With micro-nutrients that are as controversial as B12, there is A LOT of material to wade through. MOST of the information on the internet is opinion and propaganda so one must be selective in their sources. Just type in B12 deficiency in a search engine and you would think every vegan has a problem, but in reality, there are VERY FEW actual studies of documented deficiencies along with symptoms in people who have adequate nutrition and are under 65.
So, the information complied here was from as unbiased sources (as much as possible with humans involved). Basically there are 3 camps:
1. We must get B12 from external sources.
2. We can make our own B12
3. Both, not sure, maybe, what it, it could be, unsure......
And whether you are Christian or an evolutionist there are some fundamental flaws in “you must use supplements if you are vegan”. For the Christian, it is a lack of faith that God made everything “good” in Eden. For evolutionist, how did herbivores survive? While it is true some animals eat contaminated plants, not all do. Tree dwellers, and so. So, philosophically I see a problem, on the other hand this world is waxing old, and it could be we have not been good stewards of the land, thus our food is lacking in nutrients. Many studies have found more nutrients in foods grown in rich soil. In fact, they have even found B12 in certain root crops, like beets, grown organically in rich soil.
Even in animal populations, there is cause for concern in lack of B12. That's right even animals are getting supplements. One study added cobalt supplements to the feed for cattle grazing on pasture low in cobalt and it improved their B12 levels. Interesting, they gave the cattle cobalt NOT B12 supplements. I have not been able to find anyone who has done a study on humans in this regard because cattle and sheep are rudiments and their digestion is different from humans, there is assumed to be no correlation to humans.
Without proper research it is wise to supplement until we know if it is poor soil, improper absorption, or direct lack of B12 that causes deficiency. I personally use fortified soy milk and eat some fortified soy meats a couple times a week. I was tested this month and my B12 levels are fine, (I've been vegan for over 10 years, but on rare occasions, have had dairy and egg products.)
God bless and trust Him!
For an info sheet on B12, Vitamin D and Trace Minerals click here