Vitamin B12 In Vegetarians
VITAMIN B12 IN VEGETARIANS: TRUTH AND MISCONCEPTIONS
Vegetarian, including vegan, diets are adopted by increasing number of individuals. Vegetarians, including vegans, have a lower risk of several chronic health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Benefits of adopting meatless diets go beyond personal health. However, nutrient deficiencies among vegetarians have been widely documented in many studies. Vitamin B12 deficiency is the biggest concern because 1) this vitamin is not found in commonly consumed foods of plant origin, except foods that have been fortified, and 2) vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, especially vegans, are widespread, often exceeding 50% of the studied samples. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency have been widely described. They include neurological, psychological, dermatological, psychiatric, developmental, oral, and hematologic abnormalities. Symptoms may be mild (e.g. fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, feeling pins in legs,) or severe (e.g. paralysis, psychosis, developmental delays). Symptoms may be progressive and if untreated, some symptoms, especially neurological manifestations, may become irreversible. Of most concern are cases among infants and toddlers with profound neurological symptoms and developmental delays. However, health complications in adults, including, such conditions as stroke, depression, and cognitive decline and well-documented. Recent studies have demonstrated that the health effects of B-vitamins, including vitamin B12, are modulated by the status of omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the status of these fatty acids, except for the alpha-linolenic acid, among vegetarians is often inadequate.

In this lecture, specific recommendations will be suggested to improve both vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids status. Inadequate status of these nutrients largely negates the benefits of vegetarian diets, while its improvement will likely further enhance them.
Upon successful completion of this two-hour course, the participant should be able to:
  • Compare vitamin B12 intake among vegetarians with current recommendations.


  • Review the status of vitamin B12 among vegetarians.


  • Summarize common misconceptions about vitamin B12 among vegetarians.


  • Overview potential and documented health outcomes among vegetarians in different stages of the lifecycle resulting from inadequate vitamin B12 status.


  • Discuss connections of vitamin B12 with other nutrients along with the impact of these interactions on health.


  • State recommendations to enhance vitamin B12 status among vegetarians.
Live Event Date: May 20, 2020
Learning Need Codes (LNC): 2090, 4110, 4040
Performance Indicators/Learning Objectives: 10.2.4, 10.4.4
Target Audience: RDs, DTRs, Health Professionals
Number of Credits: 2.0
Level(s): 1, 2
Total Cost: $36 ($18.00 per credit)

About the Presenter: Roman Pawlak, Ph.D, RD
Roman Pawlak

Associate Professor of Nutrition at East Carolina University. Authored: 'Vitamin B12. Combating the epidemic of deficiency' (published in English and Polish), 'Vegan/vegetarian mother and her baby' (published in English, Polish and Czech), 'I am the LORD who heals you' (published in English, Russian and Japanese), 'Forever young. Secrets of delaying aging and living disease free' (published in English and Polish), 'Healthy diet without secrets' (published in English and Polish), 'In defense of vegetarianism' (published in English and Polish), 'Diabetes. How to prevent it? How to cure it? How to prevent diabetes complications' (published in Polish), 'Diet – facts and myths' (published in Polish). Published in the best American and international nutrition journals, including, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, European Journal of Nutrition, Nutrition Reviews, American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Lectured in five continents, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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