Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that is not recognised as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, together with exposure to sun. It is necessary to consume fortified soy milk, soy meat or supplements to avoid a B12 deficiency.
It isn’t only people living on a plant based diet that should be taking B12 supplements. Meat eaters have also been found to be B12 deficient. Vitamin B12 is found in the soil and in animals stomaches. The animals don’t produce it. They get it from eating clumps of soil when they eat grass. Unfortunately, few animals are grass fed anymore and this has led to animals suffering from B12 deficiency. Some factory farms supplement the animals’ feed with B12 while others do not.
In a study conducted in 2000 and published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, it was found that 39% of the American population were either in low normal or deficient categories. It further found that the people with highest concentrations of B12 were people taking supplements and there was no difference between the concentrations of meat eaters or people eating plant based diets.