What is vitamin B12?

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products and is not produced by plants. Therefore it is recommended that vegans supplement and consume fortified B12 food to meet their needs (Linus Pauling, 2017).

Why we need it?

People need Vitamin B12 in order to help make red blood cells, nerve function and sustain normal levels of homocysteine in the blood. Inadequate consumption may have the potential to cause fatigue, anaemia and increase the risk of heart disease.


The recommended daily allowance for B12 by eating fortified food at least twice per day is 3mcg or taking a supplement 10mcg daily and overall weekly consuming 2000mcg (British Dietetic Association, 2017).

Fortified foods containing Vitamin B12 include alternatives to milk products, vegan spreads, nutritional yeast flakes, yeast extracts and breakfast cereals. Be sure to check the labels.


British Dietetic Association (2017) Plant Based Diet.The Associations of UK Dieticians, source [https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/plant-based_diet].

Linus Pauling (2017) Vitamin B12.The Linus Pauling Institute. source [https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/vitamin-b12-flashcard.pdf]

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