Most vitamin B12 tablets are vegan. However, some vitamin B12 supplements may contain ingredients that are not considered vegan, such as gelatin. It’s important to read the label on the product to find out all the ingredients that may be included in the supplement. 

Vitamin B12 pills or tablets are widely available as supplements. Some people, especially those with a vitamin B12 deficiency, may need vitamin B12 supplementation for their health and overall well-being. Among those who might need vitamin B12 supplements, vegans and vegetarians may want to be sure that vitamin B12 oral tablets are completely vegan. 

Continue reading to learn more about vitamin B12 and whether vitamin B12 tablets are vegan.

What is in vitamin B12 tablets?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for the functioning of bodily processes, including those involving the central nervous system. This vitamin is a natural substance that can be obtained from animal-based foods including meat and dairy products. For vegans, that could mean fewer sources to get vitamin B12 from and a higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency. However, there are alternatives to getting vitamin B12 solely from the diet, such as vitamin B12 injections and oral vitamin B12 supplements. 

Vitamin B12 tablets may contain different sources of vitamin B12. They may also contain inactive ingredients in addition to active ingredients. Inactive ingredients may include gelatin, povidone, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate, starch, and titanium dioxide. Inactive ingredients are typically added to make sure the vitamin remains stable in normal storage conditions. They may also be added to help deliver the vitamin so that it reaches the right area of absorption in the body.

Source of vitamin B12

There are different forms of B12, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, which are found to be active in our body without needing to be processed. On the other hand, hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin are inactive forms that need to be metabolized first before being activated. 

Vitamin B12 in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products is produced from microorganisms. It is primarily maimadenly by bacteria or archaea. Though some bacteria in our colon can produce B12, there is not enough vitamin B12 produced by our own bodies. Furthermore, plants cannot provide humans with an active form of B12 when consumed. They also cannot be used as an adequate source of vitamin B12 for supplements.  

Nevertheless, vitamin B12 can be extracted from bacteria. The process and ingredients used to extract B12 from bacteria do not use animal products. Both supplements and B12-fortified vegan foods are generally produced with this method, but fortified foods are less common in the market. Taking vitamin B12 tablets may be more convenient for some people.   

Why is vitamin B12 essential to vegans?

Vitamin B12 has several functions to support our health; for example, it is crucial for red blood cell production and a healthy nervous system. Vegans who are unable to supplement with vitamin B12 may experience vitamin B12 deficiency. Research suggests that the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency is higher in vegetarians and vegans than in people who eat meat and dairy products. Supplementation is the simple solution to this problem. Because the ability to absorb vitamin B12 also decreases with age, vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for both vegans and non-vegans.

B12 Deficiency

A diet without vitamin B12 can cause deficiency symptoms within two to five years. People with underlying health conditions may experience symptoms or other complications earlier than others. People with low vitamin B12 in their bodies are at risk of anemia, nervous system damage, infertility, bone problems, and heart disease. Typical symptoms include loss of energy, blurred vision, poor memory, confusion, and mood changes. These symptoms gradually develop before being diagnosed. 

Vegan women considering pregnancy should be aware of the possibility of endangering their baby to B12 deficiency. Deficiency can lead to complications at birth, like permanent neurological damage. Therefore, it is recommended to ensure vitamin B12 levels are adequate in pregnant women. 

Fortunately, symptoms are usually reversible upon regular intake of vitamin B12 in adults.  

If you suspect a B12 deficiency, you can consult your healthcare provider about taking supplements. A blood test can be done to determine your B12 levels. There are several brands of vegan Vitamin B12 supplements that can be suggested to you. You can reach out to the experts at Medical Weight Loss Centers of America if you have questions about the best way to supplement vitamin B12. 

Vitamin B12 tablets 

A B12 supplement is dosed in small amounts daily to complete the recommended weekly intake of 2000 to 5000 micrograms. A bottle of vitamin B12 tablets will indicate on its label whether it is vegan or not. Nevertheless, you may check its ingredients or contact the manufacturer to confirm. 

Only a tablet or lozenge form of vitamin B12 is vegan. For example, a soft-gel capsule will likely contain gelatin that is derived from animals. Other ingredients you should watch out for are beeswax, magnesium stearate, and glycerin. 

To maintain a healthy level of B12 in your diet. A vitamin B12 tablet is the most economical and efficient supplementation. It is widely available in the market at affordable prices and in several brands. Some vegans and vegetarians may prefer to use vitamin B12 injections instead of vitamin B12 tablets. Either form of vitamin B12 may be appropriate depending on your needs and condition.