Vitamin B12 Rich Foods – Benefits, Sources and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Learning all about Vitamin B12 and how it's necessary to maintain the health of nerve tissue, brain function, and red blood cells.
Shots and pills of vitamin B12 are popular among individuals hoping for a rapid weight-loss remedy. Some even believe that boosting your vitamin B12 level will help you reduce exhaustion, increase your energy, and speed up your metabolism. However, studies on the benefits of this vitamin on weight loss have yielded conflicting findings.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin essential for brain function, heart health, red blood cells and DNA formation. Some research states that vitamin B12 levels in the blood are related to reduced obesity in children and adults. Furthermore, animal studies show that it may impact body fat and metabolism.
Vitamin B12 deficiency reduces by increasing through meals or supplements. However, if you’re getting enough vitamin in your diet, in that case, increasing your vitamin B12 consumption may not help you lose weight. There are no studies available to link excess vitamin B12 with weight loss.
What is Vitamin B Complex?
The vitamin B complex contains eight B vitamins:
- B1 is also known as thiamine
- B2 is known as riboflavin
- B3 or niacin
- B5 is known as pantothenic acid
- B6 or pyridoxine
- B7 or biotin
- B9 is also known as folic acid
- B12 is also called cobalamin
Each of these essential vitamins helps your body function properly.
B vitamins are essential for sustaining excellent health and happiness. B vitamins directly influence our energy levels, cognitive function, and cell metabolism. Thus, they are the building blocks of a healthy body. In addition, they contribute to many of the essential functions of our body.
What is the Role of Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin. It is necessary to maintain the health of nerve tissue, brain function, and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin. When this vitamin levels are too low, deficiency can occur. Additionally, vitamin B12 scarcity can result in permanent neurological problems.
Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is a water-soluble vitamin. It can dissolve in water and pass through the bloodstream. In this way, vitamin B12 reserves stay in the human body for four years. After that, the urine excretes any excess vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is the most massive and physically complex of all the vitamins we consume. It can only be manufactured industrially by bacterial fermentation synthesis and exists naturally in animal products.
Potential Food Sources of Vitamin B12
Various animal products, including fish, meat, eggs, and dairy, are rich in vitamin B12. Plant-based sources are relatively scarce. Notable vitamin B12 rich foods are:
- Fish, like haddock and tuna
- A few nutritious yeast items
- Several varieties of soy milk and morning cereals.
Vitamin B12 supplements are available in pills, capsules, liquids, and tablet forms. It’s also often found in multivitamin products. Those who may not consume vitamin B12-rich animal products daily may think about adding fortified foods to their menu. They can take a supplement to meet their nutritional needs.
Vitamin B12 Rich Food Sources
Clams are one of the most excellent sources of vitamin B12, whether steamed or eaten raw on the half shell with a spritz of lemon juice. They’re also high in protein, low in fat, and a good source of iron and other B vitamins.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams contains up to 99 mcg of vitamin B12, which is 4,120% of the DV.
2. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms are abundant in this vitamin. However, you need 50-60 grams of dried mushrooms daily to fulfil your vitamin B12 requirement.
Mushrooms and other vegetarian options like whey powder and paneer may work as an excellent combination to meet your target.
Dried shiitake mushrooms contain the highest amount of vitamin B12 at 5.6 micrograms per 100 grams.
3. Breakfast Cereals (Fortified)
Breakfast cereals are a great source of vitamin B12 for vegans. Depending on the brand, varying quantities may be present. Look for types that deliver 100% of the daily value in a single serving.
One cup (59 grams) of Malt-O-Meal Raisin Bran provides 62% of the DV.
This fatty fish’s nutritional advantages are exceptional. Other than being a source of this vitamin, salmon is also extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for our body. A half fillet (178 grams) of cooked salmon offers more than 200% of the DV for vitamin B12.
Read More: Salmon Fish: The Nutrient Powerhouse with Several Benefits
Trout is a nutrient-dense fish. A typical fillet provides more than 100% of the daily vitamin B12. Trout also contains a lot of protein, other B vitamins, and minerals.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of trout contains 7.5 mcg of vitamin B12. That’s 312% of the DV.
A cup of milk is an excellent source of vitamin B12. In addition, it is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, essential nutrients for our body’s functioning. Stick to low-fat or skim dairy products if you’re attempting to cut calories and fat.
One cup (240 ml) of soy milk contains 2.1 mcg of vitamin B12, or 86% of the DV.
If you consume a cup of yoghurt every day, you’ll receive vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, and healthy bacteria.
Choose types that don’t have any added sugar.
Read More: Potential Health & Nutritional Benefits of Yoghurts
Except for folate, ham includes all of the B vitamins.
As a result, it has fewer calories, fat, and cholesterol than many other types of meat, but it has a lot more salt.
Although eggs don’t include as much vitamin B12 as meat and fish, they’re still a good source. They’re also a good source of protein. Before scrambling your eggs, mix them with low-fat milk for an added vitamin B12 dose.
Two large eggs (100 grams) contain 1.1 mcg of vitamin B12. That’s 46% of the DV.
10. Chicken Breast
Chicken is simple to get by, cheap, and easy to prepare.
It also contains vitamin B12 and is rich in niacin, a B vitamin known to help decrease cholesterol.
Benefits of Inculcating Vitamin B12 in Your Diet
Vitamin B12 is necessary for brain and neurological functions. It also aids in creating and regulating DNA. Furthermore, it is involved in developing red blood cells. In addition, vitamin B12 is essential for all cells’ metabolism. It aids in synthesising fatty acids and energy generation.
For example, helping the human body absorb folic acid, vitamin B12 allows energy to be released.
Every minute, the human body creates millions of red blood cells. Without vitamin B12, these cells will not be able to increase. When vitamin B12 levels are too low, red blood cell formation suffers. If the red blood cell count falls too low, anaemia might develop.
1. Aids in the formation of red blood cells and the prevention of Anaemia:
Vitamin B12 is essential for producing red blood cells in your body. Vitamin B12 deficiency inhibits the production of red blood cells and prevents them from growing correctly.
In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency causes red blood cells to become bigger and oval. In contrast, healthy red blood cells are tiny and round.
Megaloblastic anaemia happens when red blood cells cannot migrate from the bone marrow. Due to their bigger and irregular structure, they cannot circulate at an average pace.
As a result, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your important organs. Therefore you become anaemic. Fatigue and weakness may result from this.
2. Could prevent significant congenital disabilities:
Vitamin B12 levels must be enough for a healthy pregnancy. According to studies, a foetus’ brain and nervous system require enough vitamin B12 from the mother to develop.
Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency during the first trimester of pregnancy might raise the chance of birth abnormalities. Such as neural tube defects. Furthermore, a lack of vitamin B12 in the mother may result in a preterm delivery or miscarriage.
According to research, women with vitamin B12 levels below 250 mg/dL are three times more likely to give birth to a child with birth abnormalities.
However, the risk is five times higher for women who have a vitamin B12 deficiency with levels below 150 mg/dL.
3. May help to prevent Osteoporosis and support bone health:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can harm your bones. Therefore it’s essential to keep your levels up. A study of almost 2,500 adults found that vitamin B12 deficient people have lower than average bone mineral density.
Reduced mineral density in the bones can cause them to become brittle and fragile over time. Therefore the risk of osteoporosis increases. In addition, low vitamin B12 levels lead to poor bone health and osteoporosis, particularly in women, according to research.
4. Vitamin B12 reduces the chances of macular degeneration:
Macular degeneration is a visual loss that mainly affects central vision. Vitamin B12 deficiency may add to age-related macular degeneration.
According to research, supplementation with vitamin B12, an amino acid present in the plasma, may reduce homocysteine levels. In addition, homocysteine levels beyond certain levels can increase the risk.
According to research done on 5,000 women aged 40 and above, Vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6 may lessen this risk.
In contrast to the placebo group, who took these supplements for seven years. They had fewer incidences of macular degeneration. In addition, it reduced the possibility of any form of the disease by 34%. Additionally, it reduced the risk of developing more severe conditions by 41%.
However, more research is required to completely comprehend vitamin B12’s significance in supporting eyesight health and avoiding macular degeneration.
5. May help with depression symptoms and mood:
Vitamin B12 may help you feel better. The impact of vitamin B12 on mood is still a mystery. On the other hand, this vitamin is necessary for the production and metabolism of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency can reduce serotonin synthesis. As a result, depression may occur. Vitamin B12 supplements can improve depression symptoms in those low in vitamins.
Persons with depression and low vitamin B12 take antidepressants and vitamin B12 supplements together. As a result, they are more likely to experience reduced depression symptoms.
On the other hand, only antidepressants show minor improvement, as seen in one research. Another study found that vitamin B12 deficiency has linkages to a twofold increase in the risk of severe depression.
Furthermore, high vitamin B12 levels are associated with improved treatment results. Recovery is more likely. Thus, vitamin B12 supplements may assist patients with shortages improving their mood and sadness. However, there is no evidence that they impact persons with regular vitamin B12 levels.
6. Vitamin B12 may help your brain by preventing neuron degeneration:
Memory loss can result from vitamin B12 insufficiency, particularly in elderly persons. In addition, the vitamin may help to prevent brain atrophy, which is the loss of neurons in the brain. And can result in memory loss or early onset of dementia.
According to one research, a combination of this vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid supplements delayed mental deterioration in adults with early-stage dementia. However, another study discovered that even low vitamin B12 levels might impair memory function.
Consequently, taking this vitamin may help with memory even if you don’t have a clinically recognised deficit. However, more study is needed to draw solid conclusions on the influence of vitamin B12 supplements on memory and cognitive function.
7. It might give you a boost of energy:
Supplements containing vitamin B12 are the go-to solution for a burst of energy, as per some promotional materials. However, they alone don’t always give energy. All B vitamins play a crucial function in your body’s energy generation.
However, exhaustion or a lack of energy is one of the most prevalent early indicators of vitamin B12 insufficiency.
8. Reduced homocysteine levels may improve heart health:
Homocysteine, a prevalent amino acid in the blood, can increase the risk of heart disease.
When you’re lacking in vitamin B12, your homocysteine levels rise. Vitamin B12 has been found in studies to help lower homocysteine levels. Which in turn may lower your risk of heart disease.
However, there is no concise scientific data to support the claim. As a result, further studies need to comprehend the link between vitamin B12 and heart health.
9. Aids in the maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails:
Vitamin B12’s role in cell production necessitates adequate levels to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
In reality, insufficient vitamin B12 levels can cause many dermatological symptoms. Hyperpigmentation, nail discolouration, hair changes, vitiligo, and angular stomatitis.
Supplementing with vitamin B12 has been found to help persons with its deficiency. That improves their dermatologic symptoms. But, on the other hand, taking a supplement is unlikely to help your skin, nail strength, or hair health if you’re well-nourished and not weak in this vitamin.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- It can cause irreparable and severe harm over time, particularly to the neurological system and brain.
- Deficiency symptoms such as sadness, disorientation, memory issues, and weariness are symptoms of slightly lower-than-normal vitamin B12 levels. These symptoms, however, are insufficient to identify B12 insufficiency.
- Constipation, lack of appetite, and weight loss are further signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency.
- Neurological abnormalities, such as numbness and tingling in the limbs, might occur.
- In addition, some people may have trouble keeping their equilibrium.
- Infants deficient in vitamin B12 may exhibit strange movements such as facial tremors and reflex issues, feeding difficulty, irritability, and development problems.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency puts your nerves and brain in danger of severe harm.
- People who don’t get enough vitamin B12 are more likely to develop psychosis, mania, and dementia.
- Anaemia is another symptom that a lack of vitamin B12 can also cause.
- Fatigue, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat are the most frequent signs of anaemia.
- A painful mouth or tongue, weight loss, pale or yellowish skin, diarrhoea, and menstruation issues are all symptoms of anaemia.
- In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency makes people more prone to illness.
Vitamin B12 and its Effects on Metabolism
Although human research is limited, several studies show that vitamin B12 may impact body fat and metabolism.
For example, according to one study, vitamin B12 has an essential function in fat metabolism. Therefore, a shortage can lead to increased fat and obesity. In another animal research, acute vitamin B12 shortage in pregnant mice resulted in a considerable rise in body fat percentage and cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, providing B vitamins to rats on a high-fat diet decreased weight growth. As per one study, it boosted enzyme levels that impact metabolism. However, there is insufficient information. More high-quality research is needed to identify precisely how vitamin B12 affects metabolism.
Low Vitamin B12 Levels have linkages to obesity.
Interestingly, having enough vitamin B12 levels has been linked to a decreased weight gain and obesity risk. Higher blood levels of vitamin B12 can reduce obesity, as per one case study. The study included 9,075 adults. However, another research of 976 adults found that low vitamin B12 levels can increase the chances of being overweight or obese.
Furthermore, a study of 256 children found that those with lower vitamin B12 levels had a higher body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement of body size based on height and weight.
Keep in mind, too, that while these studies reveal a link between vitamin B12 status and body weight, they don’t account for other possible contributors. As a result, it is impossible to establish that vitamin B12 induces weight reduction. More study is needed to see if vitamin B12 directly impacts body weight or BMI.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble B complex vitamin found in a range of foods such as meat, fish, and dairy. You can take vitamin B12 orally. Injections can treat Pernicious anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.
In addition, several weight-loss clinics include vitamin B12 as part of their weight-loss regimens. Vitamin B12 injections, on the other hand, are unlikely to provide you with an energy boost unless you have a vitamin B12 shortage.
Metformin is a medicine that can help persons with type 2 diabetes lose weight. However, this medication may cause vitamin B12 deficiency as a side effect. If you’re on metformin, talk to your doctor about ways to keep your vitamin B12 levels stable.
Getting significant doses of vitamin B12 via injections is unlikely to be harmful. However, vitamin B12 can interfere with the effectiveness of some drugs. So tell your doctor if you get vitamin B12 injections.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is the B12 vitamin good for?
A. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that assists in keeping your body’s blood and nerve cells strong and aids in making DNA. Vitamin B12 also aids in preventing megaloblastic anaemia. In addition, this can decrease the chances of obesity in children and adults.
Q2. Which fruit is rich in vitamin B12?
A. Bananas, oranges and peaches are excellent sources of vitamin B12. Along with this, they also supply other essential vitamins and minerals and are great as a snack throughout the day.
Q3. How can I raise my B12 levels fast?
A. Increasing the amount of B12 in your diet by eating vitamin B12 rich foods like chicken, fish, and eggs. If you are vegetarian, add low-fat milk, fortified cereal and low-fat yoghurt to your diet.
Q4. What happens if your B12 is too high?
A. Excessive levels of this vitamin can have some adverse side effects. For example, high vitamin intake can cause outbreaks of acne and rosacea, a skin ailment that creates redness and pus-filled swellings on the face.
Q5. How much B12 do you need a day?
A. Adults from 19 to 64 years require around 1.5 mcg of vitamin B12 a day. Toddlers from 1 to 3 years need 0.9 mcg of B12 per day. Kids from the age of 4 to 8 years need 1.2 mcg of B12 per day. Kids from 9 to 13 need 1.8 mcg of B12 per day. And the ones from the age of 14 to 19 need 2.4 mcg/day.
Q6. Which medicine is best for B12?
A. There are a lot of medicines to help you fight vitamin B12 deficiency. Like any other medicine, the supplements of this vitamin should also be consumed after consulting your doctor.
Q7. What happens if your B12 is low?
A. Not having enough B12 in your system can cause anaemia, which indicates your body does not have sufficient red blood cells. It can cause weakness and tiredness. In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency can induce harm to your nerve tissues and can impair memory and thinking.
Q8. What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
A. Weakness, disorientation, memory issues, constipation and lack of appetite are the most common symptoms. B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia, leading to fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, pale or yellowish skin, diarrhoea, and menstrual issues. In addition, it can predispose you to mania, psychosis and dementia.
Q9. How serious is a B12 deficiency?
A. Vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty serious. The longer you leave it untreated, the worse its symptoms get. It can lead to anaemia, psychosis, dementia, nerve and brain damage, and memory loss.
Q10. Which vegetable is rich in vitamin B12?
A. Normally, almost all vegetables contain some measure of Vitamin B12. But vegetables like spinach, beetroot, potatoes and mushrooms hold an exceptionally high amount of Vitamin B12.
Q11. Do almonds have B12?
A. Although almonds don’t naturally have B12, they are fortified with this vitamin, making them excellent sources of vitamin B12.
Q12. Is curd rich in Vitamin B12?
A. Yes, curd is a rich source of Vitamin B12. For example, 3/4th of a cup of Greek yoghurt gives you 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12, while the same quantity of plain yoghurt gives you 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12.
Q13. Does paneer have Vitamin B12?
A. Yes, paneer is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, especially for vegetarians. A cup of paneer gives you a whopping 1.1 mcg of vitamin B12 along with calcium and protein.
Q14. How many eggs is enough for B12?
A. 2 large eggs contain 1.1 mcg of vitamin B12, making half of the daily requirement. So if your only source of B12 is eggs, then four eggs are enough.
Q15. Which Indian foods are rich in vitamin B12?
A. Paneer, fortified poha and shrikhand, made from concentrated yoghurt, are packed with vitamin B12. These are good options for vegetarians.