Best B12 Supplements for Vegans
Nicknamed the “energy vitamin”, B12 is needed for a variety of body functions, including energy production, the creation of red blood cells (which transport oxygen), DNA synthesis, and the creation of myelin, the protective coating on nerves that keeps them safe and allows them to send messages all throughout your body!
Because few plant-based foods provide enough of this vitamin, those who don’t supplement B12 are at risk of unpleasant side effects like fatigue, anemia, digestive inflammation, tingling and numbness of the extremities, memory problems, behavioral changes, and other serious risks like blindness and brain degeneration.
Luckily, vegans and vegetarians can still thrive while consuming an animal-free, plant-based diet - it just takes a little know-how and a good supplement to keep your levels where they should be! Here's our list of the Best Vegan-Friendly B12 Supplements!
How Much B12 Do You Need?
Healthy adults only need a few micrograms of B12 per day - usually somewhere between 2-4 mcg. However, because your body absorbs only a small amount of B12 at a time - a pill with roughly 100 mcg is advised to ensure you’re getting enough to keep your body functioning well.
What Kind of Supplement Should You Take?
Vegan forms of B12 can exist as both methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. B12 supplementation for vegans isn’t a new thing, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a brand that directly states their product is vegan.
Now as far as administration goes, research has shown that sublingual supplements are the most efficiently absorbed form of B12. Usually, in lozenges or liquid drops, sublingual supplements are meant to be applied to the area under the tongue, where the substance is then absorbed through the membrane that lines your mouth.
Tablets and pills are also an option, but they are less effective than sublingual forms. On its own, vitamin B12 cannot survive our stomach acid. To be absorbed into the bloodstream, it needs the help of intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach and salivary glands that allow the nutrient to pass safely through the stomach and into the small intestine. Once it makes it there, B12 binds to another protein to transition into the blood, where it perform it’s important jobs. So you see, it is possible for B12 tablets to survive our stomach but this relies on intrinsic factor and proteins to transport B12.
B12 injections or intravenous B12 are also options but usually have to be done by a health professional and are reserved for people who are already deficient or have limitations in their ability to absorb B12 through the other methods.
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Thanks for living vegan and have a healthy day!