Crickets and Vitamin B12

Do Crickets contain Vitamin B12?

The question “do crickets contain vitamin B12” is something I came to think about this morning. You see, I woke up, doing what I always do, putting on a cup of coffee and start a podcast to listen to. This podcast brought up the subject of bio-weapons and insects, which of course peaked my interest. While “they” might pour money into R&D for the sake of turning insects into weapons, we still have data on insects and nutrition which can help your health and probably be part of saving the world.

Once I heard how much money is spent on research and development on Bio-Weapons I just had to write about something positive when it comes to insects and entomophagy. I chose the subject of vitamin B12 and asked myself the question: “Do crickets contain Vitamin B12”.

And yes, crickets do contain vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that you need to get from your food or nutritional supplement. The involvement of vitamin B12 in red blood cell formation is important since levels too low can cause megaloblastic anemia. This means your body won’t have enough red blood cells transporting oxygen to your organs. Possible symptoms of this condition can cause fatigue and weakness.

You’ll also find it serves other important roles such as:

  • Cell metabolism,
  • nerve function, and the
  • production of DNA.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Let´s look at what The Mayo Clinic has to say about vitamin B12 deficiency. In one of the Mayo Clinics articles, they list some of the symptoms of a B12 deficiency. And those are:

  • Anemia,
  • fatigue,
  • muscle weakness, 
  • intestinal problems and,
  • nerve damage and mood disturbances.

Now, what one needs to do is to make sure you get enough of it, preferably through your diet. Of course, some issues may warrant taking a B12 supplement. So, to avoid all these deficiencies one might argue, rightfully so, to get enough of it. A statement which will not bring me home a Noble prize, I know. After all, it’s pretty obvious. Secondly, we need to put the focus on not becoming deficient before we start to use it to treat a deficiency. This is why it’s massively important to know what we eat and what’s in it. Staying informed, as you are by reading this article, is the most important thing we can do for our health.

The comment, “I drink Red Bull and there’s B12 in that” is, unfortunately, an answer which I’ve got talking about the importance of getting enough vitamin B12. While that might be true, it’s like saying you can get your B12 through a can of poison. Moreover, comments like, “I eat a balanced diet”, I think you would agree has proven to be inadequate in dealing with our health. If this wasn’t the case, we would most certainly be a lot healthier people.

Important to note is the fact that a vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms don’t necessarily need to show all at once. A B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, whereby symptoms can start to show and intensify gradually.

Are you one of those B12 deficient?

Unfortunately, as with most things, an easy answer seems hard to find. What we can do is to look at what available information is out there. What we find is that there are extremely varying statements of how many of us are deficient. Arguments used to credit or discredit the information out there regarding vitamin B12 or any other nutrient works like this:

  1. The company or person selling “this” product is selling fear in order to make you buy said product.
  2. The institution or person telling us we don’t need to supplement or buy “alternative” products works for the pharmacuitcal industry, hence they are lyers. 

Those are the basic two viewpoints out there. It’s my understanding both of these viewpoints are true. If we take a look at an article from Harvard Health Publishing on vitamin B12 they state that:

“The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 3.2% of adults over age 50 have a seriously low B12 level, and up to 20% may have a borderline deficiency.”

Now others, like Dr. 

The Current Level for Diagnosed B12 Deficiency is Too Low” and that  “40% Have A Vitamin B12 Deficiency”

Again, what we need to do is to focus on not becoming deficient. Once we’ve done that we can make sure we don’t belong to either of those 3.2 %, 20%, or 40% deficient, whichever it may be. This we do by eating proper food, like crickets, cricket based products or other insects and a lot of vegetables.

Vitamin B12 Requirements

Well then, how much vitamin B12 is enough?

Well, According to the United States’ National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for 14 year-olds and over.

Vitamin B12 in Crickets

Do Crickets contain Vitamin B12?

Obviously, since you’re on this site, reading this article, you probably want to find out how much of this wonderful nutrient can be found in crickets. No problem, you shall have your answer.

The house cricket, Acheta domesticus contains:

  • 5.4 micrograms per 100 grams in adults and,
  • 8.7 micrograms per 100 g in nymphs.

Considering the fact the RDA for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for 14 year-olds and over things are looking good. We are being told to focus on getting out vitamin B12 from:

  • Fish,
  • meat,
  • poultry,
  • eggs,
  • milk,
  • and milk products.

There’s simply no need for that.

If we take a look at the cricket we see that it needs only 2 kg of feed for every 1 kg of body weight gain. At the same time, 10 kg of feed is required to get one kg of beef.

Basically, the feed conversion efficiency is a lot higher for crickets than it’s for beef. The well-repeated arguments for consuming meat is the need for vitamin B12 and protein. Both of which is well represented in crickets. Hence, the myth of you having to eat meat for B12 is gone.

Crickets contain vitamin B12 along with many other nutrients. Moreover, it’s a sustainable, and eco-friendly way of getting your B12.

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