Vitamin B12

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Form: Methylcobalamin
Food source: Meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Some fortified plant-based milks and yeast-based products. 

Benefits of Vitamin B12

  • Energy
  • Mental performance
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Supports nervous system
  • Pregnancy support

    What is Vitamin B12?

    Vitamin B12 is known as 'The Energy Vitamin' and is essential for the production of red blood cells, our energy and helping maintain a healthy heart. A deficiency in B12 can cause you to feel tired and fatigued, affect your nervous system, and potentially lead to serious health conditions. 

    Vitamin B12 is found in almost all foods of animal origin so is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies among vegans. Green plants do not provide Vitamin B12 but it can be synthesised from corn.

    As a B Vitamin, Vitamin B12 is involved in the conversion of the food that we eat into the energy that we need. This makes it important for conditions that can lead to a lack of energy such as menopause. It is also essential for the growth and division of your body's cells and the forming of red blood cells in your body. This is why a lack of Vitamin B12 in your body can cause anaemia, a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues resulting from a deficiency of healthy red blood cells in the body. 

    Vitamin B12 is needed to produce 'myelin', a substance that forms a protective layer around your nerves. Low Vitamin B12 can lead to damage to this protective layer and cause nerves to stop functioning properly. This means a deficiency can affect balance and coordination, which can impact the way you walk and move.

    Pain, numbness or a prickling sensation in your hands and feet, like pins and needles, may also occur when your Vitamin B12 levels are low. This crucial neurological function makes it an important vitamin for the development of the baby’s brain during pregnancy. 

    Because of its importance and the difficulty of getting Vitamin B12 from a plant-based diet, it’s essential to opt for foods fortified with Vitamin B12 including yeast extract, like vegan Marmite or yeast flakes, some plant milk alternatives, soya yoghurts and breakfast cereals. You can also consider a Vitamin B12 supplement

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