Here are 10 ultimate vitamin b 12 sources of food

Proteins and calories are not the sole things, diet is all about. When we think of nutrition as a whole, vitamins and minerals play a quite crucial role. Vitamin B 12 is an important vitamin out of all. Recently vitamin B 12 sources of foods are gaining popularity, especially among vegetarians and vegans. 

Why vitamin B 12 is so important ?

Vitamin B 12 is required for appropriate functioning of nerves. Not only that but also it assists blood cell formation in body. Deficiency of vitamin B 12 leads to severe anaemia ( reduced haemoglobin ) as well as tragic neurological issues. 


That is the reason why precise knowledge of vitamin B 12 sources is important. Besides naturally occurring foods, vitamin B 12 is found in fortified foods and supplements too. Below we have listed down all such food options for vegetarians, vegans and non vegetarians. 


Alternative name for vitamin B 12 is cobalamin. This is because, vitamin B 12 embodies ‘cobalt’ in it. 

This vitamin is not synthesized in human body. Human body get vitamin B 12 primarily from food or supplements. Also gut microbes play a significant role here. One of the most important benefit of gut micro flora is, its potential to produce vitamin B 12.

Animal origin foods are rich source of vitamin B 12. Some of which we have enumerated below. 


It is a one of the great vitamin B12 sources. Liver and kidney contains whopping amount of this vitamin. 

2.Sea food

Fish like tuna, salmon are packed not only in vitamin B 12 but also in omega 3 fatty acid, which is quite beneficial. 

Additionally clams, oyster, crabs provides so much of vitamin B 12 that even one serving is enough to meet requirement for an entire day. 

3.Poultry and eggs

Turkey, chicken, duck etc has decent vitamin B 12. Plus turkey is opulent in proteins and minerals. 

Chicken too has proteins, minerals. In addition it is a great source of vitamin B 6. Eggs of these birds too are cheap and effective reserves of vitamin B 12. 


There is a common idea that vegetarians are victims of vitamin B 12 deficiency. It’s just partially true, you can say. The fact is right choice of food, keeps vitamin B 12 levels in line. 

Below are few food items a vegetarian got to have in his/her diet in order to meet vitamin B 12 requirement.

1.Milk and other dairy products

Milk is a remarkable source of vitamin b12. It is one of the foods that is abounding in calcium as well. Curd, cheese, yoghurt, buttermilk are few vitamin B 12 sources, that are derived from milk. 

When we talk about cheese, it has a good few varieties, for instance swiss, cottage, cheddar and feta cheese. Swiss cheese and cottage cheese has highest B 12 level out of all. 

Yoghurt is a healthy breakfast option out there for vegetarians. Every one, be it a kid, adult or elderly likes yoghurt. 

It is immensely beneficial for gut health. Yoghurt is a natural probiotics that restores good bacteria in guts. Not only that, it is also loaded with all b complex vitamins 



Mushroom is a boon to vegetarian diet. Siltake mushroom is a group of mushroom that is richest in B 12. Adding it to diet is a smart way to upgrade vitamin B 12 level in body. 


More and more people are turning into vegan these days. These are the people who don’t take any animal derived food, not even animal based milk or milk products. That makes it tricky to meet B 12 demand.

Below are vitamin B 12 sources of foods, vegan people can have. 

1.Fortified cereals

Fortified cereals are one of the most convenient foods. Here the cereal is fortified with vitamin B 12. It is available in different forms like oat bran flake, corn flake etc. These cereals as such may not be so healthy in term of nutrition. But when fortified, these work as fabulous source of B 12 vitamin. 

Malt-O-Meal one example of fortified cereal based food which has considerable dietary fibres

2.Fortified soy milk

Vegans don’t take cow milk. Hence for them soy milk comes as rescue. Soy milk naturally resembles low fat cow milk. It is rich in protein. And when fortified it meets vitamin B 12 demand as well. 

Soy milk is a plant based milk, derived from soybean. Hence vegans can consume it assuredly. Also people having cow milk intolerance can comfortably have soy milk. 

3.Other fortified plant based milk

Fortified almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk need a special mentioned here too.

4.Fortified nutritional yeast


Nutritional yeast is becoming increasingly popular. Why it is so ? 

First reason being, it is a vegan friendly food. 

Secondly nutritional yeast is a complete protein, just like egg.

Third point is, this is a special type of yeast which is grown on medium, well supplied with different vitamins and minerals. This process makes it fortified. For instance nutritional yeast grown on b 12 rich medium becomes fortified with B 12

Commercially available nutritional yeast is in the form of powder or flakes. Ahead of buying nutritional yeast, always read the label for its constituents

5.Sea plants

Sea weed, blue green algae are few naturally rich vitamin B 12 sources. Some prefer these as soup and some as salad in diet.

Important note : 

Recently I came across few videos and articles that said, green leaves like spinach are good source of B 12 vitamin. However as per verified data from USFDA, spinach doesn’t have vitamin B 12 in it. 

Some people mention fruits like banana, straw berry as good reserve of vitamin b12. But USFDA tells otherwise. As per it these fruits don’t have any B 12 vitamin. 

*USFDA stands for United States Food & Drug Association

RDA of vitamin B 12

FNB ( food and nutrition board ) determines RDA ( recommended dietary allowance) or DRI ( dietary reference intake ) of food components. RDA is the average daily intake of a particular nutrient that is needed to meet requirement.

RDA for B 12 vitamin is 2.4 microgram for >14 years old. That means an adult needs overall 2.4 mcg of B 12 daily in diet. For pregnancy RDA is 2.6 mcg and for lactating mother it is 2.8 mcg per day, which is the highest.

The list of vitamin B 12 requirement per day in relation to age is below. 


RDA of vit B 12 

0-6 months

0.4 mcg 

7-12 months 

0.5 mcg

1-3 yr

0.9 mcg

4-8 yr

1.2 mcg

9-13 yr

1.8 mcg

>14 yr

2.4 mcg


2.6 mcg


2.8 mcg

Vitamin B 12 sources of food in descending order of B 12 content

Here is a simplified table of different food items with respective B 12 content. This list is for better visual comparison.

Food item

Vitamin B 12 per serving ( in mcg )

Liver ( 3 ounce ) 


Clam ( 3 ounce ) 


Tuna and Salmon  ( 3 ounce ) 

2.5 – 2.6 

Lean meat ( 3 ounce ) 


Cow milk ( 1 cup ) 


Yoghurt ( 6 ounce ) 


Cheddar cheese ( 3 ounce )


Fortified breakfast cereals ( 1 serving ) 

0.6 ( varies )

Egg ( 1 ) 


Turkey ( 3 ounce ) 








Vitamin B 12 supplement formulations

Apart from these, B 12 is marketed as single constituent of 500 to 1000 mcg. Also conventional B complex formulations ( multivitamins ) carry around 50-500mcg of B 12 or cobalamin in it. These supplements are available commercially as syrup / tablet. 

Also there is sublingual supplements of vitamin B 12. This should just be kept on undersurface of tongue. Following which, it is absorbed right away. 

You will be fascinated to know that cobalamin nasal gel spray is also available these days. This is as good as oral ones. This is simply incredible. Isn’t it!!!

Who are more prone for vitamin B 12 or Cobalamin deficiency?

In elderly absorption of this vitamin is not as much. So they are prone to B 12 deficiency. Besides people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are also more vulnerable for deficiency. 

On top of that, it is extremely challenging to differentiate between peripheral neuropathy due to long standing diabetes and that due to B 12 deficiency. Hence diabetics need to take care of dietary B 12 levels. 

Colostrum & breast milk

Breast milk is a fair source of vitamin B 12, provided mother is taking RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of vitamin B 12. Around 1 litre of breast milk contains 0.44 mcg of vitamin B 12

This is one of the vitamin B 12 sources, which has high bioavailability. In other words, absorption and utilisation of B 12 of breast milk through gut is excellent. 

Colostrum ( breast milk secreted in first 3 days after delivery from mother ) is a rich source of B 12

But If mother’s diet is deficient in this vitamin B 12 vitamin then baby may suffer from deficiency as well. Hence vegan mothers should be watchful regarding dietary B 12.


It is a common belief that vegetarians are prone to vitamin B 12 deficiency. But truth to be told a little knowledge of diet can prevent deficiency so easily. A small change in diet, like taking 2 glasses of milk daily meets total daily requirement. 

I hope this blog clears all out doubts related to B 12. Do share with family and friends if you find it useful. 


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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