One of the many nutrients ALL people need is vitamin B12. All healthy diets require some planning regardless of whether they contain animal products or not. In fact, many nonvegans are deficient in vitamin B12. But for vegans, this vitamin is often a hot-button area that stirs up plenty of discussion and even some debate.
This vitamin is created by a bacteria and is entirely vegan. But since the bacteria lives inside many mammals’ intestines (including human intestines) and since this bacterial isn’t found in unfermented plant foods, the most common way to obtain B12 is through eating animal products. Because of this, people who eat a vegan diet and people who eat very few animal products may not get enough B12 unless they take a vitamin supplement or unless they eat fortified foods.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose. You can do both if you want since there doesn’t appear to be any risk of overdose from B12. Take a vitamin and/or eat fortified foods… it’s up to you!
Vegan Health suggests:
vegans should do one of the following:
- Eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (mcg or µg) of B12 a day or
- Take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms or
- Take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.
Nonvegans and newbie vegans often ask me where I get my B12. I usually tell them my preference is to eat fortified foods. But when I say “fortified foods” many people look at me bewilderingly. They’re not exactly sure what that means.
So… let me show you:
Shown above: soy milks and almond milk, breakfast cereal and energy bars, and vegan chocolate pudding.
The image above is just a small sampling of the kinds of foods that are fortified with B12. There are a variety of cereals, non-dairy milks, and other products that contain B12.
To the vegans reading, where do you get your B12?