Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

B12 Status of Vegan Children and Teenagers


Vegan Children and Teenagers Supplementing with B12

Sanders & Purves (1981, UK) (Sanders, 1981) assessed the nutritional status of 23 vegan children (1-5 yrs old), contacted through The Vegan Society (UK). All the children had been breast-fed for at least the first 6 months of life and in most cases well into the second year. The majority of children were growing normally but tended to be shorter and lighter than the standards. Energy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes were usually below those recommended. Their diets were generally adequate with a few children having low intakes of vitamin B2 and B12. All parents were aware of the need for B12 supplementation and provided it through yeast extract, soymilk, TVP, or B12 syrup. B12 intake was 2.7 ± 0.63 (range: .3 – 15.2 µg/day). The parents were very receptive to advice.

Sanders concluded that, provided sufficient care is taken, a vegan diet can meet the nutritional requirements of the preschool child.

Vegan Children and Teenagers Not Supplementing with B12

There have been no studies of vegan children or teenagers not supplementing with B12 who were not on a macrobiotic diet or Genmai-Saishoku diet. However, there have been 4 case studies of vegan or vegetarian children and teenagers who developed serious B12 deficiency. They are listed in Individual Cases of B12 Deficiency in Vegans.


Sanders, 1981. Sanders TA, Purves R. An anthropometric and dietary assessment of the nutritional status of vegan preschool children. J Hum Nutr. 1981 Oct;35(5):349-57.

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