Do it. You won’t get the amount of B12 you need from your vegan diet.
A B12 deficiency is really dangerous. It can lead to irreparable anaemia, nerve damages and mucosal damages. It’s possible for a deficieny to show up only after years as the storage lasts quite long and especially in vegans it can be hard to feel a deficiency because we often eat lots of folate which can cover the symptoms.
Let me explain to you briefly where B12 comes from: Only special bacterias and no higher plants or animals are able to produce B12. Humans and animals also produce it in their colon but as B12 already gets absorbed in the small intestine, we need to get it in with our food. I know there are some people that say “I don’t need B12 as a vegan, I get everything from plants..”. Actually maybe a long time back this would have been true. We could get these bacterias from fruits and veggies because they grow in the soil/dirt where you can find these bacterias. Nowadays though our soils are depleted plus our food is cleaned so much that it’s impossible to cover your B12 need through plants. People from countries with lower hygiene standards actually have a lower risk for a B12 deficiency.
There are some products like vegan “meat”, plant milk or cereals to which B12 is added to but you should not rely on them alone. Other foods like for example sea algas, leafy greens or fermented soy products also aren’t reliable as it is not sure yet if the body can absorb the B12 from these sources adequately.
So what to I recommend? At first I only used the toothpaste by Santé. After a while I got some really bad headache every single day so I thought maybe it’s because of B12. And what can I say? It probably was true. I tried out the B12 pills from Jarrow and my headache was gone. So I personally take these pills now. They contain B12 in the form of methylcobalamin which is the only one you should use for proper supplementation. The dose is 1000µg which is really high and hard to find in other pills. We only need about 3µg per day so these pills make sure we get enough as probably not the whole 1000µg will be absorbed by the body. And even if, don’t worry, it’s not possible to overdose B12.
Omnivors get their B12 from animal products as the animals eat a lot of grass/dirt naturally so you get your B12 by eating the animals. But nowadays when most animals are not out on the field anymore and get food to eat that is unnatural for them (like soy for example) they also don’t get their B12 and often the animals themselves get B12 supplements so people will get it when they eat them. Logical, right? Why not just take the supplement directly then? 😉 It’s also a myth that meat eaters won’t ever get B12 deficient.
Many people claim a vegan diet is not natural as we need to take a B12 supplement while they don’t realize the B12 they get comes from animals that also get supplements. And anyway: Just take a look at the shelves in the supermarkets: They’re full of vitamin supplements. I don’t think they’re only for vegans, right? I don’t think vegans that eat a healthy diet need to take all this stuff. Actually many non-vegans are at greater risk for deficiencies as they often don’t eat enough nutrient-rich food. But our diet gets called unnatural for taking one supplement. 😉
On a final note: I did not make this information up or heard it somewhere and just repeat it. I wrote my bachelor thesis on the vegan diet and for those who are interested, here are my sources which I used among others: German Nutrition Society, American Dietetic Association, Abdulla et al., Dwyer, Craig, Waldmann, Watanabe et al.