Are Vitamin B12 Vegan Supplements Necessary?

Vitamin B12 is a hotly debated topic, but the general consensus is that most people (not just vegans) are at risk of a B12 deficiency.  This article will answer the question ‘are vitamin B12 vegan supplements necessary?’.


What does vitamin B12 do?

B12 is vital in keeping our bodies in good condition, and is the most important of the 8 B vitamins. Vitamin B12 contributes to the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, providing energy to vital organs and muscles. It also aids with digestion and absorption of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs).  Additionally, it helps the nervous system to function – aiding in the reduction of the effects of stress and anxiety.


How do I know if I’m B12 deficient?

Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include fatigue, headaches, loss of appetite, faintness, weight loss, pins and needles, and pale skin.

A deficiency can cause pernicious anaemia, which is where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your stomach.  In some cases, you can treat this condition by improving your diet – simply adding sources of folate and B12 into your diet could help.


Who is most at risk of a deficiency?

B12 deficiency has been shown to affect 1/10 people aged 75 and over, 1/20 aged 65-74, and lower in younger people.  However, deficiency affects vegans more, and around 11% of vegans are B12 deficient.

Vegans are more likely to be deficient in B12 because it is most commonly found in meat, fish and dairy.  This means that vitamin B12 vegan supplements can be beneficial for vegans.


What supplement should I choose?

When choosing a B12 vegan supplement, it is important to make sure it actually is vegan.  Some supplements contain animal-based sources of vitamin B12, so check that you are not buying one of these. The best way to choose a B12 vegan supplement is to read the labels and do some research before buying.

You can also get B12 vegan supplements in the form of sprays or liquid forms  - this allows the supplement to do its job faster, rather than having to be processed through digestion first. Also, by choosing a spray rather than a tablet ensures that it does not contain gelatine – making it more likely to be vegan.


Do any vegan foods contain B12?

Unfortunately the only reliable sources of vitamin B12 vegan foods are fortified.  However, these are still helpful, and can include some plant milks (such as soy and hemp milks), some other soy products, some breakfast cereals (including some bran flakes and corn flakes), and nutritional yeast.

Nutritional yeast is often a go to on a vegan diet because it is a great source of plant based protein, so switching your regular nutritional yeast for a B12 fortified version is an easy option.


This article should have answered the question ‘are vitamin B12 vegan supplements necessary?’.  At Vegan Supplement Store, all of our supplements are entirely vegan, and our health and wellbeing range includes a ton of healthy vitamins and minerals to support your vegan diet.

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