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The B12 blog

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If a vegan diet is so healthful, why does it require supplementation?

If we look at the usage of supplementation, it really isn’t just vegans who are supplementing, with latest figures suggesting 81% of US adults between the ages of 35 and 54 choose to take vitamin supplements.  Unfortunately I can tell you 81% of the US population are definitely not on vegan diets.  Supplementation is considered so mandatory for pregnant women that one of the first considerations for them is usually to acquire a pregnancy multi or a folate supplement.  Supplementation is even commonly seen in the food supply due to widespread deficiencies of folate and iodine- heard of iodised salt?

So, why are there no plant based sources of B12 at all if the vegan diet is so great? 

Well actually, there is – google “duck weed”.  Duck weed aside, B12 is not made by plants or animals, it is synthesised by bacteria.  Back in yesteryear we would have got B12 from microbes left on vegetables and even in our drinking water; due to heavy pesticide use and sanitation of water, this is no longer the case.  When we talk about B12 being found in animal foods, it is very common now for animals themselves to require B12 and cobalt supplementation.

So what does this mean for you?

B12 is an ESSENTIAL nutrient; critical for nerve health, red blood cells, DNA synthesis and lowering homocysteine levels; it is extremely dangerous to just take B12 for granted.  Any influencers teaching their followers not to worry about supplementation is putting out very irresponsible advice.

When commencing a plant-based diet, best practice is to see via blood tests where your B12 levels are and if still optimum, one oral (sublingual or nanocelle) dose of 50–100 μg daily or 2000-2500 μg taken twice weekly should be sufficient to meet your ongoing needs.  Many experts suggest that these levels are not high enough for adults over the age of 65 and it is best to speak to your health care practitioner.  Likewise, if levels aren’t optimal it would be wise to speak to a plant based dietitian or naturopath (such as myself) and work with them to rectify this. 

Because the body can store a certain amount of B12 and the time it takes people to burn through these stores varies hugely- some people have been fine without supplementation for extremely long durations; these people are the exception not the rule.  I strongly recommend getting your full blood count, iron studies, thyroid hormones, B12, blood glucose and lipid panel taken on an annual basis to see how on track you are with your health.

The research is still up in arms over the merits of cyanocobalamin versus methylcobalamin, and so what I like to do personally is switch between the two.  Cyanocobalamin has been much better researched and is more stable, whereas methylcobalamin would be a more appropriate choice if you are a known under-methylator, a smoker or have kidney disease.  It may be necessary to take higher amounts of methlycobalamin compared to cyanocobalamin (1000 mcg daily).  Hydroxcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are two other forms and there are specific populations that benefit from using them.  Again, see your plant based health expert to find the right option for you.

It’s not just vegans who need to be mindful of B12.  In fact, the Mayo Clinic suggests that everyone over 50 supplement with B12 as it becomes increasingly difficult for it to be absorbed from food with age.

What are the dangers of too high levels of B12 supplementation?

There have been reports of people suffering from acne, rashes and itching with possible association to B12 supplementation.  These reports are rare and likely to be rarer still if B12 supplements are used in appropriate amounts.  Without frequent monitoring of B12 levels, it is far too dangerous to avoid supplementation, so please don’t let these rare side effects deter you.

Is B12 a reason not to go vegan?

HELL NO!  Supplementation has been shown to be very effective at raising B12 levels, and is incredibly cheap and painless to do.  Compared to the incredible benefits you’re likely to enjoy on a healthy plant-based diet, and all the good you’re doing in the world, it’s a tiny price to pay.

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Chantelle Johnson
Chantelle Johnson
03:31 25 May 22
Amazing. I've worked with a few naturopaths and I've found naturopathy so very helpful on my health journey but Camilla... is next level! Such a supportive, kind and knowledgeable resource.read more
L Bratty
L Bratty
09:14 30 Nov 21
I cannot thank Camilla enough for her support and guidance helping me discover my health issues and setting me on the... path to getting my health back on track. I am so thankful I sought her advice, as I have seen drastic changes within a fortnight. I am looking forward to continuing my health journey with Camilla and would highly recommend for those seeking to improve their health in a natural way.read more
Emma Fabricius
Emma Fabricius
22:56 11 Sep 21
I cant ´t describe how grateful I am to have got in contact with Camilla! She really has an amazing knowledge about the... body and how it all works together on a different level than anyone I´ve ever worked with. I came to her to get help with my headaches, migraines and fatigue after years and multiple visits/treatments with different doctors, experts etc. without any luck. Instead of just recommending me a "quick-fix", she worked with me to find the underlying issues.I've been working with her for a couple of months now and she never fails to give me the highest quality treatment in all aspects. She is also super quick to respond to any question or concern I might have, which I really appreciate.She is also one of the kindest, sweetest and most understandable people you will ever meet. It is so comforting and calming to finally have found a person who truly cares about your health as she does (AND is vegan!!). I can´t recommend her enough!! Thank you Camilla :)read more
Punam Mann
Punam Mann
02:02 06 Sep 21
Camilla has been absolutely amazing and I highly recommend her. She understands and respects my vegan dietary choices... which I have struggled with other doctors and naturopaths. She patiently listens and created a thorough treatment plan for me. I have been on the treatment plan for a few weeks now and my symptoms have greatly reduced and I’m already feeling much better. I’m highly impressed by her prompt response to my emails. She is very knowledgeable and helpful and has made my healing journey extremely comfortable.Thank you Camillaread more
Fabiana Loddo
Fabiana Loddo
23:10 20 Jul 21
In the past, what I found difficult with doctors was the fact that they did not listen to me; they literally finished... the sentences on my behalf all the time, rushing a diagnosis!Camilla is such a great listener, she really took all the possible information from me, she studied my case meticolously and came up with a cure which makes a lot of sense...and she explained it to me! Some other practitioners just prescribe lots of things and do not even explain what is cointained in those supplements/herbs and what they are specifically for.I highly recommend Camilla to all the ones who want a "same-level" relationship which their practitioner and not a "yes, I trust you, you are the expert" kind of relationship.Thank you Camilla!read more
Julien Fouquet
Julien Fouquet
11:31 19 Jul 21
I'm so glad I went to see Camilla, being vegan it's nice to find a naturopath who shares the same values.She asked me... a lot of questions during the initial consult, I felt that she was genuinely trying to help. After a few weeks and some tests done, she made a very detailed treatment plan which was very thorough and well explained.After only a few weeks following the treatment plan, the symptoms greatly improved as my gut health got better.I'd highly recommend Camilla as she has great knowledge combined with a caring and effective holistic approach.read more
Charlene G
Charlene G
02:35 18 Jul 21
I truly wish I found Camilla earlier and I HIGHLY recommend her to anyone looking for a naturopath! I've been seeing... her for a few months now and I'm constantly impressed at how thorough, knowledgeable and passionate she is. I've had gut and hormonal issues for as long as I can remember, and from the get-go, I felt Camilla was truly invested in finding the underlying causes and helping me resolve them. She is also the warmest, kindest person - an absolute joy to work with.I've already seen such vast improvements in my health, and for the first time in my life, I'm confident that my issues can well and truly be resolved. I also really appreciate working with a fellow vegan who not only understands my values, but is equally passionate about them too.Thank you so much, Camilla! I cannot recommend her enough!read more
Libby Penney
Libby Penney
07:09 05 Jul 21
I am so grateful I have found Camilla. We hit it off straight away and she understands me. Her knowledge is second to... none. She goes above and beyond and has helped me so much, so quickly. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. Thank you Camilla.read more
Matt Gussin
Matt Gussin
16:41 22 May 21
I've had a pretty horrid time with gut and fatigue problems for over two years and in this time, I have seen countless... doctors, naturopaths, gastroenterologists, Chinese medicine practitioners and so on...Some of which told me to stop my vegan diet, so this was when I searched for a vegan Naturopath and found Camilla.Camilla has been nothing but outstanding since our first contact. She is the first person in my health journey who I feel is genuinely invested in my health and has worked tirelessly to help and provide answers. She is always quick to reply to my lengthy emails and although currently at the early stages of my treatment, every piece of advice and treatment given has been based off facts and logical reasoning.I really recommend Camilla. I have felt very comfortable with her from day one and you will get someone who is knowledgeable, passionate but most importantly, will do her utmost to help you through any problem.read more
Sophie Smith
Sophie Smith
02:36 22 May 21
I would without a doubt recommend Camilla to anyone looking for a naturopath. She is so warm, caring, knowledgable and... helpful. I sought Camilla’s help to work on my severe PMS, heavy and painful periods and PTSD and mental health. From the moment I saw her she went above and beyond and is always there to help whenever I have any questions or concerns. I have just started my treatment plan and feel confident that I will see an improvement with my concerns.Thank you so much Camila xread more
Laura Harper
Laura Harper
02:59 07 Apr 21
I have been working with Camilla for a couple of months now with the aim of treating and managing hair loss, stress,... and anxiety. Camilla's process is incredibly thorough and informative and it has been amazing to not only feel better, but learn SO much in the process. My treatment plan has been very manageable, and Camilla has always made sure I understand why we are doing things rather than just telling me. This ​has really helped me to feel more in control and kept me committed to the lifestyle changes. Prior to working with Camilla, I felt a pretty overwhelmed with information, none of which I could be certain was true or even relevant to my symptoms whereas Camilla's process is so personal, and completely tailored to the individual.Camilla has been so kind, and understanding and has made the whole experience as comfortable and easy as possible. I have been shocked by how quickly I began to feel positive changes, and cant wait to see them continue!read more
Millie Guest
Millie Guest
02:45 04 Mar 21
Camilla is an incredible naturopath. I was recommended by a friend. I was struggling with my energy levels and needed... help to figure out why. The consults were thorough and in-depth and camilla made me feel super comfortable the whole way through.I had bloods done which confirmed i was low on iron as she had predicted. She wrote me an amazing in depth treatment plan, which included when and how to take my supplements with loads of tips & tricks on how to get the most out of them and include more into my diet. She also gave me loads of great recipes to cook to help with my iron intake.It has been over a month into treatment and i feel super energetic and full of life again. It was exactly what i needed to help get back to myself.I couldn’t recommend her enough. If you’re struggling with anything her in-depth knowledge in her field will help you.Thankyou camilla.read more
Sophie Farrelly
Sophie Farrelly
03:42 29 Dec 20
Camilla is very knowledgeable, helpful and has a wonderful nature. She’s caring and goes above and beyond to help. I... can’t recommend her enough. Thank you!read more
J D
J D
02:07 06 Nov 20
Highly recommend. Camilla is a delight, very passionate and committed to getting clients back to their best!
Vivian Ruth
Vivian Ruth
09:03 28 Oct 20
I’m so grateful for the treatment that I received from Camilla. My results improved within a month!! She is very... attentive, knowledgeable and caring. I highly recommend her for everyone!!read more
Chloe Compton
Chloe Compton
10:20 24 Sep 20
I had several online consultations with Camilla. She was a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable. Her treatment... plan has really helped me and improved my skin condition. Highly recommend.read more
Lilla Magyari
Lilla Magyari
11:16 01 Sep 20
Camilla is an amazing Naturopath! Her knowledge and enthusiasm is absolutely fantastic! She helped me a lot in the past... and still does whenever I need. You can count on her 100%. I only can recommend her!!! 💚 🌱 💚🌱💚🌱💚🌱💚read more
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