Note to vegetarians and vegans: B12 is found ONLY in animal productsB12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt), which is why it’s called cobalamin. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It’s the only vitamin we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don’t need B12 so they don’t store it.
A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block intake of and increase the need for true B12.
This explains why studies consistently demonstrate that up to 50% of long-term vegetarians and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12.
The effects of B12 deficiency on kids are especially alarming. Studies have shown that kids raised until age 6 on a vegan diet are still B12 deficient even years after they start eating at least some animal products. In one study, the researchers found:
…a significant association between cobalamin [b12] status and performance on tests measuring fluid intelligence, spatial ability and short-term memory” with formerly vegan kids scoring lower than omnivorous kids in each case.The deficit in fluid intelligence is particularly troubling, the researchers said, because:
…it involves reasoning, the capacity to solve complex problems, abstract thinking ability and the ability to learn. Any defect in this area may have far-reaching consequences for individual functioning.