Vitamin B12 is essential for many bodily functions, but most people don’t get enough of it. Here are some sources of this important nutrient.
The main sources of vitamin B12 are animal foods, including fish and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Cooking meat makes it more easily absorbable and less likely to contain bacteria. That’s why buying pre-packaged, precooked meats is a good choice. However, there are other steps you can take to increase your intake of this nutrient. If you don’t eat any meat, one serving of nutritional yeast (about 28 grams) provides nearly half your daily value.
Another good source of vitamin B12 is seaweed. One serving of spirulina provides 10 percent of the recommended daily value, and 0.5 to 1 gram of dried kombu will provide 2 percent of the DV. Other types of seaweed, such as arame, dulse, nori, and laver, also contain small amounts of this nutrient.
3. Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of the brewing process. In fact, it’s what gives beer its distinctive flavor. One serving of brewer’s yeast contains nearly 10 percent of the DV for vitamin B12. It’s also a good source of other minerals, including copper, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc. You can find brewer’s yeast in some breads and baked goods, such as rye bread and bagels.
Tofu alternative seitan (sometimes called “wheat meat”) is a good source of B12. One serving provides 15 percent of the DV. It’s also high in dietary fiber, which may help with digestion and weight loss.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, and one tablespoon contains 20 percent of the recommended daily value. But it’s also a great source of vitamin B12. One tablespoon contains 100 percent of the DV for this nutrient. Extra-virgin olive oil is best for improving heart health, according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil was associated with lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors in people who had suffered a heart attack.
Supplements are often touted as the “perfect” solution to a food-sources-inadequate problem. But studies have found that vitamin B12 is poorly absorbed from supplements and tablets. They also have ingredients and formulations that can affect absorption. As such, they’re not a good choice for most people looking to increase their intake of this nutrient. A better way to get more vitamin B12 into your system is to simply eat foods that contain it.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Your body doesn’t usually need a prescription to replace what it’s missing. But here are a few common signs of B12 deficiency, along with natural ways to boost your intake. Fatigue and/or slow recovery Muscle aches Depression Problems concentrating Redness and irritation in the mouth Feeling tired may be a side effect of taking any new medication. It’s also a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. The lack of energy can affect your ability to engage in physical activity, which can worsen this condition.
1. Aches and Pains
In addition to feeling tired, people with B12 deficiency often experience muscle pains and spasms. This can make it difficult to be active and may even stop you from moving around.
2. Brain Fog
Depression and irritability are common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, notes Mayo Clinic. Some people also experience mood swings, confusion, lack of motivation, and trouble concentrating.
3. Heart Problems
Low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A study published in the European Heart Journal found that people who had lower levels of vitamin B12 in their blood were more likely to die of heart problems.
4. Vision Problems
People with B12 deficiency may develop visual symptoms, such as blurred vision and eye pain. These can be temporary or permanent. However, many people won’t experience these symptoms.
5. Weak Immune System
The lack of vitamin B12 can decrease your ability to fight off illness. This problem may be apparent in the form of frequent colds and sore throats. It may also cause fatigue and weight loss, which make you more susceptible to illnesses.