When going vegan and giving up meat, dairy and eggs, one nutritional concern is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is derived from bacteria and is naturally found in soil. Because plant food is normally washed clean, soil and therefore vitamin B12 is washed off. Since animals eat soil, bacteria can enter their bodies and produce vitamin B12 in the animals' guts. However, most meat today comes from factory farms where animals eat animal feed that does not contain vitamin B12, so these animals get vitamin B12 from B12 supplements that are either added to their feed or the B12 is directly injected into the animal.
Regardless of whether you get vitamin B12 from animals or supplements, either way the B12 is originally derived from bacteria. It is far more efficient to get the B12 from the bacteria directly than via the "middleman" which is the slaughtered animal.
I have always been a fan of taking vitamin B12 pills, but lately I have found that eating and drinking food with fortified vitamin B12 is much easier because taking pills is a chore whereas eating delicious food like nutritional yeast is something you want to do because it tastes good.
When buying nutritional yeast it is important to know that not all nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, and yeast is not a form of bacterium but rather it is a fungus. Nutritional yeast contains a lot of B vitamins but not vitamin B12. However, many nutritional yeast brands incorporate bacteria into the production process such that vitamin B12 is produced as well.
Simply check the label to see if the nutritional yeast brand contains vitamin B12.
Often nutritional yeast is available from health food or natural food stores, but I recommend simply buying it online via iHerb.
27 July 2017
I bought some linseed meal from Chemist Warehouse. Linseed (also known as flaxseed) is a good vegan source of omega 3. It is best to eat ground linseed as crushing linseeds releases nutrients. One tablespoon of linseed meal contains about 1500 mg of ALA. ALA gets converted in the body into DHA and EPA. One to two tablespoons per day of linseed meal will provide you with enough omega 3. Even though the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA is low, there is so much ALA in linseed that it doesn’t matter. The recommended amount of DHA per day is about 100 mg. Another vegan source of DHA and EPA is algae oil. Most DHA supplements are derived from microalgae. A non-vegan source of DHA and EPA is fish, but fish also contains industrial pollutants such as mercury, DDT, dieldrin, microplastics, and other industrial toxins. Better to stick with the vegan sources of omega 3, namely ground linseed/flaxseed or microalgae based supplements.