Every diet has its pros and cons. For those following the vegan diet, it is much more difficult to find certain vitamins and minerals than in the common omnivorous diet, and among them is vitamin B12. This is what an Oxford study was done in 2006 uncovered.

Vitamin B12 is responsible for a normal working brain and nervous system, and deficiency in Vitamin B12 is linked with serious conditions, such as anemia. Therefore, it is important for vegans to be aware of where they can find adequate sources of this essential vitamin.

In the past few decades, there has been some research to find these sources. However, there still needs to be more research. And, the research to find alternative sources of vitamins such as vitamin B12 other than through animal sources tends to be focused on vegetarians.

Therefore, the scientists conducting this research presuppose possible consumptions of eggs and dairy products, as there are ovo and lacto vegetarians. This article serves to inform about the natural sources of vitamin B12 that we are aware of thus far for vegans without having to seek supplements.

Shiitake Mushrooms

A Japanese study done in 2014 by researchers at Tottori University revealed that shiitake mushrooms contain the daily recommendations for consumption of vitamin B12. Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia.

The study suggests that 50 grams of this mushroom are enough to meet daily RDA guidelines for adults. Shiitake mushrooms may serve as an addition to soup, as well as other vegan dishes.


If one doesn’t like mushrooms, cereals provide another option. However, it widely depends on the brand. One cup of Raisin Bran provides 25% of daily value recommendations for the vitamin.

A cup of Kellogg’s Special K Original provides 100%. It is especially important here to look at the Nutrition Facts chart before purchasing, to make sure that one is receiving the proper amount of vitamin B12.

If one is new to veganism and is accustomed to only consuming cereal with cow’s milk, there are many substitutions for milk. One could serve oneself cereal with soy, almond, or rice milk. However, men should take precautions with soy milk, for consuming high levels of soy products has been linked with hormonal imbalances in men.

Dried Purple Laver

The aforementioned Japanese study uncovered that dried purple laver, even when toasted, can give enough amounts of vitamin B12. The study suggests that 4 grams of dried purple laver should meet RDA guidelines.

This product can be used in sushi. However, more research has to be done to confirm whether the vitamin B12 in seaweed products are available to be processed by the human body.

There obviously has to be more research to confirm the sources of vitamin B12, especially if they are available in the human body. Certain issues arise with the findings. Not everyone enjoys eating mushrooms, let alone shiitake mushrooms, and not everyone enjoys eating seaweed. This would leave cereals as the only option if such were the case, apart from supplements.

Consuming the proper amount of cereal to ensure that one receives the necessary amount of vitamin B12 every day (e.g., one cup of Kellogg’s Special K Original per day) would thus serve as the healthy alternative to eating meat.

One would have to ensure that one has the food with them. For example, if they go traveling, to make sure they have access to cereal that contains the proper amount of the vitamin.

There are various reasons why one would choose the vegan lifestyle. Some may be for moral reasons, and others may be for health reasons. However, one should always look after one’s health.

Making sure that one acquires the necessary vitamins and minerals, and that one is aware of the deficiencies that are associated with one’s chosen diet, are all essential. As previously mentioned, there are serious health risks that are associated with inadequate amounts of vitamins.

This article only serves to provide suggestions for vegans to receive natural sources of the essential vitamin, vitamin B12.

If worst comes to worst, there is always the option of obtaining a supplement. The writer would also recommend that one be aware that all other essential vitamins and minerals be covered in the choice of diet the planner chooses.

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