vitamin b12 in duckweed

Vitamin B12 in Duckweed: Is Duckweed a Potential Source of B12?

In recent years, plant-based nutrition has attracted the attention of experts and consumers alike. Most recently, the plant Duckweed has attracted attention thanks to its benefits. Furthermore, Duckweed is also hailed as a superfood thanks to its special nutritional composition and exceptionally high vitamin B12 content. So, does Duckweed b12 really exist, and how does it work? Let's learn about vitamin b12 in Duckweed through this article.


What Is Vitamin B12?

vitamin b12

Vitamin B12 stands as a crucial micronutrient. Its roles encompass overseeing the synthesis of red blood cells (RBCs), orchestrating DNA synthesis, regulating the nervous system's functionality, and upholding the structural integrity of chromosomes. [1]

Natural Sources Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is primarily found in various food sources, with beef, liver, fish, meat, and dairy products being the main contributors. In animal sources, the liver is the most abundant supplier of vitamin B12, closely trailed by beef liver and eggs.

Additionally, certain plant-based foods, like fermented whole wheat flour, kombucha tea, and fermented coconut water, may contain vitamin B12, contingent on undergoing microbial fermentation or chemical fortification processes. [1]

Why Is B12 Crucial For Health?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to serious health consequences, such as pernicious anemia, demyelinated neurons, memory loss, low cognitive function, fatigue, etc.

Besides, vegetarians are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. The risk will be even higher if you follow a vegan diet (absolutely no food of animal origin). [1]

A deficiency in vitamin B12 is a common cause of macrocytic anemia and is associated with various neurological disorders. [2]

Ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin B12 is crucial, given its involvement in vital bodily functions. According to recommendations, adults are advised to consume approximately 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 daily to maintain these essential functions. [3]

Is Duckweed a Potential Source of B12?

does duckweed contains vitamin b12

Production Process Of Vitamin B12 In Duckweed

The exact production mechanisms of B12 in Duckweed are still under investigation.

However, research indicates that Duckweed may serve as a high-quality alternative to animal protein. Additionally, it is considered a potential bioavailable source of vitamin B12. [4]

Studies have demonstrated that Duckweed possesses essential amino acid and vitamin B12 content comparable to that of peas and cheese. It offers all nine essential amino acids and contains fiber, polyphenols, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. [4]

Regarding taste, Duckweed has a more pleasant smell than spirulina and kale. Furthermore, it can also be combined with nutritional drinks, snacks, and baked products, which helps users diversify the ways they consume Duckweed. [6]

In addition, it has been argued that if a food has not been proven to improve vitamin B12 status in humans through reducing blood levels of methylmalonic acid, it cannot be considered a worthy source of vitamin B12 [7]. Therefore, we will need more research on Duckweed to confirm its benefits.

Vitamin B12 In Duckweed With Other B12 Sources: The Comparison

The research involved 36 men to explore the differences between Duckweed and conventional B12 sources like cheese and beans.

Following a consistent diet for 3 days with an overnight fast, participants randomly ingested one of three test meals: soft cheese, green beans, or Duckweed.

The concentrations of essential amino acids (EAAs) in the blood were comparable across all three meals. Notably, Vitamin B12 levels in Duckweed were higher than those in cheese and peas.

These findings suggest that Duckweed holds the potential to serve as a high-quality alternative source of animal protein and a bioavailable form of vitamin B12. [4]

Benefits Of Incorporating Duckweed Into Daily Diets

various benefits of duckweed for human's health

Reduce visceral fat: In a 2022 study, adding Duckweed to a green Mediterranean diet (MED) significantly reduced visceral fat. This type of fat is linked to health risks such as insulin resistance and high blood pressure, even in people without diabetes. [8]

Abundant in Polyphenols and Flavonoids: Duckweed is rich in polyphenols, including flavonoids, which play important roles in diverse biological processes. The antioxidant capacity of polyphenols in Duckweed contributes to overall health benefits by protecting cells against damage from free radicals and oxidation. [9]

Enhance immunity: Not only is it a source of diverse vitamins such as A, B B-complex, C, E, K, or essential minerals for the body like iron, zinc, calcium... Duckweed is also believed to have benefits in improving gut health and boosting the immune system.

Improve intestinal health: Studies indicate its potential to improve gut health by minimizing the adverse effects of gamma radiation on the small intestine and enhancing immune barrier function through compounds such as Lemnan. [11]

Is Duckweed Safe To Incorporate Into Daily Diets?

Although therapeutic doses of Duckweed have not been linked to significant side effects, caution is advised.

Duckweed contains notable levels of calcium oxalate, which may contribute to kidney stone formation. Depending on the water source, Duckweed may accumulate contaminants, posing a consumer risk. [11]

How To Incorporate Duckweed For B12 Supplement?

using duckweed into many recipes

Incorporating Duckweed into recipes, such as salads, smoothies, or soups, can offer a natural and flavorful way to include this potential B12 source in your diet.

One delicious option is a Duckweed shake, which enhances the flavor and allows for a more diverse enjoyment of Duckweed.

You can also combine Duckweed with a variety of fruits like apples, bananas, carrots, peaches, mangoes, and ginger for added variety.

Additionally, to boost the flavor and nutritional content of Duckweed, consider incorporating supplementary ingredients such as yogurt, avocado bits, or various seeds. You can create a delicious and aromatic Duckweed snack, depending on your preferences.


In summary, Duckweed shows potential as an effective source of B12 along with other essential nutrients. You can incorporate it into your daily diet, bringing the most benefits. However, it is necessary to be cautious and make informed decisions about the water source from where Duckweed is harvested. The best way to take advantage of its nutritional value is by including it in various recipes for added texture and flavor. With more research and awareness about the content of vitamin B12 in Duckweed, it may soon become a popular B12 supplement choice for vegetarians and vegans.


[1] Kumar, R., Singh, U., Tiwari, A., Tiwari, P., Sahu, J. K., & Sharma, S. (2023). Vitamin B12: Strategies for enhanced production, fortified functional food products and health benefits. Process Biochemistry, 127, 44–55.
[2] ROBERT, C., & BROWN, D. L. (2003). Vitamin B12 Deficiency. American Family Physician, 67(5), 979–986.
[3] Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin B12. (2016).
[4] Kaplan, A., Hila Zelicha, Gal Tsaban, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Ehud Rinott, Kovsan, J., Novack, L., Thiery, J., Ceglarek, U., Burkhardt, R., Willenberg, A., Amir Tirosh, Ioav Cabantchik, Stampfer, M. J., & Shai, I. (2019). Protein bioavailability of Wolffia globosa Duckweed, a novel aquatic plant – A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, 38(6), 2576–2582.
[5] Fang, H., Kang, J., & Zhang, D. (2017). Microbial production of vitamin B12: a review and future perspectives. Microbial Cell Factories, 16(1).
[6] Hila Zelicha, Kloting, N., Kaplan, A., Anat Yaskolka Meir, Ehud Rinott, Gal Tsaban, Yoash Chassidim, Matthias Bluher, Ceglarek, U., Isermann, B., Stumvoll, M., Rita Nana Quayson, Martin von Bergen, Engelmann, B., Rolle-Kampczyk, U. E., Sven-Bastiaan Haange, Tuohy, K. M., Diotallevi, C., Ilan Shelef, & Hu, F. B. (2022). The effect of high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity: the DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial. BMC Medicine, 20(1).
[7] Pagliuso, D., Eusebia, C., Grandis, A., Lam, E., José, M., & Marcos Silveira Buckeridge. (2020). Flavonoids from Duckweeds: potential applications in the human diet. RSC Advances, 10(73), 44981–44988.
[8] Ali Esmail Al-Snafi. (2019, August 9). Lemna minor: Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects-A Review. ResearchGate; unknown.
[9] Ali Esmail Al-Snafi. (2019, August 9). Lemna minor: Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects-A Review. ResearchGate; unknown.
[10] S.L. Kalmakhelidze, M.E. Gogebashvili, N.I. Ivanishvili, T.V. Sanikidze, D.P. Museridze, & G.L. Ormotsadze. (2021). Phyto Therapeutic Treatment of Radiation-Induced Typical Morphological Changes of Small Intestine. Radiobiology and Radiation Safety, 1(2), 87–92.
[11] Ali Esmail Al-Snafi. (2019, August 9). Lemna minor: Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects-A Review. ResearchGate; unknown.
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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