Vegans and Vitamin B12

Fitness Lifestyle Science

A vegan diet can be great news not only for the animals and the environment, but also for your health.  But, like so much else in life, the key to veganism is balance.  And that includes making sure you can get hold of sufficient amounts of vital nutrients and vitamins – in particular B12.

Vitamin B12 is something of a biggie.  Even though its only ever needed in smaller amounts relative to other vitamins, it’s vital to human health.  A long-term absence of it can lead to a range of health issues, including fatigue, jaundice mental health problems and nerve damage.

For vegans, vitamin B12 does not widely occurring in plant foods.  It is though found in a wide range of animal products.  That said, from a vegan perspective – don’t panic!  There are many ways around this!

First up, take non-dairy milks like almond, soy, cashew or oat.  They’re often fortified with a range of vitamins, including B12.  When buying, just check out the label to see that it’s there.  It’s that easy!  Likewise, fortified cereals are often armed with a whole host of added nutrient goodies, including vitamin B12.

Then we have nutritional yeast.  “Nooch” as it is often known, is a deactivated yeast, which comes with a cheesy / nutty taste and is a perfect cheese substitute flavoring for vegans.  Be mindful though, some brands come with B12 fortification, and some don’t.  In Ireland and the UK, try Engevita, while in the US, go for Bragg’s or Bob’s Red Mill.  All are both B12 fortified and inexpensive.

Also keep in mind yeast extract spread.  Popular in Ireland, the UK and beyond, it goes well as a breakfast condiment spread on toast.  Rich in B12, this is more often than not a vegan go-to.

Additional B12 sources for vegans are also out there.  Sea vegetables, like seaweed, alaria, kelp, nori (aka sea lettuce) and blue-green algae all tick the B12 box.

Of course, outside of regular food intake, vegans that are still concerned about potential B12 deficiency can always add to their diet by taking nutritional supplements.

No need then to ever let vitamin B12 undermine your vegan day!

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