Water Soluble Vitamins (C and the B Group)
Vitamin C – comes from fresh fruits and vegetables. It is damaged by light and heat so, fresh, raw and unprocessed foods are the best sources. It is important in tissue growth and healing and immune function.
The B group – Found in many plant foods. Best source is brewers yeast. The B group vitamins work together to convert carbohydrate, fat & protein into useable energy. They are important during times of high energy output or stress. Refining of grains damages B vitamin content.
B12 – Found mainly in animal foods and fermented food (levels are inconsistent in fermented foods). Levels can be checked by a simple blood test from your GP. Functions of B12 include: nerve health, energy production and reducing inflammation.
Studies have consistently shown vegans who do not supplement become B12 deficient over time. Time frames for deficiency vary among individuals. Vegan children that have not had supplements can become deficient very quickly as they do not have stores to draw from. B12 in multivitamins are unreliable as they can form analogues (meaning they look like B12 molecules but are inactive in the body). 1000mcg of Sublingual B12 in the form of methylcobalamin per day or week (depending on levels) is recommended.
Signs of deficiency include: Confusion, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, tingling and numbness in fingers, arms and legs, if severe can cause paralysis. If severe, nerve damage can be irreversible