Don’t forget your B12

| Post published on November 16, 2020
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Older people enjoying a picnic

Deficiency is no more common among vegans who take a supplement

Not much is known about the nutritional status of vegans in the Czech Republic. According to a 2019 survey, 10 per cent of Czechs aged 18-34 describe themselves as vegetarian or vegan. This study investigated whether the use of B12 supplements prevented deficiency in 151 Czech vegans compared to 85 non-vegans. They found that vegans who regularly took a supplement had similar levels of B12 to non-vegans but those not supplementing had significantly lower levels. This is a predictable result but one that carries a simple and important message – remember to take your B12! Low levels are not uncommon in older people, regardless of diet, as absorption from food declines with age. In the US, all adults over 50 are advised to take a supplement.

Selinger E, Kühn T, Procházková M, et al. 2019. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Is Prevalent Among Czech Vegans Who Do Not Use Vitamin B12 Supplements. Nutrients. 11 (12) 3019.

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About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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