Vitamin B12 Deficiency? Include These 5 Foods In Your Diet

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and is important for our brain functioning. In the past, estimations have suggested between 1.5 and 15 percent of the United States population are diagnosed with a deficiency of the nutrient. If you are one of them, here are five dietary sources that can provide a boost:

1. Eggs

Eggs come packed with several nutrients including protein, calcium, zinc. When it comes to vitamins, the superfood can also provide a portion (estimated to be 7 percent in one egg) of your recommended B12 intake and a healthy dose of vitamins A, B5, D, K, E, etc. 

If you find yourself feeling tired during physical activity, consider eggs as a pre-workout snack. It is not just the vitamin that supplies energy but also the protein content which can improve the working of muscles in the body.

2. Dairy

According to the National Institutes of Health, eight ounces of low-fat yogurt and one cup of low-fat cow's milk can each provide a little over one microgram of vitamin B12. So either of these options can provide 18 percent of your daily value for vitamin B12.

3. Fortified Foods

Some varieties of breakfast cereals, soy products, and non-dairy milk are fortified to include the vitamin, according to Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based nutritionist. Not surprisingly, this option can be highly significant for those who primarily follow vegan and vegetarian diets.

"If you rely on these foods for B12, check the nutrition label to be sure you're buying a product that is fortified," Beck wrote. "For example, fortified plant beverages contain 1 mcg of B12 per 1 cup and will provide 50 percent of the daily value for B12 per serving."

4. Seafood

The amount of B12 you receive depends on the type of seafood you eat. Clams, commonly used in seafood dishes, are considered to be one of the best sources as three ounces can provide nearly 85 micrograms of the vitamin.

If you are in the mood for fish, you can also receive a relatively moderate boost from the likes of canned sardines, sockeye salmon, and farm-raised rainbow trout. Among other types of seafood, the Alaska king crab, blue crab, nori (seaweed) and canned shrimp can also be good options.

5. Beef Liver

Apart from protein and iron, beef liver is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, containing over 70 micrograms in every three-ounce serving. However, registered dietitian Linda Antinoro expresses a word of caution.

"Vitamin B12 in meat may be less bioavailable due to losses during cooking and the presence of collagen, which isn't digested as well with decreased gastric secretion," she writes. On the other hand, dairy foods were said to be a highly bioavailable source of the vitamin.