Nutrient Spotlight: Vitamin B12
5 min read

The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Optimal Health

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the human body. It offers numerous benefits to overall health and well-being. One of its primary functions is aiding in the production of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Additionally, vitamin B12 helps maintain a healthy nervous system and supports the metabolism of proteins and fats. Studies have also suggested that this vitamin may improve cognitive function and boost mood.

To obtain an adequate amount of vitamin B12, it is important to consume a balanced diet that includes food sources rich in this nutrient. Animal-derived foods are the most reliable sources of vitamin B12, with seafood, beef, poultry, and dairy products being particularly good options. For individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet, plant-based sources like fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, and plant-based milk alternatives can provide vitamin B12. However, it's worth noting that plant-based sources may not be as easily absorbed by the body as animal-based sources so vegans and vegetarians may want to take a daily B12 supplement to ensure that they are getting adequate amounts of this important vitamin.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 varies depending on factors such as age, gender, and individual needs. For adults, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 2.4 micrograms (mcg). Pregnant and breastfeeding women may require slightly higher amounts. It's important to note that some individuals, such as older adults and those with certain medical conditions including inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease, may have difficulty absorbing enough vitamin B12 from food alone.  In addition, certain genetic variations and medications including acid blockers and metformin can decrease blood levels of B12.  In all of these cases, B12 supplements may be required to maintain optimal blood levels.

  1. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020). Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Vitamin B12. Retrieved from
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Vitamin B12. Retrieved from

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