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How Much B12 During Breastfeeding?

Sharon Palmer

Today, I’m answering your top nutrition questions on how much vitamin B12 to take while breastfeeding.

Question: I’m vegan and nursing. How much vitamin B12 should I take? —Jordan


If you eat a vegan diet, it’s really important to take ample vitamin B12 while you are nursing your baby. Low vitamin B12 levels are not uncommon in vegan women who do not supplement adequately, and it is likely that infants breastfeed by women with low B12 levels can have low levels themselves. That means you need to consume a regular source of B12, which is important for normal blood and neurological function. A regular source providing at least 2.8 mcg/day of B12 (per the RDA) from the daily consumption of fortified foods or supplements must be included in the diet while you are breastfeeding. Because absorption may be limited through supplements, it may be necessary to increase the intake above the RDA. The two forms you should consider using are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, because they are the biologically active forms of B12. There are many reports circulating around the Internet that suggest you can get adequate B12 through soil found in vegetables and algae, but this is not true and it is important to supplement your diet with this essential micronutrient found in animal foods. All vegans should be periodically screened using a MMA or TCII assessment for B12 status. It’s important that you discuss vitamin B12 intake and assessment with your health care practitioner to ensure that you are receiving an adequate source of this essential nutrient in your diet. See my full blog on vitamin B12 here.

Eat and Live Well,


Check out the other nutrition questions I’m answering at The Plant-Powered Dietitian:

How to Prepare Dried Beans to Avoid Antinutrients
Does Roasting Veggies Ruin Nutrients?
Is “clean eating” a healthy lifestyle?

About Ask Sharon:

As part of my program “Ask Sharon”, I am answering the top question of the month submitted through my   blog,   Facebook,    Twitter  or    Instagram   to answer here. You can even win a prize! Don’t forget to submit your burning nutrition question this month via my blog, or other social media. Here is my favorite question this month.

Note: Sharon is not a spokesperson for this product or benefitting in anyway from it.

Image: Vitamin B12 supplement

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