Vitamin B-12 is vital for normal blood formation and neurological function.
It is especially important to the developing brains of infants and young children, but low Vitamin B-12 status at any age can lead to pernicious anemia which can severely impact brain and nerve function.
Who is at risk of Vitamin B-12 deficiency? Advanced age is a risk factor for low Vitamin B-12 status because of decreased absorption of the vitamin. Similarly, people with digestive disorders like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are at risk. Strict vegetarians (vegans) might have low Vitamin B-12 intakes unless they consume a B-12 containing supplement. Getting enough Vitamin B-12 is particularly important for pregnant women because the Vitamin B-12 status of a newborn infant is reflective of maternal Vitamin B-12 status.
The Daily Value for Vitamin B-12 is 2.4 micrograms. Animal protein foods, including veal, are principal sources of Vitamin B-12. Commonly eaten plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes and nuts do not contain B-12 unless they are fortified with this nutrient.
Here are some foods providing Vitamin B-12:
• Veal (3 ounces, lean, cooked): 58% Daily Value
• Chicken breast meat (3 ounces, cooked): 12% Daily Value
• Egg (1 large, hard cooked): 23% Daily Value
• Plain low fat yogurt (1 cup): 57% Daily Value
• Ready-to-eat fortified breakfast cereal* (1 cup): 25 % DV
*amount varies depending on fortification levels