I’ll keep harping on the importance of vitamin B12 in the vegan diet until no vegans are reported in the medical literature with pernicious anemia or worse. Not only the vegan diet, in fact, evidence is suggesting that most folks regardless of their diet could benefit from supplemental B12 especially those 60 years of age and older. But because this is a blog about veganism I’m focusing on vegan issues and today we’ll look at how do vegans get B12.
It’s pretty easy actually and as such this post shouldn’t be very long at all. I’ve written about the specific supplements vegans should take as well as recommended my 5 top vegan vitamins if you’re interested.
You can also read about the 7 best practices for vegan health which also mentions vitamin B12 for vegans.
The single sentence answer to the question “how do vegans get vitamin B12” is via supplements.
And vitamin B12 can be found as an added supplement to vegan meats like soy deli slices, vegan ground round etc, as well as in many other foods like some cereals as well as many plant milks too. As an example, Silk Original soy milk has 50% of your RDI (Reference Daily Intake) in every 1 cup serving. The RDI for vitamin B12 is 6mcg. The RDI is based on older information than the DRI or Dietary Reference Intake, and interestingly the DRI for vitamin B12 is just 2.4 to 2.8mcg. The higher amount for pregnant women.
If you want to read more about RDI and the DRI you can check out some articles from Wikipedia here and here respectively. In a nutshell, the RDI is based on the older RDA and is used on nutrition labelling based on the science that the RDI numbers are sufficient to meet the needs of 97 to 98% of healthy people from a wide variety of demographics.
Anyway, that is an aside. The RDI or DRI of vitamin B12 is so minuscule that it really is of not great concern for us eating a vegan diet when we supplement with either daily or weekly vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 I should add is only found in animal products, however, it is not manufactured by animals. Vitamin B12 is manufactured by microorganisms.
So vegans do not naturally get vitamin B12 in their diet of whole plant foods as such, vitamin B12 MUST be added to the vegan diet for best health. As much as I enjoy my odd veggie burger, and soy milk in my cereal, I recommend that vegans get their vitamin B12 as a vitamin supplement.
If you choose to supplement on a daily basis in pill or lozenge form then please aim for at least 250 mcg of cyanocobalamin. If you are supplementing weekly then aim for at least 2,500 mcg of cyanocobalamin. In both cases, choosing sublingual, liquid or chewable forms of vitamin B12 supplements is best and most easily absorbed.
I recommend Nature’s Bounty sublingual lozenges of vitamin B2 that come in 2,500 mcg doses.
At around $20 for 250 lozenges, one bottle of these vitamin B12 lozenges will last you over 4 years and each weekly dose will only cost you 8 cents or around 32 cents a month. That’s cheap for excellent vegan health.