One of the most common questions I get about being a vegetarian is, “how do you get enough vitamin B12?”.
B12 is vital to maintaining health. Among the many things it does for your body are:
- Protect Against Heart Disease
- Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging
- Protect Against Dementia and Cognitive Decline
- Provide Alzheimer’s Protection
- Sustains Energy and Endurance
B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt), which is why it’s called cobalamin. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It’s the only vitamin we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don’t need B12 so they don’t store it. B12 is found exclusively in animal foods, such as liver, clams, oysters, mussels, fish eggs, octopus, fish, crab and lobster, beef, lamb, cheese and eggs.
Clinical deficiency can cause anaemia or nervous system damage. In adults, typical deficiency symptoms include loss of energy, premature aging, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, brain fog, hallucinations and personality changes. Often these symptoms develop gradually over several months to a year before being recognised as being due to B12 deficiency and they are usually reversible on administration of B12.
Here are 5 great food sources of B12 (in no particular order):
#1 Fortified Cereals – Try to buy the natural, organic, and low-sugar varieties. They typically contain anywhere from 8μg (133% DV) per cup (40 grams) to 20μg (333% DV) per 100 gram serving.
#2 Yogurt – Just one cup contains 22.8% of the B12 you need in a day.
#3 Cheese – The amount of vitamin B12 in cheese varies based on the type. Swiss cheese comes first with 3.34μg (56% DV) per 100g serving, followed by Gjetost (40% DV), Mozzarella(39% DV), Parmesan (38% DV), Tilsit (35% DV), and Feta (28% DV).
#4 Eggs – The yolk contains the most B-12 with 1.95μg per 100g serving (33%), however, this equates to 0.33μg per yolk or just 6% of the DV.
#5 Cow’s Milk (grass fed) – at .55 mcg per 4oz, this provides about 9.17% DV of the vitamin.