Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin


Vitamin B-12, or Cobalamin, is the largest and most complex vitamin currently known to man. A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can potentially cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products, however, synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods like cereals. Vitamin B-12 can be consumed in large doses because excess is excreted by the body or stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of B-12 can last for up to a year. Below is a list of the top ten vitamin b12 rich foods.

#1: Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Shellfish are a great source of vitamin B12 and can be eaten raw, baked, steamed, fried, or made into chowder. In addition to vitamin B12 shellfish are a good source of zinc, copper, and iron. Clams provide the most vitamin B-12 with 98.9μg per 100g serving, accounting for 1648% of the RDA. That is 84μg (1401% RDA) per 3 ounce serving, and 187.9μg (3132% RDA) in 20 small clams, or 9.4μg (156.6 %RDA) in one small clam. Mussels and oysters are also good sources of B12 providing 600% RDA and 400% RDA per 100 gram serving. #2: Liver

Often appearing on the culinary scene as pâté, liver can also be prepared steamed or fried with onions and herbs. The liver of most any animal is packed with vitamin B-12, the highest on the list are: Lamb, beef, veal, moose, turkey, duck, and goose respectively. Lamb liver provides 85.7μg (1428% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, or 72.85μg (230% RDA) in a 3 ounce serving. #3: Caviar (Fish Eggs)

Caviar and fish eggs are most often eaten as a garnish or spread. The eggs of whitefish contain the most vitamin B-12 with 56.4μg (940% RDA) per 100g serving. Caviar contains a third of that with 20μg (333% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, 5.6μg (93% RDA) per ounce, and 3.2μg (53% RDA) per tablespoon. Chicken eggs, by comparison, only offer 1.29μg (22% RDA) of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving, or 0.65μg (11% RDA) per egg. #4: Octopus

Popular in Mediterranean, Japanese, and Hawaiian cuisine, octopus is a vitamin b12 rich food. Cooked octopus provides 36μg of vitamin B-12 per 100 gram serving accounting for 600% of the RDA. That is 30.6μg (510% RDA) per 3 ounce serving, or 10.2μg (170% RDA) per ounce. Raw octopus provides about half as much vitamin b12 with 20μg (333% RDA) per 100 gram serving, 17μg (283% RDA) in a 3 ounce serving, and 5.67μg (94.33% RDA) per ounce. #5: Fish

Known for their omega 3 fats and for being a high protein food, fish are also a good source of vitamin B12. Mackerel provides the most vitamin B-12 with 19μg per 100g serving (317% RDA), followed by Herring (312% RDA), Salmon (302%), Tuna (181%), Cod (167%), Sardines (149%), Trout (130%), and Bluefish (104%).

#6: Crab and Lobster

Crab and lobster are most commonly served baked, steamed, or in bisque. A 100g serving of crab contains 11.5μg of vitamin B12 (192% of the RDA), that is 15.4μg (257%RDA) per leg (134g). Lobster will provide 4.04μg(67% RDA) per 100g serving, or 6.59μg (110% RDA) in an average whole lobster (163g). #7: Beef

In addition to being a vitamin B12 rich food, beef is also a good source of protein, zinc, and heme-iron. The amount of vitamin B-12 in beef depends on the cut, lean fat-trimmed chuck contains the most vitamin B12 with 6.18μg (103% RDA) per 100g serving, 11.49μg (103% RDA) in a chuck steak, and 5.25μg (88% RDA) in a 3 ounce serving. Chuck is followed by sirloin (62% RDA), rib-eye (60% RDA), and ribs (58% RDA).

#8: Lamb (Mutton)

Lamb is a common meat in the Middle East, Mediterranean, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. Lamb is a high cholesterol food so be sure to look for lean cuts which are higher in B12 anyway. Lamb also provides high amounts of protein, and zinc. The shoulder is the cut of lamb with the most vitamin B-12 providing 3.71μg (62% RDA) per 100g serving, 5.82μg (97% RDA) per pound, and 3.15μg (53% RDA) in a 3 ounce serving. The shoulder is followed by the foreshank and leg which provides 53% of the RDA per 100g serving, and lamb chops which provide 51% of the RDA for vitmain B12 per 100 gram serving. #9: Cheese

Despite being a high cholesterol food, cheese is a good source of calcium, protein, and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). The amount of vitamin B12 in cheese depends on type and variety, Swiss cheese provides the most with 3.34μg (56% RDA) per 100g serving, followed by Gjetost (40% RDA), Mozzarella(39% RDA), Parmesan (38% RDA), Tilsit (35% RDA), and Feta (28% RDA). #10: Eggs

When it comes to chicken eggs the raw yellow has most of the vitamin B-12 with 1.95μg per 100g serving (33%), however, this equates to 0.33μg per yolk or just 6% of the RDA. The eggs of other animals are higher with a goose egg providing 7.34μg (122% RDA) of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving, and a duck egg providing 3.78μg (63% RDA).

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 Protect Against Heart Disease - Adequate levels of vitamins B12, B6, and B9 have been shown to lower levels of a protein in the blood: homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine has been shown to improve endothelial function, which in turn may boost cardiovascular health and decrease risk of heart attacks.3-5 Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging - Absorption of vitamin b12 and Folate (B9) is essential for DNA metabolism and maintenance which helps to prevent cancer and slow aging.6 Read full blog post here... Protect Against Dementia and Cognitive Decline - Lack of vitamin B12 increases homocysteine levels, which in turn decreases the bodies ability to metabolize neurotransmitters.7 Due to limitations with creating long term controlled studies in human populations, no definite link between increased vitamin b12 levels and cognitive function have been found,8-12 however several observational studies suggest increased homocysteine levels increase the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia,13-15 and low levels of vitamin B12 has been associated with cognitive decline.16 Alzheimer's Protection - A study has shown that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Folate (B9) can double the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.17 Energy and Endurance - A lack of vitamin B12 will lead to anemia and weakness. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are necessary to maintain normal energy levels. Claims of vitamin B12 as an energy or atheletic enhancer remain unproven.18

People at Risk of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency Older Adults who have Atrophic Gastritis - A condition affecting 30-50% of adults over age 50 and hampers their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from natural foods. Supplements are recommended for people in this group. People with Pernicious Anemia - A condition that affects 1-2% of adults and can only effectively be treated with vitamin B12 injections or shots. Vegans and Vegetarians - Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, however there are some natural vegetarian foods high in vitamin b12 and various fortified B12 foods for vegans. Pregnant and Lactating Women who are Vegetarian or Vegan People taking Certain Medications Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec®) and lansoprazole (Prevacid®), which are used to treat gastric or pepetic ulcer disease can inhibit absorption of vitamin B12. Metformin - often used for type II diabetes, may interfere with vitmain B12 absorption in certain people.

Histamine antagonists, such as cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid®), and ranitidine (Zantac®), used to treat peptic ulcer disease, can reduce absorption of vitmain B12 by slowing the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach. Bacteriostatic Antibiotics, like Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®), can interfere with the red blood cell response to vitamin b12 supplements.

Warnings Liver, Fois Gras, Whole Milk, Clam Chowder, Liverwurst, Salami, Cheese, Caviar, Lamb, Shell Fish, and Beef are high cholesterol foods which should be eaten in moderate amounts and avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.

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