The best sources of vitamin B-12 include animal products, such as organ meats, beef, pork, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy foods. Therefore, vitamin B-12 intake is mostly a concern for vegetarians and vegans who omit these foods and follow plant-based diets. Some foods are fortified with vitamin B-12 and are fair sources of the nutrient. These include: nutritional yeast (100% RDA in 2 teaspoons), fortified cereals (usually 100% RDA per serving), nondairy alternatives like soy milk (content varies), and vegetarian meat alternatives (content varies).
Women need 2.4 micrograms of B-12 daily. Because B-12 is water soluble, it is constantly lost in urine when not used and a continuous supply is always needed. B-12 deficiency can lead to a type of anemia, walking and balance problems, sore tongue, weakness, confusion, and in advanced cases dementia. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consume 2.6 micrograms and 2.8 micrograms of B-12, respectively. People over the age of 50 may need B-12 supplementation as the body's ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from food sources diminishes.
|Food sources||Micrograms per serving (%RDA)|
|Clams, 3 ounces cooked||84.1 (3,500%)|
|Beef liver, 1 slice||47.9 (1,995%)|
|Fortified breakfast cereals, (100% fortified), 3/4 cup||6.0 (250%)|
|Salmon, 3 ounces cooked||4.9 (205%)|
|Beef, top sirloin, lean, choice, broiled, 3 ounces||2.4 (100%)|
|Fortified breakfast cereals (25% fortified), 3/4 cup||1.5 (63%)|
|Yogurt (plain low-fat), 1 cup||1.4 (58%)|
|Milk, 1 cup||0.9 (38%)|
|Ham, 3 ounces||0.6 (25%)|
|1 egg||0.6 (25%)|
|Chicken, half-breast||0.3 (13%)|
This article was reviewed by Tanya Jolliffe, a BabyFit healthy eating expert.