I am Vegan. This means I do not eat anything which once had a heartbeat or a Mother. Hardly a day goes by that I am not asked the haunting question most Vegans are confronted with on a regular basis:
"WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?"
My answer is typically in the form of a rhetorical question: "Well, which amino acid are you referring to?" It is a frustrating question for most vegans because this concept has close to zero relevance to our diet. Our entire diet is made up of nutritious, complete, wholesome sources of the nine essential amino acids. The idea that meat is the one source of "protein" is actually a myth perpetuated by the meat and dairy industry capitalizing on the lack of upper level education on the sources of our nutrients. I'm here, along with a growing group of people, to dispel myths and break paradigms which have been deeply ingrained in our consciousness.
If we are truly asking where someone "gets their protein" because we care about their health, then, the MOST important question we should be asking vegans and vegetarians is:
"WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR B-12?"
What is B-12? Cobalamin, a B complex molecule, is ESSENTIAL, which means our bodies cannot produce it. We must get it from our diet. This is of concern to Vegans because the source of B12 is red meat, liver, eggs, poultry, shellfish and nutritional yeast. Supplementation is extremely important and cannot be overlooked.
B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that we need to take it daily as it does not remain in our system. It is very rare to have an overdose of B-12. Recent studies showed that 40% of Americans were deficient in B12.
This molecule helps in the development and protection of the Myelin Sheath surrounding your nerve cells. It aids in DNA and red blood cell reproduction. It helps retain memories, transmit cognitive processes, and aids in circulation and metabolism. You can imagine that a deficiency would result in memory loss, dementia, paralysis, nerve damage and many other symptoms which mimic Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Methylcobalamin is the best source, but cyanocobalamin is also acceptable and the most common form available in stores.
Many individuals choose to self-administer B-12 injections which deliver the vitamin directly into the bloodstream, but you can also use sublingual or powdered forms.
Symptoms of deficiency can include: weakness and fatigue, chest pain, loss of menstruation, numbness or tingling in limbs, memory loss, eventually leading to dementia, paralysis, and even death. Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 can even simulate more serious diseases like Depression and Multiple Sclerosis!
Please make sure to take your Vitamin B-12 Supplement today!