Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Calf's liver Is rich in Vitamin B12

Most of the foods rich in vitamin B12 come from animals, but there are some plants that can provide it as well. Because B12 assists everything from cell development to mood stability, it's an important part of anyone's diet.

List of Foods Rich in B12

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University recommends a minimum of 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day. You can meet that requirement with a cup of milk and a cup of raisin bran, or by eating one cup of plain low-fat yogurt, one egg and one chicken breast.

The human body tends to store several years' worth of this vitamin -up to 20 years worth in fact- so it's extremely rare to have a deficiency. The elderly are most at risk of having vitamin B12 deficiencies. You can get the most B12 from:

Food Estimated Amount of B12 (% of DRV) Serving Size
Nutritional yeast 180 1 Tbsp
Brewer's yeast 5 2 Tbsp
Fortified cereal varies by type 1-2 cups
Regular yogurt 18 8 oz
Greek yogurt 20 8 oz
Soy milk 50 1 cup
Milk, low-fat 18 1 cup
Tempeh 5 3 oz
Miso 9 3 oz
Tofu 11 1 oz
Calf's liver 1178 3 oz
Sardines 149 3 oz
Mackerel 317 3 oz
Octopus 300 3 oz
Shrimp 28 4 oz
Halibut 26 3 oz
Crab 192 3 oz
Lobster 67 3 oz
Caviar 93 1 oz
Scallops 25 4 oz
Salmon 80 3 oz
Clams 1648 3 oz
Oysters 600 3 oz
Mussels 400 3 oz
Lamb (lean cuts) up to 62 (shoulder) 3 oz
Herring 312 3 oz
Cod 20 3 oz
Cheese up to 15 (Swiss) 1 oz
Egg (yolk included) 10 1 large

Sea plants like algae, kelp, spirulina and nori used to be considered acceptable sources of B12. However, these may not actually be the best sources of B12 because they may not be usable within the human body (they don't contain "active" B12) and, in some cases, could even hinder the use of B12 from other sources, according to VeganHealth.org. The same is true for some fermented foods.

B12 Intake Concerns

The human body absorbs nutrients more efficiently from food than from vitamin supplements, so consuming foods rich in vitamin B12 is the best way to get the recommended dietary allowance. Vitamin B12 benefits many vital aspects of physiology, and without it you can suffer fatigue, mania or depression. Longer-term deficiencies of vitamin B12 can result in anemia and permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is involved in red blood cell development, the creation of nerve cells, and the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Taking B12 Supplements

The USDA National Agriculture Library recommends getting all of your B12 from food, not supplements. However, consult with your doctor if you think you may be in need of a supplement. This is especially important for vegans, as the majority of the sources are from animal products.

Depend on Your Diet

In most cases, it's safe to depend on your diet to maintain an adequate level of B12. Look to lean cuts of meat and other animal products for the most reliable sources.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B12