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VITAMIN B12

(COBALAMIN,

CYANOCOBALAMIN)
FUNCTION
B12 is utilized by the body for many purposes, including: prevention of heart disease, thyroid
functions, as a co-enzyme in metabolism, a blood and nerve cell growth stimulator, and as an aid
in myelin formation, among others.

RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE (RDA)


The RDA for B12 is 2.4 g/day for adults, 2.6 g/day during pregnancy and 2.8 g/day if lactating.

WHO IS AT RISK, AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF B12


DEFICIENCY?
Vegans and vegetarians, pregnant and lactating women, and children with poor diets are
populations at high risk of B12 deficiency. Post gastric bypass patients, individuals with have
pancreatic insufficiency, Crohns, tapeworms, ileal resections, and those with diseases affecting
the gastrointestinal tract resulting in malabsorption are at risk of deficiency. Ten to thirty percent
of older people may not absorb vitamin B12 well. Therefore individuals over 50 are advised to
take a B12 supplement or eat fortified foods.
Early signs of deficiency are fatigue, and tingling of the hands or feet. However, early deficiency
can result in no symptoms, or very vague symptoms. B12 deficiency can go undetected until
permanent damage like peripheral neuropathy, blindness, deafness, cardiovascular disease and
cognitive damage has occurred.
Have you heard that B12 shots and other B12 supplements promote weight loss? There
is currently no scientific evidence to support this claim. However, if a deficiency is present, the
resulting fatigue (due to megaloblastic anemia) could make weight loss more difficult. But,
unless you have a B12 deficiency, supplementation is unlikely to increase energy or assist in
weight loss.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE!


Vitamin B12 supplementation, from a quality multivitamin or fortified foods, for at risk populations
is advised. Early detection can help prevent permanent damage, therefore if you are in a
population at risk of B12 deficiency, or suspect you are deficient, a blood test can be performed.

SOURCES OF B12 FOR VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS


Meat Alternatives
Serving Size
Meatless (chicken, fish sticks, frankfurter, meatballs),
2 oz
cooked
Meatless luncheon slices
2 oz

Vitamin B12 (g)


1.0-3.8
3.0

Soy burger

2 oz

1.8

Egg, cooked

2 large

1.5-1.6

Almond, rice, soy beverage, fortified

1 cup

1.0

Red Star T6635+ Yeast (Vegetarian Support Formula)

2 grams (1 tsp powder


1.0
or 2 tsp flaked)

COMMON SOURCES OF B12


Food
Milk and Alternatives
whole, 2%, 1%
Skim
Buttermilk
Chocolate, milk
Swiss/Emmental
Cottage Cheese
Feta, gouda, brie, cheddar, fontina, mozzarella,
provolone
Processed cheese slices, cheddar
Yogurt
Plain (regular, low fat)
Fruit bottom (regular, low fat)
Meat and Alternatives
Liver (lamb, veal, beef) cooked
Liver (chicken, pork), cooked
Pate (goose liver, chicken liver)
Turkey, duck or chicken, cooked
Beef, Ground, cooked
Beef, Various cuts, cooked
Pork, Various cuts and ground, cooked
Ham, cooked
Bacon, strips, cooked
Salami (beef, pork)
Sausage (pepperoni, chorizo, Polish, Italian,
frankfurter)
Deli meat (pastrami, bologna)
Wiener/hot dog
Clams, cooked
Oysters, cooked
Mussels, cooked
Tuna, bluefin, raw or cooked
Crab, Alaska King, cooked
Sardines, canned in oil or tomato sauce
Trout, cooked
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked

Serving size

Vitamin B12 (g)

1
1
1
1
1
1

1.2 - 1.4
1.3
1.0
1.0
1.7
1.5

cup
cup
cup
cup
oz
cup

1 oz

0.7-0.9

1 oz

0.4

cup
cup

1.0
0.8-0.9

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
3

52.9-64.3
12.6-15.9
6.1-7.1
0.2-0.3
2.4-2.7
1.3-2.5
0.8-1.1
0.7
0.3-0.4
1.1-2.1

oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
slices
slices

2 oz

0.9-1.5

3
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

1.1-1.3
1.2
74.2
18.2-26.3
18.0
8.2-9.3
8.6
6.8
3.7-5.6
2.3

slices
wiener
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz
oz