B-Vitamins

Thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, B6 and B12. These are some of the important B-vitamins that work to make red blood cells, form your genetic blueprint, keep your nervous system healthy and even help your body use energy from food. You can get all of your B-vitamins by eating a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide. B-vitamins are found in all four food groups.

Information About Vitamin B12

  • You need vitamin B12 to form DNA, make healthy blood cells and keep nerves working properly.
  • Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause pernicious anemia. Vegetarians who eat no animal products and the elderly who absorb less vitamin B12 are most at risk.
  • Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods and fortified foods. People who avoid all animal products should look for meat alternatives, such as soy products fortified with vitamin B12.
  • Ten to thirty percent of older people may not absorb vitamin B12 well. Health Canada advises adults over 50 years to consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a supplement containing vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Content of Some Common Foods

The best sources of vitamin B12 include: eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry. Some soy and rice beverages as well as soy-based meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B12. To see if a product contains vitamin B12 check the Nutrition Facts on the food label.

How Much Vitamin B12 Should I Aim For?

Age in years Aim for an intake of

micrograms

Stay below (mcg)/day
Men and Women 19 and older 2.4 An upper limit for vitamin B12 has not been established.
Pregnant Women 19 and older 2.6
Breastfeeding Women 19 and older 2.8

The following table shows you which foods are sources of vitamin B12.

Food Serving size Vitamin B12 (mcg)
Vegetables and Fruit This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Grain Products This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Milk and Alternatives
Milk
Skim 250 mL (1 cup) 1.4
3.3% homo, 2%, 1% 250 mL (1 cup) 1.1 – 1.2
Buttermilk 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Chocolate milk 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Cheese
Cottage cheese 250 mL (1 cup) 1.5-1.7
Swiss/emmental 50 g (1 ½ oz) 1.7
Feta, gouda, edam, gruyere, brie, cheddar, fontina 50 g (1 ½ oz) 0.8-0.9
Yogurt
Yogurt beverage 200 mL 1.3
Plain (regular, low fat) 175 g (¾ cup) 0.8-1.0
Fruit bottom (regular, low fat) 175 g (¾ cup) 0.8-0.9
Chocolate, non-fat 175 g (¾ cup) 0.9
Milk Alternatives
Almond or oat beverage, fortified 250 mL (1 cup) 1.1
Soy or rice beverage, fortified 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Meat and Alternatives
Organ Meat
Liver (lamb, veal), cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 54.4-64.3
Kidney, lamb, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 59.2
Liver, beef, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 52.9
Liver, turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 43.7
Kidney, veal, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 27.7
Giblets, turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 24.9
Kidney, beef, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.7
Liver, chicken, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 15.9
Liver, pork, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 14.0
Pate (goose liver, chicken liver) 75 g (2 ½ oz) 6.1-7.1
Poultry
Turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.3
Duck, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.3
Chicken, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.2-0.3
Beef
Ground, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.4-2.7
Various cuts, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.3-2.5
Pork
Various cuts, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.8-1.1
Ground, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.8-0.9
Ham, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.7
Bacon, strips, cooked 3 slices (24 g) 0.3-0.4
Miscellaneous
Caribou/reindeer, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 5.0
Salami, beef and pork 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 2.0-2.7
Sausage (pepperoni, chorizo, Polish, Italian, frankfurter) 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.0-1.9
Deli meat, turkey breast 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 1.5
Deli meat, pastrami 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 1.3
Deli Meat (mortadella, bologna) 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 0.9-1.1
Wiener/hot dog 1 wiener (45 g) 0.8
Fish and Seafood
Clams, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 74.7
Oysters, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.2 -26.3
Mussels, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.0
Caviar, black and red 75 g (2 ½ oz) 15
Mackerel (King, Atlantic), cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 13.5-14.3
Herring, Atlantic, kippered 75 g (2 ½ oz) 14.0
Herring, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 7.2-9.9
Roe, raw 75 g (2 ½ oz) 9.0
Crab, Alaska King, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 8.6
Tuna, bluefin, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 7.9-8.2
Sardines, canned in oil or tomato sauce 75 g (2 ½ oz) 6.8
Trout, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.7-5.6
Salmon, red/sockeye, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.8-4.4
Salmon, pink/humpback, with bones, canned 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.7
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.3
Tuna, light, canned in water 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.2
Meat Alternatives
Meatless, chicken, breaded, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.8
Meatless, fish sticks, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.2
Meatless, luncheon slices 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.0
Meatless, wiener/frankfurter 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.8
Soy burger 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.8
Egg, cooked 2 large 1.1-1.3
Other
Red Star T6635+ Yeast (Vegetarian Support Formula) 2 grams (1 tsp powder or 2 tsp flaked) 1.0
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