B12 in Nutritional Yeast

Photo courtesy of Jeff Gunn

Vegetables and fruit do so many fantastic things for us… but there’s that little issue of Vitamin B12, the one nutrient we cannot obtain from any plant. And we need it. This water-soluble vitamin is essential to our bodies, as it helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cells and is needed to make DNA.

In a 100% plant-based diet, there is no natural source of Vitamin B12, which is abundant in shellfish, meat, fish and dairy products. However, according to the Mayo Clinic “the human body stores several years’ worth of B12, so nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is extremely rare”. B12 is an easy vitamin to incorporate without animal products, as most cereals and a number of vegan foods are fortified with B12. Earth Balance™ Soy Milks, for example, provide 50% of the recommended dietary allowance in a one-cup serving.

Some brands of nutritional yeast, a vegetarian and vegan favorite often referred to as “nooch”, are fortified with B12, as much as 150% in one serving. Nutritional yeast should not be confused with brewer’s yeast and not all varieties are fortified with B12, so seek out the Red Star brand or make sure the brand you are using contains added B12. Some varieties may also include whey (Red Star does not), so vegans should make sure to avoid any that contain added dairy.

Not only does nutritional yeast provide a variety of healthy nutrients, it’s also delicious! Later this afternoon, we’ll feature a recipe that uses nutritional yeast, an excellent source of vitamin B12 all packed into an extra tasty dish!

The government recommended dietary allowance for B12 is 2 to 3 micrograms (mcgs) per day, while Jack Norris, R.D, a plant basied dietician suggests from 4 to 7mcgs. It is not recommended to rely solely on fortified foods to get the full needed amount of B12 and for those on vegan diets, a daily supplement is strongly suggested.

How do you get your Vitamin B12? Do you take supplements, use fortified foods? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll pick one winner for today’s Everyday Giveaway to receive coupons for FREE Earth Balance®!

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24 Responses to “B12 in Nutritional Yeast”

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  1. Terri Cole says:

    I take a supplement.

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  2. What you say about B12 is incorrect. It’s derived from bacteria and is usually present in soil.

    http://www.pamrotella.com/health/b12.html

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  3. Stacy Carson says:

    I did some research and bought some methylcobalamin chewables, but then I just read Norris’ book and it seems like the normal cyanocobalamin supplement is fine. I’ll be keeping my eye out for further discoveries about the differences between these two.

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  4. i take B12 caps every night . helps me sleep

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  5. also ….i have low b12 levels and am not vegan . i know others who have low B12 levels as well .. not sure how true it is that low levels are”extremely rare”

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  6. Lisa G says:

    I also take methylcobalamin chewables as a my B12 supplement.

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  7. After 10+ years of being vegan (and taking supplements) I developed the dreaded “brain fog” and symptoms of B12 deficiency like constant fatigue. I switched to methylcobalamin and my symptoms cleared up within a week. I would recommend that every vegan take it.. you will feel the difference.

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  8. I have a Garden of Life Raw Meal smoothie with either soy (Earth Balance of course) or almond milk for breakfast everyday and it says it provides me with 200% of my daily allowance of B12.

    Have never heard of methylcobalamin but I’m interested in learning more about it.

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  9. Amy Chu says:

    Nature’s Life Sustained Release Hi-B 100 is what I am using. It states, “Suitable for Vegetarians.” It’s the constant release of the B’s that makes it great.

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  10. @Andrea Berman – the information presented is correct. Yes, the B12 originates in soil bacteria, which is why it is present in animal foods. It is removed from plant foods during growth and production, essentially being cleaned off. Animals (and in turn the foods they produce) get the B12 directly from the soil, whereas it is not present in plant foods where most soil residues have been hygienically removed.

    @Shelley Seidman -the Mayo Clinic states that deficiencies are rare, though obviously not impossible. Usually treatment with supplementation or in some cases injection, if caught early enough, can reverse the problem and bring B12 levels back to normal. Good luck!

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  11. Shirley J. says:

    I supplement with B12 and also eat fortified foods.

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  12. Supplementation is the only reliable way to make sure that as a vegan you have enough B12.

    And I will never, ever refer to nutritional yeast as nooch. I have never heard it referred to as such, and can see no reason to coin such an awful word for an innocent and otherwise inoffensive commodity.

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  13. RAJ SHAH says:

    I drink fortified soy milk and tofu with vitamins and minerals.

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  14. I eat fortified foods but also take a multivitamin with B12.

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  15. Loretta Kane says:

    I take supplements and I consume fortified foods. My usual breakfast is a B12-fortified smoothie that has at least 100% of the RDA.

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  16. Janel M. says:

    I get most of my B-12 from protein powder.

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  17. Janel M. says:

    Nutritional yeast on popcorn!

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  18. Nutritional yeast on popcorn!

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  19. Amy Davidson says:

    I eat nutritional yeast, and I use True Vitality in my morning smoothie (which is a protein powder/multivitamin).

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  20. Nina D says:

    I use fortified foods mainly but supplement for time to time too. Especially if I haven’t been balancing my diet well which happens from time to time.

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  21. Just had some nutritional yeast on my spaghetti – yummy! I take a B12 supplement as well.

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  22. i drink fortified almond or soymilk everyday and also love me some nutritional yeast!

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  23. White Nebula says:

    I take B12 supplements, 1000 mg, 3 times a week. I also use nutritional yeast, but that’s pretty much just because it’s awesome.

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  24. Terree Cloth says:

    I was told or read somewhere that some tempeh contains B12. Anyone know if that’s so?

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