Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that the body needs to support red blood cell production and nervous system health. However, for those of us on a vegan diet, it may be more challenging to consume enough of this essential nutrient to support our health. That’s because the richest sources of vitamin B12 consist of fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
But don’t worry - vegans can still get a proper vitamin B12 intake while avoiding animal products. We’ve compiled a list of 10 vitamins B12 vegan sources perfect for anyone on a plant-based diet.
1. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that’s often used for:
- Vegan cheeses
- Vegan sauces
- Vegan soups
- Popcorn toppings
Nutritional yeast is an excellent addition to plant foods, but it also happens to be a reliable source of vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast also contains rich amounts of protein, fiber, and amino acids, making it perfect for anyone following a vegan diet.
However, it’s essential to check the label and ensure the yeast is fortified with vitamin B12 - otherwise, we probably aren’t consuming this vital nutrient.
Marmite is a spread made from yeast extract, salt, and extracts from spices and vegetables.
This sticky, salty paste is an excellent source of vitamin B12, as it contains about 25% of the daily recommended intake in just one serving.
Spread marmite over a piece of toast and enjoy a healthy source of vitamin B12 and vitamins B1, B2, B6 B9, potassium, and magnesium.
3. Nori seaweed
Nori seaweed is an edible alga that studies show contains a vital vitamin B12. This makes it perfect for vegans looking to increase their necessary nutrient intake.
Nori is most commonly used for sushi wraps, and it also contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and K and minerals like calcium, copper, and iron.
That’s why any vegan looking to increase their intake of vitamin B12 and other nutrients should consider adding nori seaweed into their diet.
Chlorella is another type of algae that works excellent as a source of vegan vitamin B12.
Often used in salad dressings or smoothies, this freshwater seaweed provides a dose of B12 and vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, iron, and zinc.
That makes this seaweed source perfect for vegans to fulfill their daily requirement of vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, which happen to be a great source of vitamin B12.
Often used as a vegan substitute for meat, this soy-based food is full of not only B12 but also other essential minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
That’s why anyone adhering to a plant-based diet should add more tempeh to their diet to help ensure adequate nutrition.
Mushrooms have trace amounts of vitamin B12, making them a good option for vegans who need a little extra help consuming this nutrient.
Mushrooms that are excellent sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Black morel
By adding these fungi foods to our diet, we can help to increase our vitamin B12 levels and ensure proper nutrition.
7. Fortified plant-based milk
Plant-based milk is often fortified with vitamin B12, making them an excellent option for vegans looking to load up on this nutrient.
We have to check the label to determine precisely how many micrograms mcg of vitamin B12 it contains.
Examples of plant-based kinds of milk generally fortified with vitamin B12 include:
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Oat milk
- Rice milk
- Coconut milk
- Sesame milk
8. Fortified cereals
Many breakfast bowls of cereal are fortified with vitamin B12, making them a great way to increase our B12 levels first thing in the morning.
Vegan cereals we can eat that are good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Quaker Puffed Rice Cereal
- Total Corn Flakes
- Kellog’s All-Bran
- Whole Grain Puffs Cereal
- Cinnamon French Toast Cereal
Plant-based eaters can pour themselves a bowl of vegan cereal, top it off with some fortified plant-based milk, and rest assured that they’re increasing their vitamin B12 levels right at the start of their day.
9. Plant-based meats
Many plant-based types of meat are fortified with vitamin B12, which makes them decent sources of this vital nutrient.
Beyond Meat, for example, recently launched a vegan burger patty that’s rich in vitamin B12 and healthier than previous patties. More plant-based burgers will likely come fortified with this essential nutrient as the vegan lifestyle becomes more popular.
10. Vitamin B12 supplements
These vegan foods are all excellent vitamin B12, but many vegans aren’t eating enough of them to support proper nutrition.
Many vegans take dietary supplements to satisfy this essential nutritional requirement, which health experts say is 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day for healthy adults.
Luckily, FuelOrganics offers a high-quality vegan vitamin B12 supplement perfect for plant-based eaters looking to support a healthy heart and nervous system.
For more information on vitamin B12, check out some of our other articles: Can You Take Too Much Vitamin B12?
- Watanabe F, Takenaka S, Kittaka-Katsura H, Ebara S, Miyamoto E. Characterization and bioavailability of vitamin B12-compounds from edible algae. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Oct;48(5):325-31. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.48.325. PMID: 12656203.
- Vitamin B12. Fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/