“But B12 tho?!” – by Tod Bradbury

There are certain people, who, upon finding out that you are vegan, or thinking about going vegan, suddenly become very concerned about your nutrition! One thing they may mention is vitamin B12. And whilst this interference may be rather annoying, B12 is an important point to consider.

B12 is a vital nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. It is important that vegans, and those following a plant-based diet get, an adequate source of vitamin B12 in their diet because it is not found in plants.

Many moons ago, B12 was found in our soil – but due to intensive farming, monoculture and over-grazing, this has depleted, meaning one must find alternative sources. It is also worth noting that B12 is one of the most common supplements found in animal feed.

But, despite this, there are many ways of obtaining enough B12 as a vegan.

Sources of B12
Fortified foods

The majority of plant milks (apart form those labelled “Organic”) are fortified with various vitamins and minerals – including B12. It can also be found in vegan butters/spreads, nutritional yeast flakes, yeast extracts (such as Marmite) and breakfast cereals.

The Vegan Society recommends that you consume fortified foods twice a day to ensure that you are obtaining at least 3mcg a day. https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/vitamin-b12

Supplements
B12 supplements are available in health food shops, pharmacies, and even supermarkets these days. They come in tablet form and spray/liquid form. It is recommended that one takes a 10mcg tablet/dosage daily or 2000mcg weekly.

Whilst the recommended daily intake of B12 is 1.5 mcg, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough – and whatever your body doesn’t need, it will just dispose of.

As you can see, B12 is something that we as vegans need to be knowledgeable of but it isn’t difficult to ensure that you are getting enough of it. The NHS and British Dietetics Association both state that a well-planned vegan diet can provide all of the nutrients one needs to live a healthy life.

So the next time one of your friends or relatives decides they are concerned for your nutrition and your B12 intake, be sure to pass this on to them.

Recommended reading: What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12 by Stephen Walsh and other members of the International Vegetarian Union Science Group (IVU-SCI).