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Vitamin B12

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Foods that have Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Foods, Benefits & Dosage

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Your body needs vitamin B12 in order to keep nerve and blood cells healthy. Vitamin B12 plays an active role in metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and aids the digestive system in proper functioning.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you aren't getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet, you are at risk of developing a deficiency that could cause a range of health problems, including:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Nerve problems (tingling in the hands or feet)
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Impaired memory and cognitive ability, or
  • Megaloblastic anemia

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin B12?

Research indicates that many adults in the US already consume the recommended amounts of vitamin B12 in their daily diets. However, there are some people who might eat plenty of natural vitamin B12 and still be at risk of a deficiency. Statistics show that up to 15% of American adults could be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. (1)

People with untreated pernicious anemia or people over 50 with reduced levels of acidity in the stomach may not be able to absorb the required amounts of vitamin B12 they get from natural food sources alone. Vegetarians and vegans are also at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Foods

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in some animal products, such as;

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Clams
  • Eggs
  • Milk and Cheese

It's also available in some types of fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts.

Benefits of Vitamin B12 Supplements

Small amounts of vitamin B12 are found in regular multivitamin supplements However, if you're concerned about whether you're at risk of becoming deficient, there are specific vitamin B12 dietary supplements available.

Studies also show that maintaining healthy vitamin B12 levels can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps protect against heart disease & certain types of cancer. Getting healthy levels of vitamin B12 may also decrease the risk of developing dementia & prevent Alzheimer's disease. (2)

Some hair products have vitamin B12 added to them due to its ability to make hair healthier. Getting enough B12 also promotes healthy skin and stronger nails.

Forms of Vitamin B12

There are two types of Vitamin B12 you can get in supplements. What you usually find in Multivitamins is the most common form of B12 “Cyanocobalamin” which is fine.

The other form is “Methylcobalamin” this type of Vitamin B12 protects against central and peripheral neurological diseases by preventing nerve damage to the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings. You take this Vitamin B12 usually is the form of pill that dissolves on your tongue and not in you stomach.

Vitamin B12 Dosage

RDA (Daily Recommended Allowances) (3):

  • 9 to 13 years - 1.8 mcg for Males and Females.
  • 14 years and up - 2.4 mcg for Males and Females.
  • 18 years and up - 2.6 mcg for Pregnant Women. 
  • 18 years and up - 2.8 mcg for Lactating Women.


  1. Vitamin B12 Health Professional - Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institute of Health -
  2. Vitamin B12 Consumer - Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institute of Health -
  3. From the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) - National Institute of Health (NIH).


Before you start taking vitamin B12 dietary supplements, keep in mind that they may interfere with the effectiveness of some types of medications. These might include certain antibiotics, acid reflux medications, and some types of medicines used to treat diabetes.

Conversely, some medicines may also reduce vitamin B12 levels in the body or interfere with the body's ability to absorb the vitamin. Speak with your doctor if you're uncertain whether taking vitamin B12 supplements will affect your current medications. 


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