Serum vitamin B12 and blood cell values in vegetarians

Ann Nutr Metab. 1982;26(4):209-16. doi: 10.1159/000176565.


Serum vitamin B12 and complete blood count values were determined for 83 volunteer subjects from an American vegetarian society conference (USA). Among subjects who did not supplement their diets with vitamin B12 or multiple vitamin tablets, 92% of the vegans (total vegetarians), 64% of the lactovegetarians, 47% of the lacto-ovovegetarians and 20% of the semivegetarians had serum vitamin B12 levels less than 200 pg/ml (normal = 200-900 pg/ml). However, their complete blood count values did not deviate greatly from those found for nonvegetarians, even though some had been vegans or lactovegetarians for over 10 years. Macrocytosis among the vegetarians was minimal; none had mean corpuscular volume greater than 103 fl.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Eggs
  • Erythrocyte Count*
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Vitamin B 12