Do Vegans Lack B12?
According to a scholarly article written by doctors for the National Institute of Health, the risk of malnutrition for people on a vegan diet is quite low. While these doctors suggest taking a B12 supplement and getting adequate Vitamin D from sunshine or other sources, they say they haven’t seen evidence of serious deficiencies with 5,000 patents served over a span of almost 30 years.
The doctors say that vegans need a sufficient calorie intake and some nutritional guidance; however, vegans may be more likely to be the kinds of people who take care with their diets than the average population. Getting some required nutrition takes some more work with a vegan diet; however, vegans tend to be a bit more thoughtful about their diets than people on less strict diets.
So, How Much Vitamin B12 Do Vegans Need?
Whenever people argue against veganism, they mention Vitamin B12. That’s because this is one nutrient that’s not typically fond in plant-based sources. Even though this vitamin is important, it takes a long time for any signs of nutritional deficiency to show up. At the same time, nutritionists do suggest that it’s better to take this vitamin daily or weekly. That’s because with Vitamin B12, the more often you take it, the less you actually need.
Vegans can consume Vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified food. For instance, some cereals and diary alternatives may be supplemented. An inexpensive product call nutritional yeast is almost always fortified with both iron and B12 from vegan sources. You can use a bit of nutritional yeast as a condiment every day on vegetables, potatoes, or other food. It has a sort of salty and cheesy taste that most people like or barely notice.
So, how much vitamin B12 do vegans need to stay healthy? Actually, the answer depends upon how often you consume Vitamin B12.
According to the Vegan Society, you should remember these B12 guidelines:
- If you decide to consume fortified food at least two or three times daily, get at least 3 micrograms of B12 a day.
- If you take supplements daily, get a minimum of 10 micrograms a day.
- If you rely upon weekly supplementation, make sure that your supplement has at least 2,000 micrograms of B12.
Again, the more often you consume Vitamin B12, the less you need. That’s because your body can absorb this nutrient better in small amounts. On the other hand, you won’t do any harm if you take somewhat more than the suggested doses.
In other words, it’s fine to take a weekly supplement and still consume a few servings of fortified food a week. It’s just that if you manage to consume at least 3 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day that is spaced out a couple of times over the course of a day, you probably don’t need to bother to buy a supplement.