Vitamin B12 is a truly exceptional vitamin, unique even among all the other B vitamins present in nature. The reason for this uniqueness lies in the fact that only smaller amounts of this vitamin are required and the body already makes full use of it. For instance, ten micrograms of B12 spread over a day seems to be able to provide adequate supply for the body to use.
Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin owing to the fact that it contains the metal, cobalt. The main benefit of vitamin B12 appears to be promoting and maintaining the normal function of healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food so the most likely vitamin B12 food sources are foods rich in proteins and amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. When you consume vitamin B12 food sources, the vitamin is released from the food through a reaction caused by the hydrochloric acid released by the stomach. During digestion and once it is released from the vitamin B12 food sources, the vitamin combines with a substance called gastric intrinsic factor (IF). This complex can then be absorbed by the intestinal tract.
What other foods contain vitamin B12?
Specific examples of vitamin B12 food sources include animal foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Another good vitamin B12 food source is fortified breakfast cereals, which is a particularly valuable source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians. Because plants and vegetables can never be considered as vitamin B12 food sources, vegetarians stand more chance of suffering from deficiency of this vitamin. To compensate for the loss, vitamin B12 food sources fortified with the vitamin are made available for them.
Other vitamin B12 food sources are mollusks and clams (mixed species, cooked). Three ounces of these contain as much as 84.1 micrograms of vitamin B12, equivalent to 1400 Daily Value (DV).
One slice of braised liver or beef is also a good vitamin B12 food source, containing as much as 47.9 micrograms of vitamin B12, equivalent to 780 DV. Trout, rainbow, salmon, sockeye, and fortified breakfast cereals have vitamin B12 ranging from 6.0 to 2.4 micrograms.
Even fast food, such as cheeseburger and taco, contains a good amount of vitamin B12. And yogurt, haddock, tuna, milk, pork, egg, American pasteurized cheese food, and chicken contain vitamin B12 as well.