The vegan diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals to meet one’s nutritional needs.
However, there is one vitamin, called vitamin B12, which does present a genuine nutritional issue, although one that is easily solved.
The Need for Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is needed for cell division and blood formation and is the one nutritional element that vegans should consciously include in his or her diet. The vitamin does occur naturally in seaweeds like Kelp, and in Miso (a fermented Soya Bean paste) but these have both been debated recently as being unable to be absorbed by the body, so it is better not to rely on these as sources of B12. Instead Vitamin B12 is widely used in commercially made products like vegetable spreads, yeast extracts (my mate Marmite), nutritional yeast, margarines, soya milks and cereals.
Always read the labels of these products and if you're unsure you can purchase vegan B12 supplements from any good health food shop.
Although recommendations for vitamin B12 are very small, a vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious problem leading ultimately to anemia and irreversible nerve damage.
Vitamin B12 is especially important in pregnancy and lactation and for infants and children.
Please use your common sense when applying any of the nutritional information contained within the pages of heathen vegan – they are for guidance only and should in no way take the place of professional help.