Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that supports red blood cells. Our bodies do not naturally produce vitamin B12, but it is found in animal-based proteins like dairy, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry or supplements. If you have adopted a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you may have been informed that fermented foods like tempeh are a good source of vitamin B12. However, Dr. Michael T. Murray, ND, told POPSUGAR there is evidence that the variation of B12 in fermented foods is not the exact form that meets our body's requirements, which means the B12 absorbed by these foods is useless. If you do not eat animal-based foods and want to ensure you do get the proper dose of B12, vegans and vegetarians should take this vitamin via supplements.
Because vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, kidney, and other body tissues, there are many complications that can come from deficient levels. Dr. Murray shares that common symptoms of deficiency include pernicious anemia and impaired nerve function that can cause numbness, pins and needles sensations, or a burning feeling in the feet. If you're not sure you're getting the appropriate levels of vitamin B12, Dr. Murray suggests visiting your doctor for a blood test to measure your vitamin B12 levels.
While Dr. Murray confirms that no clear toxicity has ever been reported from vitamin B12, there is a suggested dose of the vitamin that should be taken by adults daily. Though it is not proven to be toxic, there is an average recommended around 2-2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day. If you're a pregnant mama or breastfeeding, the average dose should be between 2.6 and 2.8 mcg.