One day, at the age of 18, after reading John Robbin’s book Diet for a New America, I decided to become a vegetarian.
Probably the first day I announced my decision to go veg, I was told by some worried friends that I should be careful with vitamin B12. That’s, of course, after they asked me “how will you get your protein?”
Although I haven’t remained a vegetarian in the almost 20 years that have passed since, I have had lots of real life experience with vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as B12.
Although I was told to pay attention to B12 when I first became a vegetarian, the advice didn’t really sink in. I was certain that supplements were unnatural and unnecessary, so I chose to wait.
I knew that the body typically has a store of B12 that can last up to 5 years, so I thought I could probably delay the moment when I had to come to a decision about my B12 intake.
I probably went pretty close to 5 years without eating animal products nor taking supplemental B12, but eventually, reason prevailed and I started taking the supplements.
When I got tested, my B12 levels were low but not enough to experience symptoms of deficiency. I was cutting it close, but I made it. Raising B12 levels took some time and I had to experiment with a few methods: tablets, shots, and sub-lingual supplements. Unfortunately B12 patches were not available in those days.
But other friends I met along the way weren’t so lucky with B12. Here are a few stories that really got my attention.
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