With many vitamins and minerals, vegetarians and especially vegans can cover their needs at least to some extent via the diet. Vitamin B12 is completely different.
Vitamin B12 is formed by microorganisms and is hardly found in plant-based foods. Vegans in particular need to pay close attention to their household.
You are a vegan or vegetarian and need all the information at a glance onhow to feed yourself healthy and fill your stores? The next paragraphs address precisely these questions.
An end to the wars of faith in vitamin B12 for vegetarians and vegans
Do vegetarians or vegans need vitamin B12? This question is often the beginning of a heated debate. Then there is the question of whether it is the natural diet of humans at all.
Here, all-eaters often argue with vitamin B12, because this is difficult to access with a plant-based diet. This is often argued with vigour and passion. Even evidence of the opposite is brought here.
But that misses the mark. The life decision to be a vegetarian or vegan is up to everyone. It cannot be changed at all for health reasons.
However, the question of the vitamin B12 household remains. A defect can cause serious damage.
So it’s important to think carefully about how to get this nutrient.
Planning is everything at Vitamin B12 for vegetarians and vegans
Yes, a vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, after all the largest specialist society for nutrition, also confirms this. However, it also points out that such a diet must be well planned in order to eat a balanced diet.
This is even more drastic for vitamin B12. The company recommends taking vegan supplements (or so-called supplements) or at least foods enriched with vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is usually only present in meat, milk and eggs in an appropriate amount. Watch out: In plant-based foods, only vitamin B12 analogues are usually included. They are inactive and cannot be processed by the body.
Can vitamin B12 also be present in plants? No. This claim is now considered false and is based on inaccurate measurement methods. Unfortunately, these methods are still used today.
Do algae or yeast contain vitamin B12 for vegetarians and vegans?
Here, too, it has to be said, unfortunately, that this is not true. The nori and chlorella algae contain (only!) larger amounts of B12 in some studies, but the content fluctuated excessively. Very often there are also only large quantities of unusable analogues.
Neither the two algae mentioned nor the blue algae Spirula provide enough vitamin B12, according to studies, even when eating large amounts.
The sauerkraut or tempeh is also partially attributed by the fermentation that they receive vitamin B12. These are also extremely small quantities.
Even yeast, energy drinks or fruit juices are touted as vitamin B12 suppliers. However, these are either unhealthy (energy drinks), artificially added (yeast) or contain hardly usable vitamin B12 (fruit juices). The scattered rumour that yeast would contain vitamin B12 is therefore false. The well-known British yeast extract Marmite, for example, is simply artificially enriched with vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 levels are also said to be in the sea buckthorn or parsley. Studies show that this is not the case. The few positive measurement results are therefore very likely vitamin B12 due to contamination. Wheatgrass juice, on the other hand, is still under-researched to provide reliable information.
In general, most foods of this type must be assumed to enter the plant-based diet via the soil artificially enriched with vitamin B12. The content is therefore extremely variable,because constant enrichment is difficult to achieve.
Is a biological diet possible? So do vegetarians and vegans need vitamin B12 supplements?
If you want to eat organically, you have a hard time anyway. According to the EU Organic Regulation, organic foods must not be enriched with vitamin B12. So if you want to do without products from conventional agriculture, you can’tavoid supplements.
Unfortunately, according to recent studies, it has to be assumed that the listed plant foods do not provide enough vitamin B12. With enough vitamin B12 enriched foods are hardly available in Germany and Austria. Dietary supplements are therefore important for vegetarians and essential for vegans.
This is also confirmed by the International Vegan Society,which also recommendsa dietary supplement for this purpose. 10 micrograms per day or at least 2000 micrograms per week are the recommendations of the society.
However, the recommendations differ here and even 250 to 500 micrograms per day are mentioned. A visit to the family doctor with appropriate measurement is therefore always recommended and advisable.
Attention! If you suffer under stress,the need is increasedonce again.
What is the supply of vitamin B12 in Germany and Austria?
Rather bad. Vegetarians and vegans have a significantly lower vitamin B12 level than all-ineders.
Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarians as well as vegans have it even more difficult to get enough vitamin B12 in Austria. Here, the values are partly about half of the mirror of the omnivores.
The associated homocysteine values show an equally dramatic picture. Vitamin B12 helps break down homocysteine. Increased homocysteine levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Especially vegans but also vegetarians have an elevated homocysteine level in Germany and Austria.
A long-term study by Jenny Chang-Claude, Silke Hermann, Ursula Eilber and Karen Steindorf from the University of Heidelberg confirms the increased cardiovascular risk of vegetarians and vegans.
Vegetarians and vegans can prevent deficiency by supplementing vitamin B12
In general, recent studies show that on average 45 percent of vegetarians and 75 percent of vegans suffer from an acute vitamin B12 deficiency.
Here you can counteract:by supplementation and by regular checking of your vitamin B12values.