Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions such as DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and nerve function. It is primarily found in animal-based foods, making it challenging for vegetarians and vegans to obtain it naturally.
However, have you ever wondered how people got Vitamin B12 in ancient times? Let’s explore.
The Importance of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining optimal health in humans. It helps produce DNA and red blood cells while supporting the nervous system’s proper functioning. Without enough Vitamin B12, our bodies can experience fatigue, weakness, numbness in hands and feet, constipation, and even depression.
How Do We Get Vitamin B12?
The primary sources of Vitamin B12 are meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. The human body can store Vitamin B12 for several years. However, those on a vegetarian or vegan diet may find it difficult to get enough of this essential nutrient from plant-based sources alone.
In ancient times when modern farming practices were not yet established and the population was mainly hunters and gatherers – there was no concept of vegetarianism or veganism. In fact, our ancestors mainly relied on animal-based foods for their survival.
Hunter-gatherer societies often had access to animal products rich in Vitamin B12 such as liver and other organ meats that were consumed raw or lightly cooked. Additionally, they would eat insects like crickets and beetles that are rich sources of the vitamin.
Early Agricultural Societies
Early agricultural societies also had access to animal products like milk from cows or goats which contains significant amounts of Vitamin B12. They also fermented foods like tempeh that contain beneficial bacteria that produce Vitamin B12.
Getting enough Vitamin B12 today can be a challenge for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, in ancient times when the population mainly relied on animal-based food sources, obtaining sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 was not an issue. Our ancestors consumed a varied diet that included organ meats, insects, and fermented foods that naturally contained this essential nutrient.
To maintain optimal health today while on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s essential to supplement your diet with Vitamin B12 fortified foods or supplements. This ensures you get enough of this vital nutrient to keep your body functioning correctly.