Which vegan B12 supplements are best?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient crucial for healthy nerve function and red blood-cell formation. Because it is only found in animal-based foods, most vegans and vegetarians don’t get enough in their plant-based diets, and a B12 deficiency can lead to health issues like anemia. So the Mayo Clinic suggests they, as well as older adults, should take a daily supplement to meet the recommended amount.
New Chapter Fermented Vitamin B12 Supplement is the recommended pick for a B12 supplement because it is certified organic, vegan and gluten-free.
What to know before you buy a vegan B12 supplement
Signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency
People with a B12 deficiency may experience fatigue, yellow skin, dizziness and even mental confusion in serious cases. The signs of vitamin deficiency can take a while to develop, so if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or an older adult, consider taking a supplement even if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms.
How is vegan B12 made?
Despite its presence in many animal-based foods, vitamin B12 itself is vegan by nature. That is because it is naturally produced by certain bacteria that live in the stomachs of many animals, but not plants or people. Scientists take the bacteria and let them produce the nutrient in a lab setting, thereby producing a source of B12 without the involvement of animals. This means that B12 supplements are naturally vegan unless they contain animal byproducts.
Commonly used animal byproducts
If you’re avoiding animal products but you can’t immediately tell if a supplement is vegan, check the list of inactive ingredients for these commonly used animal-derived products.
- Gelatin: Perhaps the most common animal byproduct used in supplements, this gel-like substance is often used as a coating or filler in pills and capsules.
- Magnesium stearate: Another ingredient used as a filler for many supplements, magnesium stearate is derived from animal fat. This ingredient can also be made from plants, but that will usually be specified on the product’s packaging.
- Lanolin: This isn’t typically found in B12 supplements unless they also contain vitamin D. Lanolin is usually derived from sheep.
- Bee pollen: This is occasionally used in B12 supplements to provide an additional energy boost. It’s considered an animal product because it’s derived from bees.
What to look for in quality vegan B12 supplements
Like other vitamins, vegan B12 supplements can be sold in a variety of different forms, including capsules, gummies, even oral sprays. You can also find powders to mix into your favorite drinks or smoothies.
Watch out for products that are solely marketed as “vegan-friendly” or “plant-based”. The only way to know for sure if a supplement is vegan is to verify that it has been certified by a third-party organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or Vegan Action. This is also true for products advertised as organic or cruelty-free.
The recommended dosage can vary depending on the person, but the National Institutes of Health recommend at least 2.4 micrograms per day for most adults. Higher doses are generally considered safe and are often recommended for people with deficiencies.
How much you can expect to spend on a vegan B12 supplement
The cost of a vegan B12 supplement usually depends on the number of doses in the container. Expect to spend around $10-$30 for a medium-sized container.
Vegan B12 supplement FAQ
Can you take too much vitamin B12?
A. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and considered safe, even in high doses. That said, a few studies have suggested that excessive amounts of B12 could lead to acne or rosacea.
Do B12 supplements have any drug interactions?
A. There are a few drugs and supplements that can affect your body’s absorption of vitamin B12. Always talk with your doctor before starting a new daily supplement.
What are the best vegan B12 supplements to buy?
Top vegan B12 supplement
What you need to know: This supplement contains a ton of vitamin B12 and is specially fermented to support digestion.
What you’ll love: It’s certified vegan, organic and free of gluten and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The formula also contains an herbal blend that supports digestion, including plants like maca root and cardamom.
What you should consider: The round pill could be difficult to halve with a pill cutter.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Top vegan B12 supplement for the money
What you need to know: These cherry-flavored lozenges are tasty and contain high amounts of vitamin B12.
What you’ll love: One lozenge contains 5,000 micrograms of B12, a generous amount. The fruity lozenges are soft enough to chew or dissolve in your mouth, and users report a considerable energy boost after taking them.
What you should consider: It isn’t clear if these lozenges are certified vegan by a third-party organization.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This pleasant, raspberry-flavored oral spray is perfect for people who don’t like taking pills.
What you’ll love: The formula is certified organic, non-GMO and vegan by third-party organizations, and there is a blend of natural fruits and vegetables to make the spray extra flavorful and potentially provide additional health benefits.
What you should consider: Some users may prefer a supplement with a higher dosage of B12.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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