Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among those eating vegetarian and particularly vegan diets because of failure to take B12 supplements or eat B12-fortifed foods.
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How common is vitamin B12 deficiency among vegans? Last year, B12 levels were measure in the blood of hundreds of British vegans. What percentage do you think were deficient? Less than a quarter, almost a half? More than half? Or more than three quarters?
Now I’m not talking below average B12, or suboptimal B12 levels, or even what’s clinically called B12 depletion, where your levels place you at high risk for deficiency, but actual bonafide vitamin deficiency, meaning that your levels are so low your biochemistry is screwed up. Your body just isn’t working the way it should
And the answer is, more than 50%—52% are deficient. Meaning, you run into a vegan on the street (or at least on a street in London) odds are they are suffering—whether they know it or not, from vitamin B12 deficiency.
52% deficient, 21% depleted. What about ovo-lacto vegetarians? , 7 and 17%. One thing I hear from whiny vegans is that B12 deficiency isn’t exclusive to vegetarians, meat-eaters can get it too. They’re right: zero point four percent.
There’s still enough in the general population for public health professionals to debate whether or not we should just mandate adding B12 to our food supply. Until then, though, what could explain this epidemic of B12 deficiency? Easy, only a small fraction of British vegans were taking vitamin B12 supplements. Well no wonder then! I hope vegans elsewhere are smarter. Everyone eating a plant-based diet must ensure a regular reliable source of vita min B12.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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