Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps the human body produce red blood cells, and it is important for nerve cell function. Vitamin B12 is most often consumed through dairy products. However, it can be obtained in low amounts from several different food groups including fruits and vegetables, grains, and other foods.
Meat and animal products are generally the best source of vitamin B12. The vitamin is naturally found in red meat, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs, and various types of fish. Animal fats, such as butter and lard, also contain high amounts of vitamin B12. People, who do not consume meat products, are generally at greater risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of this deficiency may include fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, anemia, loss of appetite, and balance problems. Such people must take care to get enough vitamin b12 from other sources.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are foods that are naturally low in Vitamin B12. There are not many fresh vegetables that contain vitamin B12. Small quantities of the vitamin can be found in soybeans, green beans, beets, carrots, and peas. Additionally, some sea vegetables, such as spirulina dulse, kelp, kombu, and nori, contain small amounts. Various canned and processed fruits and vegetables are fortified with vitamin B12. Consumers must be careful to read the labels of these products to determine which ones are fortified with vitamin B12.
Foods that are typically categorized as “grains” are naturally low, in vitamin B12 content. Generally, grains do not naturally contain high enough levels of vitamin B12 to satisfy the recommended daily amount for the average adult, which is approximately 2.4 mcg. However, many processed grains are fortified with vitamin B12. By reading package labels, one may be able to find cereals, whole grain breads, cereal bars, or snack crackers that are fortified with the vitamin.
There are several other foods that contain a low amount of vitamin B12. Some vegetable oils contain small amounts of vitamin B12, and some brands of household yeast also contain small amounts. Additionally, the vitamin can be consumed in raw white mushrooms and raw portabella mushrooms. Also, soy milk is a product that is often fortified with vitamin B12. Fortified meat analogues, which are foods made from soybeans or other vegetable products, to resemble meat, are another source.