sources of vitamin B12

Last edited 05/2022

Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese), yeast extracts and fortified breakfast cereals.

  • It is the only vitamin not found in vegetables.
  • Note that meats vary with respect to amount of vitamin B12 they contain e.g. beef liver is a much richer source of vitamin B12 than a chicken breast (see table below).

A variety of foods and their vitamin B12 levels per serving are detailed in the table below:


Food

Micrograms
per serving

Percent
DV*

Beef liver, cooked, pan-fried, 3 ounces

70.7

2,944

Clams (without shells), cooked, 3 ounces

17

708

Tuna, bluefin, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces

9.3

385

Nutritional yeast, fortified, from several brands (check label), about ¼ cup

8.3 to 24

346 to 1,000

Salmon, Atlantic, cooked, 3 ounces

2.6

108

Beef, ground, 85% lean meat/15% fat, pan-browned, 3 ounces

2.4

100

Milk, 2% milkfat, 1 cup

1.3

54

Yogurt, plain, fat free, 6-ounce container

1.0

43

Breakfast cereals, fortified with 25% of the DV for vitamin B12, 1 serving

0.6

25

Cheese, cheddar, 1½ ounces

0.5

19

Egg, whole, cooked, 1 large

0.5

19

Turkey, breast meat, roasted, 3 ounces

0.3

14

Tempeh, 1/2 cup

0.1

3

Banana, 1 medium

0.0

0

Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice

0.0

0

Strawberries, raw, halved, 1/2 cup

0.0

0

Beans, kidney, boiled, 1/2 cup

0.0

0

Spinach, boiled, drained, 1/2 cup

0.0

0

Notes:

  • the recommended daily allowance for a person aged 14+ years are:
    • male 2.4 mcg
    • female 2.4 mcg
    • during pregnancy 2.6 mcg
    • during lactation 2.8 mcg
  • *DV = Daily Value
    • DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of foods and dietary supplements within the context of a total diet. The DV for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults and children aged 4 years and older. FDA does not require food labels to list vitamin B12 content unless vitamin B12 has been added to the food. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient, but foods providing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.

Reference:

(1) National Institutes for Health. Vitamin B12 dietary fact sheet (accessed 13/05/2022)