Your body needs vitamin B-12 for proper brain function, metabolism and formation of DNA and red blood cells. Along with the other B-complex vitamins, vitamin B-12 helps keep your liver, skin, eyes and hair healthy. Animal products are the best natural sources of vitamin B-12, but other foods are sometimes fortified with this nutrient.
One of the best sources of vitamin B-12 is seafood. A 3-ounce serving of cooked clams provides 84.1 micrograms, or 1,402 percent of the daily value. The same-sized serving of cooked wild rainbow trout contains 5.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 90 percent of the DV, and each serving of light canned tuna provides 42 percent of the DV.
Beef liver is another excellent source of vitamin B-12, providing 1,178 percent of the DV per 3-ounce serving with 70.7 micrograms. Other cuts of beef are also good sources, including broiled top sirloin, which contains 1.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per serving, or 23 percent of the DV.
Dairy Products and Eggs
Each cup of low-fat yogurt or milk will provide you with about 18 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12. If you prefer cheese, an ounce of Swiss cheese will provide you with 15 percent of the DV. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B-12, with each hard-boiled egg containing 0.6 micrograms, or 10 percent of the DV.
Natural vegetarian sources of vitamin B-12 vary greatly in their vitamin content and are not reliable sources of this vitamin. Also, the vitamin B-12 from these sources is not well-absorbed by your body. However, nutritional yeast, soy milk and breakfast cereals are sometimes fortified with a type of vitamin B-12 that is well absorbed, so check the labels of these foods to find one that contains vitamin B-12 if you are a vegetarian and would prefer not to take supplements.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.