B12 is a crucial vitamin that helps give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. Look on the back of most energy drinks or supplements, and you’ll find that the main ingredient is a variety of B-vitamins, but especially B12. Not only does it give you more energy, B12 also helps support the health of your memory, immune system, blood sugar levels, skin, digestive tract, and heart.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, a parasite, or bacterial growth, can lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency. If left untreated, it may cause symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- A smooth tongue
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Problems walking
- Muscle weakness
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Numbness or tingling
Vitamin B12 Foods
Meat, fish, and dairy products are some of the most common sources of B12; read on to learn about some of the foods in these categories that are the richest in the vitamin.
1. Caviar (fish eggs)
Caviar is rich in many vitamins and minerals and contains 3.2 micrograms of B12 for every 1 tablespoon serving.
One standard filet of mackerel will provide you with 16.72 micrograms of B12, or for the average adult about 279% of the recommended daily value. One filet will also only cost you just over 200 calories.
3. Emu Steak
While not exactly an item you see on every menu, emu can be found in some restaurants and at grocery stores with a large meat selection. A typical emu steak of 3 ounces provides just under 8 micrograms of vitamin B12 (about 133% DV). It is also a great source of lean protein and is low in fat.
4. Turkey Liver
This year when cleaning out the turkey for the holidays, don’t just throw the giblets away. Turkey (farm raised) liver is an excellent source of B12 (over 800% DV!) and can easily be incorporated into stuffing or gravy.
Not only do clams contain over 80 micrograms of B12 (over 1,000% DV), but they are also rich in chromium, iron, and other B-complex vitamins.
6. Gjetost Cheese
Hailing from Norway and made from goat milk, this type of cheese can provide about 92% of the average adult’s recommended daily value of B12.
Like many fish, salmon is a great source of lean protein, omega-3 fats, B12, and other vitamins and minerals. One 100 gram serving of salmon will deliver 18 micrograms of B12 (or about 300% DV).
Oysters are another abundant source of B12, ringing in just under 30 micrograms of the stuff (about 500% DV), and will cost you just over 100 calories for a standard serving.
While they are an acquired taste for many, mussels deliver just over 20 micrograms of vitamin B12, which equates to more than 300% of the average adult’s recommended daily value.
Another seafood option that is rich in vitamins and minerals, including B12, octopus can deliver 30.6 micrograms of vitamin B12, which is just over 500% DV.
It is crucial to make sure your body gets enough of its B12 needs, and it is best to get it from natural sources as opposed to supplements. Each of the foods discussed above are incredibly rich in vitamin B12 and can easily be added to your diet to prevent and treat B12 deficiency, or even to just provide you with an extra boost of energy when needed.