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Canned Fish Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Canned Fish Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is an essential vitamin necessary for the maintenance of the nervous system and for preventing anemia. Fish is a good source of vitamin B12, but what about canned fish?

Canned fish can be a great source of vitamin B12. Canned foods are typically more affordable than fresh, with greater availability. The downside is that canned foods typically have a lot of added sodium or are packed in less desirable oils. As such, try to choose canned fish that is low in sodium and water packed instead of oil packed.

Canned fish high in vitamin B12 includes canned oysters, clams, salmon, sardines, mackerel, crab, tuna, shrimp, cod, and anchovies. The values below are for a given serving size. Even if you don't eat such a large serving as 1 cup of fish, you can simply divide the numbers in half to get the amount for half a cup or about 4 ounces. The daily value for vitamin B12 is 2.4μg per day, which has been recently reduced from 6μg per the USDA food labeling standards.

Use the nutrient ranking tool to search for fish high in vitamin b12 by a standard serving size, like 100 grams or 200 calories. For different kinds of foods, see the article on foods high in vitamin B12.


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Table of Canned Fish High in Vitamin B12

FoodServingVitamin B12
#1 Canned Eastern Oysters1 cup (drained) 1291% DV
31μg
#2 Canned Clams1 cup (drained) 1242% DV
29.8μg
#3 Canned Sardins1 cup (drained) 555% DV
13.3μg
#4 Canned Mackerel1 cup 549% DV
13.2μg
#5 Canned Salmon3oz 195% DV
4.7μg
#6 Canned Blue Crab1 cup 187% DV
4.5μg
#7 Canned Tuna1 cup (drained) 175% DV
4.2μg
#8 Canned Shrimpper cup 39% DV
0.9μg
#9 Canned Cod3 oz 37% DV
0.9μg
#10 Canned Anchovies5 anchovies 7% DV
0.2μg

See All 112 Fish High in Vitamin B12

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How much Vitamin B12 do you need?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B12 ranges from 0.4 to 2.8μg per day. The daily value for vitamin B12 is 2.4μg per day, which has been recently reduced from 6μg per the USDA food labeling standards.

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0-6 months0.4 μg0.4 μg
7-12 months0.5 μg0.5 μg
1-3 years0.9 μg0.9 μg
4-8 years1.2 μg1.2 μg
9-13 years1.8 μg1.8 μg
14+ years2.4 μg2.4 μg2.6 μg2.8 μg
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements.

For the values above the amounts for children less than 12 months old is actually the adequate intake (AI) not RDA.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

  • Protect Against Heart Disease - Adequate levels of vitamins B12, B6, and B9 have been shown to lower levels of a protein in the blood: homocysteine. Lower levelsof homocysteine has been shown to improve endothelial function, which in turn may boost cardiovascular health and decrease risk of heartattacks.3-5
  • Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging - Absorption of vitamin b12 and Folate (B9) is essential for DNA metabolism and maintenance whichhelps to prevent cancer and slow aging.6
  • Protect Against Dementia and Cognitive Decline - Lack of vitamin B12 increases homocysteine levels, which in turn decreases the bodies ability to metabolize neurotransmitters.7 Due to limitations with creating long term controlled studies in human populations, no definite link between increased vitamin b12 levels and cognitive function have been found,8-12 however several observational studies suggest increased homocysteine levels increase the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia,13-15 and low levels of vitamin B12 has been associated with cognitive decline.16
  • Alzheimer's Protection - A study has shown that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Folate (B9) can double the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.17
  • Energy and Endurance - A lack of vitamin B12 will lead to anemia and weakness. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are necessary to maintain normal energy levels. Claims of vitamin B12 as an energy or atheletic enhancer remain unproven.18

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View more food groups with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
  2. Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet
  3. Doshi SN, McDowell IF, Moat SJ, Payne N, Durrant HJ, Lewis MJ, Goodfellos J. Folic acid improves endothelial function in coronary artery disease via mechanisms largely independent of homocysteine. Circulation. 2002;105:22-6.
  4. Doshi SN, McDowell IFW, Moat SJ, Lang D, Newcombe RG, Kredean MB, Lewis MJ, Goodfellow J. Folate improves endothelial function in coronary artery disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2001;21:1196-1202.
  5. Wald DS, Bishop L, Wald NJ, Law M, Hennessy E, Weir D, McPartlin J, Scott J. Randomized trial of folic acid supplementation and serum homocysteine levels. Arch Intern Med 2001;161:695-700.
  6. A Paoloni-Giacobino, R Grimble, C Pichard. Genetics and nutrition. Clinical Nutrition Volume 22, Issue 5, Pages 429-435 (October 2003)
  7. Hutto BR. Folate and cobalamin in psychiatric illness. Compr Psychiatry 1997;38:305-14.
  8. Eussen SJ, de Groot LC, Joosten LW, Bloo RJ, Clarke R, Ueland PM, et al. Effect of oral vitamin B-12 with or without folic acid on cognitive function in older people with mild vitamin B-12 deficiency: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:361-70.
  9. Hvas AM, Juul S, Lauritzen L, Nexo E, Ellegaard J. No effect of vitamin B-12 treatment on cognitive function and depression: a randomized placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord 2004;81:269-73.
  10. Vital Trial Collaborative Group. Effect of vitamins and aspirin on markers of platelet activation, oxidative stress and homocysteine in people at high risk of dementia. J Intern Med 2003; 254:67-75.
  11. Kang JH, Cook N, Manson J, Buring JE, Albert CM, Grodstein F. A trial of B vitamins and cognitive function among women at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88:1602-10.
  12. Aisen PS, Schneider LS, Sano M, Diaz-Arrastia R, van Dyck CH, Weiner MF, et al.; Alzheimer Disease Cooperative Study. High-dose B vitamin supplementation and cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2008 ;300:1774-83.
  13. Clarke R. B-vitamins and prevention of dementia. Proc Nutr Soc 2008;67:75-81.
  14. Schulz RJ. Homocysteine as a biomarker for cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2007;10:718-23.
  15. Seshadri S, Beiser A, Selhub J, Jacques PF, Rosenberg IH, D'Agostino RB, et al. Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. N Engl J Med 2002;346:476-83.
  16. Clarke R, Birks J, Nexo E, Ueland PM, Schneede J, Scott J, et al. Low vitamin B-12 status and risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:1384-91.
  17. Wang HX, Wahlin A, Basun H, Fastbom J, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L. Vitamin B12 and folate in relation to the development of Alzheimer?s disease. Neurology May 8, 2001 vol. 56 no. 9 1188-1194.
  18. Lukaski HC. Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance. Nutrition 2004;20:632-44.
  19. Patrick Kidd and David L. Mollin. Megaloblastic Anaemia and Vitamin-B12 Deficiency After Anticonvulsant Therapy. Br Med J. 1957 October 26; 2(5051): 974?976.
  20. J.S. MALPAS, G.H. SPRAY, L.J. WITTS. Serum Folic-acid and Vitamin-Biz Levels in Anticonvulsant Therapy. British Medical Journal. 16 April 1966.
  21. Richard Hunterb, Joanna Barnesb, and D. M. Matthews. Effect Of Folic-Acid Supplement On Serum-Vitamin-B12 Levels In Patients On Anticonvulsants. The Lancet, Volume 294, Issue 7622, 27 September 1969, Pages 666-667.

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