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What is Vitamin B12? 

Required for:

  • Blood formation
  • Neurological function
  • Important vitamin cofactor for two major enzymatic reactions 

Vegetarians and vegans are susceptible to B12 deficiencies as plant-based sources of B12 are minimal in comparison to animal-based sources. 

Interestingly, B12 is stored in substantial amounts in the liver until required for use. Stores may last 2-5 years, before serious depletion occurs, if you were getting none in the diet. 

RDI

Age

Male

Recommended intake

Female

Recommended intake

Pregnancy (P) + Lactation (L)

0-6m

0.4 µg/day

0.4 µg/day

 

7-12m

0.5 µg/day

0.5 µg/day

 

1-3yr

0.9 µg/day

0.9 µg/day

 

4-8yr

1.2 µg/day

1.2 µg/day

 

9-13yr

1.8 µg/day

1.8 µg/day

 

14+yr

2.4 µg/day

2.4 µg/day

2.6 µg/day (P)

2.8 µg/day (L)



Sources of Vitamin B12 (vegetarian)

  • Nutritional yeast, ¼ cup = 8.3-24 µg (brand dependant)
  • Cheddar cheese, 45 g = 0.5 µg
  • Greek yogurt, 100g = 0.8 µg
  • Egg (particularly yolk), 100g = 1.1 µg
  • Fortified plant-based milks + cereals

Sources of Vitamin B12 (non-vegetarian)

  • Beef liver 85g = 71 µg
  • Oysters, 85g = 14.9 µg
  • Atlantic salmon, 85g = 2.6 µg
  • Tuna, canned, 85g = 2.5 µg
  • Ground beef, 85g = 2.4 µg

Meal options 

Please link handout from that clean life – uploaded into folder “Vitamin B12 recipes”

Fun Fact 

If you have low stomach acid, the B12 in foods will be harder to absorb. This may be an issue in the older population, or with people taking drugs to lower stomach acid (e.g. PPIs, Antacids)