The 6 Best Sources of B12 – Food, Supplements

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is an essential vitamin which our body needs, but it can’t produce on its own.

It’s naturally present in animal products, but it can also be added to some foods or acquired from supplements like pills or injections. [1]

Our guide teaches you:

  • How to find the best source of this vitamin
  • Why vitamin B12 is crucial for your health
  • About the best foods & supplements that have it

It participates in numerous bodily processes, including the support of the nerve cell function, formation of red blood cells, as well as the synthesis of the DNA. [2]

For most adults, the RDA is 2.4 mcg; although it may be higher in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Vitamin B12 is also good for us because it helps us increase our energy, boost our memory capacity, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular illnesses. [3]

But, a lot of people don’t meet their RDA, mostly because of failing to consume the proper sources, including foods and supplements. [4]

The situation is especially an issue for individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, since most of the food sources with vitamin B12 are of animal origin.

This is why they may benefit from foods fortified with it.

Knowing the importance of cobalamin for our optimal health, we decided to make a list of the best sources including foods and supplements.

Check them out below!

The Best Sources of Vitamin B12- Foods & Supplements

1. Clams

Eating clams on a regular basis is one of the best ways to acquire vitamin B12 naturally. [5]

This animal source will also provide numerous other important nutrients like protein, iron, and other B vitamins.

  • 40 times the RDA of vitamin B12
  • Delicious & healthy
  • Rich in protein & iron too

Plus, being low in fat, it may be of aid for people with higher BMI looking to shed pounds. Half a dozen cooked clams contain only 166 calories-yet supply you 40 times the RDA of vitamin B12! Or, you get 84.1 mcg of vitamin B12 per 3 ounces. [6]

They’re also tasty and versatile in terms of prep-you can steam them or eat them raw with a sprinkle of lemon juice. Before choosing clams, know that they can be soft- or hard-shelled.

Generally speaking, if you don’t have experience shucking them, ask for a fish seller to do it for you.

2. Beef liver

Though this organ meat may be an acquired taste, it’s undoubtedly highly rich in vitamin B12, as well as iron, vitamin A, and protein. [7]

Perhaps, it’s one of the healthiest and most nutritious-dense meats you can consume. And, when you cook it properly, it’s so yummy.

  • Beef liver is an excellent source of vitamin B12
  • Also contains choline, an essential nutrient
  • Rich in protein & low in calories

The best way to consume it is braised or covered in flour and sautéed with onions. Still, being rich in cholesterol too, you shouldn’t rely on it solely to acquire your vitamin B12 needs. [8]

Anyway, by eating beef liver, you supply your body with one of the hardest-to-get nutrients known as choline. This nutrient is essential because of the roles it plays in our body.

Since it’s rich in protein and low in calories, only 135 per 100 grams, it may also be a good option for dieters with higher BMI. It will help you lower your appetite, build muscle, and speed up the metabolism.

3. Salmon

Salmon is a delicious and healthy source of vitamin B12, as well as omega 3s. [9]

It can be Pacific or Atlantic and it’s considered to be one of the healthiest fish in the world.

Interestingly, salmon has more vitamin B12 per serving than beef-a 3 ounce serving of cooked salmon has 4.9 mcg of this vitamin which is more than the RDA. [10]

  • Numerous ways to prep it
  • One of the healthiest fish in the world
  • Rich in other nutrients too

Eating salmon is also a great idea if you’re following a low-fat diet-it doesn’t just supply you with this particular vitamin, but other nutrients like protein too.

It has 17 grams of it or more than a third of the RDA. It also has calcium and unsaturated fat.

Since it’s a fish rich in protein, consuming it regularly may be helpful if you’re struggling with higher BMI.

It will aid in appetite control, prolong your feeling of satiety and speed up your metabolism. You can eat it baked, grilled, steamed, etc.

4. Trout

Trout, the relative of salmon, supplies you with vitamin B12, but it’s also abundant in other nutrients- an average-sized fillet will help you get more than 100 percent of the vitamin B12 RDA. [11]

  • Provides you with vitamin B12 & other nutrients
  • Rich in protein
  • One of the healthiest weight loss fish

Moreover, it’s a fish that contains protein, minerals, and some other B vitamins.

It’s so versatile in terms of prep-you can bake, broil or sauté it with veggies for a delightful meal.

Per 3 ounces of trout, you get 3.5 mcg of this pivotal vitamin. It’s also a good choice for those worried about high levels of mercury- this one’s with low levels of it, yet abundant in omega 3s.

Trout will also provide you with niacin, known to help with the skin, nerve, and digestive function in the body. [12]

Plus, it’s also considered to be one of the healthiest fish in the world for weight loss-it can be of aid if you’re dealing with higher BMI and need to adjust your diet to lose surplus pounds.

5. Fortified Cereals

Fortified cereals are a great source of vitamin B12, especially for vegans. [13] A fortified food is any food that has additional vitamins and minerals that aren’t naturally present in it.

The amount depends on the brand; however, generally speaking, per half a cup of cereals, you get 6 mcg of vitamin B12.

  • Great source of vitamin B12 for vegans
  • May contain additional nutrients
  • The best ones are also rich in protein & fiber

It’s always best to check the label and choose the varieties that supply 100 percent of the RDA per a serving. This isn’t the only nutrient you’ll get from it- it’s also rich in other nutrients.

Pre-packaged cereals are usually fortified, but you can also find fortified hot cereals such as oatmeal.

Still, you need to be cautious with their intake- some are made of whole grains and abundant in protein and fiber; however, others are practically free of nutrients. [14]

A good tip for cereals is to add nuts, peanut butter or Greek yogurt in the variants that don’t have protein to maximize your satiety.

6. Vitamin B12 supplements

The reasons for taking supplements are numerous and it’s not just a vegan or vegetarian diet- it may also be older age, some disease, a surgery, etc. [15]

Also, they may be recommended in case of increased risk as means of prevention.

  • May be used as treatment or prevention
  • Generally derived from 2 sources
  • Available in different forms

In case your doctor finds signs of vitamin B12 low levels, they may recommend supplementation in addition to eating more of the foods that contain it.

These supplements are generally acquired from 2 sources, i.e. cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. [16]

Both are the same and have a cobalt ion surrounded by a corrin ring, but they have a distinct molecule attached to the ion.

The former is synthetic and it’s not naturally found-it’s present in supplements because it’s stable and cost-effective.

The latter is naturally occurring and you can get it from supplements, but from foods too. According to some studies, the former may be slightly better in terms of absorption than the latter.

In order to take the best dosage and form, you need to consult your physician-they will consider all contributing factors like age, gender, and underlying reasons. [17]

Final Thoughts

Without doubt, vitamin B12 is a pivotal vitamin for numerous bodily processes and we need it to stay healthy.

Most individuals are able to meet the RDA through their diets only; however, in some cases, like a specific diet, a disease or age, supplementation may be necessary in consultation with a doctor.

When the body doesn’t get it in adequate amounts, there can be no red blood cell formation, synthesis of DNA, and neurological functions. This is why we covered the best food and supplement sources of this essential vitamin with you!

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