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Vitamin B12 Foods: List and Benefits

By Liam McAuliffe Published on

This list of vitamin B12 foods will help you maintain optimal B12 levels while nourishing your body with a complex of whole food macro and micronutrients. 

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in numerous bodily functions. 

“Essential,” in this case, means that your body cannot produce it on its one, so you need to get it from food or supplements. 

Table of Contents

Benefits of Vitamin B12

B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in: 

  • Maintaining a healthy nervous system
  • the production of DNA and red blood cells
  • Maintenance of cognitive function 
  • Psychological and mood stabilization–including prevention of depression 6

Additionally, B12 offers cardioprotective properties by decreasing homocysteine levels associated with heart disease. [19] [20] [21]

As a nutrient mostly found in meat, vegetarians and vegans can have a hard time achieving their RDV. [22]  

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

Signs of B12 deficiencies include [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] 

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Psychiatric problems 
  • Neurological problems 
  • Increased risks of Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Intergenerational neurological disorders

B12 Dosage?

The NIA pegs the recommended dosage as follows 6:

  • 2.4 micrograms (mcg) daily for people 14 years and older
  • 2.6 mcg daily for women who are pregnant
  • 2.8 mcg daily for women who are breastfeeding 

Though most of these b12 foods far exceed these RDVs, you don’t have to worry about getting too much vitamin B12. 

Your body eliminates the excess in your urine–which is why it can become bright yellow when supplementing with B vitamins. And some of the excess B12 will be stored in your liver to be used when needed–even years later. [17]

A treasure trove of tips for fertility and for a healthy body and mind

Top Vitamin B Foods List

Natural Vitamin B12 nutritional supplement as cobalamin pill supplements as a capsule inside a nutrient pill as a natural medicine health treatment with 3D illustration elements.

 

Food TypePer 100 grams%RDV
Clams99 mcg4125%
Lamb Liver90 mcg3750%
Veal Liver85 mcg3541%
Beef Liver83 mcg3458%
Lamb Kidney79 mcg3291%
Turkey Liver58 mcg2416%
Whitefish Eggs56 mcg2333%
Duck Liver54 mcg2250%
Goose Liver54 mcg2250%
Turkey Giblets28 mcg1166%
Oysters28 mcg1166%
Pork Liver26 mcg1083%
Beef Kidney25 mcg1041%
Lamb Brain24 mcg1000%
Mussels24 mcg1000%
Sardines22 mcg917%
Steelhead trout 22 mcg917%
Turkey heart22 mcg917%
Veal Brain21 mcg875%
Chicken Liver21 mcg875%
Octopus 20 mcg833%
Atlantic Mackerel 19 mcg791%
Pork Liver19 mcg791%
Sockeye Salmon 18 mcg750%
Beef Pancreas17 mcg708%
Beef Brain15 mcg625%
Herring 14 mcg583%
Bluefin Tuna11 mcg458%
King Crab11 mcg458%
Dungeness Crab10 mcg416%
Goose Liver Pate9 mcg375%
King Salmon7.6 mcg317%
Flat Iron Steak5.9 mcg246%
Ribeye Steak2.8 mcg117%

Foods High in B12: Highlights

1. Clams and Mollusks: 1000-4125% 

Garlic white wine clam in black pot on wooden tray in asian restaurant

Clams are accessible and inexpensive seafood that is often overshadowed by oysters. 

Most people consume at least 100 grams of clams (about ten clams) in a meal, which provides 4125% of your RDV in vitamin B12. 

In addition to B12, clams also provide 40 grams of quality protein, 249% of heme iron, 111% of selenium, and 29% of zinc. 1

Clams are also a good source of antioxidants, which is great for people on the carnivore diet who may be concerned about missing the antioxidants you get from fruit. 7

If you’re preparing your clams by boiling, you can get between 100-600% of your RDV from just 3.5 oz of the broth itself, thanks to the water-solubility of B12.8 

Oysters are another mollusk near the top of our vitamin B foods list. 100 grams of oysters provide 1166% RDV of B12, while mussels are close behind at 1000%.

Oysters are also one of the most abundant sources of the immune-boosting nutrient zinc, with 605% per 100 grams.

2. Organ Meats: 250-3750% 

grass-fed-beef-organ-meats-organic-offal-meat-beef

Organ meats headlined by liver, and including kidney, pancreas, and brain from various animals are among the most nutrient-dense foods on earth

Lamb liver is the second most vitamin b12 rich food behind clams, providing 90 mcg, or 3750% RDV pre 100 grams.1 

Beef and veal liver come in just behind, with around 3500% RDV each. 

As with most of the vitamin B12 foods on this list, B12 is but one of many nutrients found in abundance in these foods. 

For example, lamb liver is also remarkably high in the important fat-soluble vitamin A retinol with 1676% RDV per 100 grams. There is so much vitamin A in lamb liver that it’s important to eat it sparingly since it is possible to consume too much vitamin A. 

Goose liver provides 900% of your RDV in B12, and it’s also the richest dietary source of the underappreciated vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 plays a synergistic role when consumed with other fat-soluble vitamins, unlocking their full range of benefits. K2 has also been shown to be remarkably cardioprotective. 

In one study, for every 10 mcg of K2 consumed daily, the risk of heart disease by 9%. [8]

Organ meats are also a good source of vitamin C–yes, there is ample vitamin C in fresh meat

Lamb liver provides 22% of your RDV in vitamin C. 

If you’re interested in where to buy organ meats, click here

3. Fatty Fish: 228 – 369%

fatty keto fish

Sardines (369% RDV B12), Atlantic Mackeral (322% RDV B12), and Herring (228% RDV B12) are relatively small and oily fish loaded with B12 along with various other vital nutrients. 

Sardines also provide nearly 68% of your vitamin D and 300% of your RDV of omega-3 fatty acids per 100-gram serving. 

Atlantic mackerel offer 250% of your RDV in omega-3’s and 65% selenium. While Herring provides 600% of your RDV in selenium and 19% of your RDV of potassium, which can be a difficult nutrient to get from animal foods.3

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and support heart health. 10

Since all of these fish are fatty, they all make great keto fish.  

4. Beef: 200 – 467%

jordan peterson standing before a large ribeye steak

Beef is an excellent source of vitamin B12. 

Though beef isn’t as rich in vitamin B12 as the organ meats on the list, it is far more accessible to most people. 

For example, one flat iron steak (190 grams) contains 467% of the RDV for vitamin B12 11

While a delicious ribeye steak (190) provides over 200% of your RDV in B12, along with around 100% of B3, B6, selenium, and zinc. It’s also loaded with healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats. 

image of ribeye steak with nutrition data

In fact, it is entirely possible to thrive on ribeye, salt, and water alone for extended periods of time. Many people do just that as an elimination approach to the carnivore diet called the lion diet popularized by psychologist Jordan Peterson

5. Salmon: 300-750%

Grilling Fresh Salmon Fillet Close Up

Salmon is another accessible fish that is high in both macro and micronutrients. 

Just 100 grams (3.5 oz) of king salmon provides 317% RDV of vitamin B12. 

Wild king salmon is also one of the butteriest and mildest fish on the market.

The less expensive sockeye salmon provides even more B12 at 18 mcg per 100 grams, or 750% of your RDV. 

6. Eggs: 50%

You may have noticed that eggs didn’t make it on the list of B12 foods above. However, eggs are so accessible, and so loaded with healthy fats, and proteins, along with a significant amount of B12 and various other essential nutrients, that they deserve mention as a B12 food. 

Different ways of cooking eggs

Eggs are also a part of Doctor Kiltz’s BEBBIIS eating plan to reduce inflammation and increase fertility. 

Two large eggs (100 grams) provide 50% of your RDV of vitamin B12, along with 39% of your B2. 35

It is important to note that if you want to get the B12 in eggs you have to eat the yolk, which is also high in the nutrient choline, that plays an important role in brain development. [7]36

In addition to getting a good dose of vitamin B12, you’ll get a healthy amount of vitamin D. Eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain it, with 11% of the DV in two large eggs. 35

7. Organ Meat Supplements

beef liver supplements

Vitamin supplements – capsules and tablets bulk

Organ meat supplements are a convenient way to get significant doses of vitamin B in a highly concentrated and convenient format. 

Beef organ meats from grass-fed New Zealand cattle are the gold standard. 

Vitamin B12 Foods: The Bottom Line

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that we need to get either from food or supplements. 

Foods high in vitamin B12 are also high in numerous other essential and hard-to-get nutrients like saturated and omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, heme iron, and other B vitamins. This makes many vitamin B12 foods among the healthiest foods in the world.  

Vitamin B12-rich foods include mollusks like clams and mussels, organ meats–especially liver–fatty fish, and beef. 

It is worth noting that all of these vitamin B12-rich foods are from animal sources. It can be challenging for vegans and vegetarians to get enough vitamin B12 without supplementation. 

All these foods high in vitamin B12 are excellent additions to high-fat, low-carb diets and feature prominently on a keto diet foods list and a carnivore diet meal plan