M.Ed., RD, LDN, CLC
Andie is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Lactation Consultant, and Certified Personal Trainer who thinks of nutrition counseling as equal parts science and sensitivity. She specializes in lactation, sports nutrition, exercise fitness, and weight loss programs.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient
that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA,
material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia
anemia that makes people tired and weak.
vitamin B12 is believed to combine with folic acid to help prevent spina bifida
and other spinal and central nervous system birth defects in your baby.
Vitamin B12 that is
found in food needs the acidic environment of the stomach to separate it from
the protein that it is bound to. The synthetic B12 found in supplements does
not need to be separated, so if you have a low acid level (maybe you are taking
medication to treat reflux or peptic ulcer disease for an extended time period)
then you may have low blood levels of B12 and a supplement taken by mouth
should be just fine.
Vitamin B12 is
naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk,
and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods however
it is commonly fortified and found in breakfast cereals, soy and other
plant-based milks, nutrition bars, meat substitutes, and Red Star Vegetarian
Support Nutritional Yeast.
The top food sources
of Vitamin B12 are clams, liver, certain fortified breakfast cereals, fish,
beef and dairy products.
Supplemental vitamin B12 for vegans and lacto-ovo
vegetarians is recommended during both pregnancy and lactation to ensure that
enough vitamin B12 is transferred to the fetus and infant. Pregnant and
lactating women who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets should consult with
their health care practitioner regarding vitamin B12 supplements for
themselves, their babies and their children.
for vitamin B12 vary. They are as follows:
foods supplemented with vitamin B12 such as breakfast cereals fortified with
100% of vitamin B12.
foods that are naturally high in vitamin B12 such as clams, liver, sockeye
salmon and rainbow trout.
you are a vegan or vegetarian, talk to your health care practitioner about a
vitamin B12 supplement.
your diet is low on animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese and
eggs look for fortified vitamin B12 foods. Check nutrition labels because not
all fortified foods have the same amounts.
you are a long time user of certain medications to treat gastroesophageal
reflux, peptic ulcer disease or are on metformin, talk to your health care
practitioner about checking your vitamin B12 levels or supplementation.
“Vitamin B12: Fact Sheet For Health Professionals.” Food and Drug Administration, Office of Dietary Supplements, date accessed 6 August 2018. <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/>
Kominiarek, Michelle A., Rajan, Priya, “Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation.” Med Clin North Am. 100.6 (2016):1199-1215. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104202/>