Sources of Vitamin B12 for Vegetarians and Vegans

08 Apr 2021

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So, you’ve finally decided to go vegan. That’s great news because it shows that you care for your health and the environment. That said, the downside of being vegetarian or following a vegan diet is that you will develop vitamin B12 deficiency, which is also known as pernicious anaemia.  Don’t panic because every problem has a solution. You can get your daily intake of vitamin B12 from fortified foods and vitamin B12 supplements. Read on to know how to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 from B12 rich foods [1].

Vitamin B12 is an essential and vital vitamin for every cell in your body. What’s more, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your blood cells, nerves, as well as DNA, which is present in every cell [1].

Animal products are good food sources of this vitamin. Those consuming meat, eggs, and dairy products need not worry about B12 deficiency [1]. 

Plant-based food items don’t naturally contain vitamin B12; therefore, vegans and vegetarians need to ensure they get enough of this vitamin each day [1]. 

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As a vegetarian or vegan, you may need to think more about where your vitamin B12 is coming from; however, you need not lose sleep over this issue because we have compiled a list of vitamin B12 rich foods so that you can peruse and check if a particular food fits into your daily diet [1].

Best Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians have numerous options to get their daily amount of vitamin B12. These include dairy products (including milk and cheese) and eggs [1].

If you are vegan, your list of options is more limited. Those foods with added vitamin B12 or fortified foods are the best source for you [1].

Some natural foods such as nutritional yeast, specific types of mushrooms, and some types of algae, too, contain vitamin B12 [1].

Mentioned below are some of the best vitamin B12 foods for both vegans and vegetarians. So, get ready to dig in [1].

Fortified Foods

Foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 can help you in meeting your daily intake requirement. These foods are a readily available source of this crucial vitamin, with high bioavailability for both vegans and vegetarians [1].

Fortified breakfast cereal is the ideal option. Some cereals contain 25% of your daily requirement of vitamin B12. This amount can vary among brands. Hence, you need to peruse the food labels very meticulously to get the right doses of vitamin B12 [1].

Fortified foods are known to be easy on your digestive system. This helps your body to absorb vitamin B12 more easily [1].

Nutritional Yeast

Another fortified food that is a good source of vitamin B12 is nutritional yeast. For many vegans and vegetarians, this is a go-to food [1].

Besides its nutritional benefits, nutritional yeast provides a characteristic depth of flavour to your cooking. If you wish to add a nutty or cheesy flavour to your foods, you must consider using nutritional yeast [1].

Just a single tablespoon of 100%-fortified nutritional yeast offers 2.4 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin B12, which is 100% of the daily value (DV). Isn’t this great news? [1].

You may incorporate nutritional yeast in your diet by adding it to vegetarian curries or sauces. For healthy snacking, sprinkle lots of nutritional yeast on your popcorn. It can’t be easier than this [1].

Nori

Nori, which is also known as purple laver, is an algae product that is eaten quite frequently in Asian countries [1].

According to a study conducted in 2014, nori is a good vitamin B12 source. The study also recommends consuming four grams of dried nori to meet your daily requirements for vitamin B12 [1].

You can get access to this food product by shopping online or procuring it from Asian food markets. It is widely used in sushi and can be a simple and healthy snack by itself. All you vegans out there, give this superfood a thumbs up![1]

Shiitake Mushrooms

Certain mushrooms, such as shitake mushrooms, contain vitamin B12. That said, the vitamin B12 level is relatively low [1].

To meet your daily requirement of this vitamin, you would ideally need to consume approximately 50 grams of dried shiitake mushrooms [1].

Would you want to eat so many mushrooms in a single setting? No, right? Therefore, it is advisable to vary your vitamin B12 sources. That said, if you’re a vegan and mushroom lover, you may go all out on shitake mushrooms and eat to your heart’s content [1].

The Final Word

Vegans and vegetarians should never compromise on their daily requirement of vitamin B12. This vitamin is crucial to your body and could be lacking if you do not consume meat. However, you can get your daily requirement of this vitamin from fortified foods, algae, and mushrooms. Alternatively, you may opt for a vitamin B12 supplement.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-b12-foods-for-vegetarians#bottom-line

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