Perspective - Journal of Food Nutrition and Health (2023) Volume 6, Issue 3
Food sources and bioavailability of vitamin b12 deficiencyParaskevi Detopoulou*
Department of Clinical Nutrition, General Hospital Korgialenio Benakio, Athens, Greece.
- *Corresponding Author:
- Paraskevi Detopoulou
Department of Clinical Nutrition
General Hospital Korgialenio Benakio
Received: 18-May-2023, Manuscript No. AAJFNH-23-100965; Editor assigned: 22-May-2023, Pre QC No. AAJFNH-23-100965(PQ); Reviewed: 05-Jun-2023, QC No. AAJFNH-23-100965; Revised: 09-Jun-2023, Manuscript No. AAJFNH-23-100965(R); Published: 16-Jun-2023, DOI:10.35841/aajfnh-6.3.151
Citation: Detopoulou P. Food sources and bioavailability of vitamin b12 deficiency. J Food Nutr Health. 2023;6(3):151
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in the metabolism of cells, DNA synthesis, and the production of red blood cells. It is unique among the B vitamins as it contains the mineral cobalt at its core, hence the name cobalamin. The human body does not produce vitamin B12, so it must be obtained through diet or supplements. Historically, animal-derived foods have been the primary sources of dietary vitamin B12. Meats, such as beef, chicken, and fish, are excellent sources of this vitamin. Organ meats, particularly liver, are exceptionally rich in vitamin B12. Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, are also notable sources for those who consume animal products. Vegetarians and vegans, who avoid animal-derived foods, face a challenge when it comes to obtaining sufficient vitamin B12. While it is challenging to find natural plant-based sources of vitamin B12, some fermented plant foods can provide small amounts. These sources are often fortified with vitamin B12 during processing to meet the dietary needs of those on plant-based diets [1-3].
Fermented Foods: Certain fermented foods, such as tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut, may contain small amounts of vitamin B12. However, the levels can vary significantly and may not be reliable as the sole source of this nutrient. Fermentation processes can create B12 analogs that are similar in structure but do not have the same biological activity as true vitamin B12.
Seaweeds and Algae: Some types of seaweeds and algae, such as nori and Spirulina, are often touted as plant-based sources of vitamin B12. However, research suggests that the vitamin B12 present in these sources is predominantly in the form of analogy, which does not provide the active form of the vitamin that the body can utilize efficiently. Therefore, seaweeds and algae cannot be relied upon as reliable sources of vitamin B12.
Considerations for Plant-Based Diets: While it is possible to obtain some vitamin B12 from plant-based sources, it is essential for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets to take necessary precautions to ensure adequate intake .
Supplementation: Taking a vitamin B12 supplement is highly recommended for those following a plant-based lifestyle. These supplements come in various forms, including pills, sublingual tablets, and fortified foods. Regularly checking vitamin B12 levels through blood tests can help individuals determine if their dietary intake is sufficient.
Fortified Foods: Many plant-based milk alternatives, breakfast cereals, and meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B12. It is crucial to read food labels and choose fortified options to increase the intake of this vital nutrient.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast, often used as a cheese substitute, is a popular ingredient among plant-based eaters. Some nutritional yeast products are fortified with vitamin B12, making them a valuable addition to the diet. However, it is important to check the packaging for fortification .
While it can be challenging to obtain adequate vitamin B12 from plant-based sources alone, individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets can still maintain healthy levels by being mindful of their nutritional choices. Supplementation, fortified foods, and nutritional yeast can be helpful strategies to ensure sufficient vitamin B12 intake. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietician can provide further guidance on meeting nutritional needs while adhering to a plant-based lifestyle.
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