Are vegetarians at increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Vitamin B12 comes primarily from animal products. If you are following a vegan diet (plant based avoids all animal products), then you need to ensure that you are getting vitamin B12 from fortified cereal, dairy alternatives enriched with B12 or a supplement. If you are not conscious about this, you might end up with a vitamin B12 deficiency.

People who have vegetarian diets, and particularly vegans, are at increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because they don't consume the animal-based foods that are rich sources of B12. These foods include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Typical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, also known as vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, include tiredness, lack of energy, light-headedness when standing up or exercising, diarrhea, constipation, appetite loss, weight loss, pale skin, swollen or red tongue, bleeding gums, difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.