Top 10 Foods for Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is an essential nutrient in the family complex of the eight B vitamins. [1] Food is the primary source for this nutrient, with supplements being the secondary source for some people. Vitamin B12 is structurally the largest and most complex of all the vitamins known to man. Interestingly enough, vitamin B12 is integral to normal energy metabolism in all cells of the body as well as amino acid and fatty acid metabolism. Additionally, B12 is extremely important in a myriad of other vital physiological processes such as brain function and nervous system health, myelin sheath health, blood formation, bone marrow health, and DNA synthesis/regulation.

A unique essential nutrient, vitamin B12 isn't produced by plants, animals, or even fungi, instead being produced only by certain bacteria. Human requirements for vitamin B12 as set by the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) are 2-3 micrograms/mcg per day to upwards of 4-7 micrograms/mcg per day. [2] Naturally-occurring sources of Vitamin B12 are found primarily in foods of animal origin and among fortified foods of vegetarian/vegan origin. If you are a practicing vegan, supplementation may be the best option for you to ensure you receive adequate to optimal daily intake.

Top 10 Food Sources of Vitamin B12

The majority of food sources for vitamin B12 are available from animal sources only. It is true that bacteria in soil may synthesize B12 and consumption of unwashed vegetables may provide trace amounts; yet, there is very little evidence as to how much of this is available to the body. [3] Keep in mind that the majority of these B12 foods, despite their high levels of the nutrient, contain their own concerns. This is particularly true if the animal is raised in a conventional feedlot environment. Here are the highest non-vegan sources (and some plant sources) of vitamin B12:

1. Liver (Beef)

71 mcg per 3-ounce serving
Provides 2951% of DRI
114 calories

2. Mackerel

16 mcg per 3-ounce serving
Provides 667% of DRI
174 calories

3. Sardines

8 mcg per 3-ounce serving (most cans are 3-4 ounces ea.)
Provides 333% of DRI
189 calories

4. Fortified Cereals

5 mcg per cup
Provides 208% of DRI
160 calories

5. Red Meat

5 mcg per 3-ounce serving
Provides 208% of DRI
213 calories

6. Salmon

4 mcg per 3-ounce serving
Provides 167% of DRI
119 calories

7. Fortified Soy

2 mcg per 3-ounces serving
Provides 83% of DRI
45 calories

8. Milk

1.2 mcg per cup (8 fluid ounces)
Provides 50% of DRI
83 calories

9. Swiss Cheese

1 mcg per ounce
Provides 42% of DRI
108 calories

10. Yogurt

1 mcg per cup
Provides 42% of DRI
149 calories

The Take Home

The highest levels of B12 from vegan sources are often in the form of fortified grains, like breakfast cereals. While this can be a great way to receive the vitamin if you are a practicing vegan or vegetarian, most fortified grains are typically refined and sometimes filled with sugar. It is best for vegans and meat eaters alike to supplement with vitamin B12, as eating meat is not always a guarantee for healthy vitamin B12 status. A vegan supplement, like VeganSafe …read more

Source: Top 10 Foods for Vitamin B12