Do you need to pay attention to Vitamin B12?

If you follow a vegetarian, vegan, or plant based diet then you want to make sure you get enough of this nutrient. Adequate levels are required for the synthesis of all blood cells, proper functioning of the nervous system, and DNA synthesis just to name a few.  

Young adults should aim for 4.5 mcg Vitamin B12 daily (non pregnant/non lactating). Vitamin B12 is naturally occurring in animal products only, otherwise it is fortified in some foods. 

Food Sources for B12 include:  

  • Dairy products 
  • Eggs 
  • Several fortified cereals 
  • Nutritional yeast (some varieties are fortified)  
  • Soy products, including soymilk, tofu and meat alternatives may be fortified. 

Be sure to read labels closely. The level of B12 in fortified foods may vary over time. If you are unable to obtain enough B12 through foods, you may want to consider taking a Vitamin B12 supplement. Many multivitamins already contain Vitamin B12, or you can find this as a stand-alone supplement. 

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vegetarian Dietetic Practice Group. Vitamin B12 and Vegetarian Diets April 3, 2020. 

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