I’m A Vegetarian Do I Need To Take A B12 Supplement?

For around 60% of the US population there is a genetic mutation that causes our body to have difficulties processing synthetic B12 which is used in most supplements and fortified foods. For that reason choosing an active vitamin B12 methylcobalamin supplement is the preferred choice. Food Sources of Vitamin B12

When it comes to assuring we maintain the correct levels of vitamin B12 and other nutrients food choices should be our first choice.

The good thing for most of us is that there are plenty of food sources rich in vitamin B12. It's true most of them come from meat, dairy and eggs, but there are a few key sources perfect for vegetarians.

First we have nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a fortified food that has many beneficial nutrients including vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast has a cheese-like flavor that makes a nice addition to many recipes, or simply as a seasoning for popcorn.

Second we have purple laver, better known as nori by many. Nori is an algae eaten mainly in Asian parts of the world. The good news is that eating only 4 grams of dried nori gives you the daily requirement of B12.

The third option is mushrooms. Some mushrooms, particularly the shiitake mushroom contain vitamin B12. While mushrooms do contain B12 it is not likely you can get enough B12 from just mushrooms alone. But mushrooms can still be a good supplemental source of B12 to add to your diet.

While there are food sources of B12, even for vegetarians, supplementation might be a good option for all of us even if we do eat B12 rich foods.

Picking the right form of B12, an active methylated B12, can help keep B12 levels in the optimal range.

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How To Choose The Right Foods For Your Daily Folate

This methylated folic acid is found in many supplements on the market, you just have to be aware of the difference between methyl folate and the synthetic folic acid.

If you eat a healthy diet rich in folate foods there shouldn't be a need to supplement with folate. On the other hand pregnant women or those who think they might become pregnant should probably take additional folate. Folate is especially important for the development of the fetus. It has been found to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects by as much as 70%. What are the Most Nutrient Dense Folate Foods?

If you are looking to up the amount of folate you get from foods choosing the following foods will get you to your daily intake allowance pretty quickly. The current recommendation for adults is 400 micrograms per day. For those that are pregnant or trying to become pregnant the number goes up to 600 mcg per day. After the baby is born and you are breastfeeding the amount drops a bit to 500mcg a day.

According to the National Institutes of Health these are the top ten sources of folate in food.

Beef Liver: 54% of the Daily value comes from only 3oz of beef liver which is 215 mcg.

Spinach: The top vegetable at 131 mcg is spinach from 1/2 cup of cooked spinach.

Black-Eyed Peas: Not the lively group of musicians but the amazing legume 1/2 cup of black-eyed peas will give you 26% of your daily folate or 105 mcg.

Fortified Rice: While not really a natural source of folate 1/2 cup rice fortified with folic acid will give you 90 mcg of folate.

Asparagus: Grill up some of these delicious sprouts and enjoy 89 micrograms of folate from 4 spears of asparagus.

Enriched Spaghetti: Again kinda cheating here NIH as this is fortified with synthetic folic acid but 1/2 cup will technically get you 83 mcg of folate.

Brussels Sprouts: Love em or hate em the ol childhood nightmare brussels sprouts will net you 78 micrograms from 1/2 cup. (side note I just found out it isn't spelled brussel sprouts!)

Romain Lettuce: Another leafy green good old romaine comes in at number 8 - 1 cup gives you 64 mcg.

Avocado: The millennial favorite (and mine too) a 1/2 cup of avocado gives you 59 micrograms of folate.

Broccoli: 1/2 cup of the "tree vegetable will rack up 52 micrograms of folate per serving.

No matter your food pickiness level there is sure to be something folate rich that you love enough to get your daily allowance of folate. But if you aren't much of a vegetable eater and the liver is a no go there are plenty of great mentholated folate supplements to choose from.

Below you'll find a cute video that goes over why folate is the smart choice when pregnant.

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