it lacks some nutrients like vitamin B12. This vitamin, which is responsible for keeping nerves and blood cells healthy, is naturally present in animal food products like meat, fish, and eggs. Despite scientific evidence linking a plant-based diet to B12 deficiency, some vegans dismiss the idea and consider it a myth.
Some nutrition experts are alarmed by the matter. For one, University of Oxford professor Tim Key expressed that he is worried that some aspiring vegans lack knowledge on how to go on a plant-based diet properly.
King’s College London nutrition and dietetics professor Tom Sanders echoed this fear. He said that a number of people who adopt a vegan diet are unaware of the importance of getting B12. He warned that B12 deficiency caused by unbalanced diets should not be underestimated because it could lead to serious problems like anemia and nervous system damage.
Professor Sanders suggests taking supplements or eating food fortified with B12 to help vegans get the required levels of the vitamin. He believes that vegan products, such as plant-based milk, should have higher vitamin B12 content.
The Vegan Society, a UK-based organization, also posted ways to prevent B12 deficiency on its website. The group’s recommendations include eating B12-fortified food two or three times a day. Alternatively, vegans could take at least 10 micrograms of B12 supplement daily or 2,000 micrograms of B12 supplement weekly.