Vitamin B12 Food

Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B12 - Food Sources & Benefits

Among the many vitamins that your body needs in order to function correctly, vitamin B12 is one of the most important. The deficiency of which can cause some serious health issues. There's lots to know about the benefits, foods, etc., about vitamin B12, all of which you will get to read here.
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Did you know that when vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, it can lead to various symptoms that can progress to irreversible neurological issues? Sorry to scare you this way, but it's true. And so, to understand vitamin B12 deficiency and what it can do to your body, you first need to know everything about its importance, B12 sources, and foods among other things. And you're about to explore all about the benefits of vitamin B12 along with all the other information needed for the same.

What is the Importance of Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)?

In addition to the vitamin B12 found naturally in animal foods, it can also be added to human foods and supplements. The importance of vitamin B12 is to form red blood cells (1) and DNA. It is a vital player in the function and development of the brain and nerve cells. Vitamin B12 usually binds to the protein in your food. There are two phases in which your body absorbs this vitamin from food. In Phase 1, the hydrochloric acid that's present in your stomach detaches vitamin B12 from the food you eat. In Phase 2, intrinsic factor, a protein secreted in your stomach, attaches itself to the B12 vitamin and aids its absorption.

7 Vitamin B12 Benefits:

There are many vitamin B12 benefits that you might be unaware of, so let us give you an insight into the same.

1. Helps With Preventing Birth Defects:

A good level of vitamin B12 is quite crucial to a healthy pregnancy. A fetus's brain and nervous system need adequate B12 vitamin levels from the mother in order to develop properly. When there is a deficiency of this vitamin in the early stages of pregnancy, birth defects like neural tube defects may be more likely to occur. Premature birth and miscarriage can also be caused by maternal vitamin B12 deficiency. Hence, one of the B12 benefits is to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn.

2. May Improve Mood and Symptoms of Depression:

Wonder what is vitamin B12 good for? Well, it can play a big role in metabolizing serotonin - a chemical that is responsible for regulating your mood. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to decreased serotonin production, which can cause symptoms of depression. So if you don't want to be at risk of depression, make sure your body gets enough vitamin B12 through various foods and other sources.

3. Supports healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails:

One of the greatest vitamin B12 benefits is that it can promote healthy hair, skin, and nails. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause various dermatologic symptoms like hyperpigmentation (2), hair changes, vitiligo, nail discoloration, angular stomatitis (inflamed or cracked mouth corners), etc. Hence, you need to take vitamin B12 supplements or foods that can increase the production of this vitamin in your body. Once the levels go higher, you will see a change in the health of your skin, nails, and hair.

4. Support bone health and prevent osteoporosis

Did you know that women are four times more prone to porous, weak bones or osteoporosis than men? (3) One of the greatest vitamin B12 benefits is that it can maintain bone health. Hence, people suffering from osteoporosis and people, in general, must include B12 sources in their daily diet in order to maintain balanced levels of this vitamin.

5. Reduce your risk of macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that hugely affects your central vision. The main cause of severe and irreversible vision loss in several people is age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (4). Now, there are some treatments available for advanced AMD, but the only known way to decrease your risk of developing this disorder is by quitting smoking. Also, taking daily vitamin B12 supplements or incorporating vitamin B12 food sources can effectively help people, especially women at high risk of cardiovascular problems as well as AMD.

6. Give you an energy boost

One of the vitamin B12 benefits is that it can help your body convert the food you consume into glucose which ultimately gives you energy. Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in your body's energy production and hence, including vitamin B12 or cobalamin-rich foods in your diet will provide you with sufficient levels of this vitamin to stay energetic each day. If you're deficient in this vitamin, taking a supplement will improve your energy levels. And the most prominent sign to notice if you have vitamin B12 deficiency is by seeing how fatigued you feel throughout the day.

7. Improve heart health by decreasing homocysteine

You could be at an increased risk of heart disease if you have high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (5). Significantly low levels of vitamin B12 can elevate the levels of homocysteine in your body. Hence, incorporating b12 sources in you're diet helps reduce your risk of heart disease. However, scientific evidence needs to confirm if vitamin B12 supplements can actually help prevent heart diseases or not. But it's always better to rely on natural sources and maintain good levels of vitamin B12 in your system.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Now that you know some of the B12 benefits, you should learn about the symptoms of the same to understand when to increase foods in your diet or supplements that can help you reach an adequate amount of vitamin B12.

- Irritability

- Depression

- Mouth ulcers

- Pale yellow skin

- A sore and red tongue

- Disturbed vision

- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)

- Changes in the way you walk, think, feel or behave

- A decline in your mental abilities like understanding, judgment, memory (dementia)

Foods that are high in Vitamin B12: Cobalamin Rich Foods

There are various cobalamin rich foods that you can start to include in your daily diet. Consuming B12 vitamin foods can be the best way to nourish your body and protect yourself from the risk of B12 deficiency. Here is a list of vitamin B12 foods that will help -

  1. Vitamin B12 Vegetables: Spinach, mushrooms, potatoes, beetroot, and butternut squash
  2. Vitamin B12 Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, and blueberries
  3. Other Vitamin B12 Sources:

- Dairy products like low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, and swiss cheese

- Red meat like beef liver, lean beef, and steak

- Fish and shellfish like clams, mussels, salmon, and wild rainbow trout

- Vegan or vegetarian sources of B12 like nutritional yeast, fortified cereals, fortified non-dairy kinds of milk - soy milk and oats milk

- Poultry like roasted turkey, chicken breast and chicken liver

- Eggs

Other than natural foods, you can try some supplements that contain vitamin B12 as an ingredient. We suggest you try the apple cider vinegar gummies. These vitamin gummies help you manage weight while maintaining and supporting your regular healthy diet. The gummies are loaded with vitamin B12 and folate, both of which can help you improve your hut health and also aid in burning fat to achieve your goal weight.

Recommended vitamin b12 (Cobalamin) dosage

In order to maintain adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in your body, you first need to understand vitamin B12 dosage. Vitamin B12 dosage for adults will differ from the younger aged ones. Here is the recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 for all age groups - 






Birth to 6 months

0.4 mcg

0.4 mcg



7 - 12 months

0.5 mcg

0.5 mcg



1 - 3 years

0.9 mcg

0.9 mcg



4 - 8 years

1.2 mcg

1.2 mcg



9 - 13 years

1.8 mcg

1.8 mcg



14 - 18 years

2.4 mcg

2.4 mcg

2.6 mcg

2.8 mcg

19+ years

2.4 mcg

2.4 mcg

2.6 mcg

2.8 mcg


Once you understand the importance of vitamin B12, it becomes easier to learn about the deficiency symptoms, vitamin B12 sources, and foods that you can consume to increase the amount of this vitamin in your body. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, treatment depends on what's actually causing the deficiency. Hence, it is better for your doctor to run some tests in order to find out the kind of problems you have according to your age. You may require regular B12 shots or dietary supplements if you wish to stay healthy.

FAQs on Vitamin B12 Benefits & Sources:

  • Who should consume Vitamin B12 supplements?

Everyone can consume vitamin B12 supplements - older adults, vegetarians, vegans and people who have conditions that affect the ability to absorb vitamin B12 in the form of foods can benefit from oral supplements.

  • How much Vitamin B12 is required on a daily basis?

Dietary allowance (RDA) for B12 vitamins is usually based on the amount you need for maintaining hematological status & normal serum vitamin B12 values. An assumed absorption of 50% is included in the recommended intake.

  • Who is at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Usually, vegans who don't consume animal products and vegetarians who consume little animal products but not meat are at higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency as natural food sources of this vitamin are limited to animal foods.

  • What is the treatment for Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is generally treated with injections of vitamin B12. Two of the types are cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin.

  • Is B12 Good for you every day?

If you're opting for vitamin B12 supplements rather than b12 food sources, they're generally safe if taken at appropriate doses. Besides, your body only absorbs this vitamin as much as it's needed, so any excess amount of the same will pass through your urine.

  • What happens when B12 is high?

When your body has high levels of vitamin B12 or cobalamin, it can be a serious issue, even life-threatening. Hematologic disorders such as promyelocytic leukaemia, polycythemia vera, chronic myelogenous leukaemia and also hypereosinophilic syndrome can be the cause of high levels of this vitamin.

  • What is a normal B12 level?

The typical values of B12 are 160 to 950 picograms per milliliter or 118 to 701 picomoles per litre. The normal value ranges can vary among different laboratories. This is because some labs might use different measurements or test the samples differently than others.

  • Is B12 deficiency serious?

B12 deficiency, if left untreated, can cause lasting effects that may end up affecting your nervous system as well as the brain. Peripheral neuropathy and spinal cord degeneration are more severe side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency. 

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