Top 5 Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Hand holds a box of vitamin B12

Obtaining the benefits of Vitamin B12 can be easily done by taking shots, swallowing pill supplements, or ingesting sublingual forms.  The good news for non-vegans is that enhancing those benefits, through the foods you eat, will increase the likelihood of reaping health benefits sooner.   If you are ready to eat your way toward increased energy and better health, then why not start today?  Here are the top 5 foods rich in Vitamin B12:

  1. Fish:While fish of any kind is unarguably one of the best food sources rich in vitamin B12, certain types of fish contain higher levels of vitamin B12 than others.   When comparing fish varieties (Based on RDA/100 gram serving), shellfish were found to contain the highest percentages of B12. Clams (1648%), Mussels (600%), and Oysters (300%) are types of shellfish that, in addition to being tasty, rank significantly high in vitamin b12 content.Cooked Octopus ((600%), Caviar (333%), Mackerel (317%), Herring (312%), and Salmon (302%) are also excellent sources.  Other popular types of fish rich in vitamin B12 include Crab (192%), Tuna (181%), Cod (167%), Sardines (149%), and Trout (130%).  Lobster, although popular, finished at the bottom of the tank with only 67% of the recommended daily allowance.
  2. Liver:Liver is another top 5 food for increasing your B12 intake.  Like fish, livers from some animals contain higher levels of vitamin B12 than others.  Among animal livers, Lamb (Based on RDA/100 gram serving) yields the most by containing a whopping 1428%.  The liver from a cow, calf, moose, turkey, duck, or goose will be equally rich in vitamin B12.  Smaller portions of animal liver, as little as 3ozs per day, will yield anywhere between three to five times the human body’s requirement for good B12 health.
  3. Beef:Beef is definitely one of the most popular meat choices in America, and just happens to be one of the top 5 foods for increasing vitamin B12 in your diet.  A lean 3oz portion of Chuck steak provides 88% of the recommended daily allowance followed by: sirloin (62%), rib-eye (60%), and ribs (58%).
  4. Lamb:Like beef, lamb is also rich in vitamin B12.  Choice lamb cuts provide good amounts of the RDA in heart healthy, weight conscious 3oz servings.   Lamb shoulder, foreshank, and leg each provide slightly more than 50% of your daily need.
  5. Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian Foods:Those looking for alternatives to eating meat might be ecstatic to learn that there are some types of dairy and eggs that also happen to be rich in vitamin B12.  Amongst cheeses, Swiss contains the most with 56% of the recommended daily allowance per 100 gram serving. Mozzarella (39%), Parmesan (38%), and Feta (28%) are also good sources.According to the National Institutes of Health [1], there are some dairy items that are good foods for finding vitamin B12.  Yogurt is a great snack anytime, and one 8oz cup contains 23%.  Like eggs for breakfast?  Goose eggs are loaded with vitamin B12, with 123% per 100 grams; duck eggs (63%), and chicken eggs (33%).

If none of the foods on this list are appealing enough to suit your own personal taste, then try the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Base Web site [2].  There you will not only find an extensive list of foods rich in vitamin B12, but also detailed explanations including best ways to prepare those foods for maximizing their B12 content.  Otherwise, consider taking vitamin B12 supplements in order to avoid deficiency.

  1. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture.  USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 23. 2010.
  3. The 5 benefits of B12 Shots

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