Tempeh is the only soy product naturally containing vitamin B12. A serving provides 5% DV. Soybeans, soy milk, tofu, edamame, and other soy products contain no vitamin B12 at all. Only fortified foods are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Health benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to anemia, neuropathy, neurodegenerative disease and cognitive impairment. Pregnant women should get enough vitamin B12 to decrease the risk of neural tube defect.
How much vitamin B12 do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg. Both for women and men.
Pregnant and lactating women require slightly higher doses of 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg, respectively.
Is vitamin B12 deficiency common?
Actually, vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty common. We can’t synthesize it. We have to get it from food. But, there aren’t many common foods high in vitamin B12.
Only certain animal-based foods are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
On the other hand, most plant-based foods contain no vitamin B12 whatsoever. Only fortified cereals, juices, and nutritional yeasts are rich in vitamin B12.
How much vitamin B12 is in soy products?
Plants don’t synthesize vitamin B12. They contain no vitamin B12.
Soybeans are no exception. They contain no vitamin B12. Neither do other soy products, such as soy milk, tofu. edamame, soy sauce, and soy flour.
Only fortified soy products may have a high vitamin B12 content.
For instance, fortified soy milks may contain up to 3.3 mcg of vitamin B12 per serving. This dose is about 140% of the recommended daily intake! Also, soy milk has fewer calories than cow’s milk.
You’ll find a wide variety of soy and other plant-based milks on Amazon.
Tempeh naturally contains vitamin B12
The only soy product which naturally contains vitamin B12 is tempeh.
Tempeh is a traditional, fungal fermented Indonesian product, usually made from soybeans.
Vitamin B12 is synthesized only by certain bacteria, as well as microflora of animals. Certain microorganisms that involved in the fermentation process of tempeh produce vitamin B12 as well.
The vitamin B12 content of tempeh is about 0.14 mcg per 100g. A serving of tempeh provides approximately 0.12 mcg of vitamin B12, which is about 5% of the recommended daily intake.
Therefore, although tempeh helps us meet our daily needs of vitamin B12, we can’t depend on it to get the necessary amounts of the vitamin. We have to consume other foods containing vitamin B12.
Are there good plant-based sources of vitamin B12?
There aren’t many common plant-based foods high in vitamin B12. Only tempeh, some types of algae and seaweed, like chlorella, as well as fortified foods are the only good vegan dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet might benefit the most from taking a vitamin B12 supplement. You’ll find a wide variety of vitamin B12 supplements on iHerb.
Vitamin B12 supplements are considered pretty safe. Vitamin B12 toxicity is rather uncommon. Even extremely high dosages of 1,000 mcg are rather unlikely to cause any side effect.
Common foods high in vitamin B12
Actually, only animal-based products are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Beef liver is the richest food in vitamin B12. Just a serving contains more than 70 mcg of vitamin B12. This dose is 2,940% of the recommended daily intake! But, we shouldn’t eat beef liver regularly. It may lead to vitamin A overdose, as it’s extremely high in vitamin A.
Cow’s milk is the most important dietary source of vitamin B12, though. Not only it’s rich in vitamin B12, but also, vitamin B12 in milk is highly bioavailable.
Health benefits of soybeans
Actually, soy foods support weight loss. Also, they may reduce the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms, and osteoporosis! Moreover, they may help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammations in the body.[5,6]
The best time to drink soy milk is at breakfast or before bed.