How to add Vitamin B12 in Vegan diet

Our body needs vitamin B12 to stay healthy. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that our body gets enough of this vitamin. what we need to know about vitamin B12?

Functions of vitamin B 12

Vitamin B12 allows our body to produce healthy blood cells and helps our nerves to function normally.

The amount of vitamin B12 we need depends on our age and stage of life. The table below shows you how much you need:

Recommended intake of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is not toxic in large amounts because our body eliminates what is not needed.           

An average Male or female of 19 years or older needs 2.4 mcg/day. Pregnant woman of 19 years or older needs 2.6 mcg/day. Lactating woman of 19 years or older needs more. About 2.8 mcg/day.                             

Sources of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a unique vitamin. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in some foods or added to fortified foods

This vitamin is only found naturally in foods of animal origin. Therefore, the best dietary sources of vitamin B12 are found in the Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives food groups.

Foods fortified with vitamin B12 are also good sources.

Milk and Alternatives                                  

250mL (1 cup) Fromage cottage  1,5-1,7 (mcg)       

50 g (1 ½ oz) Swiss/Emmental cheese 1,5-1,7 (mcg)       

250mL (1 cup) Skim, 1%, 2% or homogenized milk  1,1-1,4 (mcg)       

200mL (>3/4 cup) Yogourt nature 1,3   (mcg)              

250mL (1 cup)                 Fortified almond or oat drink                    1,1  (mcg)               

250mL (1 cup)                 Beverage fortified with soy or rice                           1,0  (mcg)       

50 g (1 ½ oz)                     Feta, gouda, gruyere, brie, cheddar, fontina                       0,8-0,9 (mcg)       

Meat and alternatives                                 

75g (2 ½ oz)                      offal                     14,0-64,3 (mcg)                    

75g (2 ½ oz)                      Thon                    7,9-8,2(mcg)         



75g (2 ½ oz)                      canned tuna                     2,2   (mcg)              

75g (2 ½ oz)                      Soy burger                        1,8      (mcg)           

75g (2 ½ oz)                      Beef                    1,3-2,5 (mcg)       

75g (2 ½ oz)                      Pig                        0,8-1,1 (mcg)       

whole egg                       Egg                       1 0,6 (mcg)                

75g (2 ½ oz)                      Turkey                0,3    (mcg)             

75g (2 ½ oz) Chicken                                     0,2-0,3 (mcg)       


2 g (1 tsp powder/2 tsp flakes) Levure nutritive Red Star 1,0   (mcg)              

Vitamin B12 is essential for vegetarians

Vegetarians and especially vegans, may not be getting enough vitamin B12. In this case, you may need to eat fortified foods to reduce your risk of not meeting your vitamin B12 needs. Choose soy- and rice-based beverages and soy-based meat alternatives fortified with vitamin B12 if you don’t eat animal products. Check the Nutrition Facts table to see if a food is fortified with vitamin B12 or not. To learn more about how to read labels, watch these videos.

Vitamin B12 is also important for older adults.

Older adults are also at risk of not meeting their vitamin B12 needs from the foods they eat because our body’s ability to absorb this vitamin decreases with age. Low vitamin B12 levels can cause pernicious anemia, a reversible blood disorder that causes fatigue and difficulty thinking and concentrating. Health Canada recommends that adults over 50 eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 or supplements every day. Always consult your doctor, dietitian, or health care provider before taking any supplement.

Consult health care professionals

Talk to your doctor about supplements if you’re low on vitamin B12.

If your doctor or health care provider tells you that you lack vitamin B12, you may need to take a supplement. It can take the form of a vitamin tablet to be taken by mouth or an injection of the supplement into your muscle. Both forms of B12 supplements can increase your blood levels of vitamin B12. However, taking one tablet may be more convenient than visiting your doctor for each injection.

How to add vitamin B12 ingredients in meals

Getting the recommended vitamin B12 is easy with the next meal and snack ideas.

For breakfast, enjoy low-fat cheese like cottage cheese on a half whole-grain bagel topped with slices of ripe pear.

Plain, low-fat yogurt topped with granola or a whole-grain cereal is a great mid-morning snack.

Try making a smoothie with a plain or flavored fortified soy beverage. Add your favorite fruit and a small handful of ice cream. Chocolate soy milk with bananas and strawberries and vanilla soy milk with peaches and raspberries are great combinations. Try consuming drinks with no added sugar if you want to reduce your sugar intake.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults between the ages of 19 and 50 consume 2 to 3 servings from the Meat and Alternatives food group each day. So why not try a simple chili recipe with ground beef that gives you over 2.4 mcg of vitamin B 12 per serving for dinner?

Eat meals without meat! Enjoy a soy burger at your next barbecue. Top it with tomato slices, white onion, and bean sprouts for a delicious burger.

Eat the two servings of fish each week that the Guide recommends you eat with tandoori haddock or salmon with salsa.

Eggs can be enjoyed anytime. For example, try this early morning sandwich the morning or scrambled eggs with Indian seasoning for dinner.

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