What is the best way to ensure that I get enough B12 on a vegan diet?

This discussion will explore the importance of Vitamin B12, and discuss how to keep adequate levels when following a vegan diet. This topic is often brought up by my clients, as a nutritionist and dietician. It's because many people believe that Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal-based products. Expect to find out about B12's importance, how to include it in a vegan diet, as well as other tips to maintain your overall health.

Vitamin B12 and Plant-Based Nutrition

Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) is essential for nerve function, the formation of red blood cells, and DNA. Untreated deficiency may lead to neurological disorders and irreversible damages. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal-based products. This is problematic for vegans who follow a strictly plant-based lifestyle. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that vegans have a greater risk of B12 deficiencies. It's important to include B12-rich food or supplements in your diet.

Starting Out: Ensure Sufficient Intake of B12

Understanding your nutritional requirements is the first step to ensuring adequate B12 intake. Adults should consume a recommended daily allowance of 2.4 micrograms. The requirement for this vitamin can be met by a combination or supplements and foods that are fortified. While some plant-based foods claim to contain B12, it's often not in the form your body can easily absorb. This means that relying on only these sources could not be enough.

Plant Sources of Vitamin B12

Other Tips

Don't ignore other nutrition aspects while focusing on vitamin B12. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and plant proteins in a balanced diet. Blood tests are a good way to monitor B12 levels, and make adjustments in your supplement or diet regimen if necessary. Consult a dietitian or healthcare professional to make sure you are meeting your nutritional requirements.


It may seem difficult to ensure adequate B12 consumption on a vegan diet, but with awareness and careful planning it is entirely possible. You can achieve adequate B12 while maintaining a plant-based diet by incorporating fortified food, using supplements and monitoring regularly. Every individual is different, and what may work for someone else, might not be the best for you. Find a balance for your diet and body.