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Do you follow a vegetarian, plant-based diet, or vegan diet? If so, you may not be consuming enough B12.

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy cells, energy, and much more. Luckily, it’s easy to consume when you seek out vegetarian foods.

Do you wish to learn about readily available Vitamin B12 vegetarian sources? You may be able to avoid cobalamin (B12) deficiency, or B12 deficiency, through a balanced diet. Read more.

Why Do Some Vegetarians Not Consume Enough B12?

Lots of vegetarians and vegans have a difficult time getting enough Vitamin B12. Thus, they have a B12 deficiency. This is because Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal sources like eggs, dairy products, chicken, and beef.1

Why Does The Body Need Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient. It helps support healthy blood cells and body nerves. It also supports the production of DNA..

Those who do not consume enough Vitamin B12 may not even be aware of it. With a Vitamin B12 deficiency, you may feel unenergetic. B12 can also support healthy homocysteine levels.

b12 vegetarian | Gundry MDAbsorption of B12 is complicated. The B12 we consume is attached to the protein in food. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates the vitamin B12 from the protein. Then, it combines with a protein that the stomach makes called intrinsic factor. Only then can it be absorbed by the body.2

What Are The Possible Symptoms Of Low Levels of Vitamin B12?

If you have a B12 deficiency, you may experience anxiety, high levels of the amino acid homocysteine, and other side effects. These can include:

  • Problems with sleep
  • Low energy
  • Memory issues
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Elevated homocysteine
  • Balance problems
  • Low moods
  • Confusion
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet

A very basic sign of low levels of Vitamin B12 is a lack of energy. If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, you may be at risk. Consult with your doctor if you suspect you’re lacking Vitamin B12 methylmalonic acid test can be performed to check.3

Which Vegetarian Foods Contain Vitamin B12?

Plenty of delicious foods are great sources of vitamin B12. All of the following fit into vegetarian and vegan diets. You can increase your B12 intake with ease! This is especially true when already taking supplements containing B12.

Nori

Nori is a sea vegetable that is naturally high in B12 and iron. It is one of the best natural food sources of B12. Nori can be purchased in sheets or in flakes at most stores. If you like sushi rolls, you’re already consuming nori!

Many brands make wonderful nori snacks. These are ideal if you enjoy flavorful, salty snacks. They make a great substitution for chips.

You can sprinkle nori onto salads, into soups, or make sushi at home with cauliflower rice, vegetables, or fish. In Japan, nori is even served with breakfast.

The only two kinds of nori that contain bioavailable Vitamin B12 are dried green laver and purple laver. Nori is delicious and it’s a rich source of other nutrients. If you’re not already a fan of this powerhouse, try it! It may become one of your favorite foods.

b12 vegetarian | Gundry MD

Omega 3 Eggs

Most of the B12 is found in the yolk of the eggs. You can enjoy eggs in scrambled, omelets. You can also enjoy eggs served with vegetables for a meal that is rich in fiber and protein.

Mushrooms

Shiitake, black trumpet, golden chanterelle, and Lion’s Mane mushrooms all contain B12. A person would need to consume 50g of shiitake mushrooms every day to consume enough Vitamin B12. However, they are a good source of the nutrient.

Mushrooms are excellent in salads, stir-fries, sauces, and other cooked vegetable dishes. Lion’s Mane mushroom powder can also be blended into smoothies.

Fermented Vegetables

Trace amounts of Vitamin B12 are also found in some fermented vegetables. If you like Kim Chi, it has a small amount of Vitamin B12.

Broccoli and asparagus also both contain trace amounts of B12. It is difficult to get enough B12 from vegetables. However, even a trace amount can help.

Chlorella

Chlorella is a species of microalgae. Chlorella is an excellent source of B12. You can take chlorella in tablets or pills. You can also buy it powdered and blend it into smoothies.

Fortified Foods

b12 vegetarian | Gundry MDSome foods are fortified with Vitamin B12, which can help with a B12 deficiency. Such Gundry approved foods include:

  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Fortified deli meats (Dr. Gundry recommends only pasture-raised poultry and grass-fed and finished meats)
  • Fortified non-dairy milk, such unsweetened fortified coconut milk

Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are commonly thought to always contain B12. This is not the case. Fortified foods can make it easy to consume B12 without even noticing.4

Are you getting enough B12?

Doctors don’t always test for vitamin B levels. Sometimes a B12 deficiency goes unnoticed. Doctors can perform serum cobalamin level tests to find out if you need more B12.

Most women get the recommended daily amount of 2.4 micrograms. Most adults and pregnant women need 2.6 micrograms. Women who are breastfeeding need 2.8 micrograms. Most of this comes from diet.

You may not be getting enough Vitamin B12 if:

  • You’re above fifty years of age. This is because stomach cells become less efficient and secrete less hydrochloric acid. They absorb less B12.
  • You have a gastrointestinal disorder. If you have celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or have had weight-loss surgery… you may lack intrinsic matter.
  • You’re a vegetarian or vegan.
  • You take certain medications that prevent the release of stomach acid.7

b12 vegetarian | Gundry MD

 

Other Ways to Prevent B12 Deficiency

The best way to consume Vitamin B12 is by eating B12-rich vegetarian foods and animal protein.

If you’re at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, there are other ways to get B12. If your serum cobalamin level test shows that you need more B12, there may be steps to take. Please consult with your doctor before considering the following:

  1. Vitamin B supplements. Like other dietary supplements, a B12 supplement can serve as a simple source of the nutrient. B12 supplements provide more than the recommended dietary allowance. Doses up to 1,000 micrograms are available. Such doses are not harmful but are probably unnecessary.
  2. Prescription B12 Shots
  3. B12-rich and B12-fortified foods
  4. B12 fortified toothpaste
  5. Injections8,9

Can a person consume too much Vitamin B12?

According to reliable sources, B12 is generally considered safe even at high doses as it has a low level of toxicity. The body excretes whatever B12 it doesn’t use through urine. Taking very high levels of B12 may have some negative side effects, which is why it is so important to talk to your doctor before beginning a B12 regimen. Side effects include:

  • Acne and rosacea
  • Negative health outcomes for people who have diabetes or kidney disease
  • Greater risk of heart health issues
  • Issues with blood flow

Studies have demonstrated that daily oral supplements of up to 2 mg (2,000 mcg) can treat B12 deficiency safely.10,11

How does a Vegan Diet Provide Cobalamin (B12) to the Body?

b12 vegetarian | Gundry MDAgain, Cobalamin, or B12, is an essential molecule for humans. As many people are now vegetarian and vegan, consuming enough B12 is a growing concern.

Luckily, there are plenty of vegan food sources. Vegetarians and vegans… have no fear! A B12 deficiency is relatively easy to correct.

Supplementing with B12 on a regular basis will provide a person with as much B12 as those who consume animal meat and products.

Should you consider a B12 supplement?

Be sure to consult with your doctor before considering a B12 supplement.

If you enjoy following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s important to try to consume B12 from vegetarian food sources. Again, nori is one of the best sources of B12. Luckily, it’s incredibly popular and easy to consume. It’s also delicious!

Folic acid, B6 and B12 can be tricky, and it’s advised that they are used with caution. Especially in the long term. When taken with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B supplements can be incredibly beneficial.

Enjoying Vitamin B12-Rich Meals

Lots of meals can help fix a B12 deficiency. Make scrambled eggs wrapped in nori for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For even more B12, throw in some asparagus, broccoli, and mushrooms.

Make a leafy green salad. Add some roasted or grilled broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus. Sprinkle the salad with a small amount of Chlorella powder, and dress. Top with your favorite protein!

Make salad or sushi rolls by wrapping your favorite vegetable-based meals in sheets of nori.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche | GundryMD

 

Need More B12-Rich Meal Ideas?

Make a stir fry with shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, and tempeh. Dress with your favorite stir fry toppings, and add some nutritional yeast. Even more simple? Enjoy a hard-boiled egg for a snack. Make tempeh, mustard, and vegetable sandwich on fortified gluten-free bread, or wrapped in lettuce.

Or try this recipe for Dr. Gundry’s Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with nutritional yeast.

Make a protein-rich tempeh scramble with vegetables and seasonings for breakfast. Sprinkle it with fortified nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” flavor. Add chlorella and fortified non-dairy milk to your favorite green smoothie. Make sure to include some plant-based protein!

Whether you choose to eat animal products are not, there are lots of ways to consume enough B12. Doing so will improve your health and energy levels.

Learn More:
Feeling Tired? 6 Symptoms of Niacin Deficiency
Low Magnesium Symptoms To Be Aware Of (and how to fix them!)
Dr. Gundry’s Online Grocery Shop

Sources:
1 https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/1/54/4644546
2 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/
3 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/
5 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/are-you-getting-enough-b12
6 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/are-you-getting-enough-b12
7 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318216.php
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20424250
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29543316
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188422/
11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24803097

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