They say you don’t really know what you’ve got until it’s gone… and in this case, no truer words have been spoken.
What is B12? Well, if you ask Wikipedia (and they are always right) it will tell you – Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.
I think I was 14 when I decided I didn’t want to hurt cows anymore, or pigs, or spiders – come to think of it, Charlotte’s Web must be responsible for this. Anyway, I felt I had a moral responsibility, and wanted to save allllll the animals (Except for chickens and turkeys apparently, but that would eventually come a few years later). I was never really interested in dairy. The thought of eating eggs completely freaked me out, and I am probably a very rare breed of human being who genuinely finds cheese and milk repulsive. It seemed like a no brainer – I should become a vegan! It will be so easy. So I did.
What they don’t tell you – it is not hard to become a vegan. I mean, vegans can eat FRENCH FRIES!!! It is, however, not easy to maintain a vegan lifestyle properly. Properly meaning, supplementing for all the vitamins and minerals of which you’re not getting sufficient amounts through a plant based diet. Vegetables were once a (mediocre) source of B12 because it was found naturally in the bacteria that pesticides have now made non-existent. We live in a world of supply and demand, which has a HUGE affect on quality.
As a vegan I gained a whopping 80lbs! Yes, 8-0. Sounds outrageous, and it was. I was not only fat, but also tired, depressed, unmotivated, insecure, anxious – you name it. I will spare you the horrific details of how I got to this place and how I crawled out of it – that is a whole other story.
After numerous blood test and doctors’ appointments, I was diagnosed as Vitamin B12 deficient. I had never really even heard of this vitamin, and considering the symptoms I had were starting to mimic those of MS I was shocked that they didn’t think of this sooner. I started getting B12 shots monthly, and after the first one I felt like new person – Or the way I feel when I buy a new pair of shoes – ALIIIIIIIIVE!!!
B12 Deficiency Symptoms – just to name a few:
Strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
Difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)
A swollen, inflamed tongue
Yellowed skin (jaundice)
Difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss
Paranoia or hallucinations
…And they only get worse.
Some great benefits of B12 include:
Increases energy levels. (It makes you less lazy, yes you.)
Helps maintain healthy regulation of the nervous system, reducing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage – I know a lot of people who could benefit from this last part
Helps maintain a healthy digestive system
Protects against heart disease by curbing and improving unhealthy cholesterol levels, protecting against stroke, and high blood pressure
It is amazing for healthy skin, hair, and nails
Helps protect against the C word in many ways – including breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer
Vitamin B12 is found in most animal derived foods, including fish and shellfish, meat (especially liver – yuck), poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.
I would highly suggest taking a B12 supplement, even if you eat an adequate amount of these foods (This is especially important if you are a vegetarian/vegan, smoke, are pregnant, elderly, suffer from anemia or celiac disease). B12 also aids in maintaining a healthy metabolism – which is awesome.
Lucky for you, you can find this little miracle just about anywhere.