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Sources of Vitamin B12 Foods

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 20 Jun, 2024

Read time : 12 min

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a vital water-soluble vitamin crucial in various bodily functions. It is a part of the B-vitamin family and is necessary for forming red blood cells, DNA synthesis, nerve function, and the metabolism of proteins and fats.

Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are essential for maintaining overall health, supporting the nervous system, promoting brain function, and preventing anaemia. 

Deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, weakness, nerve damage, memory problems, and other complications. Therefore, it is essential to ensure sufficient intake of vitamin B12 foods through a balanced diet or supplementation, particularly for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets or those with conditions that impair vitamin B12 absorption.

Top 11 foods rich in vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is predominantly found in animal-based foods, making meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products excellent dietary sources. Tuna, ham, oysters, and fortified cereals are notable examples. Embracing these foods in your diet provides a myriad of health benefits. Including a variety of these nutrient-rich foods ensures an adequate supply of Vitamin B12, promoting optimal well-being and functioning of vital bodily systems.

List of 11 foods rich in vitamin B12

  1. Animal liver and kidneys
  2. Clams
  3. Sardines
  4. Fortified cereal
  5. Tuna
  6. Fortified nutritional yeast
  7. Trout
  8. Salmon
  9. Fortified non-dairy milk
  10. Milk and dairy products
  11. Eggs

Animal liver and kidneys

Animal liver, such as goat, lamb or chicken liver, and kidneys are excellent sources of vitamin B12. They are nutrient-dense and provide a significant amount of this essential vitamin. Including small portions of liver or kidneys in your diet can help meet your vitamin B12 needs.

Clams

Clams

Clams are a nutrient powerhouse, and they are also one of the incredible sources of vitamin B12. A small serving of clams can provide a substantial amount of this vitamin. Enjoy them steamed, in soups, or added to pasta dishes for a flavourful and nutritious meal.

Sardines

Sardines

Sardines offer omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of vitamin B12. These small fish have essential nutrients and can be enjoyed grilled, canned in olive oil, or added to salads to boost B vitamins and healthy fats.

Fortified cereal

Breakfast-Cereal

Fortified breakfast cereals are a convenient source of vitamin B12, especially for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets. Many kinds of cereal are fortified with this vitamin, making them an accessible option for meeting your daily requirements. Look for whole grain options and check the nutrition labels for the vitamin B12 content.

Tuna

Tuna

Tuna is a versatile fish that provides protein and vitamin B12. Canned tuna is readily available and can be used in salads, sandwiches, or pasta dishes to boost your intake of this essential vitamin.

Fortified nutritional yeast

Fortified nutritional yeast is considered one of the top vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. While natural yeast is not naturally rich in vitamin B12, specific nutritional yeasts are fortified with this essential nutrient, making them an excellent option to address deficiencies. 

These fortified yeast products are specifically designed to provide a reliable source of vitamin B12 for individuals following plant-based diets. 

Trout

Fresh-trout

Trout is widely regarded as one of the healthiest fish options available. It is an incredible source of essential minerals like phosphorus, selenium, and manganese. 

Trout is highly prized for its exceptional nutritional profile and is considered as one of the top sources of vitamin B12. It is an excellent choice for individuals looking to boost their B12 intake while enjoying a delicious and nutritious meal.

Salmon

Salmon

Salmon is widely recognised as a top vitamin B12 foods, known for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. It is packed with essential vitamins, and salmon is a rich source of high-quality proteins. Incorporating salmon into your diet ensures an adequate intake of vitamin B12 and provides numerous health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids.

Fortified non-dairy milk

Non-dairy milk, such as almonds, soy, and rice, has become a vitamin B12 foods alternative for those seeking dairy-free options. Fortified non-dairy milk provides a convenient and accessible way for vegans, vegetarians, and individuals with lactose intolerance to incorporate vitamin B12 into their diets, ensuring optimal health and nutrition.

Milk and dairy products

dairy-products

Cheese and yoghurt are delicious and nutritious protein sources and essential vitamins, including vitamin B12. These dairy products play a significant role in boosting vitamin B12 levels, particularly in individuals who have a deficiency. 

Incorporating milk and dairy products into your diet can help ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B12, supporting overall health and well-being.

Also read: Plant-based Milk Benefits

Eggs

farm-eggs

Eggs are a nutritious source of vitamin B12, which is vital in maintaining optimal vitamin balance. For individuals with a vitamin B12 deficiency, consuming a whole egg, including the yolk, is recommended. 

Also more: Egg Benefits

What are vitamin b12 supplements?

Vitamin B12 supplements are synthetic forms of vitamin B12 that are taken orally or administered through injections to increase the intake of this essential nutrient.

Vitamin B12 supplements are available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, sublingual (under the tongue) tablets, and injections. They are commonly recommended for individuals who have a deficiency of vitamin B12, which can occur due to a variety of factors such as poor diet, certain medical conditions, or problems with absorption.

Doctors often prescribe supplements to address vitamin B12 deficiencies and prevent related health issues such as anaemia and neurological problems. They provide a concentrated dose of vitamin B12, allowing for efficient absorption and utilisation by the body.

It is important to note that vitamin B12 supplements should be taken under the guidance of doctors, as they can interact with certain medications and have potential side effects. 

Who should take these supplements?

Individuals with little vitamin B12 rich foods are at a risk of developing a deficiency in this essential nutrient. In such cases, doctors may advise increasing the consumption of vitamin b12 rich foods or considering supplements to restore balance.

Vitamin B12 is critical in our body and is involved in essential functions. Individuals can enhance their overall health and well-being by incorporating foods rich in vitamin B12 into their diet.

What is vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when there is insufficient vitamin B12 in the body. This essential nutrient is crucial for adequately functioning the red blood cells, DNA synthesis and nervous system. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to various symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, nerve problems, and anaemia. It is essential to diagnose and treat vitamin B12 deficiency to prevent further complications.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss
  • Pale skin
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Numbness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression

Recommended medicines for vitamin b12 deficiency

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for vitamin B12 deficiency are available as oral supplements. These supplements contain synthetic forms of vitamin B12, such as cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin. They can be purchased without a prescription and are commonly used to address vitamin B12 deficiencies. It is vital to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the packaging.

Conclusion

Incorporating vitamin B12 rich foods into your diet is crucial for optimal health. Whether you follow a vegetarian, vegan, or non-vegetarian diet, various sources of vitamin B12 are available to suit your dietary preferences. Animal-based foods like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are excellent natural sources of vitamin B12. 

At the same time, fortified plant-based products provide viable options for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Additionally, vitamin B12 supplements can address deficiencies and ensure adequate intake.

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Frequently asked questions

Which Ayurvedic medicine is considered the best for vitamin B12?

In Ayurveda, no specific medicine is considered the best for increasing vitamin B12 levels. Ayurveda focuses on a holistic approach to health and suggests various herbal formulations and dietary recommendations to support overall well-being. However, when it comes to vitamin B12 deficiency, the primary treatment is usually through B12 supplements or injections prescribed by medical professionals.

How can I quickly increase my B12 levels?

Taking oral supplements or receiving B12 injections can help replenish your B12 levels more rapidly. Consult a doctor to choose the appropriate dosage and method of administration.

Which vegetables are high in vitamin B12?

Vegetables are generally not significant sources of vitamin B12. However, some fermented plant-based foods may contain small amounts of B12 due to bacterial fermentation. These include sauerkraut, fermented cabbage with trace amounts of vitamin B12 and kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, including cabbage and radishes, which can contain minimal levels of B12.

Which food has the highest amount of vitamin B12?

Animal-based foods, like shellfish, and organ meat like liver, kidneys, meat, and eggs,  are the highest sources of vitamin B12

What foods should be avoided in cases of B12 deficiency?

In cases of B12 deficiency, it’s generally recommended to avoid foods that may hinder B12 absorption or interfere with its utilisation, like highly processed and refined foods and alcohol.

How can I naturally enhance my B12 absorption?

To naturally enhance B12 absorption, you can focus on certain dietary and lifestyle factors. Consuming foods rich in B12, such as animal products, fortified plant-based foods, and seafood, can help increase absorption. Pairing B12 rich foods with sources of folate, such as leafy green vegetables, can also support absorption.

Which juice is recommended for boosting vitamin B12 levels?

No specific juice is known to boost vitamin B12 levels directly. Vitamin B12 is predominantly found in animal-based foods, so incorporating those into your diet is the most effective way to increase your B12 levels. However, consuming juices rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, can indirectly support B12 absorption.

What are the potential side effects of vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B-12 is generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses. However, some individuals may experience specific side effects, although they are rare. Potential side effects of vitamin B-12 supplementation may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rash, itching, or an allergic reaction.

What is the appropriate dosage of vitamin B-12?

The appropriate dosage of vitamin B-12 can vary depending on individual needs and health conditions. It is recommended to consult with a doctor for personalised dosage recommendations.

How are the side effects of vitamin B-12 treated?

If side effects occur from vitamin B-12 supplementation, they are typically mild and transient. The side effects usually do not require specific treatment and resolve independently. However, if you experience severe or persistent side effects, it is essential to seek medical advice.

Can Vitamin B-12 lead to side effects?

Vitamin B-12 can potentially lead to side effects, although they are relatively rare. Some individuals may experience adverse reactions such as mild diarrhoea, upset stomach, or allergic reactions like itching and rash. However, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

What is the most potent form of B12 available?

Methylcobalamin is considered one of the most potent forms of vitamin B12 available. It is a biologically active form of B12 that the body can readily utilise. However, the form of B12 may depend on individual needs and preferences, and it is best to consult a doctor for guidance.

How can I increase my B12 naturally?

To naturally boost your Vitamin B12 levels, include vitamin b12 foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products in your diet. Fortified cereals, tofu, and nutritional yeast are also plant-based options.

Which fruit gives B12?

Fruits typically don’t contain significant amounts of B12. Animal-based foods like meat, fish, and dairy are better sources. Consider fortified plant-based alternatives for B12 in a vegan diet.

Which vegetables increase B12?

Vegetables generally have minimal B12, but leafy greens like spinach and kale contain trace amounts; these two are vitamin B12 vegetables. Animal-based sources or fortified plant-based foods are more reliable.

How can I get enough B12 a day?

Ensuring a balanced diet containing vitamin b12 vegetables and fruits and meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or fortified plant-based foods will help you meet your daily B12 needs.

Which dry fruit increases vitamin B12?

Dry fruits aren’t significant sources of vitamin b12. Opt for animal-based foods or fortified plant-based options for sufficient B12 intake.

What is the name of the vitamin B12 tablet?

Various B12 supplements are available, and the specific name may vary by brand. Common ones include cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Disclaimer 

The content provided within this article has been thoroughly verified for accuracy. However, we advise consulting a healthcare professional before utilising any medication or dietary supplements mentioned herein.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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