Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor, MegaFood Medical Director | September 2022Before we head to the kitchen to put some pep in your step, let’s take a moment to review why Vitamin B12 is so important for optimal health.
A vital member of the B vitamin family - a collection of eight vitamins responsible for cellular energy production† - Vitamin B12 has three main responsibilities:
- Produce healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to all tissues;
- Contribute to a positive mood; and
- Support optimal brain health.†
In other words: getting optimal Vitamin B12 in the diet is important!
How Can I Increase My B12 Levels Fast?
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg for people over the age of 14. One challenge to getting and maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin B12 is that the body can’t make this nutrient on its own - it needs to be consumed on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet.
Vegans, vegetarians, pregnant and nursing moms and older adults have increased chances of a Vitamin B12 deficiency because of things like diet, malabsorption & certain B12-depleting medications. To learn more about these risk factors, visit nih.gov.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
If you think you might have inadequate or deficient levels of Vitamin B12, and may be at risk for Vitamin B12 deficiency, it is important to consult with your doctor and request a blood test to have your levels evaluated.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency like weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations, pale skin, numbing or tingling, difficulty concentrating, depressive symptoms and vision disturbances.
What Food Source Is Highest In Vitamin B12?As a Naturopathic Doctor, I take a food-first approach to increase Vitamin B12 levels by prioritizing certain foods for natural Vitamin B12. So, if you’re wondering things like “What fruits and vegetables are high in Vitamin B12?” you’ve come to the right place! Here are the top food sources for Vitamin B12:
- Fish: A 3oz. serving of salmon has just under 5 mcg of Vitamin B12 and also includes protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Meat: A 3oz. serving of beef contains more than half your daily recommended intake of Vitamin B12.
- Dairy- Milk, Yogurt & Cheese: If you already enjoy your daily serving of dairy products for its calcium benefits, you can now take heart that you’re also getting Vitamin B12. *BONUS: Calcium is needed to help absorb Vitamin B12, so they make a happy pair. *ALTERNATIVE: Fortified non-dairy milk is a good source of Vitamin B12 and calcium.
- Eggs: Eggs contain Vitamin B12 and the yolk is an easy way to get choline, another member of the B vitamin team.
- Fortified Cereals: Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, and generally not present in plant-based foods - that’s why vegans and vegetarians need to be extra vigilant about avoiding a B12 deficiency. Fortified breakfast cereals provide a good option for those who prefer an alternative to animal products.
- Fortified Nutritional Yeast: This is a favorite way for vegans and vegetarians to add extra flavor (and protein) to many dishes, and fortified nutritional yeast also contains impressive levels of Vitamin B12.
- BONUS: Fruits & Vegetables: Though they don’t deliver nearly the same levels of Vitamin B12 as animal products, you can find some amounts of Vitamin B12 in spinach, beets, potatoes, alfalfa and bananas - and every bit counts!
How About A Dietary Supplement For B12?
If Vitamin B12-rich foods aren’t often included in your daily diet, Vitamin B12 supplements can fill your nutritional gaps.
- Tablet: When looking for a Vitamin B12 supplement, you might prefer the methylated, or active, form of Vitamin B12.
- Gummy: Or you might want to enjoy a daily bite of delight with a Vitamin B12 gummy - we offer two different and equally delightful flavors: B12 Energy Gummies (Ginger) and B12 Energy Gummies (Cranberry). Are you Team Ginger or Team Cranberry? (I’m Team Ginger, myself.)
- Vegan: Finally, if you’re looking to avoid animal products - and want to get Vitamin B12 naturally for vegetarians and vegans - you’ll be happy to know that all MegaFood B12 options are suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet, including our aptly named Vegan B12 supplement.
How Do I Take My Energy To The Next Level?
From the foods you eat, to your daily habits, to your supplement routine, there are many ways to maximize your energy potential.
Don't miss a single tip. from Dr. Erin Stokes. And follow Erin on Instagram.