The human body does not produce Vitamin B12, so it must be obtained through dietary sources or supplements. Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that aids in maintaining good health. This water-soluble vitamin is present in several foods. If you’re unable to consume enough B12 naturally, supplements are available by doctors.
Vitamin B2 is essential for many physiological functions, such as the synthesis of DNA, the production of red blood cells, the operation of the nervous system, and the control of metabolism. Even though the body only needs trace amounts of B12, a lack of it can have serious negative effects on health, including anaemia, neurological problems, weakness, and exhaustion.
How Does Vitamin B12 Deficiency Impact Your Health?
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can often lead to anaemia and other psychiatric and neurological symptoms as well. Having enough vitamin B12 1 in the body is important since it helps with DNA synthesis, blood cell formation, and neurological.
While it’s not hard to get this nutrient through vitamin B12 foods alone, certain groups of the population, including older adults, may need Vit B12 supplementation. Vitamin B12 in vegan foods is also scarce, so vegans may also have trouble finding fruits and vegetables with vitamin B12.
Still, Wondering what foods to eat for vitamin B12 deficiency? Mentioned Below is the list of food that is rich in vitamin B12 and are recommended by experts to be added to your Diet Plan.
Understanding vitamin B12 Absorption
The small intestine, namely the ileum, is where vitamin B12 absorption happens most often. In this area, a protein called intrinsic factor that is made by the stomach lining is very important. Specialized receptors in the ileum absorb the complex that is created when an intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12. However, several conditions, including gastrointestinal issues, pernicious anaemia, and several drugs, can make absorption difficult. The restricted dietary sources also put vegans and vegetarians at danger.
Even with sufficient dietary intake, disruptions at any point in this process might reduce the absorption of Vitamin B12. This can result in a deficit. Thus, understanding the complexities of Vitamin B12 absorption is crucial for maintaining optimal health.
Best Vitamin B12 Rich Foods Sources Recommended by Experts
Food that is rich in vitamin b12 mainly animal meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Veg food rich in vitamin B12 is rare. Here’s a look at all the different types of food that are rich in vitamin B12.
List Of Vitamin B12 Foods For Vegetarians
The primary sources of this vital vitamin B12 are animal products, particularly meat and dairy. But vitamin B12 can also be obtained in sufficient amounts by vegans and vegetarians through supplements and fortified foods. Several excellent sources of Vitamin B12 Foods For Vegetarians consist of:
- Fortified cereal: Although cereal is usually not recommended as part of a healthy diet, manufacturers sometimes offer cereal that has been fortified with vitamin B12. Recent research 2 has indicated that eating these fortified cereals can help increase the concentration of vitamin B12 in the body. Hence, for vegetarians and vegans, fortified cereal is one of the best vitamin B12 foods.
- Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a good basis for protein, vitamins, and minerals, and it is grown for food and not as a leavening agent. Two tablespoons (15 grams) of fortified nutritional yeast 3 provides about 733% of the DV for B12. So, nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamin B12.
- Margarine and spreads: If the margarine or spread is fortified with vitamin B12, it can help increase your B12 levels.
- Tofu: Tofu is sometimes fortified with vitamin B12 and can contribute to raised levels of this vitamin in your body.
List Of Vitamin B12 Foods For Non-Vegetarians
While this essential nutrient is found in various foods, non-vegetarian sources take the lead in providing ample amounts of this vitamin and hence are the best sources of vitamin b12.
- Organ meat: Animal organ meats are densely packed with nutrients. For instance, a 100-gram of lamb liver 6 provides 3,571% of the daily value (DV) vitamin B12 requirement of the body.
- Tuna: A great source of various nutrients, a 100-gram serving of tuna contains about 453% of the DV for B12. The same serving also provides a sufficient quantity of protein, phosphorus, selenium, Vit A, and Vit B3. Hence, it is one of the best among the foods high in vitamin B12.
- Clams: Clams, a mollusk, contain high levels of B12. Twenty small clams 7 (about 200 grams) can yield more than 7,000% of the DV. Clams are also a rich source of antioxidants. Even the broth of boiled clams has a high content of B12. Hence, clams are a food that is rich in vitamin B12.
- Trout: The rainbow trout is one of the healthiest fish and a great source of protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins. A 100-gram trout filet 8 offers almost 312% of the DV for vitamin B12.
- Sardines: Sardines contain a good amount of almost all essential nutrients. A 150-gram dish of sardines 9 provides about 554% of the DV for B12. Sardines are also an important source of omega-3 fatty acids which decrease inflammation and improve heart health.
- Salmon: A storehouse of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, a half filet of cooked salmon 10 (about 180 grams) provides 208% of the DV for B12.
- Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of protein and B vitamins, including B2 and B12. Two large eggs 11 (approximately 100 grams) provide about 46% of the DV for B12.
- Chicken breast: It is a rich source of vitamin B12. It is also lean and low in fat, so you can make it a regular part of your diet.
Fruits & Vegetables With Vitamin B12
While vegetables are nutrient-dense and extremely healthy, most of them don’t contain vitamin B12 or only contain trace amounts that are not sufficient for the body. Hence, dietary sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians should go beyond vegetables.
Some people believe that greens like spirulina, barley grass, raw foods, and seaweed have enough vitamin B12 for vegetables. However, the bioavailability of vitamin B12 12 in these foods is very low.
As in the case of vegetables, most fruits don’t contain vitamin B12. Even if a fruit with vitamin B12 exists, it’s likely to only be present in trace amounts. So, unless you find any vitamin B12-enriched fruits, it’s best to consume other B12 sources or use supplements.
Are Dried Fruits And Nuts a Good Source Of Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12-rich dry fruits and nuts don’t exist. Dried fruits and nuts typically only have minimal amounts of B12. Like in the case of vitamin B12, which is present in fortified vegan sources, the supplement is synthetic and is vegan-friendly 13
B12 supplements come in many forms — you can chew, swallow, or drink them. You can also place them under your tongue. Injections of vitamin B12 are available as well.
Best Vitamin B12-rich Beverages
- Non-dairy products: Fortified soy, almond, and rice milk are great vitamin B12 drinks. They’re also a good choice for people with dairy intolerance. One cup of soy milk 4 (240 ml) contains about 86% of the DV for B12.
- Low-fat dairy: Milk and dairy products, especially cheese and yoghurt, are excellent sources of several minerals and vitamins, including vitamin B12. In fact, a whole cup of dairy milk 5 contains about 46% of the DV for vitamin B12.
- Fortified fruit juice: While fruits don’t typically contain B12, manufacturers of certain brands fortify these juices with nutritional yeast.
Can People Consume Vitamin B12 Dietary Supplements?
Yes, you can. If you are unable to consume vitamin B12 foods as a vegan or vegetarian and want to boost the level of this vitamin in your body, you can consume vitamin b12 dietary supplements.
That said, keep in mind that vitamin B12 deficiency is not always caused by dietary inadequacies. In older people, vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with an autoimmune disease known as Pernicious anaemia. The most common treatment for pernicious anaemia is lifelong vitamin B12 injections.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Foods To Avoid
Now that you know what the best vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians and meat eaters are, let’s take a look at a few foods you should not consume if you have a B12 deficiency:
- Alcohol: It has been determined by research studies 14 that consumption of alcohol may reduce vitamin B12 levels. Another study indicated that even moderate consumption of alcohol among healthy, well-nourished, postmenopausal women results in a reduction of vitamin B12 by at least 5%. Liver disease due to alcohol consumption can falsely increase vitamin B12 levels. People with alcohol usage disorder may need supplements to correct vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia.
- Foods with insufficient vitamin B12: Although some people believe that plant-based foods such as spirulina, barley grass, dried nori, raw foods, and some seaweeds are good B12 vitamin foods, research has established that these foods are not good enough to set right a deficiency of vitamin B12.
- Folic acid-fortified foods: Folate (Vitamin B9) is an essential nutrient, especially before and during pregnancy. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) states that women who are of reproductive age need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid (synthetic folate) every day. However, too much folic acid can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency 15. Research has also confirmed that high folate levels can even aggravate the anaemia and cognitive symptoms associated with a lack of vitamin B12.
Read More: Avoid These Foods if You Are Having Vitamin B12 Supplements
What Is The Daily Recommended Vitamin B12 Intake?
Now that you know the best and Exper Recommended vitamin b12 foods list and vitamin B12 deficiency foods to avoid, here’s what a balanced vitamin B12 intake looks like for different age groups:
14 years and above
9 to 13 years
4 to 8 years
1 to 3 years
7 to 12 months
0 to 6 months
Mother (during pregnancy)
Mother (while breastfeeding)
Overcoming Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Overcoming B12 deficiency is important if you want to maintain your nerve health and improve the production of RBCs. Although B12 is an essential vitamin, it is mostly only found in meat-based foods. So, those are the best foods to eat if you want to overcome a B12 Vitamin deficiency and improve the absorption of this vitamin.
If you’re unable to get enough vitamin B12 through food alone, you can consume supplements if needed. What’s more, if you want to improve the absorption of this essential nutrient, ensure that you familiarize yourself with the foods to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency.
While it’s important to eat foods rich in vitamin B12, it’s also necessary that you keep a check on your B12 levels regularly, so you can tweak your diet plan or consume supplements as required. Prioritizing Vitamin Panel Test or Complete Vitamin Profile Testing offers invaluable insights into overall health and well-being. You can Book Vitamin B12 Deficiency Test from the convenience of your home online.
By adopting a comprehensive approach to assessing vitamin status, individuals can identify deficiencies, prevent adverse health outcomes, and optimize nutritional status for enhanced vitality and longevity
The information listed here is strictly for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. Do consult your physician for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. It’s not advised to disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information listed here. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
- Vitamin B12- National Institutes of Health
- Breakfast cereal fortified with folic acid- Pub Med
- LARGE FLAKE NUTRITIONAL YEAST- USDA
- Soy milk- USDA
- Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D- USDA
- Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried- USDA
- Mollusks, clam, mixed species, cooked, moist heat- USDA
- Fish, trout, mixed species, cooked, dry heat- USDA
- Fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone- USDA
- Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, dry heat- USDA
- Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled- USDA
- Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians- NLM
- Vitamin B12- National Institutes of Health
- Effect of Folic Acid, Betaine, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12- NLM
- If high folic acid aggravates vitamin B12 deficiency- NLM