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August 2014

Meet Your B12 Needs for Health

This water soluble B–vitamin is a key nutrient for health and vital to healthy aging.  Although this vitamin is most often associated with boosting energy, it is also essential for nerve health and regulation of red blood cell formation.  Emerging research has suggested vitamin B12 may reduce the risk of heart disease and may have protective effects on memory and depression.

Getting Enough Vitamin B12
It may be a challenge to get adequate B12 due to impaired absorption, gastric surgery, digestive disorders or dietary preferences.

This vitamin relies on acid in the stomach to be absorbed.  Stomach acid decreases as we age and when taking antacids on a regular basis.  As a result, B12 absorption may be compromised.

B12 is found only in animal products including fish, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products.  If these foods are restricted, your B12 may fall short.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, dizziness, difficulty walking, confusion, and memory loss and depression.  Other signs of deficiency are anemia, fatigue, loss of appetite and sores of the mouth or tongue.

To Optimize B12

  • Include a variety of B12 rich foods daily.
  • B12 in dairy products and fish may be better absorbed.
  • Synthetic B12 in fortified foods does not require stomach acid.
  • Ask your physician to check your B12 level, you may need to take a supplement.

The National Institute of Health recommends adults age 50+ obtain most of this vitamin through supplements and fortified foods to enhance absorption.

Vitamin B12-Rich Foods

Your Daily B12 Goal is 2.4 μg each day

Food Portion μg Food Portion μg
Cooked Clams

3 oz.


Fortified Cereal

3/4 c



3 oz.


Lean Beef

3 oz.


NF Milk

1 c


NF Yogurt

1 c



1 whole


Cooked Poultry




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