Whole edible crickets

Give Vitamin B12 a High Five with Cricket Powder

So you’ve been thinking about trying cricket powder but you’re just not sure if it’s right for you. What if I told you that eating crickets is not only more sustainable than beef, pork or chicken but is a also high source of vitamin B12?

If vitamin B12 sounds familiar, that’s because it’s super important, right?

In a nutshell, B12 also called cobalamin, is an inactive water-soluble vitamin essential for brain and nerve function, and for the creation of new red blood cells. (1) Specifically, activated B12 also known as transcobalamin II, is required to create DNA and forms a protective fatty coating (known as myelin) around nerves. This fatty structure allows super fast messages to be sent around the body and brain. (2)

To activate vitamin B12, a range of cofactors in the saliva, stomach and intestines are required. (2)

 

Sources of B12

Unfortunately apart from mushrooms and algae, B12 is only found in animal products (including crickets!) making those whom choose to opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet vulnerable and most susceptible to a vitamin B12 deficiency.(7) This can result in a range of symptoms.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Sympthoms

A vitamin B12 deficiency can result in blood, nerve and gut symptoms due to the body not being able to create DNA properly. (3, 4)

This often looks like:

    • Pale skin
    • Low energy
    • A reduced ability to exercise
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations

Fatigue man laying on the floor

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

 

Are You at Risk?

If you are vegetarian or vegan then you are at risk but so too are people that have a portion of their stomach removed, damaged lining of the intestines (such as in coeliac disease) or simply secrete less gastric juices due to aging. The reason those gastric juices are so important is because the stomach, intestines and saliva contain a special protein called intrinsic factor required for the activation of B12. (2, 4)

Vitamin B12 risk group

Image made by the author

But wait there’s more! And I am sorry to say that the list does go on. For example pregnant and lactating women typically require a larger amount of B12 and so too do young growing children.(3, 4)

 

How Much Vit B12 Do You Need?

Well the good news is B12 is stored in the liver for up to 6 years so if you have only just decided to swap from a meat loving diet to a plant based diet then you might just be okay for a while. (4) The even better news is that as your B12 intake decreases your body’s ability to absorb it increases. Clever hey!

However, as with everything related to nutrition everyone is different so it is always best to seek personalised advice from a medical professional and Accredited Pracitising Dietitian.

For simplicity though and to answer that question of how much do you need each day, the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) currently stands at 2.4ug (micrograms per day) (5). But I bet you are wondering what the heck that looks like in terms of food.

So, here is a breakdown:

Image made by the author

This graph shows how much B12 (as a percentage of the recommended dietary intake of 2.4ug/day) is present a variety of different foods as you would consume them.  Note a serve of: mushrooms is 100g, nori sheets is 1 sheet (2.5g), a salmon is 100g, beef is 65g, Grilo Go Greensect is 20g, Grilo Cacao Hopper is 30g, Grilo Drive Me Bugs is 15g. For example one nori sheet will supply 53% of the recommended amount of  B12 compared to Grilo Go Greensect provides 83%.

 

In summary it looks as though Grilo Cricket Powder  is high in B12 compared to other foods including mushrooms, algae, eggs, cheese, salmon and beef. So go on stay healthy and just because you have given up the meat doesn’t mean you have to suffer from a tiresome, pale-skinned body that a B12 deficiency results in.

Choose Grilo Protein Organic Cricket Powder blends, I dare you!

Crickets are the new superfood

References:

  1. Elia M. Oral or parenteral therapy for B12 deficiency. Lancet. 1998 Nov 28;352(9142):1721-2][Oh R, Brown DL. Vitamin B12 deficiency. American family physician. 2003 Mar 1;67(5):979-86
  2. Oh R, Brown DL. Vitamin B12 deficiency. American family physician. 2003 Mar 1;67(5):979-86].
  3. Anemia Review Panel. Anemia Guidelines for Family Medicine. 3rd ed. [cited 2014 Jul 10] Toronto (ON): MUMS Guideline Clearinghouse; 2014.
  4. Department of Health and Aging. Vitamin B12 Testing Protocol. July 2013. Accessed September 2017 from https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/7C28F0B6D06F9FFCCA257EB9001D769B/$File/Vitamin%20B12%20testing%20Protocol.pdf
  5. NHMRC. Nutrient Reference Values – B12. March 2014. Accessed September 2017 from https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-b12
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/pdf/nutrients-06-01861.pdf
  7. Watanabe, F., Yabuta, Y., Bito, T., & Teng, F. (2014). Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians. Nutrients6(5), 1861–1873. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu6051861

 

Rebecca Norris - Dietician
Author: Rebecca Norris

Rebecca is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Director of Be Well Fed Nutrition Hub and Kitchen although the information in this article is evidence based it is in no way personalised so be sure to seek personalised advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.