If I'm a vegan, how can I get enough vitamin B12?
Shantih Coro (Hallandale Beach, FL) on Jan 20, 2012
If you are vegan you cannot get enough vitamin B12, since the form found in plants is poorly absorbed by humans. A good solution, which I have found works for many of my vegan friends, is to add some raw milk and cheese into your diet. These foods are great sources of vitamin B12 and B6. Even the vegan guru David Wolfe admitted to consuming raw milk.
Lauren Antonucci (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
There are plenty of vegan-friendly options to help you achieve your vitamin B12 RDA (recommended daily allowance). When choosing breakfast cereals and sandwich breads, take a look at the nutrition label to find products fortified with vitamin B12. Nature's Path Optimum Power Cereal, Kashi Heart to Heart, and General Mill's Wheaties are some popular brands that provide a good source of the vitamin. And just one serving of soymilk can provide you with about 50% of your daily B12 needs. One of my favorite ways to ensure adequate B12 intake is to use nutritional yeast. The name might sound funny, but it comes in the form of flakes or a yellowish powder with a cornmeal like texture. Not only is nutritional yeast a complete protein, but it is jam-packed with B12 (about 2 rounded teaspoons contain the B12 RDA). The taste is a bit nutty, almost cheesy. I love it sprinkled on a piece of toast or atop popcorn, or I melt it into a "creamy" pasta sauce, sans actual cream. You should be able to find nutritional yeast at your local natural foods store or online. Even if you are not eating animal products, you should have no problem getting enough vitamin B12 in you as long as you are eating fortified foods and a varied, balanced diet.
Rika Keck (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
I appreciate your concern regarding B12. I would recommend that you supplement your diet with B12 and Folate or Folinic Acid (avoid Folic Acid). If there are underlying digestive concerns and bacterial overgrowth in the gut, digestion and absorption from food is reduced. As a vegan, it is important to know that some plants block absorption of B12, so the deficiency is a real concern. Take sublingual B12 supplements to ensure improved absorption. There are also B12-patches on the market.