Best Vegan Foods With Vitamin B12
Vitamin B-12 plays an essential role in a person’s health. A lack of vitamin B-12 in a person’s diet can adversely affect their physical and mental health. Vegetarians and vegans must take particular care to consume enough vitamin B-12, as it is mainly found in meat, eggs, and dairy products. Therefore, it is more likely a vegan or vegetarian will develop a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for the cells. It’s important for keeping your nerves, blood cells, and DNA healthy. Animal products naturally contain this vitamin. Meats, dairy, and eggs are particularly good sources. Plant-based foods do not naturally contain B12, so people who follow a vegetarian diet or vegan diet need to make sure they get enough each day to avoid a deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious health consequences, such as pernicious anemia. While vegetarians and vegans need to think more about where their vitamin B12 is coming from, there are still plenty of great options.
Very low B12 intakes can cause anemia and nervous system damage. The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milk, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements, such as our very own VEG 1.
Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms. Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid anemia and nervous system damage, but many do not get enough to minimize potential risk of heart disease or pregnancy complications.
B12 is an exceptional vitamin. It is required in smaller amounts than any other known vitamin. Ten micrograms of B12 spread over a day appear to supply as much as the body can use. In the absence of any apparent dietary supply, deficiency symptoms usually take five years or more to develop in adults, though some people experience problems within a year.
A very small number of individuals with no obvious reliable source appear to avoid clinical deficiency symptoms for twenty years or more. B12 is the only vitamin that is not recognized as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, together with exposure to the sun.
Many herbivorous mammals, including cattle and sheep, absorb B12 produced by bacteria in their own digestive system. B12 is found to some extent in soil and plants. These observations have led some vegans to suggest that B12 was an issue requiring no special attention, or even an elaborate hoax. Others have proposed specific foods, including spirulina, nori, tempeh, and barley grass, as suitable non-animal sources of B12. Such claims have not stood the test of time.
National recommendations for B12 intakes vary significantly from country to country. The US recommended intake is 2.4 micrograms a day for ordinary adults rising to 2.8 micrograms for nursing mothers. The German recommendation is 3 micrograms a day. Recommended intakes are usually based on 50% absorption, as this is typical for small amounts from foods.
To meet the US and German recommendations you need to obtain sufficient B12 to absorb 1.5 micrograms per day on average. This amount should be sufficient to avoid even the initial signs of inadequate B12 intake, such as slightly elevated homocysteine and methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels, in most people. Even slightly elevated homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of many health problems including heart disease in adults, preeclampsia during pregnancy and neural tube defects in babies.
Why Vitamin B-12 Is Important
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can have a wide range of consequences, including nervous system disorders, organ failure, and extreme tiredness. Additionally, the reduction in vitamin B-12 leads to a loss of red blood cells. If a person’s red blood cells aren’t sufficiently replenished, a deficiency can lead to anemia, which could also have a severe impact on the cardiovascular, renal, and neurological systems.
Vitamin B-12 is essential for a person’s healthy development, growth, and reproduction. It helps the body use glucose properly, and regulates the amount of glucose and insulin released into the bloodstream. B12 is also needed to produce red blood cells, which transport oxygen to body tissues. B-12 is also essential in making DNA, which enables the creation of proteins and enzymes.
Vitamin B-12 is needed to make thyroid hormones. Therefore, vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Trying to obtain your vitamin B-12 requirement through dietary sources is generally not enough to achieve this. Vitamin B-12 is best obtained from a healthful, varied, plant-based diet.
Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin that humans cannot produce on their own. Humans require it to survive, but vegetarians and vegans can usually find B-12 in various animal products including meat, eggs, and dairy products. Vegetarians and vegans should know that B-12 is the main source of vitamin B-12 in a person’s diet. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is the dietary amount of vitamin B-12 a person should consume every day.
In most developed countries, the DRI is an average of 0.6 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day for adults aged 19 years and over. B12 is also commonly found in fortified products such as bread, cereals, and canned fruits. Vitamin B-12 is a highly-protected market, and only a few manufacturers produce it, mainly in China.
Vegan Foods That Contain Vitamin B12
Here are some vegan foods containing Vitamin B12:
- Nutritional yeast – we use nutritional yeast in our vegan dishes.
- Nori seaweed – they are excellent for making vegan sushi.
- Cremini mushrooms – we use a lot of mushrooms in our vegan cooking. They taste delicious and contain vitamin B12 among other nutrients.
- Plant-based milk is a popular choice among vegans because it is a good source of vitamin b12, and it is readily available in most supermarkets. Other plant-based dairy products that contain vitamin b12 are cottage cheese, cheese, milk, and yogurt.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Symptoms of B-12 deficiency vary. They include:
- Decreased appetite,
- Weakness and Fatigue,
- Irritability and drowsiness,
- Diarrhea and vomiting,
- Muscle weakness,
- Poor coordination,
- Vision changes,
- Severe brain damage, and
- Impaired thinking.
How can you prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency? In addition to avoiding vitamin B-12-containing meat, eggs, and dairy products, a vegan or vegetarian can take supplements of vitamin B-12 to ensure that they are adequately supplied with the vitamin. However, people are advised to take vitamins in moderation and when recommended. For vegans or vegetarians, a B-12 deficiency is a possible risk. The primary risk is due to taking supplements without enough magnesium or potassium.
Abdominal cramps are one of the first signs of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency include:
- bloody stools
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
- brain dysfunction
- weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- joint pain
- nerve damage and numbness
- unexplained fatigue
- spinal problems
Vitamin B-12 plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the nervous, digestive, and reproductive systems. A deficiency in this essential vitamin is very common in people who do not eat animal products. Vitamin B-12 is often found in animal products, including dairy products, eggs, and liver.
Vegan Foods With Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products. However, there are many foods on the market that can be eaten and still maintain a healthy heart and healthy digestive system. Plant-based cottage cheese, which is made from nuts is a delicious way to consume high amounts of vitamin B12. Vegan cottage cheese also contains an adequate amount of protein and calcium.
Nuts are an excellent source of plant-based protein. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12. Almonds are also a great source of iron and calcium. Dark chocolate contains a significant amount of flavonoids, which are antioxidant vitamins that help prevent heart disease. Flavonoids are also known to prevent cancer and improve your overall health.
Tips To Get Enough Vitamins For Vegans
The best way to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin B-12 is to eat a balanced diet of a variety of foods. An easy way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin B-12 is by incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet. The vitamin B-12 content in these foods varies according to the food they are grown in and depends on their natural fermentation.
For example, the amount of vitamin B-12 in a piece of beef is quite low, as it has been produced in the intestine of the animal. People who eat a lot of processed foods are more likely to have a deficiency in vitamin B-12, as they use nutritional yeast to recreate the natural taste of these foods. Nutritionists recommend that one should not consume nutritional yeast, as it is only suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Since most vegetarians and vegans consume vegetables that are not fortified with vitamin B-12, they are at risk of not having enough vitamin B-12 in their diet. Therefore, in order to meet their vitamin B-12 needs, they must eat fortified products. Many brands of fortified cereals, vegetable oil, and vegetables have added vitamin B-12. However, others have only added vitamin B-12 and they might be low in the vitamin.
Therefore, consumers should check to make sure their fortified food does not have only the vitamin added and not the vitamin B-12 in the product. If it does not say “fortified with” on the label, they should still get the vitamin from eating animal products. Vegan activists will tell you that eating animal products is okay because animal products contain vitamin B-12.
Take vitamin B-12 supplements. This should be your primary source of vitamin B-12. However, eating a wide variety of foods is also a healthy option. Vitamin B-12 is absorbed best when taken orally in the form of capsules, tablets or as powder.
However, if you suffer from nausea or vomiting, it may be best to take the powdered form as capsules tend to be hard to swallow and leave a lingering taste. Choose the highest quality B-12 supplements available. Avoid B-12 over-the-counter supplements as these are often higher in copper and zinc than the vitamin. Copper and zinc can interfere with the absorption of B-12 and could lead to kidney stones, kidney disease, and other health issues.
The Risks Of A B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is serious and a major cause of anemia. Although most people will experience some signs and symptoms of anemia or B12 deficiency, some develop acute liver failure. People who have a B12 deficiency may also develop an inability to absorb a vitamin from food. In addition to anemia, there are numerous signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency, including headaches, confusion, seizures, and memory loss.
Some symptoms of B12 deficiency are similar to those of celiac disease or of fibromyalgia. Symptoms may also include an elevated liver function test. People who are taking anti-inflammatory medications or HIV medications that also have effects on liver function may also have elevated liver function tests. B12 deficiency can also lead to nerve pain.
It is essential to follow a vegan diet if you are vegan. However, if you suffer from a vitamin B-12 deficiency, it can affect your physical and mental health. Vitamin B-12 is essential for cell and bone growth in children and adults. It is also used for the normal functioning of red blood cells.
A deficiency can result in anemia, in which the body does not have enough red blood cells. Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency can include:
- Digestive problems,
- Mood swings,
- Mouth ulcers,
- Weakness and fatigue,
- Lack of energy,
- Weak bones and teeth,
- Apathy, and
- Problems speaking, understanding, and remembering.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should consider consulting a doctor, as the disease may be life-threatening.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause side effects such as loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, anemia, and numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. The most common signs of a deficiency include weight loss, hair loss, headaches, fatigue, constipation, pale skin, a swollen tongue, and bone pain. Vitamin B-12 is necessary for making red blood cells, skin, and the brain.
Vitamin B-12 is also required for a person to reproduce, as well as to make hormones in the adrenal gland. Therefore, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can result in more serious medical issues if it’s not properly treated. For these and other reasons, it is important that a person take vitamin B-12 supplements, especially if they do not get the vitamin from a plant-based diet.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you get enough vitamin B-12 is by consuming nutritional yeast. This is a harmless food that can be found in many supermarkets. This food contains B-12 and is particularly useful as a supplement. Harissa is a world-renowned condiment, that is known for its heat. It is made from red chilli pepper, tomatoes, and garlic, all of which can contribute to increasing levels of vitamin B-12. Inclusion of your daily vitamin B-12 needs in the diet with these foods may be all that is required for complete health, although taking supplements may be recommended if a deficiency does occur.
Nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12, making it the perfect addition to many vegan diets. Some nutritionists have been known to suggest using nutritional yeast as an alternative to dairy-free yogurt, as it has been linked to more balanced blood sugar levels.
However, as nutritional yeast contains toxic amounts of sulphur, it should not be eaten by children or pregnant women. It is also possible that consuming nutritional yeast may contribute to the development of iron deficiency anemia in women. The best way to ensure that a vegan or vegetarian is eating enough vitamin B-12 is to add the vitamin to your food. Substitute powdered or fresh nutritional yeast for other dairy-free cheese products.
Fortified Non-Dairy Milk
Vitamin B-12 from fortified non-dairy milk is also considered an excellent source of vitamin B-12. Just like fortified soy milk, plant milk such as soy, almond, and coconut milk contains B-12. By making the switch to a plant-based diet, a vegan or vegetarian will also need to increase their consumption of fortified non-dairy milk.
Fortified Cheese – Many vegans and vegetarians may feel restricted from enjoying a variety of traditional and vegan cheese because they have chosen to eliminate milk and dairy products from their diet. If cheese is not a part of your diet plan, it can be difficult to find a suitable vegan substitute for this taste sensation.
To help meet your daily requirements of vitamin B-12, choose fortified non-dairy milk products. The main sources of vitamin B-12 in non-dairy products are plant foods such as:
- soy milk,
- fortified rice milk, and
For vegetarians, fortified rice milk and soy milk provide a relatively high level of vitamin B-12. Compared to other dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, soy and rice milk tend to be higher in protein and calcium. Because soybeans are low in fat, they can be used as a source of vitamin B-12. To aid absorption of vitamin B-12 from plant foods, add small amounts of powdered or liquid non-dairy soy or rice to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, or meats.
If you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, you will notice a reduction in your energy levels. Your brain and nervous system will not function as effectively as they should. Common symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency include depression, gastrointestinal upset, and anemia.
If you consume a high protein diet, including soy products, tofu, fish, or eggs, and you do not consume vitamin B-12 in your diet, it is important to ensure you consume vitamin B-12 supplements. Also make sure you are getting enough B-12 in your diet, by eating fortified foods such as B12 milk. Most vegan foods with B12 are dairy products and soy products. Soy products include soy milk, soy lattes, soy yogurts, and soy ice creams.
The best vegan spreads contain coconut or cashew oil. Coconut oil is the most common and most versatile oil that is used to make vegan spreads. Coconut oil can also be used to make this spread sweet, savoury, and spicy.
There are several health benefits for vegans and vegetarians. Vegans and vegetarians who eat good food and do not eat animal products are healthier than their meat-eating peers. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is always beneficial to live a healthful lifestyle.
While many vegetarians opt for vegetarian or vegan diets, there are a number of misconceptions about them. Vegans who eat processed foods tend to be at risk of deficiencies, as there is less variety in their diets and the products they choose. It is recommended that vegetarians eat whole grains, pulses, tofu and foods with vitamin B-12, such as milk and cheese. In the United States, vegans can get B-12 supplements or fortified foods like fortified orange juice, tofu and vegan yogurt.
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