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RDI of Vitamin B12

To B or Not to B: Sources For Vitamin B12

When I was in college, I went through a vegetarian phase and my mom flipped out saying I wasn't going to get enough vitamin B12. While it's true that this vitamin is mostly found in meat and fish, it's also found in dairy products, eggs, and nutritional yeast as well.

Why do we need B12? It's necessary to maintain healthy nerves, red blood cells, and to metabolize protein. Your body needs about 2.4 mcg of B12 a day, and since your body can store several years' worth of this vitamin, a deficiency is rare unless you're not getting it in your diet.

So how much vitamin B12 is found in the foods you eat? To find out

Food Amount Amount of B12
Chicken breast 1 piece .6 mcg
Turkey (dark meat) 3 ounces .3 mcg
Shellfish 3 ounces 84 mcg (whoa!)
Shrimp 3 ounces 1 mcg
Trout 3 ounces 5.4 mcg
Haddock 3 ounces 1.2 mcg
Tuna 3 ounces 1 mcg
Pork 3 ounces .6 mcg
Beef 3 ounces 2.4 mcg
Plain yogurt 1 cup 1.4 mcg
Milk 1 cup .9 mcg
Cheddar cheese 1 ounce .2 mcg
Egg 1 whole .6 mcg
Red Star nutritional yeast 1 tbsp 4 mcg
Fortified cereal 1/2 cup 2.4 mcg
Fortified soy milk 1 cup 1.2 mcg
Tempeh 1 cup .1 mcg

As you can see, most of the sources of vitamin B12 come from animals, so if you're vegan, it may be a good idea to pick up some B12 supplements.


Join The Conversation
Red-Sharpie Red-Sharpie 8 years
You missed one. 4 oz of cooked beef liver provides 93.2 mcg, or 2112% of the daily value of B12. @danamarie - B12 only gives you energy if you are deficient. If you're getting enough, getting more does nothing.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 9 years
Well I definitely get my DAILY DOSE: WAYYYYYYYY more than I am suppose to for sure! I got about 20 mcg (& that is BEFORE my multivitamins!
Fitness Fitness 9 years
Jess Bear thanks for the information! I think it is fascinating.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i get some in soy milk and also take those "Jason" brand b12 dissolve strips.
emalove emalove 9 years
With the exception of red meat, I eat almost everything on this list fairly often. I definitely get enough!
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
My family physician checked me out because I was EXHAUSTED all day everyday for like two weeks. He gave me B Vitamins and felt all better. He said I had acute anemia. Hm.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I need to eat more shellfish! Too bad it's so darn expensive here in the Midwest. But I do take a multivitamin with 100% of my B12 requirements in it. Of course, it's still best to get it from food sources, like liver (which is a really good source of the stuff). Too bad I really hate liver, lol.
raieven raieven 9 years
glad to know that nutritional yeast mac 'n cheese is good for me!
danamarie0224 danamarie0224 9 years
Doesn't B12 give you energy? That's what my bottle of B12 says.
JessBear JessBear 9 years
B12 is actually a microorganism found in dirt. Animals eat grass containing it, and when they end up on our dinner plates, some of it still remains, which we then consume. B12 deficiency in vegans wasn't a problem 100 years ago, because we didn't use pesticides or clean our produce as effectively. Nowadays, B12 can't survive the chemicals we put on our veggies, and even if a teeny bit did, it gets washed off before eating- and that's why vegans need supplements. I know this isn't really about how to get enough B12, but I know there's a lot of vegans on here who might be excited to learn that B12 isn't, historically, at least, only found in animal products.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Good to know! I ♥ seafood :)
ms_dior_cherie ms_dior_cherie 9 years
yessss! I had shellfish last night! thanks for the post Fit.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
My mother also encouraged me to take B12, so I did. (Dad is a pharmacist, so they like to give all kinds of advice) :) Anyway, I took it for a while, along with my multivitamin. Then I woke up one day and my pee was green! I googled "what makes your pee turn green" and one of the first things that came up was B12 overdose! The site listed all the foods that contained B12, and I had eaten many of them the day before, plus my supplement and multivitamin. According to what I read, it's pretty harmless for most people, but so yes, you can reach a limit. I think if your multivitamin has it, you probably don't need any more.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
Oh.. duh, Fit already said that. Should have read more carefully!
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
I do have some B12 tablets, but I hardly ever take them. I eat fortified cereal and soymilk almost every morning, and it looks like the vegan options have even more B12 than the meat products do! Plus, I believe I read somewhere that your body holds onto B12 for awhile, meaning you don't have to hit a specific B12 mark every day.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Chicken, turkey and tuna-yum!
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