Vitamin B12 Supplementation Adequacy in Australian Vegan Study Participants

Nutrients. 2022 Nov 11;14(22):4781. doi: 10.3390/nu14224781.


In our initial analysis of the Australian Vegan Study we estimated the mean daily intake of vitamin B12 of each participant and compared this to the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI). However, the proportion of vitamin B12 that can be absorbed from large doses typically contained in oral supplements is considerably lower than the amount absorbed from food. In this analysis we took into account the estimated absorption from supplements in order to compare adequacy of vitamin B12 intake to the RDI. A cross-sectional online survey was used to obtain information from women (N = 1530) of reproductive age on a vegan diet in Australia. Vitamin B12 intake from food was estimated using a validated food frequency questionnaire and detailed questioning was used to estimate supplemental intake. We used published data on dose-dependent absorption rates to estimate amount of the vitamin absorbed to enable comparison to the RDI. Supplementation practices varied widely. Based on estimated amount absorbed, 39% of participants had an estimated total intake of vitamin B12 below RDI equivalency, compared to 26% based on mean daily intake. The potential absorption of vitamin B12 needs to be considered when estimating adequacy of intake and recommending supplementation.

Keywords: absorption; intake; plant-based; supplementation; vegan; vitamin B12.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Vegan*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Vegans*
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamin B 12
  • Vitamins