Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can potentially cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B-12, or Cobalamin, is naturally found solely in animal foods and thus vegans have to supplement their diets with fortified foods or supplements.
A wide array of cereals now exist with the percent daily value (DV) of vitamin B12 added in. Vegans can eat the cereal with soy, rice, or almond milk.
List of Cereals High in Vitamin B12.
Fortified Soy Products
Most vegans consume soy both as a dairy substitute, and as a source of protein. Many soy products now come fortified with vitamin B12. Check the nutrition facts of the product to be sure.
As more and more people are becoming vegan companies are seeing the benefit of fortifying drinks with vitamin B12. Drinks like Vitamin Water provide a health alternative to soft drinks.
Yeast Extract Spreads (Marmite)
Yeast extract spreads are popular in Britain and Europe, and have started to gain popularity in the U.S. A good vegan source of protein, the spread also packs a lot of vitamin B12. One hundred grams provides 0.5μg (8% DV) of vitamin B12, that is 0.03μg (1% DV) per teaspoon.
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Consuming vitamin B12 directly through pills is a great way to to ensure proper levels of vitamin B12 with little fuss. A wide variety of supplement pills are readily available at vitabase.com
How much Vitamin B12 is in Brewers Yeast?
Brewers Yeast is a rich source of nutrients, typically used for making beer, but can also be used to make breads and other consumables. There are conflicting reports on how much vitamin B12 brewers yeast provides. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that it provides no B-12. However, the nutrition facts from Now Foods lists a whopping 3 micrograms (50% DV) of vitamin B12 in two tablespoons of brewers yeast. This is way more B12 than what you can get from Marmite or other yeast extracts. So, as ever with nutrition facts, it is best to buy a product where you can consult the label for specific B12 content. One should also be cautious on counting on the yeast as a sole source for vitamin B12.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Protect Against Heart Disease - Adequate levels of vitamins B12, B6, and B9 have been shown to lower levels of a protein in the blood: homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine has been shown to improve endothelial function, which in turn may boost cardiovascular health and decrease risk of heart attacks.3-5
- Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging - Absorption of vitamin b12 and Folate (B9) is essential for DNA metabolism and maintenance which helps to prevent cancer and slow aging.6 Read full blog post here...
- Protect Against Dementia and Cognitive Decline - Lack of vitamin B12 increases homocysteine levels, which in turn decreases the bodies ability to metabolize neurotransmitters.7 Due to limitations with creating long term controlled studies in human populations, no definite link between increased vitamin b12 levels and cognitive function have been found,8-12 however several observational studies suggest increased homocysteine levels increase the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia,13-15 and low levels of vitamin B12 has been associated with cognitive decline.16
- Alzheimer's Protection - A study has shown that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Folate (B9) can double the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.17
- Energy and Endurance - A lack of vitamin B12 will lead to anemia and weakness. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are necessary to maintain normal energy levels. Claims of vitamin B12 as an energy or atheletic enhancer remain unproven.18
Other Vitamin B Foods
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid_
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B6
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20.