Tag Archives: Vitamin B12 by Designs for Health

Thoughts On “Going Vegan”

GoingVeganJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Interest in the vegan lifestyle is steadily rising worldwide. The global shift away from animal product consumption and toward a plant-based diet appears to be rapidly gaining acceptance. The research firm GlobalData reported a 600 percent increase in Americans identifying as vegan in the last three years. Within the last decade, veganism increased by 350 percent in the U.K. and 400 percent in Portugal. Impressive increases were also found in Israel, Australia, Canada, Austria and New Zealand. More evidence suggests that a plant-based diet is not a fad, but a growing trend that is steadily becoming more acceptable and mainstream. An increasing number of believers perceive an ethical and sustainable lifestyle to be an important component of their wellbeing, as many report increased energy, more restful sleep, better mood, proper weight, and a genuine feeling of overall wellness.

Evidence suggests that an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet, a largely plant-based diet that includes eggs and dairy products, offers protection against cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and total mortality. Scientific research shows that health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources decreases. Vegan diets appear to offer additional protection against obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular mortality. Those who follow a vegan diet tend to have lower body weight, lower serum cholesterol and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of developing heart disease. A vegan diet with increased intake of fruits and vegetables provides high levels of protective nutrients and phytochemicals, minimizing the dietary factors implicated in certain chronic diseases.

Those new to plant-based diets should be careful not to trade animal protein for processed foods that provide calories but little nutritional value. Some who consider a plant-based diet worry about protein intake. However, a well-balanced varied diet can provide many sources of plant-based protein, including soy products, quinoa, wild or black rice, millet, legumes, nuts, beans, seeds, mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables. and many dark colored, leafy greens. Vegans and vegetarians do need to plan ahead to ensure they get all the essential amino acids typically obtained from animal protein, as well as calcium, nonheme iron, vitamin D, zinc, vitamin B12 and fatty acids. Regular intake of B12 is essential with a vegan diet. Although tempeh, miso and some fermented foods provide a limited source of B12, to ensure B12 sufficiency care should be taken to supplement the diet with multivitamins, nutritional yeast or fortified foods and drinks. Chlorella, spirulina, moringa and sprouted legumes/seeds can provide additional protein and nutrients.

Sufficient calcium can be obtained from dark green leafy vegetables, beans, calcium- fortified juice or soymilk. Iron is plentiful in whole grains, beans, olives, prunes, nuts, seeds, lentils and soybeans. As plant-based non-heme iron is more difficult to absorb than iron found in animal products, consuming foods rich in vitamin C along with plant foods can help increase absorption. Vitamin D fortified foods and daily vitamin D supplementation can ensure adequate vitamin D status. Vegans should  regularly consume plant foods rich in the fatty acid ALA, such as ground flaxseed, walnuts and hemp-seed based beverages, and can also benefit from DHA-rich microalgae supplements. Whole grains, legumes, soy and zinc-fortified foods can provide sufficient zinc intake.

Potential vegans who try to eliminate all animal products at once are the least likely to maintain a vegan diet long-term. Switching to a vegan diet can be done gradually by adding more plant-based foods and meals to your diet as you eliminate animal products. Transitioning to a vegan diet should be smooth, steady and adventurous. Acquiring a vegan cookbook or two that provide recipes for quick and easy home cooked meals is highly recommended, as diet diversity must be considered when switching to a plant-based diet. Veganizing your diet helps to eliminate some of the unhealthier processed foods you might be eating but be wary of substituting these foods with too many processed vegan foods.

Once on an all vegan diet, you may feel hungrier and may need to eat more often, as whole plant-based foods are nutrient dense but low in calories. Consuming more complex starchy carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, root vegetables and whole grains, can help keep hunger pangs at bay and support steady energy production. While a proper vegan diet consisting of unprocessed single ingredient foods is health promoting, a poorly planned vegan diet may often result in nutrient deficiencies. Vegans must take nutrition seriously to ensure an adequate intake of nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals. Even with a diet based around nutrient-rich whole plant and fortified foods, many vegans look to intelligent supplementation to maximize their nutrition in support of optimal health and function.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of optimal nutrition:

Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 by Designs for Health: Each berry flavored lozenge provides 5000 mcg of highly bioavailable vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin. Gluten-free, Non-GMO formulation.


Blood BuilderBlood Builder® by MegaFood®: This synergistic whole food product delivers iron, vitamin C, folate and B12 in support of healthy red blood cell and energy production. Free of gluten, soy and lactose. Non-GMO, kosher vegan formulation.


B12-Active™ CHERRYB12-Active™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: These natural cherry flavored chewable tablets provide B12 as methylcobalamin, a highly bioavailable form that doesn’t require conversion by the body to be utilized. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, soy, animal products, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Vegetarian formulation.


Essential AminosEssential Aminos by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic supplement provides free form amino acids in support of the building and repair of heathy muscles and tissues. Essential Aminos provides the essential amino acids that may be limited or lacking in the diet. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Vegan 1-a-Day...Vegan 1-a-Day Multivitamin by Deva® Nutrition: Specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of vegans and vegetarians, this high-potency, balanced multiple vitamin and mineral formula is enriched with whole green foods, vegetable powders and botanicals. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, starch, sugar, salt, hexane, dairy, egg, fish, artificial flavor or fragrance and animal products, byproducts or derivatives. Certified Vegan formulation.


O.N.E. MultivitaminO.N.E.™ Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations®: This comprehensive, hypoallergenic, vegetarian formulation provides highly bioavailable forms of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073139/
Vegetarian Foods: Powerful for Health. https://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-foods-powerful-for-health
Health effects of vegan diets. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1627S/4596952
21 Vegetarian Foods That Are Loaded With Iron. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/iron-rich-plant-foods
Top 15 Calcium-Rich Foods (Many Are Non-Dairy). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-calcium-rich-foods

B12 – The Little Vitamin That Could

b12JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Vitamin B12 is a complex and powerful little vitamin that may not come up on our radar screens very often. Some may think of B12 as the “energy” vitamin, but all B vitamins help to convert carbohydrates into glucose, the fuel that supplies energy to all bodily cells. B vitamins are necessary for the health of our skin, eyes, hair and liver and each has distinct roles to play in bodily functions. Specifically, vitamin B12 helps to maintain healthy nerve cells and assists in the production of DNA and RNA, our genetic material. B12 helps produce red blood cells, aids iron in producing oxygen-carrying hemoglobin and keeps homocysteine levels, a factor in cardiovascular disease, in check.

A healthy functioning body uses B12 efficiently, largely in the course of the recycling of B12 through the liver. Even though B12 is a water soluble vitamin, the liver is capable of storing minute amounts for several years. Yet, according to the National Institutes of Health, B12 deficiency is widespread. Initially, low levels of vitamin B12 may cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, nervousness, digestive distress and numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes. Unlike other nutrient deficiencies that can be reversed with repletion, B12 is so vital to brain and nervous system health that a deficiency can cause permanent damage.

Dietary B12 is found only in animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood and in fortified foods, such as cereal products and tofu. Many of us may not consider how much vitamin B12 we actually obtain through our diets, so supplementation of this highly important nutrient may be the best way to ensure ideal levels for optimal health support. The stages of B12 deficiency may present very slowly, so it can go unnoticed for a long period of time.

  • Stage 1 – Blood levels of B12 begin to decline, signaling the body does not have sufficient available B12
  • Stage 2 – Progression to low cellular concentrations of B12
  • Stage 3 – Increased blood levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, along with a decreased rate of DNA synthesis
  • Stage 4 – Macrocytic anemia, a condition associated with a red blood cell abnormality, resulting in both enlargement and insufficient numbers of cells and insufficient hemoglobin content of cells  

Those most at risk for B12 deficiency are the elderly, vegetarians, pregnant women, chronic alcohol abusers and those with renal or intestinal diseases. For example:

  • Those with pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease that results in the failure to produce intrinsic factor, a substance required for B12 absorption that is normally secreted by the stomach. Left untreated, pernicious anemia may progress to megaloblastic anemia and irreversible neurological disorders, even when there is adequate dietary intake. Those who fail to produce intrinsic factor may require prescription injections of vitamin B12.
  • Senior citizens are at higher risk of deficiency, as at around age 50 many people begin to lose the ability to absorb dietary B12.
  • Vegans and strict vegetarians, whose diets don’t include any or insufficient amounts of animal products, are at high risk of deficiency and must be sure to supplement and include dietary foods fortified with B12.
  • Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in our food, and is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease, two factors that must be present in the stomach for B12 to be absorbed and utilized. Those who have insufficient production of hydrochloric acid may have very limited absorption of B12 and may require very high oral doses of vitamin B12.
  • Those with Crohn’s or celiac disease, disorders that affect nutrient absorption, may not be able to absorb a sufficient amount of B12.
  • Certain medications, such as those for diabetes and long term use of stomach acid reducers, increase the chances of developing a B12 deficiency.

For normal function and optimal health, the body requires essential micronutrients, including at least 30 vitamins, minerals and other nutrient compounds. Working in harmony, synergistic nutrients support the bodily functions that not only keep us healthy but, more importantly, sustain life. A deficiency in one vitamin may affect the functioning of others, meaning that multiple deficiencies may be present simultaneously. Vitamin insufficiency is linked to the development of chronic diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia and night blindness to name just a few.

B12 deficiency is a serious health issue that should not be taken lightly. For those at high risk of deficiency, supplementation with vitamin B12 is considered a safe and effective way to support neurological health, energy production, red blood cell formation, nervous system function and DNA synthesis. A multivitamin and mineral formula that includes the full complement of B vitamins or a B-complex formula that contains the complete range of synergistic B vitamins may be the ideal solution to ensure adequate intake for those at a lower risk of deficiency.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other fine products for vitamin B12 supplementation:

Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 by Designs for Health – Each natural berry flavored lozenge delivers 5,000 mcg of activated B12. Formulated to be dissolved in the mouth in order to deliver B12 through the mucous membranes and bypassing the intestines for those with absorption issues. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.


Vitamin B-12 2500 mcg (B12-60)Vitamin B12 2500 mcg by Douglas Laboratories – These sublingual tablets, designed to improve absorption and bioavailability, dissolve rapidly to deliver 2500 mcg of pure vitamin B12 for those who wish to increase their B12 intake. Convenient dosing with one daily tablet.


B12 5000 LiquidB12 5000 Liquid by Pure Encapsulations – This popular formula provides 5,000 mcg of vitamin B12 in a convenient and bioavailable liquid form. Naturally flavored with apple and black currant juice. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Vegan Vitamin B-12 SublingualVegan Vitamin B12 Sublingual – These pleasant tasting, quick dissolving sublingual tablets supply 1000 mcg of vitamin B12, plus vitamin B6 and folate. This highly bioavailable vegan formulation helps to ensure adequate intake of this essential and very important nutrient. Gluten, soy and dairy free.


Vitamin B12. http://www.britannica.com/science/nutritional-disease/Vitamin-B12
Causes and Early Diagnosis of Vitamin B12 Deficiency. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696961/
Vitamin B12 Deficiency. http://www.lifescript.com/health/a-z/conditions_a-z/conditions/v/vitamin_b12_deficiency.aspx
Vitamin B12. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin