While it’s possible to get all the vitamin B12 you need from the foods you eat, in certain cases, a B12 supplement might be useful – particularly if you’re at greater risk of becoming deficient.
The people most at risk of a B12 deficiency are those who don’t get enough in their diet, or who aren’t able to absorb enough from the foods they eat. This can include the elderly, pregnant or breastfeeding women – as well as people who are taking antacids long-term, taking the diabetes drug metformin, have had bowel or stomach surgery, or are following a strict vegan diet.
However, while vegans are more at risk of B12 deficiency, because B12 is only naturally found in animal products – you don’t have to automatically take supplements if you follow a plant-based diet. The amount of B12 needed each day is so small, and because many plant-based foods are fortified with high levels of B12, it’s entirely possible that you can still get enough B12 from your diet.
However, it’s still important for vegans to check that the foods that they eat do contain B12. If you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough, it’s best to visit your GP and ask for advice.
If you don’t have any health or lifestyle factors that prevent you from getting enough B12 in your diet, or that prevent your body from absorbing the amount of B12 that it needs, then you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your food.
If you want some ideas for recipes that are particularly rich in vitamin B12, then check out these ideas on Eat This Much. Alternatively, if you follow a plant-based diet, then have a look at these vegan recipes that are high in B12.
It’s important to be aware that not all vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by health problems or diet. It can also be caused by a lack of intrinsic factors, which are proteins required to absorb B12. Lack of intrinsic factors becomes more common as we get older, and is linked to pernicious anaemia – an autoimmune condition that affects your stomach.
If you’re worried you’re not getting enough B12 from your diet, you should make an appointment with your GP to get a blood test. In the meantime, you might want to consider buying some supplements.
While according to the NHS, there isn’t any evidence to suggest that taking extra B12 causes any harm (unless you’re pregnant or breastfeeding), it’s still important to make sure that any supplements are safe dosage-wise. Adults over the age of 50 shouldn’t take more than 2.4 micrograms a day of B12 supplements unless specifically advised to by their GP.
Vitamin B12 supplements come in many forms, including liquid form, pills that you swallow, chewable sweets, or even supplements that dissolve under your tongue.
You can buy vitamin B12 supplements from Amazon in varying forms, as well as from pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores like Holland & Barrett. There are also plenty of vegan B12 supplements available on Amazon. If your levels are exceptionally low (which can be determined by a blood test), then your GP might offer you a vitamin B injection.
Life Armour also sells award-winning B12 supplements designed to help fight fatigue. Rest Less members can save up to 15% today with code RESTLESS.