Finding B12 vitamin in foods is crucial for our health. B12 Vitamin is one of the most important nutrients that our bodies cannot produce. That is why you need to get it from food sources or supplements.
If you are a vegan, vegetarian, pregnant, or breastfeeding woman, you are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. You need to keep an eye on your vitamin B12 levels and make sure that you get enough. B12 vitamin supplements are usually specifically good for vegans who have a strict diet regimen.
In this article, we will discuss B12 vitamin in foods that you should add to your shopping list.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays many roles in our bodies.
It is essential for our nerves and help us to keep them healthy plus it is crucial for the proper production of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and DNA. It is also important for our brain functions.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is about 2.4 mcg. If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, you need more than that.
Vitamin B12 is not absorbed in the intestine. It is absorbed in the stomach due to the presence of the intrinsic factor protein. Vitamin B12 binds to the intrinsic factor, which allows its absorption into the bloodstream and then into cells.
If there are any excess vitamin B12, it will be stored in the liver. Therefore, even if you exceeded the RDA, your body will store it to be used in the future.
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs due to two reasons. The first is that you do not consume enough vitamin B12 and the second is that your body does not make enough of the intrinsic factor protein.
B12 vitamin in food comes mainly form animal sources such as dairy products and meat. If you are a vegan, do not worry. Many fortified foods include vitamin B12.
Where to Find B12 Vitamin in Foods?
Here is where you can find B12 vitamin in foods.
Animal Liver and Kidneys
Animal organs are rich in many nutrients. In fact, they are among the most nutritious foods we consume. Animal liver and kidneys are loaded with vitamin B12, especially lamb liver and kidneys.
100 grams of lamb liver can provide your body with about 3,570% of the Recommended Daily Value (RDV) for vitamin B12 in addition to copper, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin B2.
In fact, lamb liver contains more vitamin B12 than veal and beef liver. Beef and veal livers are also rich in vitamin B12 and every 100 grams can provide your body with about 3,000% of the RDV for vitamin B12.
Furthermore, lamb, beef, and veal kidneys are great sources of vitamin B12. 100 grams of lamb kidneys can provide your body with 3,000% of the RDV for vitamin B12 in addition to 100% of the RDV for selenium and vitamin B2.
People who live seafood know clams. They are chewy shellfish that are loaded with all kinds of nutrients including vitamin B12.
Clams are a great source of protein and contain high levels of vitamin B12. 20 small clams can provide your body with over 7,000 of the RDV for vitamin B12.
Clams also can provide your body with high levels of iron, especially baby calms. 100 grams of calms include more than 200% of the RDV of iron. They are also rich in antioxidants.
Some people prefer boiled calms, whose broth is also rich in vitamin B12. Besides, you can get about 113 to 588% of the RDV from 100 grams of canned broth.
It is an amazing food for vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients.
Sardines are usually sold canned in different types of sauces and oils. Yet, these small, saltwater fish can be bought fresh and cooked.
Sardines are loaded with great nutrients and many studies even say that they contain all the essential elements we need and in fair amounts.
Regarding vitamin B12, 150 grams of drained sardines can provide your body with 554% of the RDV for vitamin B12.
Moreover, sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many health benefits such as fighting inflammations and boosting heart health.
Beef is an incredible food for vitamin b12. 190 grams of a grilled steak can provide your body with 467% of the RDV for vitamin b12 in addition to 100% of the RDVs for zinc and selenium. It also contains a fair amount of vitamins B2, B3, and B6.
What is the best source of vitamin b12 if you are a vegan or vegetarian? The answer is fortified cereal because it is synthetic and not made of any animal sources.
Despite being not recommended as healthy food, fortified cereals are a great source of all B vitamins including vitamin B12. Fortification refers to the process of adding certain nutrients to foods that do not naturally exist in them.
Many studies show that consuming fortified cereals on a daily basis can help you to increase your vitamin B12 levels.
A study was done for 14 weeks on participants who consumed 240 milliliters of fortified cereals daily. The cereals contained 200% of the RDV of vitamin B12. After 14 weeks, the vitamin B12 of all the participants increased significantly.
Tuna is one of the most common fish that everyone loves. It is rich in many nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Tuna has high levels of vitamin B12. The dark muscles of tuna fish are the ones beneath the skin and they include the highest concentrations of vitamin B12.
According to studies, 100 grams of cooked tuna can provide your body with 453% of the RDV for vitamin B12 in addition to fair amounts of protein, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin B3.
Some people prefer canned tuna. In fact, 165 grams of canned light tuna can provide your body with 115% of the RDV of vitamin B12.
Fortified Nutritional Yeast
One of the main food sources for vegans is nutritional yeast since it provides their bodies with protein, vitamins, and minerals. This species is grown to be used as food, not as an agent in beer or bread.
However, nutritional yeast does not include vitamin B12. That is why it is fortified by adding vitamin B12 to it. The added vitamin is also vegan-friendly since it is synthetic and not extracted from an animal source.
15 grams of fortified nutritional yeast can provide your body with 733% of the RDV for vitamin B12.
A study on nutritional yeast recommended it to the top diet for vegans who only consume raw foods since it increases the blood levels of vitamin B12 and prevents vitamin B12 deficiency.
It is one of the most recommended vitamin b12 food sources for vegans.
Rainbow trout is one of the most recommended foods for vitamin B12. There are many species of trout fish but the freshwater species contain high levels of healthy fat, vitamins including B vitamins, minerals, and protein.
100 grams of trout can provide your body with 312% of the RDV for vitamin B12 in addition to about 1,170 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and fair amounts of manganese, phosphorus, and selenium.
It is highly recommended to make sure that your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) is between 250 to 500 mg per day.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is considered an incredible source of B vitamins as well. 178 grams of salmon can provide your body with 208% of the RDV for vitamin B12 in addition to 4,123 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fortified Non-Diary Milk
Where to get b12 naturally as a vegan? This is a common question among vegans. Non-dairy milk is already one of the most popular choices among vegans as it is the best alternative for dairy milk.
Vegans usually consume rice, almond, and soy milk. Yet, vitamin B12 does not naturally exist in them. That is why they are usually fortified with many minerals and vitamins including vitamin B12.
For example, 240 ml of fortified soy milk can provide your body with 86% of the RDV for vitamin B12.
That is why they are among the best vitamin b12 food sources for vegans to increase their vitamin B12 levels and prevent its deficiency.
Furthermore, vitamin B12 in these products is synthetic and not extracted from any animal sources.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are incredible sources for many nutrients such as minerals, protein, and vitamins including vitamin B12.
240 ml of milk can provide you with 46% of the RDV for vitamin B12.
Besides, 22 grams of Swiss cheese can provide you with 28% of the RDV of vitamin B12.
Another study was done on more than 5000 participants showed that dairy products are better than fish and other animal sources in elevating vitamin B12 levels in the body.
Eggs are among the best and most recommended foods ever since they are an incredible source of many nutrients including protein and B vitamins, especially vitamins B12 and B2.
100 grams of eggs can provide your body with 46% of the RDV for vitamin B12 in addition to 39% of the DV for vitamin B2.
Studies show that egg yolks include higher concentrations of vitamin B12 than egg whites. Besides, egg yolks have a more absorbable vitamin B12 than egg whites. Some people prefer eating egg whites only, which is not recommended.
Furthermore, eggs provide the body with a fair amount of vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D does not exist in many foods and 2 large eggs can provide about 11% of the RDV for vitamin D.
Which Fruit Contains Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 does not exist in fruits. However, you still want to consume fruits regularly since most of them contain high amounts of folic acid. Folic acid is one of the most important B vitamins that many people do not get enough of.
Besides, fruits have high amounts of fiber and high-fiber foods are important for our health since they reduce the risk of obesity, heart problems, and diabetes.
Should You Take Vitamin B12 Supplements?
If you are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, then you should take vitamin B12 supplements. Otherwise, you can get it from foods with vitamin B12.
The high-risk groups of vitamin b12 deficiency are old people, pregnant or breastfeeding women, vegans, and vegetarians. Also, people with intestinal diseases and those who underwent stomach surgeries are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 supplements are available in all kinds of forms. However, studies recommend taking vitamin B12 via the mouth and muscular injection since it allows your body to restore the normal levels of vitamin B12, especially in people who have vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for our bodies and it plays many key roles in many processes.
Animal sources, fortified products, and vitamin B12 supplements are the best vitamin B12 sources. Of course, the B12 vitamin in foods is the best and many foods already contain large amounts of it including beef, sardines, clams, and eggs.
B12 vitamin in foods is the best way to either increase your stores of this important vitamin or prevent its deficiency. They also can provide your body with many other nutrients that are important for your overall health and wellbeing.