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Vegetarian and vegan vitamin B-12 foods

Vitamin B-12 is very important for a person’s health. A person’s physical and mental health might be harmed by a deficiency of vitamin B-12 in their diet.

Because vitamin B-12 is mostly found in meat, eggs, and dairy products, vegetarians and vegans must take extra care to receive enough of it. As a result, a vegan or vegetarian is more prone to develop a vitamin B-12 deficit.

In this post, we look at how much vitamin B-12 is needed and provide vegetarian and vegan sources.

Vegetarian foods

B-12 foods

There are several possibilities for vegetarians who want to enhance their vitamin B12 intake. The following are some solid B-12 options:

  • cheese
  • nutritional yeast
  • yogurt
  • low-fat milk
  • eggs
  • fortified cereals
  • fortified plant-based milk

While seaweed, algae, and some mushrooms all contain trace levels of vitamin B-12, further research is needed to determine the amounts and bioavailability.

A vegetarian should eat enough of the meals listed below on a regular basis. It’s critical to know how much vitamin B-12 each of these foods contains:

  • 8 ounces (oz) of yogurt contains about 1.1 mcg of vitamin B-12
  • 1 cup of low-fat milk can provide 1.2 mcg of vitamin B-12
  • 1 oz of Swiss cheese can contain 0.95 mcg of vitamin B-12
  • 1 large egg contains 0.6 mcg of vitamin B-12

Because to their high bioavailability, fortified grains are a smart choice. This means that the vitamin B-12 does not need to be broken down before being absorbed by the body.

Nutritional yeast is popular among vegetarians and vegans alike since it is simple to use and has a rich, cheesy, nutty flavour. Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on food and snacks or incorporated to cooked dishes.

A person can use nutritional yeast in the following ways:

  • prinkle it on popcorn
  • mix it into cheese sauces
  • mix it into mashed potatoes
  • sprinkle over scrambled eggs or tofu
  • stir into a creamy soup
  • add to pasta dishes
  • put it on salads

Foods for vegans

Vegans may rely on vitamin B-12 fortified foods, such as specific breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast, because they forgo all animal-derived goods. Because plant foods do not manufacture vitamin B-12, vegans must seek out additional sources of the vitamin in order to maintain their health.

The following foods can be fortified with vitamin B-12:

  • fortified non-dairy milk
  • meat substitutes
  • breakfast cereals
  • nutritional yeast
  • vegan spreads

It’s critical to examine the labels on all of these foods because some may not be vitamin B-12 fortified. Supplemental B-12 in the form of capsules or injections may be required for patients who are already B-12 deficient.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B-12

It is critical for a person’s health to get adequate vitamin B-12 in their diet. The vitamin’s health benefits include:

  • the formation and division of red blood cells
  • protecting the nervous system
  • synthesizing a person’s DNA
  • providing the body with energy

B-12’s recommended daily amount (RDA) is determined by a person’s age:

  • Adults and teenagers: 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day
  • Children between 9 and 13 years old: 1.8 mcg per day
  • Children between 4 and 8 years old: 1.2 mcg per day
  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old: 0.9 mcg per day

Infants aged 7 to 12 months require 0.5 mcg of B-12 per day, whereas newborns aged less than 6 months require only 0.4 mcg.

Pregnant women require 2.6 mcg per day, whereas breast-feeding mothers require 2.8 mcg.

Symptoms of B-12 deficiency

A vitamin B-12 shortage can be extremely harmful to one’s health. Anemia, some neurological abnormalities, and stunted growth and healing are all symptoms of vitamin B-12 insufficiency.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency:

  • mood swings
  • a decline in memory, judgment, and understanding
  • pale skin
  • loss of appetite
  • tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears)
  • nerve damage
  • weakness and fatigue
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • numbness
  • blurred vision
  • fever
  • sweating
  • difficulty walking
  • problems with the digestive system
  • a sore tongue or mouth ulcers
  • breathlessness
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • depression

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away. The doctor will enquire about their symptoms and do tests to see if a vitamin B-12 deficiency is to blame.


Vegetarians and vegans should take precautions to ensure that they get enough vitamin B-12 in their diet. Health professionals can advise patients on where to locate vitamin B-12 sources and how much to take.

Without adequate vitamin B-12 levels, a person may have major adverse effects such as nerve damage and depression.

Vegans and vegetarians should be aware of alternative sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified goods, because no plant-derived foods contain it.



Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.