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Introduction to Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It?. Does Vitamin B12 Matter? There are two types of B12 deficiency: mild and overt. Overt B12 Deficiency: B12 protects the nervous system. Without it, permanent damage can result (e.g., blindness, deafness, dementia). Fatigue, and tingling in the hands or feet, can be early signs of deficiency. B12 also keeps the digestive system healthy. Mild B12 Deficiency: By lowering homocysteine levels, B12 also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. Vegans and near-vegans who do not supplement with vitamin B12 have consistently shown elevated homocysteine levels. See the section Homocysteine, B12, Vegetarians, and Disease. B12 is generally found in all animal foods (except honey). The overwhelming consensus in the mainstream nutrition community, as well as among vegan health professionals, is that plant foods do not provide vitamin B12. (Luckily, vitamin B12 is made by bacterial fermentation such that it does not need to be obtained from animal products.) Despite this, some vegan advocates still believe that “plant foods provide all the nutrients necessary for optimal …
Everything you need to eat right for your health, for animals, and for the Earth. Get your FREE Vegetarian Starter Kit by visiting PETA.org or click here to download.
Pledge to Be Vegan in 2010! | PETA.org.