Food & Drink

Foods with Vitamin B12 for Vegetarians and Vegans with Health Benefits

Last updated on June 14th, 2023

There are a total of eight different Vitamin B, one of which is called Vitamin B12. It is water-soluble and the most compositionally the largest and the most complex vitamin that we are aware of. Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalamin.

Our bodies use a specific protein, the Intrinsic Factor, to aid in the absorption of B12. Nervous system functioning, cognitive ability, and hemoglobin manufacturing depend on it.  

But is your B12 intake adequate? Or you have a deficiency of Vitamin B12 in your body.

To maintain your health, you must intake the required Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 has a wide range of health benefits. For example, it aids in the production of DNA and hemoglobin. But it is crucial to remember that because your body cannot produce Vitamin B12 on its own, you will need to consume meals that include animal products or rely on supplements. And you should make that a consistent part of your routine.

Even though the liver can preserve B12 for up to 5 years, it is feasible to develop a deficiency in the vitamin if your diet does not contribute to the maintenance of the concentrations.

Top 10 Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

What are the health benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for a number of physiological functions, such as 

  • Preventing birth defects may be possible
  • A state of normalcy in both the brain and the neurological system.
  • Assisting in the creation and regulation of DNA
  • Red blood cell production and anemia prevention
  • Cognitive abilities (ability to think)
  • Protecting the eyes from the degenerative disease of the retina

Anemias resulting from a deficiency in Vitamin B12 are two kinds of megaloblastic anemia. RBCs don’t normally form in some cases of anemia. They’re enormous. And they’re oval-shaped, rather than spherical, like normal RBCs. This in turn results in a lesser number of RBC being produced by the bone marrow. RBCs may perish earlier than expected in several instances.


How much Vitamin B12 does a person need

The answer is dependent on a number of factors, including your age, the foods you eat, any pre-existing medical issues you have, and any drugs you take.

In terms of micrograms (mcg), the average suggested quantity for each age group varies:

Category Required amount of Vitamin B12 in mcg
Infants up to age 6 months 0.4
Babies from 7-12 months 0.5
Children from 1-3 years 0.9
Kids from 4-8 years 1.2
Children from 9-13 years 1.8
Teens from 14-18 years 2.4
Adults 2.4 (2.6 mcg/day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg/day if breastfeeding)

What are the sources of foods rich in Vitamin B12 for vegetarians

There is a diverse selection of foods rich in B12 for vegetarians. Dairy items such as cheese and milk, eggs are included in this category.

Foods having Vitamin B12 options include:

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Low-fat milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Yoghurt
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Fortified plant-based milk
  • Fortified cereals

Vitamin B12 is found in seaweed, algae, and some mushrooms, although the quantity and bio-availability have yet to be determined.

Foods with Vitamin B12 for Vegetarians

What are sources of Vitamin B12 for vegans

B12 enriched products and supplements are regarded as the most trustworthy sources of Vitamin B12 for vegans by both medical and nutritional experts. This is a consensus that both of these communities have reached.

Although there are a few plant derived sources of Vitamin B12 (and some of these alternatives have somewhat increased levels), sadly, the data is not yet good enough to allow you to rely only on these natural plant sources. As a result, vegans should exercise caution when relying only on those foods for Vitamin B12, as they may be deficient.

Since vegans do not consume any items that come from animals, they may have to rely on foods supplemented with Vitamin B12, including some morning cereals and nutritional yeast. Vegans must seek alternatives to Vitamin B12 if they want to live healthily, as plant diets do not generate this vitamin.

These are examples of foods that may be enriched with Vitamin B12:

  • Cereals
  • non-dairy milk enriched with Vitamin B12
  • dietary yeast
  • alternatives for meat
  • Spreads that are free of animal products

Please do check the labelling on all of these items, as it is possible that some of them have not been reinforced with vitamin B12. Supplementing B12 in the form of pills or injections might well be necessary for people who are chronically B12 impaired.

Foods with Vitamin B12 for Vegans

What are the dangers and implications of Vitamin B12 deficiency

As we become older, it becomes more difficult for our bodies to absorb Vitamin B12. In addition, it is possible to develop this condition if you have undergone surgery for the purpose of weight reduction or any procedure in which a portion of your stomach was cut or if you consume an excessive amount of alcohol.

Vitamin B12 insufficiency may be more prevalent if you have any of the following:

  • Atrophic gastritis, wherein the lining of your stomach has deteriorated.
  • A condition known as pernicious anemia, in which the body has difficulty absorbing Vitamin B12,
  • Intestinal diseases, such as Celiac, Chron’s, colitis; proliferation of bacteria or parasites; and parasites that infect the digestive tract.
  • Drinking too much or abusing alcohol might impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients or limit your ability to consume adequate calories. Having a swollen, irritated tongue might indicate you aren’t getting enough B12.
  • Lupus or Grave’s disease
  • Certain drugs interfere with B12 absorption.

Also susceptible to Vitamin B12 insufficiency are vegans (those who do not consume any meat and dairy, along with eggs) and vegetarians who do not consume enough eggs as well as dairy products to satisfy their Vitamin B12 requirements.

To fulfil this requirement, you can either include items that have been artificially enriched with Vitamin B12 or take nutritional supplements in your diet. 

The following are some indications of a B12 shortage that you should be aware of:

  • Cognitive impairments (processing and thinking issues) or memory problems
  • Anemia
  • Hand, leg, or foot tingling, numbing, or other unusual feelings
  • An irritated and puffy tongue
  • A state of physical and mental exhaustion
  • Having a hard time getting around (staggering, balance problems)

How can you prevent Vitamin B12 deficiency

The majority of the population may avoid a Vitamin B12 shortage by consuming adequate amounts of foods and supplements containing Vitamin B12.

You may get Vitamin B12 from meals that have been supplemented with it, as well as from multivitamins and other supplements, if you don’t eat items derived from animals or if you have a health problem that prevents your body from absorbing nutrients as efficiently as expected.

To ensure that your medications will not be affected by consuming Vitamin B12 supplementation, notify your doctor that you plan to do so so that they can advise you on the appropriate dosage.

Disclaimer: The material in this post, especially advice, is only intended to serve as a general guide. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice in any manner. For further information, go to a professional or your primary care physician. The writer disclaims all liability for this content.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get Vitamin B12 naturally for vegetarians?

Vegetarians can get Vitamin B12 naturally from eggs and dairy products.

Which food contains Vitamin B12 for vegetarians?

Vegetarians can get their Vitamin B12 from a number of sources. Some of the most commonly available sources are milk and milk products, mushrooms, fortified cereals, yoghurt, nutritional yeast etc.

How to increase Vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet?

Vegetarian diet can be enriched with VItamin B12 by including B12 rich foods like eggs, dairy and dairy products like yoghurt, cheese, nutritional yeast, certain mushrooms and algae, foods fortified with Vitamin B12 or supplements.

How to improve Vitamin B12 deficiency for vegetarians?

VItamin B12 deficiency can be improved in vegetarians by including Vitamin B12 rich foods in their diet like milk, milk products, fortified cereals, certain mushrooms, nutritional yeast etc. But if the deficiency is much more then they will have to take the help of doctors and go for supplements and treatments.

Can vegans get B12 naturally?

No. The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) etc.

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About the Author

Saswata Subhadarsini
Senior Content Editor

A voracious reader and enthusiastic writer, I have a knack for concocting a plethora of creative write-ups. I'm a trend-savvy researcher, always on the hunt for inspiration to create unique and captivating content. I fancy myself a genre chameleon, flitting from intellectually stimulating pieces to captivating works of fiction. Whenever not weaving my thoughts into words, I indulge in my love of painting, cooking, dancing and some good old Netflix binge!

Saswata Subhadarsini

A voracious reader and enthusiastic writer, I have a knack for concocting a plethora of creative write-ups. I'm a trend-savvy researcher, always on the hunt for inspiration to create unique and captivating content. I fancy myself a genre chameleon, flitting from intellectually stimulating pieces to captivating works of fiction. Whenever not weaving my thoughts into words, I indulge in my love of painting, cooking, dancing and some good old Netflix binge!

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