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Where do you get your B12?
Anyone who has been vegan for any substantial length of time has been asked about a variety of mythological deficiencies in the vegan diet.
Historically, the vegan diet has been characterized as being dangerously deficient in protein, iron, calcium and other essential nutrients.
Vegans and vegetarians were constantly warned of the need to supplement their diets with pills, and urged to abandon the extreme, unhealthy diet of fruits and vegetables.
Science ultimately proved all these deficiency myths untrue. Within the pages of this magazine is ample proof that a vegan diet provides more than sufficient protein, even for those pursuing demanding athletic pursuits or wanting to build muscle. And time has shown that a vegan diet can provide more than sufficient calcium and iron for our needs. (2,3) One alleged deficiency in the vegan diet persists however. The “last stand” argument is that a vegan diet is woefully deficient in vitamin B12, and that without substantial and constant supplementation, vegans run the risk of dying of heart disease, or of suffering from dementia, neurological disorders, anemia and other maladies associated with or at - tributed to vitamin B12 deficiency.
If these concerns were true, one would expect vegans to be dropping like fall leaves from heart attacks, or wandering the streets by the thousands demented and anemic on numb or tingling feet. In fact, vegans suffer far less often than their meateating counterparts from these maladies. (4,5,6) Still anyone who has heard the arguments about deficiency would likely have serious questions about B12. What is vitamin B12? How much do we need? Are there vegan sources of B12? Should we be supplementing? Let’s explore the latest science on our quest for answers.
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