Seven Natural Sources of Vitamin B12

Sara Suchy Oct 23rd, 2012 (updated Apr 18th, 2016)
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What is vitamin B12?
What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps form red blood cells, and aids in neurological function and DNA synthesis.  It is found naturally in many animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk but generally not in plant-based foods. The National Institute of Health recommends that healthy adults get 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of B12 each day.  Pregnant and breast feeding women should have 2.6 and 2.8 mcg per day, respectively. 

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Clams
Clams

Thee ounces of cooked clams contain 84.1 micrograms (mcg) of B12.  That is 1,402 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12.  

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Beef liver
Beef liver

While it is not the most common of entrees, 3 ounces of beef liver contain 70.7 mcg of B12.  That is 1,178 percent of the recommended daily value of B12 for a healthy adult.  

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Fortified breakfast cereals
Fortified breakfast cereals

Plant-based foods on their own do not generally provide a lot of B12, but breakfast cereals that have been fortified with B12 can contain up to 6.0 mcg per serving.  That is 100 percent of the recommended daily value of B12 for a healthy adult. Be sure to check if the cereal has been fortified and watch out for cereals with high sugar content. 

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Fish
Fish

Several varieties of fish are excellent sources of vitamin B12: Wild rainbow trout has 5.4 mcgs per 3 ounce serving; 90 percent daily value; cooked Salmon has 4.8 mcgs per 3 ounce serving; 80 percent daily value; canned tuna has 2.5 mcgs per 3 ounce serving; 42 percent daily value.

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Dairy
Dairy

Several dairy products are also wonderful sources of vitamin B12: One cup of low-fat Milk has 1.2 mcg of B12, 18 percent daily value; eight ounces of low-fat yogurt has 1.1 mcg of B12, 15 percent daily value; one ounce of Swiss cheese has 0.9 mcg of B12, 15 percent daily value. 

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Eggs
Eggs

A whole hard boiled egg has 0.6 mcg of B12 in it, which is 10 percent of the daily recommended value of B12.  

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Chicken
Chicken

Finally, three ounces of chicken (the breast meat) has 0.3 mcg of vitamin B12, which is five percent of the recommended daily value.  Just think, you could have had the beef liver and already hit your daily value 10 times over.