Vitamin B12 – Health Benefits and Food Sources

Vitamin B12 is essential for several different important functions throughout the body. These functions include supporting and protecting the immune system, the nervous system, the heart and cardiovascular system, energy production and brain cells. Vitamin B12 assists these functions by helping to clean the blood of free radicals and dangerous toxins. Vitamin B12 is also required for healthy serotonin levels, which affect your mood.

Characteristics of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, depression, shortness of breath, diarrhea, numbness, tingling sensation in the fingers and toes, as well can lead to an increased risk of infections.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies most commonly occur in people following vegan diets since B12 is found in animal products like seafood and milk products. Deficiencies can also occur in people with compromised digestive systems caused by surgery or severe chronic illness.

Vitamin B12 Food Sources

The essential nutrient vitamin B12 is found in animal products like eggs and seafood; as well milk products like yogurt and cheese.

Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources for Vitmain B12

This chart lists the best food sources for vitamin B12, along with that food source’s single serving size and the amount of vitamin B12 in that single serving.

Vitamin B12 Daily Intake Recommendations for Child and Adult

These figures are referenced from the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) 2005 system; used in Canada and the United States. The DRI system provides the minimum daily intake requirements of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for child and adult; males and females.

To find out what your daily intake requirements are for all of the essential nutrients, see the article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods, posted January 16, 2017.

Try our Lemon Garlic Trout recipe! Fish are an excellent whole food source for the essential nutrient vitamin B12.


Written by: J. Marshall


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