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Top 10 Foods That Are High in Vitamin B12

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Do you feel tired lately? Do you experience a lack of energy or a lack of appetite?

If yes, there are high chances that you are suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency. This post talks about Vitamin B12, its importance, the recommended dietary allowance and foods which are rich in Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin is the largest and most complex vitamin of the eight B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is extremely essential for cell division, blood formation and maintaining a healthy nervous system and healthy cells in the body.

Vitamin B12 is also indispensable in the process of forming DNA and metabolizing protein. Cobalamin is required to make white blood cells that are extremely important for the immune system. It is also essential for pregnant women as it helps in the embryo’s neurological development.


The recommended dietary allowance per day is 2.4 micrograms for adults and 2.8 micrograms for pregnant women. Vitamin B12 deficiency is rare as you can store this vitamin in the body for years. A deficiency can occur if you are not getting enough of it in your diet and it can lead to anemia, fatigue, depression and can even cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. It can even lead to heart palpitation, red or sore tongue or numbness of feet.

Vitamin B12 offers a plethora of benefits for the skin and hair. A diet inadequate in Vitamin B12 can lead to severe hair loss problems and undernourished hair follicles that grow at a slower rate. Vitamin B12 provides ample nutrition to the follicles to stimulate proper hair growth. It also encourages melanin production which helps to maintain the original color of the hair.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to chronic skin issues like dull and unhealthy complexion. Ample consumption of Vitamin B12 fights symptoms that lead to eczema and other skin diseases. It retains moisture of the skin and protects it from drying. Vitamin B12 helps to repair damaged skin and gives a healthy color to the skin.

Food Rich in Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and is found naturally in animal products because animals get their Vitamin B12 from eating foods enriched with Vitamin B12 and then, they become the source of Vitamin B12. Plants do not contain Vitamin B12 except if they are contaminated with microorganisms or have Vitamin B12 added to them. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in fish and meat, but there are also some vegetarian sources for this vitamin. Here is a list of food items rich in vitamin B12.

1. Clams

Clams can be consumed raw on the half shell, baked or cooked. 3 ounces of this mollusk contains 94.1 ug of Vitamin B12 making it one of the highest sources of Vitamin B12. Apart from B12, clams are also a good source of zinc, copper, phosphorus, and iron.

2. Cereals

Ready-to-eat cereals have around 6.0 ug of Vitamin B12 per cup. Choose cereals that are made of whole grains and do not buy those which contain added sugar.

3. Herrings

Herrings are small fishes that offer 6.6 ug of vitamin B12 for every 3 ounces. Herrings are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which impart a healthy glow and shine to the face and give luster to the hair.

4. Salmon

Salmon is another great food rich in Vitamin B12 and contains 9.0ug of Vitamin B12 in half a fillet. It provides amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids both of which are essential for healthy skin and hair.

5. Crabs and lobsters

Crabs and lobsters are mainly served baked, steamed or in bisque. Three ounces of crustacean crab contains 10 ug of Vitamin B12, while Dungeness and stone crabs have a relatively low amount of Vitamin B12. Lobster provides 4.5 ug of Vitamin B12 per 100 grams serving.

6. Cheese

Despite being a high cholesterol food, cheese is a good source of calcium, protein and Vitamin B12. The amount of B12 depends entirely upon the variety of cheese. Swiss cheese contains the maximum amount of B12 with 6.5 ug per 100 grams serving, followed by ghettos, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.

7. Eggs

The raw yolk of a chicken egg is the richest source of Vitamin B12 with 1.95 per 100 grams serving. Goose egg provides the maximum of 7.5 ug of Vitamin B12 per 100 gram while duck egg provides 3.8 ug of B12 per 100 grams.

8. Milk and milk products

Milk and milk products are the most easily available source of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians. 100 grams of reduced fat milk yogurt provides 0.46ug of Vitamin B12 per cup. Fortified cereal with milk can be the best option for vegetarians to get their daily dose of Vitamin B12.

9. Meat

Mutton and chicken are also a decent source of Vitamin B12. Chicken provides 13.7 ug of B12 per cup while mutton provides the body with 15.7 ug of Vitamin B12 per ounce. They contain ample amount of proteins which are essential to maintain the health of the hair.

10. Oysters

This mollusk is another good vitamin B12 rich food. Six medium oysters provide 16.4 ug of Vitamin B12. Oysters are also considered a superfood because of their high iron content. Wild oysters can have a high amount of contaminants so please stick to farmed oysters.

Should You Take Vitamin B12 Supplements?

Vitamin B12 supplements are advised for people who are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Those include older adults, vegetarians, and vegans, pregnant and breastfeeding women, individuals with intestinal problems and those who have had stomach surgery.

As with the vitamin B12 in fortified sources, the vitamin B12 in supplements is synthetically made, so it’s vegan-friendly. Vitamin B12 supplements can be found in many forms. You can swallow, chew, drink or inject them, or place them under your tongue.

Research has shown that vitamin B12 taken by mouth and muscular injection is fairly effective at restoring vitamin B12 levels in people who are lacking in the vitamin. In fact, a study found that people with low levels of vitamin B12 renewed their stores after 90 days of either supplements or injections of vitamin B12.

However, not all vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of dietary intake. It is seldom caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a protein that is essential for the adequate absorption of vitamin B12. Lack of intrinsic factor is most prevalent in older people and is usually linked with an autoimmune disease known as pernicious anemia.

The most typical treatment for pernicious anemia is lifelong vitamin B12 injections. But small amounts of vitamin B12 are absorbed without intrinsic factor. One review concluded that taking 1,000 μg daily is an effective alternative to injections.


Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient that your body requires for many necessary functions. It can be found in large amounts in animal products, fortified foods, and dietary supplements. Some of the rich sources are beef, sardines, clams, liver, and dairy products. Whether you want to boost your vitamin stores or check deficiency, eating these foods may considerably enhance your overall health.

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