Vegetarians have advised vegetarians to take the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency seriously, otherwise, they may experience nerve damage, permanent (numbness) and spinal cord degeneration.
There is concern that some people consider the risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency associated with a vegetarian diet to be a myth, and therefore doctors advise them to read more information about how to obtain adequate vitamin.
However, it may take several years for a person to suffer from a major vitamin deficiency that may lead to neuropathy and damage, permanent numbness and spinal cord degeneration, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
Tom Sanders, Professor of Honorary Dietetics at King’s College London, says a study of 172 vegetarians showed that about a fifth of the participants was likely to have a “serious deficiency” of vitamin B12.
He added that he was “completely astounded” by the results of the 2003 study, expressing concern that “many vegetarians think it is a myth.”
Professor Sanders believes that a lack of this type of vitamins can be easily avoided, saying that what worries him is that many who have become vegetarians are not aware of the necessity of mixing sources of plant proteins, nor of the need to ensure that they ingest adequate amounts of vitamin B12.
The nutritionist advises that caution should be exercised, especially for women during pregnancy, lactation, and child-rearing, by ensuring that adequate micronutrients are obtained.
He warns that replacing meat with other foods like broccoli is not a good alternative as a source of protein. He said that vegetable milk is also a little protein, and should contain more vitamin B12. Vegetable milk is a general term for any milk-like product derived from plant sources.
Sanders explained that the use of nitrous oxide by young men, which is called laughing gas, can cause vitamin B12 deficiency as well, which may lead to neuropathy.
Source: The Independent