Vitamin B12 Food Sources

Vitamin B12 Food Sources

Most people get plenty of vitamin B12 in their diets.

It’s found in animal foods of all kinds — meat, poultry, pork, fish, seafood, dairy, and eggs.

The two best sources of B12 by far are clams and liver which contain 60 times more vitamin B12 than beef and over 100 times more than eggs.

But for those who don’t eat animal products, getting adequate B12 is a very real concern.

Plant Sources of B12: A Dangerous Myth
Almost half of lacto-ovo vegetarians and over 90% of vegans are B12-deficient.

And unfortunately, there’s a persistent dietary myth that’s causing a lot of these people real harm.

Green algae like spirulina, fermented soy products, and brewer’s yeast are purported to be plant sources of vitamin B12.

But, in reality, these plant foods contain B12 analogs which are similar to, but not the same as, vitamin B12.

By binding with B12 receptors, these pseudovitamins block the intake of true B12. So consuming these B12 analog-containing foods can make a B12 deficiency even worse!

The only substantial vegetable source of true vitamin B12 is the sea vegetable nori (Porphyra umbilicalis).

Some vegetarians, and especially vegans, take brewer’s yeast or yeast-based products like Marmite or Red Star Nutritional Yeast believing them to be a good food source of B12. But nutritional yeast does not naturally contain B12; it is fortified with B12. This makes it no different than taking a supplement.

If you’re a vegan, there’s no way around it. You need supplement B12.

I urge you to visit VeganHealth.org to find a wealth of evidence-based information on vitamin B12.

Additionally, you may want to read Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet.

In this book, registered dietitians and long-time vegans Jack Norris and Virginia Messina debunk enduring myths about vegan nutrition, including that of vitamin B12.


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