Adding vitamin B12 cereals to your diet is an excellent way of ensuring that you have a sufficient amount of this important vitamin in your body.
The Need for Vitamin B12
It helps with the production of red blood cells and DNA replication, maintains a healthy nervous system and prevents anemia. It also aids metabolism, controls homocysteine levels and helps with calcium absorption. If the human body has a vitamin B12 deficiency, tissues throughout the entire body are affected.
Cereals Fortified with Vitamin B12
When using vitamin B12 cereals as part of your diet, always check the ingredients label, or the Nutritional Facts label, of the packages to make sure the cereal contains the form of vitamin B12 known as the active form, called cyanocobalamin or cobalamin.
Vitamin B12 Cereals and Children
A bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning is a favorite of children everywhere. It is also an important source of vitamins and nutrients for them, especially for those young fussy eaters. Most kids do not care about their nutritional needs or cereals fortified with essential nutrients. They simply want a cereal that tastes good.
Most appealing to them are cereals that have bright colors, interesting shapes and plenty of sugar. By including daily servings of cereals and cereal products fortified with nutrients including vitamin B12, parents ensure their children are receiving enough of this vital nutrient.
Vitamin B12 and the Elderly
Research has shown that fortified breakfast cereals containing folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6, could help protect the elderly against heart attack, cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood.
Medical professionals know that people with high levels of homocysteine, which is an amino acid, and low levels of vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid, which occurs often in older individuals, puts them at a higher risk level for these debilitating events. Several research studies have shown that adding one cup of fortified cereal to the daily diet increased B vitamins and decreased homocysteine levels significantly.
The Importance of Cereals with Vitamin B12 to Vegans
A deep concern for vegans and vegetarians is having a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 included in their diets. Although their diet, full of vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains, is rich in vitamins and minerals, it is severely lacking in this vital nutrient. Certain foods eaten by vegans and vegetarians may contain some vitamin B12 due to bacterial contamination. However, these foods are not considered an active and reliable source of vitamin B12.
The following are included in these foods.
- Sea vegetables
- Dried nori
- Various forms of seaweeds
Cereals containing vitamin B12 are an excellent way for vegetarians and vegans to ensure an adequate supply of this vitamin in their diets. To get the best nutrition from fortified foods, they should be eaten three times per day with several hours in between, consuming approximately one mcg each time.
United States Guidelines for Vitamin B12
The amount of vitamin B12 recommended by the nutritional guidelines of the United States, known as Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), is 2.4 mcgs per day for anyone 14 years old through adult. For nursing mothers the recommendation goes up to 2.8 mcgs. For children the recommended amounts of vitamin B12 are the following:
- 0.9 for ages 1-3
- 1.2 for ages 4-8
- 1.8 for ages 9-13
These recommendations are based on an absorption rate of 50 percent, meaning an adult needs to absorb 1.2 mcgs of vitamin B12 per day to obtain an adequate amount of the vitamin and ensure healthy body functions. One serving of many fortified cereals easily supplies this amount of vitamin B12.
The Amount of Vitamin B12 in Fortified Cereals
Examples of cereals and the amount of vitamin B12 contained in a single serving include:
- A ¾-cup serving of Malt-O-Meal High Fiber Bran Flakes contains 8.2 mcg
- A ¾-cup serving of Total cereal contains 6.0 mcg
- A ¾-cup serving of Kellogg's Corn Flakes contains 1.5 mcg
A complete chart of 208 cereals and cereal made products, such as cereal bars and snacks, is available at Nutrition Data. Each product is listed with information for a 100-gram serving. You can also click on the individual product for complete nutritional information and per serving vitamin B12 amounts.
Vitamin B12 cereals play an important role in the healthy diets of many people. Including it in your diet is a simple way of making sure you are consuming an adequate amount of this essential vitamin.