Choose The Right Vegan Solution To Fulfill Your Need For Vitamin B12

Leading a vegan lifestyle and eating plant-based foods is the greatest choice you’ve ever made in your life. That having been said, you still should pay more attention to optimum nutrition and a balancing diet that provides all the minerals, vitamins, and amino acids essential to good health and overall fitness. Although a well-planned vegan diet can supply you with a distinct variety of essential nutrients, it is generally short of vitamin B12 (1). So, let’s talk about how to choose the best b12 supplement for vegans.

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin naturally occurs mostly in animal-based foods (such as fish, meat, liver, etc.) and their bacterium. Unlike animals’ guts, humans’ digestive tracts are not able to produce the required particular pattern of B12, thus leading you to obtain this essential vitamin from external sources. For vegans, the number of these sources is limited to a small number of fortified foods. Compared to all-natural and not enriched animal-based sources, one cannot find naturally occurring plant-based sources with equal content of cobalamin.

But is it really B12 such a big deal for your health? How actually important is cobalamin for a vegan and is there any reason to worry about the adequate amount of it in your system?

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B12

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A regular supply of cobalamin is essential for human health as B12 is one of the most important micronutrients, which plays multiple biological roles within your body. Everyone needs to have adequate amounts of B12 for the following reasons:

  • it improves bones and skeleton system and prevents osteoporosis;
  • supports normal functioning of your nervous system and brain;
  • involved in the faultless synthesis of DNA and red blood cells;
  • fights anemia, weakness, and fatigue;
  • makes a great impact on cell metabolism, fatty acids synthesis, and energy production;
  • protects your vision and defends from macular deterioration;
  • fights depression and elevates confidence and spirits;
  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems by balancing levels of certain amino acids;
  • improves the condition of your skin, hair, and nails

Symptoms And Signs Of Cobalamin Deficiency

Even if you think that you consume enough amount of B12 (which is only possible when your daily diet consists of 3-4 fortified food meals), it might be not so due to its inadequate absorption. The absorption of B12 is quite a complex matter, which often involves the presence of folic acid. One more reason for B12 malabsorption can be a failure of your body to produce critical enzymes necessary for proper cellular metabolism in general, and the metabolism of cobalamin in particular.

But whatever the reason is, the deficiency of B12 may happen though rare even with animal food eaters, let alone vegans. Cobalamin shortage signals may be as follows:

  • emotional instability and mood swings;
  • fatigue and weakness caused by anemia;
  • dizziness and breathlessness;
  • impaired mobility due to negatively affected nervous system;
  • eye strain and eye vision distortion;
  • paraesthesia, i. e. numbness, or needles and pins sensations;
  • dull or yellowish skin, thin and frizzy hair, brittle nails;
  • herpes and glossitis

Vegan Sources Of Vitamin B12

Unfortunately, the best vitamin B12 sources are largely concentrated in products of animal origin. Vegan options come down to the following, mainly fortified, foods:

  • meat substitutes;
  • vegan spreads;
  • fortified dairy-free milk and cheese;
  • fortified vegan yeast;
  • fortified breakfast flakes and cereals

Although eating B12 fortified foods may seem helpful, you need to have 3-4 fortified meals a day to completely fulfill your RDA requirement.

How Much Cobalamin Is Needed For Normal Wellbeing?

Health professionals have long developed standard rates of a healthy adult’s requirement for vitamin B12.  The worldwide recommendations for its daily intake vary from 2.4 to 3 micrograms. According to the research, a daily supply of B12 has a strong effect on its better absorption.

The above recommendations are also based on the fact about the average 50% absorption ratio of cobalamin for a regular human.  But why not the entire B12 that enters your body with food can be fully absorbed by your system?

Is There Any Need For A Vegan To Take A B12 Supplement?

The additional intake of B12 is considered by most lifelong proponents of veganism as a whim and unnecessary measure. This attitude has evolved in accordance with some publications that it takes about 3-6 years for a regular healthy adult to acquire a cobalamin deficiency.

The thing is that a good part of people has difficulties with full absorption of B12 coming from food. Studies have proved that many of us have so-called cobalamin malabsorption that results from the inability of our digestive systems to produce critical enzymes.

This means that some people might have lost this ability long before they became vegans, and, therefore, their deficiency of cobalamin has probably long exceeded the stated period of 3-6 years. The shortage they acquired can be fulfilled by an additional intake of B12, which may come in the form of fortified food or a natural supplement.

But what is really fortified food? This is a food enriched with vitamins, and so a B12 fortified food is simply a food enriched with cobalamin. Therefore, it’s all the same, whether you have cobalamin fortified food or take a cobalamin supplement.

Another interesting point is that the metabolism of B12 is closely related to the state and level of folic acid (also known as folate or vitamin B9). There is a bulk of evidence about a close correlation between cobalamin and folate (2). Many scientific works suggest the high potency of one in the presence of the other.

This is why most experts advise taking a composite supplement that contains both cobalamin and folate.

Vitamin B12 Supplements

Dietary supplements have earned a reputation of impressive aids for vegans who are in need to increase their cobalamin levels.

All B12 supplements available on the market fall into two main categories: those where cobalamin is derived from cyanocobalamin, and those where it is represented in the form of methylcobalamin.

According to professional opinion, both forms of B12 are nearly identical and have a similar impact on your body. The main difference between them is that methylcobalamin is a naturally found form of cobalamin (i. e. found in food sources such as meat, fish, or eggs), while cyanocobalamin is its artificial form, which does not occur in nature. Nevertheless, research proves that while cyanocobalamin has a better absorption rate, methylcobalamin is better retained within your system.

Our Top-5 B12 Supplements For Vegans

1. Vitamin B Complex by Transparent Labs

RawSeries Vitamin B Complex - Transparent Labs

As mentioned above, B12 metabolism is quite a complex issue, and its deficiency is often accompanied by the deficiency of other metabolically related B-vitamins. For this reason, Transparent Labs created the supplement that incorporates the most important members of the B-group that are supported by a friendly team of other elements such as vitamin C, inositol, and choline.

The benefits of taking Vitamin B Complex include but are not limited to:

  • the unique composition of active ingredients that includes vitamin B friendly neighborhood;
  • improved general health thanks to the strong support of other nutrients;
  • enhanced energy and physical performance
  • also a great beauty solution – for better hair, skin, and nails;
  • vegan-friendly organic supplement without harmful artificial components

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2. Vitamin B Complex by Divine Bounty

Super B Complex Vitamins

This powerful supplement encapsulates the benefits of all B-group vitamins in practical vegan capsules. The vitamin B team works in close cooperation with choline and inositol to maximize your health benefits. Its regular intake provides you with the following benefits:

  • top-quality organic ingredients (gluten, soy GMO and preservative-free);
  • optimized cellular and fat metabolism at all levels;
  • lowered risk of brain, heart, and kidney disorders;
  • higher levels of physical and mental energy;
  • also protects your eye vision and promotes bone and muscle health

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3. Advanced Orthomolecular Research AOR, Hydroxy B12

Advanced Orthomolecular Research AOR, Hydroxy B12

Developed specifically for vegans, Methyl B12 contains two most needed vitamins: B12 and B9 (folate). They closely work together to fulfill your daily requirements and improve your body’s enzyme profile.

The beneficial impact of the Methyl B12 will be felt through the following qualities:

  • pure organic composition and total absence of toxic fillers, soy, gluten, synthetic sweeteners, etc.;
  • improved cell metabolism and enzyme production;
  • reduced risk of heart-related problems;
  • cognitive development and better nervous organization;
  • also beneficial for your bones, eyes, and immunity

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4. Vegan Safe B12 by Global Healing

Global Healing Center Vegansafe B12, 2500 mcg Organic Sublingual Liquid Vitamin B12 Drops

This liquid organic solution is composed of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Both components have a high biological activity, which increases their absorption rate and brings tangible results.

The benefits of regular usage of Vegan Safe B12 are as follows:

  • purely organic solution without artificial additions;
  • steady delivery of key nutrients that boost coenzyme formation and functioning;
  • improvement of cardiovascular and nervous systems;
  • increased levels of energy during the day and support for a healthy night sleep;
  • great aid for mental and physical (skin, nails, and hair) development

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5. Vegan Non-GMO B12 by MeryRuth Organics

USDA Organic Vitamin B12 (Methyl) Liquid Spray by MaryRuth's

This is a certified vegan solution in a convenient sprayable and easily absorbable form. Each use of the spray-derived form of methylcobalamin provides you with 3,000 mcg of organic B12. MeryRuth Organics developed this extra strength spray to:

  • balance your enzyme profile and the resultant level of cobalamin;
  • support a positive mood and heighten mental abilities;
  • promote better blood flow and heart health;
  • improve regulation of your sleep-cycle;
  • the uncomplicated formula, great taste, and safe production

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What else should each and every vegan know before purchasing a supplement?

Pure, organic supplements do not contradict vegan philosophy and support your health in a most natural way. Taking certified organic vegan solutions is a highly recommendable and absolutely safe option.

Since all ingredients of vegan B12 supplements are clinically tested for quality and purity, they do not cause any side effects whatsoever.

The absorption rate of the supplemental form of B12 is not too high, its RDA of 2.4 mcg per day translates into a daily dosage of 1,000 – 3,000 micrograms (3).

Cobalamin is not an easily absorbed vitamin, so its overdose is nearly impossible. Both B12 and folate are water-soluble substances, which means that any excess is eliminated with your urine. But if you want to be on the safe side, the supplement may be taken for a few months’ periods with a couple of weeks intervals.

Our verdict

A shortage of B12 can be quite dangerous for any vegan. Cobalamin is one of the most important vitamins, which plays multiple vital roles for your body. When you don’t have enough cobalamin, you often feel tired, restless, and depressed. Unfortunately, just a small amount of B12 can be derived from a vegan diet, so taking cobalamin supplements becomes a necessity.

Taking vegan-friendly supplements is in absolute harmony with natural ways of living. Their regular usage ensures the nutritional balance and correct and long-lasting functioning of all your organs. The abovementioned supplements have long proved their worth among thousands of users, but if you want to use a top-quality solution from the most reliable producer, we recommend you Vitamin B Complex by Transparent Labs that supplies you with all the required elements to your full advantage.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31835560
  2. https://life-enhancement.com/pages/vitamin-b12-how-much-is-enough
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-926/vitamin-b12
Polina

Author:

Polina

Blog owner, pole dance instructor, fitness athlete. Vegan for 10+ years

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