Vitamin B12 from algae
Vegetarians and vitamin B12 in algae
ALGAE AS SOURCE OF VITAMIN B12
Do algae contain vitamin B12 (cobalamin)?
Algae contain small amounts of vitamin B12. However, algae are not a good source of vitamin B12 because it contains analogues, that is to say, a type of molecules identical to this vitamin B12 but structurally not active.
Algae and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in vegetarian diets
The deficiency of this vitamin produces megaloblastic anemia (anemia due to lack of vitamin B12), which is more common in people who follow a vegetarian diet.
However, other serious diseases caused by vitamin B12 deficiency (very serious in pregnant vegetarians) are less well known.
This vitamin is needed along with folic acid to eliminate homocysteine and its deficiency causes poor circulation, with the paradox that, instead of being produced by eating fast food, it is induced primarily by a strict vegan diet.
* More information: Symptoms of vitamin B12 Deficiency
Algae and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in vegetarian diet
Algae consumption can give false analytical data and mask anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency, since the active B12 of the B12 (inactive) analogues are identically detected in the analyzes.
Who can have B12 deficit?
In vegetarian, vegan, or people who carry a diet with few foods of animal origin, it is recommended to have an annual analysis that measures complete blood count and levels of methylmalonic acid. High levels of methyl malonic acid indicate a deficiency of vitamin B12.
Common tests measuring only vitamin B12 are not specific because they do not distinguish between that inactive vitamin B12 and active vitamin B12.
Is it good to eat seaweed if I have anemia?
In cases of anemia algae are sometimes recommended, but because they are rich in iron, not because of their B12 content.
Indeed, algae are very suitable plants because of their richness in iron, but equally it must be considered that iron of animal origin is assimilated worse than iron of vegetable origin. Therefore, algae are excellent for completing the diet, but should be accompanied by other foods rich in iron.
* More information: Diet for anemia
Are B12 supplements recommended for vegetarians?
Many vegetarians refuse supplements because they are a manipulated or unnatural product. However there is nothing more natural than our genetic code, our body is designed to ingest vitamin B12 and can only retain a small store in the liver.
Vitamins and minerals are not needed with a complete diet, which provides all the vitamins and minerals. In this case, it is known that vitamin B12 supplements are needed for vegans and some vegetarians.
Is it dangerous to take B12 supplements?
No, they are supplements on which we have a great knowledge about their safety, efficacy and metabolism.
There are cases of B12 deficits treated with excellent results. One may experience how incorporating this vitamin into the body observes a noticeable improvement after a long time of strict vegan diet.
Is taking B12 supplements expensive?
No, the B12 supplement is not expensive compared to many others. Also it is not necessary to take it daily, because there is the possibility of two weekly shots.
* See: How to take vitamin B12 supplements
Are algae a good supplement for B12?
As said above, although algae may contain certain amounts of vitamin B12, it is not functional (it is an analogue), that is, it resembles the vitamin B12 that our body uses, but it is not active. Therefore, supplements of B12, which are produced by bacterial synthesis, should be used.
The latest scientific reviews conclude that people who follow a strict vegetarian diet (that do not consume any food of animal origin), should take vitamin B12 supplements to prevent their deficit.
This recommendation is much more important when there are high needs of this vitamin, during childhood, in the age of growth and before conception (for fertility), during pregnancy and even more in breastfeeding.
* More information: Problems with vitamin B12 in vegetarians
Vitamin B12 content of algae
Algae contain small amounts of vitamin B12. Its nutritional value lies in its richness in fiber and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, vegetable iron and iodine. They are not a suitable food as a source of vitamin B12.
The daily needs of this vitamin are between 2 and 2.4 mcg daily. Recommendations increase in children, pregnancy and lactation.
In conclusion, all algae are poor in vitamin B12, and the little they contain is not an adequate contribution since it is not active in the body.
More information on vitamin b12 in the listing above
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.