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Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) plays several essential roles in the body:
Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal-based foods such as eggs, dairy products, meat and offal, fish, and shellfish. Fruits and vegetables, as well as grain products contain only traces.
Some foods, particularly those aimed at vegans and vegetarians, are enriched with vitamin B12:
|Food||Portion||Vitamin B12 Content, in micrograms (mcg)|
|Liver (beef, veal, lamb)||75 g||52.9 to 66|
|Salmon, raw or cooked||75 g||4.4|
|Soy burger||75 g||1.8|
|Egg||2 large||1.5 to 1.6|
|Beef, cooked||75 g||1.3 to 2.7|
|Milk||1 cup||1.2 to 1.4|
|Pork, cooked||75 g||0.8 to 1.1|
|Soy, almond, or rice beverage, enriched||1 cup||1.0|
|Yogurt||175 g (3/4 cup)||0.3 to 0.6|
|Chicken, cooked||75 g||0.2 to 0.3|
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for men and women age 19 and over. Pregnant or nursing women have slightly higher requirements: 2.6 and 2.8 mcg per day, respectively.
Since the body is able to store enough vitamin B12 to meet its needs for several months, vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely rare among healthy people whose daily diet includes foods that are naturally rich in—or enriched with—vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 supplements are useful primarily for vegans and vegetarians who are unable to meet their daily requirements with enriched foods, as well as people who suffer from a disease that limits the absorption of this vitamin.
There is no point taking vitamin B12 supplements to boost your energy, except in very rare cases of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Some medicines can block the absorption of vitamin B12. Be sure to check with your pharmacist to ensure you’re getting the proper dose of your supplement.
If you have questions about vitamin supplements or concerns about the quality of your diet, talk to your pharmacist. Some pharmacies even offer consultations with a registered dietician.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.