Contact us

We'd love to hear from you!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form :(

Supplementation of Vitamin B 12

B12 is manufactured by bacteria and yeast. Meat and milk are full of bacteria because they are decaying substances and so these foods have plenty of B12.

In a more natural world, vitamin B12 could be naturally available to vegans in the form of organic fruits and vegetables straight off the farm, pond water, river water or other natural drinking water etc. Nature always made provisions for us to get all nutrients. In fact some raw vegans find that their B12 levels are good without supplementation due to the abundance of fermented foods and drinks that they consume.

Vitamin B12 is so vital and the repercussions of low B12 are so huge that its just not worth it. Whether you have a deficiency or not can be determined by a simple blood test. Even if vitamin B12 deficiency is not currently present, it is likely to occur in the future. You should keep checking or take a B12 supplement to be safe.

Vitamin B12 is required in minute amounts and can be stored for up to 3 years.


Both vegans and non-vegetarians can suffer from B12 deficiencies. Vegans may suffer because of low intake. Non vegans suffer due to the inability to absorb B12.

Deficiency due to the inability to absorb B12:

Vitamin B12 is absorbed by the intrinsic factor in the stomach. High protein from meat and milk force the stomach to produce more acid to digest them. This high acid secretion not only is one of the causes of acidity but also destroys the lining of the stomach so that the intrinsic factor is deficient. Thus vitamin B12 is not absorbed.
When deficiency is due to a lack of intrinsic factor, B12 tablets will not help, and injections are required. Deficiencies could also be the result of bacterial flora being destroyed by antibiotics or because of deficient intake of bacteria in our unnaturally sterile food.

Deficiency due to low intake:

Vegans may be able to absorb vitamin B12 but are unlikely to get enough of it on a plant-based diet. This is because of our present day lives which are unnaturally hygienic. Microorganisms naturally available in our food are destroyed or removed due to many reasons like:

  • Irradiation of fruits and vegetables

  • Pesticides used in farming

  • Chlorine or other forms of sanitizing drinking water

  • Washing fruits and vegetables too well

  • Preservatives used in packaged food

  • High hygiene levels in our lifestyles

  • Modern day toothpastes with Triclosan which destroy oral bacteria

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Use of the microwave

Hence, even fermented foods found in almost every culture (eg. idli, dosa, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, rejeuvelac, vegan yogurt, tempeh, etc) are not enough to provide vegans with required vitamin B12 levels.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur in anyone at any age. B complex tablets contain B 12 but the amount of B12 in them is not sufficient for proper supplementation.

Vitamin B12 deficiency may be less common in the West, especially in the US, where soya milk and other ready-made foods are fortified with vitamin B12. Many people who want to live naturally, are averse to taking vitamin B12 supplements and this may not cause a problem for a number of years, since vitamin B12 is stored in our body, but sooner or later this problem can catch up. Therefore it is important that everybody keeps a check.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency:

Symptoms can range widely and may not manifest themselves at all, because vitamin B12 is required by all cells of the body. Some of the common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are:

weakness, apathy, memory loss, acidity, loss of weight, nausea and vomiting, anaemia, mental confusion, delusions, paranoia, respiratory symptoms, hives and other symptoms of allergy. A long-term deficiency can lead to heart attacks or stroke- the very problems that a healthy vegan diet can prevent. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system.

How to test for deficiency?

Test for Vitamin B12

Serum B12 - The normal range is 200 to 900 pg/ml. (Please note that your B12 may have been measured by another system - pmol/l so you should see the normal range described in your report.) If your B12 is less than 150 it is very low. A good level is around 400.
If a cynocobalamin source (like spirulina or chlorella) is consumed these levels may be high but the B12 is still not usable by the body. In this case it is better to rely on one of the other two tests: Homocysteinelevl & Holotranscobalamin.

Ways to supplement

It is important to take supplements or at least check levels regularly so that supplementation is not delayed. It is better to take just B12 instead of B complex. There are two kinds of vitamin B12 - methylcobalamin and cynocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the kind which is used by our body. Our body cannot efficiently use cynocobalamin. Spirulina and Chorella contain cynocobalamin and not methylcobalamin, and hence are not good sources of vitamin B12. Some vitamin B complex supplements also contain cynocobalamin rather than methylcobalamin.


  • If deficiency is low and the absorption of vitamin B12 is not yet affected, you could opt to take B12 orally. Methycobal 500Mcg by Wockhardt OR

  • Nurokind by Mankind

  • Folinext by Otsira genetics. Folinext contains both Folic acid and methylcobalamin.

Take one tablet daily initially when the deficiency is detected. After 3 months, get your blood levels checked again and see if levels are normal. Once your blood levels reach normal take one tablet every alternate day for life.

In case you are not vegan and your B12 levels are low, it means you are not absorbing B12. In this case the only option is injections.

Suggested dosage:

Methylcobalamin 250 - 500 mcg daily till the levels are 400 pg/ml or more after which it should be taken 2-3 times per week lifelong. Incase levels do not rise, injections are suggested. It is best to have levels around 400 pg/mL.

(Note: this should not be taken as cyanocobalamin, dose should not be more than 500 mcg/day).


Vitamin B 12 injections should be taken if the deficiency is very severe, or you are not vegan but deficient. If you are vegan and deficient, you may be able to absorb, so after the initial injections you could switch to tablets and continue for life or you may choose to take regular injections (about once in two months). In case you experience some side effects after the injection they should not last for long. Injections should be given to you by a doctor after a test dose for the first time.

  • Injection Eldervit from Elder Company is recommended. It comes as a combi pack of two vials. No.1. vial contains vitamin B12, 2500mcg with Folic acid 0.7mg, and Niacinamide 12 mg. No.2 vial contains Vitamin C, 150 mg. No. 1 vial can be taken as it is or mixed with no. 2 vial. Mixed is better for absorption of vitamin B12. About 10 injections may be required initially in one month depending upon the severity of deficiency. Later one injection every two months is good as a maintenance dose.

  • Injection Vitcofol contains B12 and Folic acid or Injection Methycobalamin. Take a total of 2 vials (each vial 10 ml) in the following way: Take 2ml twice a week of Vitcofol for 15 days. After that, 2ml each week. This should be enough to lift the B12 levels. The second vial would last for one month and one week.

'The most ethical diet so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest - Micheal Mc. Gregor M.D.'