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How To Get B12 As A Vegan

How To Get B12 As A Vegan

How to get B12 as a vegan has to be the number one question we receive! B12 is found in animal products and so vegans do not come across it as easily as those who eat meat. It’s worth being aware of this as you really do need it in your diet.

Although we can thrive on a plant based diet (don’t worry) many vegans take vitamin B12 supplementation which we will come onto in a moment, but B12 can be found in many fortified foods as well. Let’s start off with the basics and find out exactly what vitamin B12 is and what its function is in the human body.

If you are new to veganism and need any other tips, we have everything from a how to go Vegan guide, free meal plans, and beginner grocery lists that you can check out.

how to get b12 as a vegan

What is B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that protects our nervous system and keeps our DNA material inside its cell (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2019). It also helps to prevent anaemia, specifically mesoblastic anaemia. Red blood cells can become too big and not function properly when there is a b12 deficency.

Symptoms of a B12 Deficiency

Those lacking in B12 may experience tiredness, weakness and general lethargy. If a B12 deficiency affects the nervous system, symptoms such as tingling in the hands and feet may occur. This can lead to damage of the nervous system and so it is extremely important to ensure you are getting enough B12 in your diet as a vegan.

Nervous system damage is really serious so we have got to make sure we are looking after our body. A plant based diet is more than suffice in many ways and as I mentioned you can get B12 through food, it’s just one of those vitamins that could be missed if we don’t ensure we are getting enough.

How Much B12 do I need?

Everyone is different when it comes to B12. Especially if you have any other conditions that may hinder your absorption of B12. However the National Institute of Health say the following amounts of B12 is the recommended daily amount by age and circumstance:

Up to 6mths0.4mcg
7 to 12 mths0.5mcg
1 to 3 yo0.9mcg
4 to 8 yo1.2mcg
9 to 13 yo1.8mcg
14 to 18 yo 2.4mcg
Adults 2.4mcg
Pregnant teens & women 2.6mcg
Breastfeeding teens & Women2.8mcg
Hello New Me: A Daily Food and Exercise Journal to Help You Become the Best Version of Yourself, (90 Days Meal and Activity Tracker)
  • Happy Books Hub (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 110 Pages – 02/24/2018 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

You can keep a food diary to begin with to check how much B12 you are consuming. Like we mentioned previously, everyones absorption will differ and so it’s worth finding out if you are getting sufficient amounts.

Home B12 Testing Kit

You can ask your doctor to take a blood test and check your B12 levels but you can also do a home testing if you want something convenient. There are a tonne of options on the market but the best and most widely recognised is ‘Lets Get Checked’.

They actually test for tonnes of health conditions, from sexually transmitted disease testing, to women and mens health.

LetsGetChecked – at-Home Vitamin B12 Test | CLIA Certified Labs | Monitor Vitamin B12 Levels | Private and Secure | Accurate & Fast Online Results in 2-5 Days | 1 kit
  • WHY GET TESTED? Low energy, breathlessness, and numbness or tingling in your hands and feet are just some of the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • FOR A HEALTHY YOU: There are many causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, including diet and chronic health conditions. Check your levels with this at-home test to support a healthy you.
  • QUICK & EASY SAMPLE COLLECTION: Accredited laboratory testing from home! Self collect your sample at home and return to our lab with the prepaid label provided. We use the same labs as those used by physicians and hospitals.
  • CLINICAL GUIDANCE & SUPPORT: Our service includes access to board-certified physicians & dedicated clinical support, to provide you with 1-on-1 guidance. Our nursing team will call you to explain abnormal results, to help you get peace of mind.
  • 100% PRIVATE AND SECURE: Fast, confidential lab results available on your password-protected account within a matter of days. Your privacy is our priority. Our results come with easy-to-understand health reports written by our experts.

You will need to prick your finger for a few drops of blood. Very similar to how a diabetic would test their sugar level. It’s not painful, you just need to make sure you have a clean finger, that is not freezing cold, otherwise you’ll struggle to get the sample.

It’s really very simple and something worth considering if you are concerned you are not getting enough B12 in your diet.

Find out your B12 status by getting a kit. You can also check a tonne of other vitamin levels. They offer a complete essential vitamins test.

Once you’ve taken the test, you just need to send it back in the provided packaging. I found this company incredible efficient, I received the pack really quickly after ordering it.

B12 Rich Foods

The good news is there are a tonne of foods you could already be eating that may be fortified in vitamin B12. Make sure to check the labels and cross examine with your recommended daily allowance.

I personally get a reasonable amount of B12 in my diet through the following products:

Vegan Oat Milk

I am a big fan of Oatly milk. Although the barista one is intended for coffee and tea, we also use it on cereals too! The creamy consistency is just so good! You can see our full guide to vegan milks here.

And obviously since we are on the subject of B12, this product has 0.38ug in 100 mls. So a standard glass of milk or there about would be 30% of your recommended daily allowance of B12.

Check out prices of Oatly here.

Nutritional Yeast (NOOCH)

Nutritional yeast flakes or NOOCH as it’s sometimes referred to is a great addition to any meal. I literally sprinkle this gold on all of my food. It does give a nutty flavour to food and as mentioned, it’s in so many different vegan recipes.

NOW Supplements, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Fortified with Additional B-Vitamins, Super Food, 10-Ounce
  • SUPER FOOD: NOW pleasant-tasting Nutritional Yeast Flakes are produced from a specially selected strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Take 2 level tablespoons daily mixed in milk, fruit juice, or vegetable juice. It can also be used in vegetarian recipes or added to protein shakes to boost nutritional content.
  • FORTIFIED WITH ADDITIONAL B-VITAMINS: NOW Nutritional Yeast delivers the natural nutrient profile found in genuine whole foods.
  • CLASSIFICATIONS/CERTIFICATIONS: Vegan/Vegetarian, Kosher, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Low Sodium
  • GMP Quality Assured: NPA A-rated GMP certification means that every aspect of the NOW manufacturing process has been examined, including our laboratory/testing methods (for stability, potency, and product formulation).
  • Packaged in the USA by a family owned and operated company since 1968

You need to ensure you pick up the fortified one, as they don’t all have B12 additive. All of the brands differ when it comes to the amount of B12 you can find in a serving. For example one particular brand has 2.2mcg per 5g serving. That is almost the full required amount for an adult per day.

Check out prices of NOOCH.

Marmite Spread

Marmite is a British food that is most commonly used as a spread on bread or stirred into soups. It is a nutritional yeast spread that is quite pungent in flavour. I can personally say I am a BIG FAN of marmite.

Marmite 250g Single Pack
  • Product Type:Leavening Agent
  • Item Package Dimensions:7.391 cm L X 8.89 cm W X 18.796 cm H
  • Item Package Weight:0.431 kg
  • Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Luckily, it is available in the US on amazon. It is very much an acquired taste, you either love it or hate, there is no in between. Marmite lovers are generally addicted to it, so watch out for your new food obsession! It has a tonne of health properties and contains high amounts of B12 in just one serving.

Check out prices of Marmite here.

Vegan Cereals With B12

So many cereals nowadays are fortified with B12, oh and they are plant based (of course). Here’s a few:

All Bran

Corn Flakes Weetabix Cheerios

B12 Supplementation

Many vegans will say in order to make sure you are getting exactly what you need, it’s best to take a vitamin supplement that contains B12.

Although I am happy that I am eating good amounts B12, it is a bit of a job to make sure I am hitting the required amount every single day, especially since I am watching my kids diets as well.

For this reason, we all take a supplement. There are a tonne out there, however the Solimo timed release one for adults has a lot of positive reviews.

Nature Made Vitamin B12 1000 mcg, Dietary Supplement For Energy Metabolism Support, 160 Time Release Tablets, 160 Day Supply
  • Energy metabolism support supplement: contains one 160 count bottle of Nature Made Vitamin B12 1000 mcg Time Release Tablets for a 160-day supply(1)
  • Nature Made B12 1000 mcg are dietary supplements that help break down food into energy that your body can use all day long
  • B-12 vitamin helps support brain cell function and mood health (2)
  • Vitamin B12 is important for proper red blood cell formation and helps reduce fatigue for those low in B12 vitamins
  • Adults take one of these Nature Made B12 timed release tablets daily with water and a meal
Click her for Solimo B12 prices.

If you have little ones, they may need supplementation if they are vegans as well. My kids don’t mind taking it too much, they generally taste good to kids!

Liquid B Complex for Kids – Kids B Complex B2, B6, B12 & B5 – Vitamin B Complex Liquid May aid in Immunity & Mood – Sugar Free B Complex Vitamin Supplement for Kids & Adults – Vitamin B12 60 Servings
  • Vitamin B Complex for Children to Thrive – a blend of essential vitamins that are crucial for kids healthy growth and development. Liquid B12 vitamins help your toddler convert food into energy. Our B complex liquid supports healthy brain function!
  • Liquid Vitamin B12 Helps Fill Nutritional Gaps – Vitamin B12 liquid is ideal for picky eaters who don’t like eggs, or fish! Be confident your kiddos are getting all the B vitamins they need! Our vitamin B complex liquid can be added to juices or smoothies
  • A Complete Vitamin B Complex – Our B complex vitamin supplement has all the B vitamins your kiddo needs. B12 is a powerful antioxidant, B5 may aid in occasional brain fog, B6 metabolizes amino acids, and B12 supports healthy brain function & mood balance
  • Clean Ingredients – Safe & effective formula without icky stuff. Non GMO, organic b complex, vegan and gluten-free. JoySpring’s liquid vitamin b complex drops for kids absorb 4x faster and more efficient than pills or gummies, and it’s sugar free!
  • B-12 Vitamin Drops Created by Parents Like You for Children Like Yours – we know how important it is to give your little ones the best so JoySpring created a Liquid B complex formula that is a healthy and natural way to fill nutritional gaps.

Check out the prices of Burst B12 for kids here.

We hope you found this article useful. Before you go, make sure to check out our vegan recipes. We specialise in all things lunches.

Vegan Sandwiches



Vegan BBQ

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice, please speak to your medical practitioner if you have a concern.

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