Do meat eaters need B12? Its’s a good question. Vitamin B12 is usually only thought about in terms of a vegan diet. But is it something we all should be thinking about?
A vegan diet is based mainly on plant produce. In fact, it eliminates all forms of animal products. Of course, if you cut out animal products, you need to find other sources of vitamins and minerals.
In fact, one of the main concerns people have surrounding a vegan diet, is where you will get vitamin B12 from – a vitamin commonly found in animal produce. Of course, this centres around a common discussion over whether vegans or meat eaters are healthier!
Find out: are vegans healthier than meat eaters?
So, if vitamin B12 is found in animal products, surely meat eaters don’t need to worry about it? And do meat eaters even need B12?
Well, we’re going to look at what B12 is, where you get it, and answer do meat eaters need B12?
What is B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of the many ‘B’ vitamins that our bodies require to function properly.
In fact, all ‘B’ vitamins help our body turn food into energy, but vitamin B12 plays a particularly important role.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, does a lot for our body. This includes creating our DNA and red blood cells. In addition to that, B12 is crucial in enabling our brain and nervous system to function properly. Of course, that is along with many other factors including a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep – something that many of us struggle with!
Take a look: 5 best sleep-inducing foods!
So, B12 is an exceptionally important part of our nutrition! But how much B12 do we need to have per day?
Well, the recommended intake of B12 for adults in the UK is 1.5 micrograms per day. Unfortunately, it is thought that our bodies struggle to absorb large amounts of vitamin B12. This means it is important to get regular amounts of this vitamin in small amounts each day.
But where do we get B12 from?
Well, let’s find out!
Where is B12 found?
Vitamin B12 is produced in the guts of all animals – including humans. Unfortunately, though, our guts produce B12 right at the very bottom, and so we are unable to absorb it through our stomach linings in the same way as when it is ingested.
So, us humans need to find other sources of this particularly important vitamin. In actual fact, gorillas – our closest animal relative – accidentally ingest B12 through their own feces that has come from within their own gut. Of course, this isn’t a particularly appealing option for us!
Interestingly though, B12 is naturally produced in soils by bacteria. That means that when animals eat grass, grain, and other food from the earth, they absorb vitamin B12. When humans then consume animal products such as meat or dairy, we then absorb the same properties – including B12 – that are present within the produce!
So, we can all get B12 from animal products?
Well, unfortunately it isn’t that simple! Let’s find out why B12 is a difficult vitamin to source!
Sources of vitamin B12
So, B12 is found in soil, eaten by animals and then available in our animal products, right?
Well, despite the fact B12 is present in soil, it is becoming less of a reliable source for vitamin B12.
Well, for B12 to be produced properly within the soil, there needs to be the mineral cobalt present in the earth.
Unfortunately, due to extensive farming, cobalt is rarely present in soil these days, making B12 a difficult vitamin to source. With the scarcity of B12 now present in soil, this means that animals are also ingesting less of vitamin B12.
So, why does that impact humans?
Well, generally, omnivorous humans – meat eaters – get the majority of their B12 through animal produce. This includes, meat, cheese, milk, yoghurt. Plus, many other products that meat eaters consume on a daily basis.
In that sense, the less B12 that the animals consume, the less B12 that meat eaters also consume. Of course, animals are fed supplements of B12 themselves, to ensure that they are not deficient. Which, in turn boosts the amount of B12 that meat eaters consume!
But does that mean meat eaters need B12 too?
Let’s find out!
Do meat eaters need B12?
Yes. All humans, whether meat eaters or vegetarians, or vegans require B12 as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
That means that B12 is actually a vitamin we all need to ensure we are consuming enough of.
So, what foods is B12 found in?
Well, there are plenty of foods that contain vitamin B12, for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Vegan food rarely has high amounts of B12 present but is often fortified with the vitamin. Of course, these foods can be eaten by anyone, and are a great source of this rare and important vitamin!
So, let’s take a look!
Animal produce is a common and reliable source of vitamin B12. Which is why most meat eaters rarely consider the B12 they are consuming – or its importance!
So, what animal products is B12 found in?
- Red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb
- Fish such as salmon and cod
Yes, almost all animal products will contain some of the compound vitamin B12. This means that meat eaters will get high amounts of B12 from the majority of foods consumed in their diet.
Let’s now take a look at which vegan foods contain B12!
- Soya milk – fortified with B12
- Oat milk – fortified with B12
- Almond milk – fortified with B12
- Breakfast cereals – fortified with B12
- Yeast extracts such as marmite – fortified with B12
So, as you can see there are also plenty of non-animal products that are fortified with vitamin B12. In fact, many people who are now more aware of the importance of vitamin B12, choose to take a daily supplement too.
That means for those that choose not to eat animal produce, or can’t for reasons such as allergies or intolerance’s, it is certainly possible to get enough B12.
Do meat eaters need B12? Yes, they do! In fact, we all do, as vitamin B12 plays an especially important role in the ability of our body to function and remain healthy!
Don’t forget, we still need lots of other nutrients to stay healthy too. Superfoods such as acai berries provide a huge number of nutrients that are good for our bodies! Take a look at the benefits of eating acai berries – plus they are also really delicious!
Acai berries: what are the benefits?