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Vitamin B12: Vegan & Vegetarian Nutrition Tips

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for vegetarians and vegans. Learn about the best sources of Vitamin B12, how to get enough of it, and the signs that you're deficient.


Some nutrients that our bodies need can only be found in animal-based foods. Vitamin B12 is one of them. 

B12 is essential for the proper functioning of our nervous system and red blood cells and is especially important for vegetarians and vegans who don't consume any animal products. 

Let's take a look at some alternative sources of B12 to ensure you're getting what you need!

How much Vitamin B12 does an adult need?

The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for adults is 2.4 micrograms per day, but this can be increased to 2.6 micrograms per day in some instances, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Signs of B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency is a lack of vitamin B12 in the body. The deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue, and may lead to other complications. To make things more complicated, if you're eating lots of green leafy veggies rich in folate, this can mask a B12 deficiency, so it's crucial to check that you're getting enough.

Some signs of B12 deficiency are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Pins and needles or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Feelings of depression
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

Sources of Vitamin B12 for Vegetarian and Vegan-based Diets.

The great news is that an increasing number of vegan-friendly foods come fortified with vitamin B12, including.* 

Cereals Fortified with B12

A number of breakfast cereals are fortified with B12. 

Plant-based Milk

Some plant-based milk like soy-milk available in the supermarket are fortified with B12

Yeast Extract Spread 

Spreads like Vegemite is a vegan-friendly product, and their 40% less salt option is fortified with Vitamin B12!

Meat Substitutes

Some soy-based meat substitutes are also fortified with vitamin B12.

    *Check your favourite brands when you next shop with B12 added.

    What about a B12 Supplement?

    This is a good question! However, there are some things to consider before deciding whether you need to supplement your diet with B12.

    If you are eating a varied diet, including the sources listed above, then the chances are that you can get all the B12 that you need from your food. 

    If not, it may be wise to take a vitamin B12 supplement. Your doctor can help determine if this is the case for you.


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