Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is the largest and most complex vitamin currently known to man. A slight deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long-term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system.
Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products, however, synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods like cereals.
Vitamin B12 can be consumed in large doses because excess is excreted by the body or stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of B12 can last for up to a year, which is why it takes a long time before people realize they have a deficiency in their diet.
Foods high in vitamin B12 include clams, liver, fish, crab, low-fat beef, fortified cereal, fortified tofu, low-fat dairy, cheese, and eggs. The daily value for vitamin B12 is 2.4μg per day, which has been recently reduced from 6μg per the USDA food labeling standards. (2)
Below are the top 10 foods highest in vitamin B12 by common serving sizes, click here for an extended list of vitamin B12 rich foods, and here for other foods high in vitamin B.
If you are vegetarian, see the article on vegetarian sources of vitamin B12.
|#1 Whelk||642% DV (15.4μg) in 3oz|
|#2 Clam Chowder||478% DV (11.5μg) in 1 cup|
|#3 Veggie Burgers||366% DV (8.8μg) in 1 burger pattie|
|#4 Emu Steak||332% DV (8μg) in 3oz|
|#5 Manhattan Clam Chowder||330% DV (7.9μg) in 1 cup|
|#6 Energy Bars||311% DV (7.5μg) in 1 bar|
|#7 Liver Sausage||238% DV (5.7μg) in 1oz|
|#8 Ostrich||228% DV (5.5μg) in 3oz|
|#9 Dried Sweet Whey||143% DV (3.4μg) in 1 cup|
|#10 Deer||128% DV (3.1μg) in 3oz|
|#11 Salami||99% DV (2.4μg) in 3oz|
|#12 Scallops||76% DV (1.8μg) in 3oz|
|#13 Rice Milk||63% DV (1.5μg) in 1 cup|
|#14 Buttermilk||47% DV (1.1μg) in 1 cup|
|#15 Turkey||36% DV (0.9μg) in 3oz|
|#16 Luncheon Meat||19% DV (0.5μg) in 1 slice|
|#17 Chicken||18% DV (0.4μg) in 1 cup chopped|
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.
|0-6 months*||0.4 μg||0.4 μg|
|7-12 months*||0.5 μg||0.5 μg|
|1-3 years||0.9 μg||0.9 μg|
|4-8 years||1.2 μg||1.2 μg|
|9-13 years||1.8 μg||1.8 μg|
|14+ years||2.4 μg||2.4 μg|
Brewers Yeast is a rich source of nutrients, typically used for making beer, but can also be used to make bread and other consumables.
There are conflicting reports on how much vitamin B12 brewers yeast provides, however, it is not wise to count on brewers yeast as your sole source of vitamin B12. Yeast which does provide it is likely fortified.
The conclusion is that you should check labels for vitamin B12 before counting on yeast to provide it.