A diet rich in vitamin B12 is essential to all people with any health conditions. Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and DNA.

The recommended intake for the average adult is 2.4 micrograms. It also plays an integral role in the functioning of your nervous system and organs. With that being said, it’s important to know what the best food sources are for vitamin B12 as it is not a naturally producing vitamin in the body. 

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Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common in people who don’t eat a balanced diet and is very common in the elderly. Vitamin B12 can be found in animal foods including red meat, poultry, dairy, eggs as well as certain types of grains and plant-based foods.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is also one of the leading culprits in the development of megaloblastic anaemia. This is a condition where the bone becomes weak due to abnormal growth of red blood cells produced in the bone marrow. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Shooting pain or sensations of pins and needles under the skin
  • Impaired mobility including difficulty making basic physical movements
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness and random headaches
  • Inflammation inside the mouth
  • Impaired vision
  • Mood swings

Eight Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

vitamin b12 foods

1. Animal liver and kidneys

Although a lot of people including in the UAE prefer to eat the meat of an animal, its livers and organs are some of the most nutritious and are perfect for people looking to reach their recommended intake of vitamin B12. Livers and organs from cows and lamb contain high amounts of minerals such as copper, zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and B2. 

2. Clams

Clams are packed with lots of great nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. You can get high concentrations of vitamin B12 while also getting in some lean protein. You can roughly get up to 3,300% of the RDI of vitamin B12 from eating 20 small clams, making it perfect for people with vitamin B12 deficiency.

3. Sardines

One cup of sardines is enough to double the RDI of vitamin B12. Not only is it a natural source of protein, but sardines are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for heart health and reducing inflammation. 

4. Beef

Beef and other red meats contain an abundance of vitamin B12. Beef is a very versatile meat and can be prepared in many ways making it friendly to young children. Beef is also a great source of vitamins B2 and B3. If you are eating red meat for vitamin B12, choose low-fat cuts and grill instead of fry. This will preserve high concentrations of vitamin B12.

5. Tuna

Tuna is famous for its high levels of lean protein and healthy fats. Like sardines, it also contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals, vitamin B12 being one of them./ 100 grams of fresh tuna can give you almost 160% of the RDI for vitamin B12

6. Salmon

One of the most popular and delicious seafood available, half of a salmon fillet (178 grams) can contain up to 80% of the RDI of vitamin B12. Apart from that, salmon contains plenty of healthy fats and proteins. 

7. Milk and Dairy Products

Products such as cheese, yoghurt, and full cream milk are perfect when trying to get your intake of vitamin B12 as all of them contain an abundance of it. What makes milk and dairy products, so ideal for people with vitamin B12 deficiency is that multiple studies have shown that the body absorbs vitamin B12 from milk and dairy products better than it does from meat, poultry, and fish.

8. Eggs

One of the most versatile and nutritious breakfast foods available, eggs contain the perfect amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats to start your day or as an in-between meal snack. Though egg whites are usually more popular for people looking to avoid fat and up their protein, the egg yolk has higher amounts of vitamin B12 than egg whites and are more easily absorbed.

When to See a Doctor?

vitamin b12 foods

If you are getting sufficient intake of the above vitamin B12 foods but still notice one or more of the symptoms in vitamin B12 deficiency, it would be wise to seek the advice of a doctor.

Not only do these symptoms suggest you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, but they can also be symptoms of other illnesses or health complications that may be more serious and can only be diagnosed by a professional. If you have previously suffered from vitamin B12 deficiency or any other nutrient deficiency, there’s nothing wrong with getting regular check-ups from the doctor when you’re not feeling well. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.