Vitamin B12 is one of the vitamins that is needed by the body, has many extraordinary benefits, and cannot be made by your own body. Therefore, vitamin B12 can be found in some animal products and food supplements. Some foods that are a source of vitamin B12 include beef liver, shellfish, sardines, tuna, salmon, cheese, shrimp, crabs, and others. There are many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency such as poor memory, depression, confusion and others. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be deficient in vitamin B12 in your diet.
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that is soluble in water and absorbed in the stomach with the help of protein. Excess vitamin B12 will be stored in the liver for use at other times when the body needs it. The main function of vitamin B12 is to keep nerve cells healthy, support brain function, and help produce DNA and RNA and other functions in the body. Vitamin B12 is an integral part of energy metabolism, amino acids, and fat. This vitamin is very unique, both in supplements, animal products, or fortified foods, all derived from microorganisms not produced by plants, animals, and fungi.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 we need depends on our age and stage of life. Daily needs (RDI) for vitamin B12 for adults, and adolescents recommended around 2.4 mcg and higher for pregnant and lactating mothers. Pregnant women need vitamin B12 higher than usual at around 2.6 mcg because it is associated with a higher risk of nerve defects in their babies. While breastfeeding women need at least 2.8 mcg per day.
Children between the ages of 9 and 13 need 1.8 mcg per day, while those aged 4 and 8 need 1.2 mcg per day. Vitamin B12 needs for toddlers aged between 1 and 3 years are 0.9 mcg per day and for infants aged 7 and 12 months need 0.5 mcg per day, and 0.4 mcg per day for infants younger than 6 month.
Pregnant, breastfeeding, vegetarian, and elderly women are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is very important for older adults because the more it ages, the body will absorb less of this vitamin. In the elderly, intrinsic factors such as proteins needed for absorption of vitamin B12 are another cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in addition to inadequate food. This is usually associated with autoimmune diseases, often known as pernicious anemia, which requires a lifetime injection of vitamin B12 for treatment.
Vegetarians also have the potential to experience vitamin B12 deficiency because most of what they do not consume is a source of vitamin B12. Breastfed babies from vegan mothers can also potentially experience a lack of vitamin B12 intake. To overcome this, choose foods and drinks made from rice and soybeans as a substitute for meat. Vegans can also choose vitamin B12-fortified foods such as fortified cereals, certain breakfasts, yogurt, low-fat milk, fortified vegetable milk, cheese, eggs, and nutritional yeast. Enriched cereals have a high bioavailability so that vitamin B12 does not have to be broken down before the body absorbs it.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause health problems such as difficulty in thinking and concentration, easy fatigue, blurred vision, tongue pain, personality changes, nervous system damage, confusion, dementia, pernicious anemia, balance disorders and walking. In infants, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause loss of appetite and cause body development problems that are very dangerous if not addressed immediately. Therefore vitamin B12 is very important and is a serious concern for vegans who have a high potential of not getting enough vitamin B12.
The above symptoms not only occur due to vitamin B12 deficiency, but also due to other problems that you need to consult with your doctor. Vitamin B12 deficiency in some people can be balanced with the consumption of high amounts of folic acid. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are both needed by the body for normal growth. Some foods that have high levels of folate such as fruit and vegetables, chicken liver, beans, spinach, whole wheat bread, peas, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, egg yolks, soy products, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, almonds, asparagus beans, bananas, and orange.
Take a vitamin B12 supplement
Vitamin B12 supplements are highly recommended for people who are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency as mentioned above. Taking vitamin B12 supplements should be accompanied by a doctor’s advice to ensure there are no adverse effects on your health. B12 supplements are made in synthesis and can take the form of oral vitamin tablets or injections into your muscles.
You can choose B12 supplements such as cyanocobalamin (man-made B12 form), intramuscular vitamin B12, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, and multivitamins that contain B12. You can chew it, drink, swallow, inject it, or place it under the tongue. The recommended number of B12 supplement tablets is 2000 mcg once a week and avoids intake above 5000 mcg per week.
Benefits of vitamin B12 for health
Vitamin B12 has many benefits to optimize health including producing red blood cells, preventing cancer, improving brain health, preventing depression, providing energy for the body, healthy bone marrow, and protecting the nervous system. Vitamin B12 can increase the production of red blood cells so that it can prevent anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause large and immature blood cell production so it is not optimal in carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Adequate vitamin B12 can prevent DNA damage that can be a cause of cancer because vitamin B12 has a close relationship with folate function. Vitamin B12 can also improve one’s memory and focus. This vitamin helps also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly men and women because it can keep homocycteine levels low.
In addition to improving brain health, according to research vitamin B12 can also reduce a person’s risk of depression as expressed in the American Journal of Psychiatry. This is related to the role of vitamin B12 in the synthesis of neurotransmitters related to mood regulation. Vitamin B12 also helps provide energy for the body and reduces fatigue. Vitamin B12 helps convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy that can be used by the body.
Top 23 vitamin B12 food source
To get the optimal benefits of vitamin B12 in daily value (DV), here are some foods you should consume.
1.Oyster (364% DV)
Oysters not only have zinc and various essential minerals to support the body’s immune system, but are also a source of vitamin B12. Zinc is useful to encourage the production of testosterone hormone in men so that it can increase libido. In 3 ounces of oysters it contains 21.84 mcg (364% DV) of vitamin B12, making it the highest source of vitamin B12.
2.Clams (338% DV)
Clams is a good source of lean protein, vitamin B12, vitamin C, iron, potassium, potassium, and good omega 3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 in clams is very high, in 3 ounces of cooked clams it contains 20.4 mcg of vitamin B12 (338% DV). 3 ounces of clams also contain 534 mg of potassium (15% DV), lean protein (20gr), vitamin C and iron. The clams broth (100gr) also has up to 14.1 mcg of vitamin B12. The best way to eat it is by steaming or boiling it so that the nutritional content is maintained.
3.Liver and kidney in cow or sheep (300% DV)
Animal liver and kidneys, especially sheep and cow, not only have nutrients that are useful for the body such as copper, selenium, vitamins B2 and A, but also as a source of very high vitamin B12. In 3 ounces of liver (beef) provides 20 mcg of vitamin B12 (more than 300% DV). To meet the daily needs of vitamin B12, you can just eat 1 ounce of liver (beef). Sheep liver is higher in vitamin B12 than liver (beef). It is recommended to choose grass-fed beef because it is more qualified. Liver (beef) also has a lot of iron and folate to help prevent anemia. In addition to the liver, the kidneys of sheep and cow also have vitamin B12. In 3.5 ounces of sheep kidney, and cows provide about 1,300% vitamin B12 from RDI.
4.Crab (171% DV)
Apart from containing vitamins A, B and C and magnesium, crabs are also one of the best sources of vitamin B12. In 3 ounces of crab contains 10.3 mcg (171% DV) of vitamin B12. Therefore crabs are chosen by many people because in addition to good taste they also contain high levels of vitamin B12, as long as they don’t eat too much because they have high cholesterol.
5.Sardine (100% DV)
Sardines have various good health nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lean proteins, and docosahexaonic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are very good for heart health and reduce inflammation. While DHA is very important for fetal brain development (in the womb). Apart from these various nutrients, sardines also have vitamin B12. In 1 portion of sardines can meet up to 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin B12. In 3 ounces sardines provide 6.6 mcg of vitamin B12 (more than 100% DV). Whereas in 1 cup of sardines (150 gr) provides up to 200% of the vitamin B12 RDI.
6.Enriched Yeast Nutrition (100% DV)
Vitamin B12 in yeast nutrients generally comes from yeast enriched nutrients that provide high vitamin B12. The enriched yeast nutrition is also suitable for vegetarians because it is made in synthesis. Yeast nutrition is a yeast that is used specifically as food derived from sugar cane instead of as a yeast agent in beer and bread. Not only will you get vitamin B12 from enriched yeast nutrients, but also at least fiber, protein, and 9 out of 18 amino acids that your body cannot produce. In two tablespoons (16 grams) of yeast nutrients provide 7.8 mcg of vitamin B12 (more than 100% DV) or 130% of RDI.
7.Atlantic fish mackerel (100% DV)
Atlantic fish mackerel (not king mackerel) is the highest source of vitamin B12 than other fish. Not only does it have high vitamin B12, it is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and has low mercury levels. In 3 ounces of Atlantic fish mackerel there are 7.4 mcg (more than 100% DV) of vitamin B12.
8.Trout (90% DV)
Trout is a freshwater fish species that is widely cultivated with high environmental standards as a source of protein, vitamin D, omega 3 acid, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B. Trout is one source of omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. In 3.5 ounces (100g) trout has 1/300 mg of omega 3 fatty acids and 7.5 mcg of vitamin B12 (125% RDI). Whereas in 3 ounces of trout contains 5.4 mcg of vitamin B12 (90% DV). Trout can improve brain function and fight inflammation.
9.Enriched cereals (80% DV)
You can make enriched cereals as a source of vitamin B12 especially for vegans and vegetarians because they are not from animal sources. Enriched cereals not only offer vitamin B12, but also for vitamin B6, vitamins A, C and E. In one cup (240 ml) of fortified cereals containing 4.8 mcg of vitamin B12 (80% DV). It was suggested to choose cereals enriched with brands that contain low sugar and high in fiber. You can serve granola cereal enriched with blueberries and strawberries to get high vegetable vitamin B12.
10.Salmon (80% DV)
Salmon is not only rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are healthy for the heart, but also various other nutrients such as protein, vitamin D and vitamin B12. In half fillets (179 grams) salmon has 9 mcg (80% RDI) of vitamin B12 needs, and provides 4,023 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, and 40 grams of protein. Whereas in 3 ounces of mature sockeye salmon has 4.8 mcg (80% DV) of vitamin B12 and (100% DV) vitamin D. It is recommended to choose wild salmon because it has higher nutrition.
11.Herring fish (60% DV)
Like salmon, herring can also be a source of vitamin B12. In 3 ounces there are 3.6 mcg of vitamin B12. It is recommended to look for Atlantic or Pacific herrings because they are healthier.
12.Sheep’s meat (45% DV)
Besides being rich in iron, selenium, zinc and protein, sheep’s meat is the best source of vitamin B12. Apart from the meat, other sheep parts such as liver, milk and sheep kidney are also the best sources of vitamin B12. In 3 ounces of sheep’s meat there is 2.7 mcg (45% DV) of vitamin B12.
13.Soy milk (44% DV)
Soy milk also contains vitamin B12 which is friendly to vegans because it is made synthetically. Soy milk is usually enriched to have high vitamin B12, in one cup (240 ml) soy milk contains 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 (44% DV) or 45% RDI.
14.Beef (43% DV)
Beef is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. In 3 ounces of beef (upper waist sirloin) contains 1.3 mcg of vitamin B12 (23% DV) and 7 mg of zinc. Whereas in 3 ounces of ground beef contains 2.56 mcg of vitamin B12 (43% DV). It is recommended to choose grass-fed beef because it is healthier. In one study revealed that grass-fed beef had vitamin A, vitamin E and higher antioxidants than beef fed grain. For processing beef it is recommended to bake it so that the vitamin B12 content is maintained. Beef is also a source of protein, riboflavin B vitamins, vitamin B2, B3, B6, selenium, and zinc.
15.Tuna fish (42% DV)
Tuna is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Tuna also has various nutrients such as protein, minerals and vitamins. One of the vitamins found in tuna is vitamin B12 with a high enough amount to improve brain health. In 3 ounces (85gr) fresh tuna has 2.5 mcg (42% DV) of vitamin B12 and vitamin D 150 IUs (25% DV). It is recommended to consume at least 12 ounces of a mixture of fatty fish such as tuna and salmon every week to provide for the body’s nutrients. Other nutrients in tuna are phosphorus, selenium, vitamin A and vitamin B3.
16.Pork (30% DV)
Pork is one alternative source of vitamin B12 that you can get. Aside from being a source of protein, pork also has low fat, which is only 1 gram of saturated fat in each dish. In 2.5 ounces (75g) of pork contains 0.8-1.1 mcg of vitamin B12 (30% DV).
17.Haddock fish (30% DV)
Haddock fish have lower omega 3 fatty acids than salmon. Haddock fish have lower levels of chemicals than other fish such as COD, halibut, and tuna. The good news, these fish also have vitamin B12. In 3 ounces of cooked haddock there are 1.8 mcg (30% DV) of vitamin B12.
18.Shrimp (28% DV)
Shrimp is known as a source of nutrition choline that is related to the health of the brain and heart, shrimp also have high levels of lean protein. In 4 ounces of shrimp contains 1.7 mcg (28% DV) of vitamin B12. When you consume 20 shrimp every day, you will get 140 calories, 25 grams of protein (50% DV) and meet around 2 mcg (80% DV) of daily vitamin B12 needs.
19.Cheese (21% DV)
Cheese has various nutrients such as riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. There are many types of cheese that are a source of vitamin B12 such as feta cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Swiss cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Feta cheese is made from sheep’s milk and also has high ribloflavin to reduce the frequency of headaches. In 0.5 cups of feta cheese there are 1.25 mcg of vitamin B12 (21% DV). Whereas in 1 cup of cottage cheese there is 0.97 mcg of vitamin B12 (16% DV). Cottage cheese does not only have vitamin B12, but also has calcium and protein. Other types of cheese such as Swiss cheese have 0.95 mcg of vitamin B12 in 1 ounce, one half cup of ricotta cheese can meet 7% of your daily value for vitamin B12, while 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese can meet 5% daily value for vitamin B12.
20.Low fat milk (18% DV)
Low-fat milk is not only a source of calcium and vitamin D, but also a source of vitamin B12. Low-fat milk has low calories without having to sacrifice protein. In 1 cup of low-fat milk contains 1.2 mcg of vitamin B12 (18% DV). Low-fat milk according to Amherst University research at Amherst also helps women avoid PMS symptoms. Some studies also reveal that milk and milk products are more effective in increasing levels of vitamin B12 than fish because the body absorbs vitamin B12 in milk better than beef, fish or eggs.
21.Low fat yogurt (18% DV)
Aside from being a source of protein, and calcium, yogurt also contains vitamin B12. In 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt there is 1.1 mcg (18% DV) of vitamin B12. Whereas in 1 mcg per cup provides 42% recommended daily intake (DRI) 149 calories. Some research shows yogurt can prevent diabetes and high blood pressure if consumed regularly. Yogurt can also balance the microflora in the intestine and help digestion in the body because yogurt has many beneficial probiotics.
22.Egg (10% DV)
Eggs help the body absorb calcium and keep bones strong. Eggs are also a source of complete protein, choline, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 which are not from meat. Eggs are the main choice for vegetarians who want to fulfill their vitamin B12 needs. In 1 boiled egg there are 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12 (10% DV). Vitamin B12 in egg yolks is higher than egg white. Eggs can also support healthy liver function because they have choline.
23.Chicken meat (5% DV)
Chicken meat is a source of lean protein which also contains a source of vitamin B12. In 75gr (3 ounces) of chicken breast there are 0.3 mcg (5% DV) of vitamin B12. Whereas in 1 cup of chicken provides up to 13.7 mcg of vitamin B12. Chicken meat can be a cheaper alternative to getting vitamin B12. It is better to consume chicken meat without the skin, because on chicken skin there are many fats that are not good for health.
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