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B12 deficiency in a Vegan

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all.


Posting for someone else who has been priamrily a vegan for most of their life. She is now 65 ish.


She's just had blood work and it's come back again that she is B12 deficient. They want to give her B12 shots ( she's had a couple ) but I want to find a better way of her to get what her body needs. She's not a big believer in vitamin pills etc, but prefers to get what she needs by eating a vegan diet.

However, if there is something out there that someone would highly recommend , then maybe I could get her to take it.

She's sick right now, on abx for a chest infection, cannot believe that she's sick!!Don't think she's taken abx for anything, ever!!


Thanks so much for the help.

post #2 of 5

Not all b's are created equal.  For me I have to take methyl b-12 (Methylcobalamin) which is already broken down because my body can't process the standard cobalamin.  Something for her to consider because an injection of b12 could do more harm than good if she can't break it down into usable form.

post #3 of 5

My understanding is that Bs do better in relationship to one another, therefore a good complex would be better than a single B.


If she is wanting to get everything from food, would she be willing to eat something that is not vegan as medicine - rather than taking supplements?  I know people are vegan for a variety of reasons.  I don't know your friend's reason, but maybe she can view animal products in the same way she views medicine:  only taken when needed.  Maybe free range non-fertilized eggs or homemade yogurt could be her medicine for a short while?


Live (not canned) fermented foods are the only vegan way to get Bs that I know of, and you would have to test your ferments to see if B12 is present.  


Let us know what your friend decides and how it turns out!  It could be very helpful for others.


: )

post #4 of 5
Injections aren't necessary to treat a deficiency - a higher oral dose is adequate (1000-2000mcg/d cyanocobalamin maybe more for other forms) but it is difficult to correct a deficiency with diet alone (vegan or otherwise). If she's willing to take just a B12/B complex (with high enough B12) supplement for a few months it should be enough to correct the deficiency and then she should be fine with a consistent source in her diet. Would be interested in hearing what your friend chooses and if she feels different as the deficiency resolves.

post #5 of 5

Nutritional yeast is wonderful for all your B vitamins, and it has a bit of protein too. I love it sprinkled on popcorn. Low stomach acid (which happens as we age) can impair B12 absorbtion so try taking a tsp of raw apple cider vinegar before meals. 


ETA: Most non-dairy "milks" are fortified with B12 as well. 

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