B12 is so important to our health. In fact, according to PubMed Health, it’s essential for almost everything in our bodies. Including healthy blood, production on DNA, a functioning nervous system…etc
So then, if it’s so important, why can’t we just get it from plants?
YES, 10 points for Gryffindor. You can’t get B12 consuming a plant-based diet. But before you shout, ‘SEE, SEE! Veganism can’t be natural then!’ maybe consider putting things into perspective.
If you’re a meat eater/vegetarian, where do you get your B12? Meat, dairy, animal products. Correct. But then…hang on…cows and lambs and chickens are herbivorous. So then where are they getting their B12 from? OH, right. Farmers inject them with it. So really…you’re also taking second hand B12 supplements. It’s also worth considering that B12 is heat sensitive (30-40% loss when heated), so animal products you cook (ie. meat products) will lose a lot of their B12 once heated. Fungi, animals and plants are incapable of producing B12. Now, some animals do consume small amounts of soil which may have traces of B12 as well, and we’ll get into that. Consider that they also eat poo, and food contaminated with bacteria. So, yeah. There’s that.
Bacteria is the OG when it comes to B12. Soil bacteria used to synthesise B12 out of sugars and amino acids and so when humans used to pick crops, we used to consume some of the soil left on the plants, which had bacterial residuals that were healthy for us. But due to the washing of fruits and veg today, we no longer get such residuals on our crops and therefore suffer from B12 deficiencies. It has also been found that plants that are grown experimentally have shown to take up B12 very well. Along with this, farming practices today are a leading cause of the antibiotic resistance epidemic. Therefore, as farm runoff (containing antibiotics) seeps into the soil, good bacteria are also killed off, further reducing possible B12 uptake by crops.
So, there is no food list for this one. The best way to guarantee that you’re getting your B12 is to supplement. I will say though that if you’re eating:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified milks (soy, almond, coconut…etc)
- Nutritional yeast (affectionately, nooch)
you will probably be all g for your B12 intake. But accompanying these with a supplement semi-regularly will assure you that you’re on the right track with this.