Vitamin B12 is a very essential nutrient and water-soluble vitamin that the immune system can’t do without, so for that reason you need to incorporate this vitamin into your diets or take it as a supplement.
In this article, we will explain in detail how you can incorporate this vitamin into your diet. Before listing the various means to get this vitamin, we need to know what Vitamin B12 is all about.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 as well known as cobalamin is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body.
It is a great vitamin with which serves lots of essential functions in your body.
Based on research, vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients that help keep the nerves healthy, maintaining a normal brain function, and most importantly it helps in supporting the production of DNA and red blood cells.
According to a study, it was shown that the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is about 2.4 mcg but slightly higher for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
However, the absorption process of Vitamin B12 into your stomach is with the help or presence of a protein called intrinsic factor.
This substance combines with the vitamin B12 molecule and helps facilitates the absorption process into your blood and cells.
Basically, it has shown that the body can store as many as vitamin B12 in the liver mostly when consumed more than the RDI, this helps the body to store it for future use.
Additionally, vitamin B12 deficiency may occur when not consuming enough food rich in vitamin B12, or if the body is not producing enough intrinsic factor,
You can get this vitamin in animal products such as meat and dairy products.
Healthy Foods that Extremely High in Vitamin B12.
1. Animal liver and kidneys
The most nutritious foods based on research are Organ meat. Organ meat such as liver and kidneys, mostly from lamb, are extremely rich in vitamin B12.
According to a study, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of lamb liver provides 3,571% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B12.
Basically, lamb liver is naturally higher in vitamin B12 compared to beef or veal liver. Still, beef and veal liver contains about 3,000% of the DV per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Also, lamb liver is extremely high in selenium, copper, and vitamins A and B2.
However, both the organ meat and beef kidneys are also high in vitamin B12.
Clam is a chewy shellfish that are loaded with lots of nutrients.
This shellfish is a lean source of protein and also it contains high concentrations of vitamin B12. With 20 small clams can give you 7,000% of the DV.
Based on the scientific report; clams especially whole baby clams, provide a healthy amount of iron, with about 200% of the DV in a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of small clams.
Interestingly, clams are also a good source of antioxidants.
However, observational studies have shown that the broth of boiled clams is high in vitamin B12. The canned broth has been shown to provide 113–588% of the DV per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Sardines are extremely nutritious. These small, soft-boned saltwater fish are usually sold canned in water, oil, or sauces, you can also buy them fresh.
According to research, a 1-cup (150-gram) serving of drained sardines provides 554% of the DV for vitamin B12.
Beef is also a good source of vitamin B12. Based on research, One grilled flat iron steak (about 190 grams) can give you 467% of the DV for vitamin B12.
Interestingly, the same amount of steak stated above also contains a very good amount of vitamins B2, B3, and B6, as well as more than 100% of the DVs for selenium and zinc.
For you to get the recommended content of vitamin B12, it is best to select a low-fat cut of meat. Roasting or grilling makes it a good choice instead of frying, this helps preserve the vitamin B12 content.
5. Fortified cereal
Fortified cereal is not usually seen or recommended as a healthy diet, though it is a good source of B vitamins especially B12.
This cereal may work well for vegetarians and vegans because it is synthetically made and not derived from animal sources.
As we all know that food fortification is the process of adding nutrients that are not originally in the food.
For example, Malt-O-Meal Raisin Bran offers up to 62% of the DV for vitamin B12 in 1 cup (59 grams).
According to observational studies, the same serving of this cereal also contains 29% of the DV for vitamin B6 and good amounts of vitamin A, folate, and iron.
Also, some research shows that eating fortified cereals daily helps increase vitamin B12 concentrations.
Tuna is a naturally consumed fish with a good source of nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This fish contains a high amount of vitamin B12, especially in the muscles right beneath the skin, which is known as dark muscles.
According to studies, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked tuna contains 453% of the DV for the vitamin.
Furthermore, canned tuna also contains a good amount of vitamin B12. In fact, a can (165 grams) of light tuna canned in water contains 115% of the DV.
7. Fortified nutritional yeast
If you really want to increase your intake of vitamin B12 then consider adding nutritional yeast to your diet.
Nutritional yeast is also known as ‘’nooch’’, it is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This yeast nutrient originates from sugarcane or beet molasses. Though, It’s a species of yeast mostly grown to be used as food, not as a leavening agent in bread and beer.
You can’t basically find Vitamin B12 in nutritional yeast, rather, the only means by fortification making it an excellent source of vitamin B12.
According to research, it was discovered that two tablespoons (15 grams) of nutritional yeast can give you 733% of the DV for vitamin B12.
Still on the same observational study, which showed that when you add nutritional yeast to the diets of raw-food vegans, it will increased vitamin B12 blood levels and helped reduce blood markers of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Have you tried eating trout? If no, give it a try. Rainbow trout are tagged as the healthiest fish to eat.
Trout has shown to be the greatest source of protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins.
Trout is also a great source of minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and selenium.
According to research, it was shown that a serving of trout fillet ( 3.5-ounce 100-gram) can you approximately 312% of the DV for vitamin B12 and 1,171 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Still, on trout, observational scientists and professional experts suggest that the combined daily intake of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) should be 250–500 mg.
Observational studies showed that salmon has the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, and as well contains a healthy source of B vitamins.
Been high in fat, salmon is extremely high in protein with approximately 40 grams in a half fillet ( 178 grams)
According to studies, it was discovered that half fillet of cooked salmon (178 grams) contains 208% of the DV for vitamin B12.
The same serving size may also provide 4,123 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
10. Non-dairy milk
If you wish to change your nutritious vegan dairy milk, then non-dairy milk is ideal for you.
Notably, you can’t easily get this vitamin B12 from almond, soy, and rice. Because these listed foods are not naturally high in vitamin B12, they are usually fortified, making them an excellent source of this vitamin.
One example is soy milk, which can provide up to 86% of the DV for vitamin B12 in 1 cup (240 ml).
Furthermore, non-dairy milk is also a good choice to incorporate into the diet since it can reduce deficiency symptoms.
11. Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt is a very good source of protein and other vitamins and minerals
According to a study, it was shown that one cup (240 ml) of whole milk can supply 46% of the DV for vitamin B12.
Dairy products like cheese and full-fat yogurt are also considered a source of vitamin B12. Based on studies, One big slice (22 grams) of Swiss cheese contains about 28% of the DV.
Also, observational studies show that yogurt can help improve vitamin B12 status in people who are deficient in the vitamin.
A further study discovered that the body absorbs vitamin B12 in milk and dairy products better than the vitamin B12 in beef, fish, or eggs.
For egg funs, this is for you!!! An egg is an excellent source of protein and B vitamins (B2 and B12).
Observational studies gathered the fact that two large eggs (100 grams) can supply about 46% of the DV for vitamin B12, plus 39% of the DV for vitamin B2.
Another study also showed that egg yolks have higher levels of vitamin B12 than egg whites. Egg yolk can easily be absorbed, for that reason, you are advised to eat whole eggs.
Is it Necessary to Take Vitamin B12 Supplements?
Yes!!! It is necessary to take vitamin B12 supplements but is mostly recommended for people who have vitamin B12 deficiency.
These people include:
- Older adults
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Individuals with intestinal problems
- Those who have had stomach surgery.
You can get these vitamin supplements in different forms such as you can chew, swallow, drink, or place them under the tongue. You can as well be injected.
However, not all vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by inadequate dietary intake. It’s sometimes caused by a lack of intrinsic factors, a protein that is necessary for the efficient absorption of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is very necessary for immune system functionality.
You can get these vitamins in large amounts in animal products, fortified foods, and dietary supplements.
However, the most healthy source of these vitamins is liver, beef, clams, sardines, and dairy products.
Eating this food rich in vitamins may help boost your immune system and as well prevent you from having and deficiency.