Q. Should I take a B12 supplement if I’m vegetarian?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 16 February 2022.
Tagged: guides, health, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, vegetarian, vitamins

Q. Should I take a B12 supplement if I’m vegetarian?
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Q.  Should I take a B12 supplement if I’m vegetarian?

A. B12 supplements are a good idea if you’re vegan, but not necessary if you follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (consuming dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, and eggs), because you’ll obtain enough vitamin B12 from these animal foods.

Vitamin B12 is found only in foods of animal origin, such as milk, eggs, meat and fish. If your diet excludes these foods, such as a strict vegan diet, you need to include an alternative source of this vitamin, either from a B12 supplement or tablet, or from foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as soy mylks (like So-Good) or nutritional yeast.

 You need extra B12 during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so if you’re vegan and a new mother, it’s essential to supplement your diet to meet the extra nutritional demands of pregnancy and milk production. This will ensure your baby can build adequate stores of B12, which they need for normal brain and nerve development.

Spirulina (a blue-green algae), tempeh and miso were once recommended as sources of vitamin B12 for vegans, but research has found that any vitamin B12 in these foods exists in chemical forms that are either inactive or unable to be absorbed by our bodies (called pseudovitamin B12). Don’t rely on these foods for your B12.