Plant Based Diet
Plant Based Diet
By | October 17th, 2013 | Modified - March 10th, 2015

Vitamin B12 For Vegans

Vitamin B12 For Vegans
Vitamin B12 For Vegans

Vitamin B12 for vegans, should vegans take vitamin b12 supplements? Vegans and also vegetarians are cautioned to take a vitamin B12 supplements because their diets lack vitamin B12. Since I eat a plant based diet, I have struggled with whether I should take a vitamin B12 supplement or not.

A lack of vitamin B12 in the diet can compromise healthy living and lead to vitamin b12 deficiency in vegans. Vegans and vegetarians are more susceptible to vitamin b12 deficiency than people who eat meat, because plants do not make vitamin B12.

You know what, animals don’t make vitamin B12 either. Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria that live in soil, on plants, and in water sources. Grazing animals feed on the plants and water and ingest the bacteria and the vitamin B12 it produces. Carnivorous animals get their vitamin B12 by eating grazing animals.

People who eat meat get their vitamin B12 from within the meat, just like carnivorous animals do. So where do we get vitamin B12 for vegans and vegetarians? Also, since it is more difficult to get B12 from plants, is it natural to be a vegan or vegetarian?

Dwindling Vitamin B12 In Nature

Well, at one time vitamin getting vitamin B12 for vegans and vegetarians wasn’t so difficult because it was abundant in the environment through water sources like mountain streams and well water. Theses sources spread the bacteria that makes vitamin B12 to the soil and plants so vitamin B12 was readily available.

Now we get most of our water through the public water system which is treated with chlorine to kill harmful bacteria, but it also kills bacteria that is beneficial to our health. So a natural and abundant source of non-animal vitamin B12 has been eliminated for most vegans and vegetarians.

Our mass produced vegetation must be cleaned thoroughly to not past on harmful bacteria, which also kills good bacteria. And after we purchase our vegetables and fruits we must clean them thoroughly again, removing a source of vitamin B12.

Nature provides an ample source of vitamin B12 for vegans and vegetarians, but manmade systems destroy that source of vitamin B12 which produces the need for vitamin B12 supplements.

During the time of abundance of vitamin B12 in the environment, it was easy to get the “B12 benefits.” Now that the natural source of vitamin B12 in the environment been reduced, getting proper amounts of vitamin B12 for vegans and vegetarians as well as people who eat meat is a concern.

Sources: Vitamin B12 For Vegans And Vegetarians

I have been reluctant to take a vitamin B12 supplement because I’d rather get my nutrients from whole foods, for several reasons. Nature provides nutrients in the best possible combinations that interact in a synergistic way to best support our health.

The processing of foods, including supplements, allow people to knowingly and unknowingly contaminate, interfere, and reduce the nutrient value of our foods and supplements.

To keep within a totally whole-food diet I stayed away from taking a vitamin B12 supplement and I took spirulina as natural daily source of vitamin B12.

Some studies show that spirulina is not a good source of vitamin B12 while other studies do. The accepted medical literature says spirulina is not an acceptable source of vitamin B12 because it contains the analog form of vitamin B12 which is not primarily used by the body.

The body is supposed to mainly use the active form of vitamin B12 that contains the trace element cobalt. The analog form found in spirulina, which does not contain cobalt, interferes with the absorption of the active form. Many people still debate as to whether the analogue form of vitamin B12 found in spirulina is reliable or not.

Vitamin B12 For Vegans

Since vitamin B12 benefits are vitally important in supporting healthy living, I didn’t want to take any chances and I broke down and decided to buy a vegan vitamin B12 supplement. I do alternate between taking spirulina and the vegan vitamin B12 supplement though.

I have read numerous testimonials about vegans who were healthy and they only naturally supplemented with spirulina to get their vitamin B12. For me, it is hard to get a clear picture of which way I should go, so I go with a alternating combination of spirulina and the vegan supplement.

Nutritional yeast is another natural source of vitamin B12, but I personally stay away from all forms of yeast.

Because of the reduction of naturally occurring vitamin B12 in our food sources, vegans and vegetarians as well as people who eat meat need to be cautious about getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet


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About Author:

I obtained a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University, a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and have studied social work. I am a web designer/developer and I enjoy boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging, and my plant based diet supports all that I do. Eating a plant based diet and exercising is a great way to achieve healthy living. ~ Natural Life Energy

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  • Have you tried the spirulina from +nutrex from Hawaii? That one seems to work for me.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…Walking for a CauseMy Profile

    • Aqiyl says:

      Hi Alexandra,

      I haven’t tried that brand, but I do use spirulina. Right now I just like to alternate between the vegan supplement and spirulina because the supplement contains the rare trace element cobalt and spirulina contains the analogue form of B12 that doesn’t.


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