Ok, here’s a secret. There aren’t actually 12 unique Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12. But there are innumerable brands and forms to get it ranging from nut milks to supplements. And plenty of things in between. Before we get into all of the really easy ways to get your B12, let’s educate ourselves on it a little bit first.
Vegans do not eat animals or animal byproducts. As a consequence, they are at risk for such deficiencies as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Niacin and other nutrients. These vitamins are all important for your health and nutritional needs. The human body does not produce Vitamin B 12, nor do plants. Animals that most humans consume do not make Vitamin B 12. They get it from the foods that they eat making them then a source of the vitamin.
Vegans consume vast amounts of fruits and vegetables that are not vegan sources of Vitamin B12. Fruits and vegetables contain folate, AKA vitamin B9 that is needed to help red blood cells divide. Sometimes the cells fail to divide adequately, and they get fatigued and suffer from a form of anemia.
The only vegan sources of vitamin B12 are supplements or consumption of fortified foods. Fortified foods are often dairy and therefore use animal byproducts. Most supplements do not contain animal products. They use bacteria that comes from bacteria cultures. Some do use gelatin so you have to read the label.
A Vitamin B12 deficiency is a serious matter as it can lead to anemia, elevated homocysteine levels that are linked to risks for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin B12 protects the nervous system from blindness, dementia, deafness, loss of energy, sore tongues, personality changes, and tingling in the hands and feet.
Many vegans believe that eating fruits and vegetables give them sufficient Vitamin B12 in their diet. Not so says the experts who teach that the only reliable vegan sources of vitamin B12 are foods fortified with B12 like milks, some soy products, some breakfast cereals, and B12 supplements.
What are some vegan sources of Vitamin B12 for Vegans?
- Vegans can consume nutritional yeast which contains active Vitamin B12 and says on its label that it is a vegetarian support formula and a reliable source of Vitamin B12.
- Vegans can consume soy milk fortified with Vitamin B12.
- Vegans can consume B12 fortified energy bars.
- Vegans can eat some breakfast cereals fortified with Vitamin B12
In over 60 years of experimentation, the only two proven vegan sources of B12 are foods that are fortified with the nutrient and Vitamin B12 supplements. Foods that some Vegans claim are sources of the vitamin, like spirulina, barley grass, dried nori, and seaweeds have not proven to be so.
Ultimately you do not need to overly concern yourself about being deficient in certain vitamins and minerals like B12. Studies show that about 35% of meat eaters are B12 deficient so it is not a problem that only vegans face. And when you consider all of the other vitamins and minerals that meat eaters do not get enough of from eating fruits and vegetables, it’s pretty easy to see the vegan diet is superior. If you want to take the easiest route to ensure your B12 levels are good, get a test from your doctor every three months. If your levels are low he can give you a simple shot and you can be on your way worry free.
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