About Vitamin B12 For Vegans 

Who needs vitamin B12? Why is it important? Well everyone needs it because it is important for their metabolism among other things to function. B12 is also known as cobalamin, and it is a water soluble vitamin that is found in many foods. However if you are vegan or vegetarian it becomes a little harder to consume efficient amounts. So what are the 8 sources of vitamin B12 for vegans? 

Why is vitamin b12 important?

It is a water soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin. It is an important nutrient for the healthy functioning of the brain, nervous system, and formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is synthesized by bacteria or archaea.

No animal, human, or  fungi can produce it on their own. Humans that do not consume enough vitamin B12 are at risk of anemia and damage to the nervous system. Reliable vegan sources of B12 include fortified foods, plant milks, supplements, and vitamin injections. 

How much vitamin b12 is safe to take a day?

The National Institute of Health recommends that people age 14 and older get 2.4 mcg of B-12, and for adults and adolescent pregnant females it is 2.6 mcg of B-12, and for adult and adolescent lactating females it is 2.8mcg per day.

1. Fortified Nutritional Yeast

Shop Online Nutritional Yeast


This deactivated yeast contains an abundance of nutritional value, thats why is one of the best vegan sources high in vitamin b-12. It is a yellow powdered food seasoning. This deactivated yeast is popular among vegans due to the fact it’s nutritionally rich. Furthermore it tastes like cheese. Nutritional yeast is a rich source of B complex vitamins. It is very popular among vegans especially when making cheese substitutes.

Some brands are fortified with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can be hard for vegans to consume with out supplements. Therefore fortified nutritional yeast is a great condiment to have. Nutritional yeast adds a creamy nutty flavor. It is a complete protein due to the fact it contains all 9 essential amino acids the human body cannot produce.

Brands of nutritional yeast that are fortified:

  • Bobs Red Mill
  • Braggs 
  • Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes

One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 28 calories, 77mg potassium, 2.1 grams dietary fiber, 3.8 grams protein, 1% calcium, 65% vitamin B-12, and 1% iron.

2. Red Bull

Redbull
How do vegans get vitamin b12?

Redbull Energy Drink is another food source of Bs. Additionally it is vegan AND gluten free. This energy drink sold by Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, was created in 1987.

Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 6.06 billion cans sold in 2016.

One 12 oz can of Redbull contains 168 calories, 11 mg potassium, 37 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 111 mg caffeine, 4% calcium, 119% vitamin B-12, 360% vitamin B-6, and 2% magnesium. Additionally, it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians

An 8oz can of Sugar Free Redbull contains 10 calories, 6 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein, 100% Niacin, 250% vitamin B-6, 80% vitamin B-12, and 50% panthothenic acid. Personally I love a big sugar free Red Bull energy drink! However I know that certainly is not for everyone, that’s why there are these 8 Sources Of Vitamin B12.

3. Plant Based Supplements 

vegan sources of vitamin b12 b6 b3 almond vegetarians water lentils

There’s nothing wrong with taking supplements to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients.  Whether it be vitamin Bs, calcium, iron, etc, it is an easy thing to do. Meat eaters rely on supplements, vitamins, and fortified foods to get enough vitamin b-12 and other nutrients so why make a big deal of vegans do it?

If you can’t eat enough vitamin b12 recipes, try supplements some supplements have gelatin in the capsules rendering them not vegan at all! Gelatin is made from animal parts. Vegan vitamin brands that are high in B12 include Herbaland, Vegan Life Nutrition, UrbanVegan, and MegaFood. 

What are the best vegan supplements?

Shop Online Vegan Vitamin B12 Supplements
  • VeganSafe B-12 vitamin B12 drops are vegan, organic, and gluten free. They are also GMO free and do not test on animals.
  • Garden of Life Vitamin B12 Vitamin Code Raw B12 is a Whole Food Supplement. 
  • MaryRuth Organics Vegan Vitamin D3+B12 Gummy supplements are Plant-Based. 

How much supplement should I take?

Each brand of supplements provide their own nutritional information on the side of the box and bottle. It will also give you a servings size such as “servings: 2 capsules per day.” 

4. Fortified Almond Milk 

Almond milk is a vegan food source of many vitamins and minerals. Many plant based milks are fortified with vitamin B-12. That’s why almond milk is one of the 8 Sources. Almond Milk is made by grinding down the almonds with water and straining out the pulp.

Many Manufacturers fortify their plant milk with nutrients. In 2013 almond milk surpass soy milk sales in the United States. Almond milk has half the calories of dairy milk. It’s also rich in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

One example: a cup of unsweetened So Delicious Almond Milk contains 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 35 mg potassium, 1 gram of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 30% vitamin D, 10% magnesium, 8% selenium, 50% vitamin B-12, and 4% zinc.

5. Fortified Soy Milk 

Soymilk is made by soaking then grinding soybeans, boiling the mixture, and filtering out the pulp. It is a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein. Soymilk also has half the calories of dairy milk. It’s rich in protein, fiber, calcium, and potassium. It also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. .

One example: a cup of Silk Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk contains 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 350 mg potassium, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram sugar on, 7 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 30% calcium, 30% vitamin D, 15% folate, 8% phosphorus, 6% iron, 30% riboflavin, 50% vitamin b-12, and 10% magnesium.

6. Fortified Cereal 

In addition to fortified nutritional yeast and plant based milks, another vegan and vegetarian source of vitamin B12 includes breakfast cereals. There are multiple vegan friendly breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamin b12.

Break fast cereals are another vitamin b12 foods. Vegan friendly breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamin B-12 Total Corn Flakes(192%) and Fiber One Original Bran (20%). 

Additionally there are a few hot breakfast cereals that are both vegan and contain vitamin B-12. For example, Kashi brand “Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal(100%).”

7. Marmite 

I literally just learned about this condiment while researching this article. Marmite is a British food paste or spread that is apparently very salty. Marmite is one if the vegan sources.

Their slogan is “Love It Or Hate It.” The flavor is so distinctive the product name has become a metaphor in British culture as something that requires an acquired taste. 

A marmite is a French term for large metal cooking pots. Ingredients in Marmite include glutamic acid-rich yeast extract, with sodium chloride, vegetable extract, spice extracts and celery extracts. Yeast extract is an ingredient in Marmite.

This yeast ingredient is a byproduct of brewing beer. The exact composition is a trade secret. Marmite is a vitamin b12 rich food for vegans and vegetarians. Vitamin B12 is not naturally found in yeast extract, but is added to Marmite during manufacture.

4 grams of Marmite contains 9 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, .1 grams of fiber, .23 mg thiamin, .28 mg riboflavin, 6.4 mg niacin, 50% folic acid, and 40% vitamin B-12.

8. Duckweed 

vegan sources of vitamin b12 b6 b3 almond vegetarians water lentils

Update to vegan food sources of vitamin B12. According to reports, scientists have discovered that water lentils (or duckweed) contain bioactive vitamin B12. Water lentils are an aquatic plant that float on the surface of still bodies of freshwater.

Until now water lentils (duckweed) could be found in things like home aquariums. However a Florida based start up company called Parabel, discovered the natural bioactive forms of vitamin B12: adenosylcobalamin, methycobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin. It has approximately 750 percent of the RDV of vitamin B12.

9. Injectable Shots

Many wellness spas and medical clinics offer injectable shots as treatments for a variety of health issues such as lethargy, headaches, and more. But are they vegan and cruelty free? Many are not vegan at all, but some clinics do advertise completely vegan b13 shots. 

My recommendation is to call yo ur local clinic or Medspa that offers these shots and ask them personally. 

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Thanks for reading about vegan sources of vitamin B12.