You try to eat right and get all of your vitamins and minerals from whole, fresh foods. But vitamin deficiencies can show up as physical symptoms, despite our best efforts to eat right.
We intake vitamins and nutrients from our food as part of our digestion process. Unlike vitamin D, which can be produced by our bodies, B-12 comes only from outside sources into the body. B-12 is an essential nutrient that your body uses to produce red blood cells, DNA and nerves.
B-12 AND VEGANS
Unlike many vitamins, B-12 is not often found in plants. As a result, strict vegans or vegetarians are the most susceptible to B-12 deficiency. One solution is to use products that are fortified with B-12, such as fortified soy or nut milks.
Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can produce B-12. Since bacteria can be found in the soil, foods that come from the soil can have small levels of B-12. If you are scrubbing your vegetables too much, you could be removing this good bacteria.
Foods naturally containing small amounts of B-12 include mushrooms and fermented foods like tempeh. Nori, a type of toasted seaweed, will also give you a B-12 boost. Nutritional yeast can also provide a source of B-12 for vegetarians. Ovo-lacto vegetarians should get enough B-12 from eggs, milk and yogurt. You can check the foods you eat for their B-12 levels in this chart.