Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Vitamin B12 is required in incredibly tiny amounts, but a deficiency can have enormous consequences. And, metformin (the most common treatment for type 2 diabetes) seems to increase the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. You’d better watch this clip to see where to find vitamin B12 (and whether supplements are an answer).
Table of contents
Should I? Shouldn’t I?
There is a lot of talk about supplements… Should I, shouldn’t I? Will taking this or that supplement harm me, or do I need to take this or that supplement? The quick answer is that we want to choose food first to supplement our nutrition profile… BUT, there are a few and I want to talk about one vitamin that you may need to take as a supplement. And just a note here, make sure to check out my video on Magnesium.
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Surprise… It’s Vitamin B-12!
Ok, the big reveal is that the vitamin we will be talking about today is vitamin B-12. I’ll fill you in on why this is something for people with diabetes to pay attention to here in a minute. Let’s start with the amount of B12 you need. The recommended daily allowance for B12 is 2.4 micrograms for people (males and females) who are ages 14 and up.
Now, this is a tiny amount. If a 15,000 pound bull elephant represented 1 gram, 1 microgram would be a nickel. But, our failure to get enough B12 can have severe consequences like nervous disorders and dementia. B12 is some powerful stuff.
The Reasons Why I’m Speaking With Diabetics
Why am I speaking to people with diabetes? There are three big reasons. One, research has found that people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, tend to be deficient in vitamin b 12; two, if you are taking the medication, Metformin, which is the first line of oral glucose-lowering medication for people with type 2 diabetes, it increases this risk. A recent study published in the journal of Human Nutrition and Metabolism found vitamin B12 deficiency in over 17 percent of people with type 2 taking Metformin and the risk for deficiency may increase with a long time of taking metformin and a long time of managing type 2 diabetes; and reason number three, if you are following a plant-based eating plan, you are missing out on the best sources of B12.
So What is it in?
Vitamin B12 is found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Clams and liver are the two highest sources. If you follow a vegan eating plan, you are limited to fortified breakfast cereals or nutritional yeast products, fortified almond or soy milk, tempeh, or vegan mayonnaise as your sources. Those who follow a vegetarian diet can get a larger dose of B12 than the vegan options, from plain low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, cottage cheese, or Swiss cheese. And…Eggs also have a small amount of B12.
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My Personal Note…
If you think you need to take a supplement, please talk to your doctor. As a little personal note here. I follow a plant-based eating plan so my doctor suggested I take a B12 supplement. After taking the supplement daily for a year, my doctor ordered lab work to check my B12 status. The results stated I was getting too much B12, so since I am still following a plant-based regimen, my doctor suggested cutting back on the supplement every other day.
There are no screening protocols so this is a question you may want to present to your doctor. Ask for some lab work on vitamin B12. Are there any vitamins or minerals you are curious about? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, cheers to your health.
Don’t forget to take a look at our most frequently asked questions.
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