The latest binge-worthy Netflix drop, the newest Kardashian baby, whatever product Glossier have just ninja-launched: these might be topics you'd expect to fill your Whatsapp feed and office lunch break. Not vitamins.
But, in the age of clean living and post-Veganuary, anyone who's anyone is talking about vitamin B12. If you want to be in the know, and - as an added bonus - reap its many health benefits, here's what you need to know...
What is vitamin B12?
One of the essential water-soluble vitamins, it's essential in helping your body to form red blood cells and your nervous system to function properly. If your red blood cells aren't tip-top, less haemoglobin is carried around your body, causing a variety of side-effects.
How do I know if I need more of it?
Feeling constantly sluggish? A bit fuzzy headed? Lacking focus? Just damn tired? Get some B12 in you. (That'll be um, all of us then.) Jokes aside, many of us are likely deficient in B12. "It's quite hard to detect" says Nutritionist , "as many symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath aren't unique to B12 deficiency. If you are concerned, you should see your GP who could carry out a blood test."
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What difference does upping my B12 intake really make?
"The list is endless!" says Tori Boughey, "but the most important benefits include an enhanced mood, energy level and memory, and healthier heart, skin and digestion." It can also prevent anaemia and other health problems.
Why is it especially good for a vegan diet?
"The main sources of B12 are eggs, milk, cheese, meat and fish" says Boughey, so...yeah. Not so vegan. Because it's made by micro-organisms it isn't produced by plants, so it can be hard to get enough B12 in a strict vegan diet. "For those eating an exclusively plant-based diet, I'd recommend they get their B12 levels checked regularly" confirms Peacock. The decrease in levels of this vital vitamin could explain why, when switching to a vegan diet, it's normal to feel energy levels drop and your mood worsen. (That and the lack of bacon in your life).
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Ok gimme... How do I get this in my system?
If a feast of eggs and meat isn't an option, there are plenty of other, vegan-friendly ways to up your intake. Tori recommends , and do some great tablet and liquid versions too. "Talk to a health professional first" says Gabriela "and if you're vegan, check that your supplement is too." She also advises looking for Methylcobalamin or Hydroxycobalmin strains that are easier for the body to digest (meaning less of the good stuff is wasted).
If you're not adverse to needles, a B12 vitamin drip ( are a good place to start) can pump up to 3 months worth of the wonder vitamin straight into your bloodstream. A drip or falling asleep at our desk? Hook us up!