Vegans Should Not Ignore This Early Sign Of B12 Deficiency
In the last few weeks of voracious reading I’ve stumbled upon a book called The Starch Solution. In that book, John McDougall lays out an early & NEW sign of B12 Deficiency that I have not yet heard of before.
And honestly, it quite shocked me.
The reason it shocked me because:
- I’ve read a lot of books about veganism and health and have not yet stumbled upon this symptom of vitamin b12 deficiency in males or females.
- Just a few months ago I actually experienced some of those early signs of vitamin b12 deficiency that Mr. McDougall is talking about. And the funny thing about those early signs is that you do not think that it’s B12 deficiency, but it actually can be.
So are you excited to learn more? Let’s just dive right into it.
Regular Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
One of the earliest signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency, which you might already be familiar with, is related to your blood and performance. It’s anemia.
It means getting tired more often and being easily exhausted when doing any kind of physical activity. Anemia can result from iron deficiency but also from B12 deficiency and can easily be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
But this symptom is not what I’m talking about in this video. I’m talking about something more severe. Because another early sign of B12 deficiency is related to your nervous system.
And if not treated early, these symptoms can be irreversible.
New & Early Sign Of B12 Deficiency
So let’s quote John McDougall here:
“The most common nervous system symptoms of B12 deficiency are numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. In the early stages of the deficiency, these neurological problems are entirely reversible.”
And as I think back a few months ago, when I wasn’t supplementing B12 because I ran out of it. And I lived on the other side of the world in Bali, during the pandemic, so which kind of inhibited my B12 supply chains – I experienced regular tingling sensations in my hand and feet.
Especially the little finger and the little toe. Which now, since supplementing B12 regularly again, have fully disappeared.
So this early sign is a symptom vegans should be fully aware of.
Are All Vegans B12 Deficient?
Now is this an actual risk for you and for most vegans?
Our liver stores about 2,000 to 5,000 micrograms of B12. Which is at least a 3-year reserve. And our body is very efficient at using that reserve, including reabsorption and recirculation of already used b12.
Which means it would take you about 20 to 30 years to become vitamin b12 deficient.
Pros And Cons Of B12 Supplementation
However, why take the chance? Vitamin B12 supplementation is a few bucks per year. It’s really one of the cheapest supplements there is.
Yet too many vegans prefer stating proudly ‘I don’t need B12 supplements’ when the potential downsides of NOT supplementing are just simply so huge.
We’re talking about irreversible neurological damages. That can cripple you for life.
So you have the downsides of supplementing B12: ‘Losing’ about a hundred bucks a year.
And you have the downside of not supplementing: Irreversible neurological damage.
If you lay it out like this it’s quite an easy and simple decision. Isn’t it?
Which Vitamin B12 Supplement To Take?
The supplement me and Dr. Greger recommend are B12 supplementation in the cyanocobalamin form, 2,000mcg per week or 50mcg daily.
Be aware that cyanocobalamin is a better version than methyl cobalamin. Recent science there seems to have changed because I remember a few years ago everyone was recommending methyl cobalamin.
So check your B12 supplement if it’s methyl cobalamin or cyano cobalamin. If it’s methyl – no issue. Just finish this and then switch over to cyano cobalamin afterwards because it’s easier absorbable.
Most vegans won’t really have an issue with supplementing the suboptimal form of b12 which is methyl cobalamin, especially if it’s in higher dosages, however both supplements are equally expensive so why not go for the better one which is cyano cobalamin.
The best form of B12 absorption is lozenges. Meaning a supplement that dissolves in your mouth. So you don’t swallow it – you let it dissolve.
And oral B12 supplementation is as effective as B12 injections, so injections of the b12 vitamin are not really necessary.