As a vegan you’ll be surprised to learn that you really don’t need to take any supplements to get the vitamins and minerals you need – eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains will provide you everything you need except Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is actually a bacteria that is found in soil and water which is where most animals get it from. But this doesn’t mean it’s wise to go out and start eating soil just yet. A very minute amount of B12 is needed and lucky for you many of the foods that you already eat are fortified with it. The RDA’s for Vitamin B12 are 2.4 micrograms for adults, 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms for lactating women. You might also be surprised to learn that over 95% of the cases of B12 deficiency do not occur in vegans, but in omnivores. This basically means that you need to be aware but not maniacal about your B12 consumption.
As mentioned before B12 is already in a lot of the foods that you eat, here is a short list:
- Vegan lunch meat
- Veggie Burgers
- Veggie Hot dogs
- Nutritional Yeast
- Soy Milk
- Rice Milk
- Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (Kellogg’s) and many other breakfast cereals
- Road’s End Shells & Chreese (and other Road’s End Products)
- Vecon Vegetable Stock
Although many foods are fortified with B12 physicians and dietitians still recommend that vegans take a B12 supplement of some kind. Many debate on whether it should be daily, weekly or monthly supplementation. I take a weekly sublingual supplement and might convert to doing B12 shots on my next physical just so it’s one less thing to think about.
My supplement of choice is DEVA Vegan B12 (with folic acid and B6). It contains 1000mcg of B12 which is 16,666% of the RDA as well as 100% of your RDA for folic acid and Vitamin B6. I get mine locally at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe but you can also find it on Cosmo’s online store or if you scroll through Guinea Pig's Favorites on the left of the screen you'll see a link to DEVA Vitamin B12 as well. You’ll find that almost every health food store and vitamin shop has B12 on their shelves. Just make sure it’s vegan!
Oh and just a quick legal disclaimer. Always consults your physician before taking any dietary supplement.