Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, a wide majority of Americans garner their vitamin B-12 from meat and seafood. While there are many that try to replace meat and seafood with algae and seaweed, there hasn’t been enough scientific clarity to establish how reliable these sources are for the vitamin.

In general, only around 7 percent of the population identify as vegetarian or vegan, and the younger generation of athletes that are fresh in college or right out of college could be a good chunk of this percentage.

Athletes that do identify as vegetarian or vegan are that ones who need vitamin b-12 the most, as they aren’t getting it from their every day food sources. While these vitamins are typically passed through during urination, the body doesn’t take them and store them. The primary function of B-12 is to help stimulate the nerve and tissues within the brain, as well as continuing to form blood cells that are healthy.

Benefits of Vitamin B-12 Consumption

It’s no secret that there’s a huge link between vitamin b-12 and a mental attitude. The supplement ensures that prevention of atrophy in the brain and can even benefit those that want to stay away from Alzheimer’s disease. While it’s not a for-sure prevention method, the brain stimulation once receives from the vitamin pulls them further away every day from the tragic disease.

Studies have shown a decline in the vitamin within the elderly – the same people who suffer from these tragic diseases. Since the absorption rate is much lower in the elderly compared to those that are younger, a healthy diet containing a robust amount of the vitamin should be taken into consideration for those that are over 50 years of age.

What happens when you don’t receive enough vitamin b-12?

  • Severe and depression
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of essential senses – smell and taste

Of course, getting these problems at a young age is almost unheard for those that don’t consume enough b-12, but for those that are over 50 years old, it may be creeping up quicker than you think. In fact, according to a study done by the RDA, 20% of those over this age may have be on the borderline of an actual vitamin B deficiency. Another 3% of those over this age have a seriously low level of the vitamin, despite not being borderline.

The Proper Amount to Consume

If you’re over the age of 14 years old, the recommended amount of vitamin B-12 is around 2.4 micrograms, with only 2.6 micrograms needed for those that are pregnant. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll only need to bump it up a small amount at 2.8 micrograms. Those that are older, and especially those that suffer from a deficiency, may need a supplement that’s between 25-100 micrograms. Make sure to speak with your primary care physician on the proper dosage for you.