Vegans need Vit B12 supplementation, says the German Nutrition Society

 The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has said in a position paper  that it is difficult or impossible to consume adequate amounts of Vit. B12 on a purely plant-based diet. The German government agrees with this position.

Vit B12 is usually not present in plants.  It is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, eggs, and milk and milk products.

Vit B12, which is also called Cobalamin (because it contains the mineral cobalt), is required for proper production of red blood cells, for normal function of nerves, and DNA synthesis.

In the human stomach, vit B12 is released from proteins by hydrochloric acid and and a digestive enzyme called protease.

Excess Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and this can compensate for a while, in the absence of adequate intake.

Blood values below approximately 170–250 pg/mL (120–180 picomol/L) for adults indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, constipation, megaloblastic anemia as well as to neurological changes, such as  tingling in the hands and feet and  numbness  . Other symptoms may include depression,  dementia-like symptoms, confusion, poor memory,difficulty maintaining balance and soreness of the mouth or tongue .

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin B12 in Micrograms (mcg)
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–6 months* 0.4 mcg 0.4 mcg
7–12 months* 0.5 mcg 0.5 mcg
1–3 years 0.9 mcg 0.9 mcg
4–8 years 1.2 mcg 1.2 mcg
9–13 years 1.8 mcg 1.8 mcg
14+ years 2.4 mcg 2.4 mcg 2.6 mcg 2.8 mcg

* Adequate Intake


Good sources of vit B12

Food Vitamin B12 in 100g
Shellfish 98.9μg (1648% DV)
Liver (Beef) 83.1μg (1386% DV)
Fish (Mackerel) 19.0μg (317% DV)
Fortified Soy Products (Silken Tofu) 2.4μg (40% DV)
Red Meat (Beef) 6.0μg (100% DV)
Low Fat Dairy (Skim Milk) 0.5μg (8% DV)
Cheese 3.1μg (51% DV)
Eggs (Chicken) 2.0μg (33% DV)



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