Are you getting enough vitamin B12 from your diet? A slight deficiency of B12 can result in anemia, depression, and fatigue. Your body needs essential nutrients for its optimal functioning. Vitamin B 12 is one such nutrient that the body cannot do without. It takes care of several key processes in your body. The lack of Vitamin B 12 can cause serious problems. So, what are the top sources of vitamin B12?
Why is Vitamin B 12 Essential
All B vitamins play a key role in converting food into fuel for energy and helping the body metabolize proteins and fats. Additionally, they are essential to keeping your skin, eyes, liver, and hair healthy, besides supporting the functioning of your nervous system.
- Vitamin B12 is integral to metabolism and cell functioning. It supports the metabolism of amino acids and fatty acids. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, then you could be at a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. A long-term deficiency poses a high risk of permanent damage to the brain. It could even damage the central nervous system. For someone who does not eat meat, it is important to incorporate foods that supplement your diet with cobalamin or B12.
- B-12 supports various vital physiological processes of the body, including bone marrow health, nervous system, brain function, blood formation, and DNA synthesis. The recommended dose of vitamin B-12 ranges from 2-3 to 4-7 micrograms per day.
- The water-soluble Vitamin B-12 is found primarily in animal foods and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin B12 helps the body maintain healthy nerve cells. A deficiency could result in damage to the nervous system.
- Vitamin B12 works with folic acid or vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells, facilitate absorption of iron, and produce immune-boosting compound S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe).
- The body uses vitamin B12 to produce, protect, and repair its genetic material – the DNA and RNA. This is essential to slowing down the process of aging and reducing cancer risk. The absorption of Vitamin B12 and folate helps in DNA metabolism.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Deficiency of B12 can cause all sorts of changes in the body:
- Tingling sensation in the extremities
- Balance problems
- Nerve damage
- Poor memory
- Vegans and vegetarians
- People suffering from medical conditions that hinder nutrient absorption in the body, such as pancreatic disease, Crohn’s disease.
- People diagnosed with HIV or AIDS
- Those infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial infection that damages stomach cells and can cause an ulcer
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
Cobalamin is an essential vitamin that serves an array of purposes. This is one vitamin you do not want to fall short of. Some of the most common benefits of vitamin B12 include lowering neurological degeneration, reducing depression, boosting energy, and reducing sugar cravings.
Foods rich in Vitamin B12 include animal products, such as liver, shellfish, red meat, crab, eggs, and fish. Vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 include fortified cereals, fortified soy products, whey protein, fortified cereals, low-fat milk and yogurt, and cheese.
Do you know beef liver is one of the top sources of vitamin B12 for animal food lovers? One ounce of beef liver is enough to serve your daily requirement for B12. Besides, it is rich in iron and folate, which means beef liver can help prevent anemia.
Rich in vitamin B12, feta cheese is made from the milk of goat or sheep. It also contains many other essential nutrients, including calcium and riboflavin.
Another rich source of vitamin B12 for a vegetarian diet, cottage cheese is processed from cow’s or buffalo’s milk. It is also high in calcium and protein.
Nutritional yeast is fortified with B12 and other B vitamins. It is known as a complete protein, as it contains nine amino acids that are essential for your body.
One of the healthiest and richest sources of the B12 vitamin, wild-caught salmon is rich in vitamin D, which is essential for building and strengthening bones and musculoskeletal health. A fish-based diet can slow down the aging process of your skeletal structure, besides lowering the rate of fractures and falls.
Sardines and Mackerel are high in vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also packed with calcium and vitamin D.
Chicken meat with skin is a good source of vitamin B12. Besides, it provides other nutrients, such as niacin, phosphorus, and folate.
One large egg comprises 0.44 micrograms of B12. Eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of the essential vitamin, besides being a rich source of vitamin D, proteins, and phosphorus.
Other Sources of Vitamin B12
- Clams: With the highest concentration of B12, clams are rich in potassium.
- Oysters: A rich source of vitamin B12, oysters are high in zinc, which is essential for the proper functioning of your immune system and prostate health.
- Fortified soy: A cup of Silk soy milk gives you half of your daily requirement of B12.
- Cereals: Some breakfast cereals, such as bran flakes, cornflakes, grape nuts, are fortified with essential vitamins and make great vegan options to derive your daily dose of vitamin B12.