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Sources of B12

by Steven Lalevich

About Steven Lalevich

Steven Lalevich is a registered dietitian who began writing in 2010 for various websites. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earning a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Indiana University where he also completed the didactic program in dietetics. Lalevich is pursuing a Master of Science in human nutrition at the University of New Haven.



Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin that is important for proper nerve function, red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. MayoClinic.com reports that the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms per day. There are many good dietary sources of this vitamin, and supplement intake is an option for people who do not consume adequate amounts of food sources.

Meat and Seafood

Meat and seafood are some of the best sources of vitamin B12 in the diet. One 3-ounce can of sardines contains more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin B12. Liver also provides well over 100 percent of the daily value per serving. Other meats and seafood, including beef, salmon, lamb and cod, are also good sources of B12.

Dairy and Eggs

Dairy and egg products contain moderate amounts of vitamin B12. One cup of milk provides about 15 percent of the daily value, while a cup of yogurt provides 23 percent. An egg contains approximately 8 percent of the daily value. Vegetarians who do not eat meat or seafood should consume dairy and egg products regularly in order to ensure adequate intake of vitamin B12.

Plant Sources

Although they do not contain as much as animal sources, some plant sources have small amounts of the vitamin. Sea plants, such as kelp and algae, and fermented products, such as tofu and miso, are some examples. However, these plant products do not contain adequate amounts to be relied up as a sole source of vitamin B12, explains the Vegetarian Society. Vegans who consume no animal products should rely upon either fortified foods or supplements in order to receive enough of this vitamin.

Fortified Foods

Many foods are fortified with vitamin B12, especially products aimed at vegetarians or vegans who otherwise may not consume enough. Soy milk and other soy products, veggie burgers and other meat alternatives are some examples. Many breakfast cereals also are fortified with up to 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin B12. Additionally, snack bars and nutrition drinks are often fortified with the vitamin.


Another option for those who do not consume adequate amounts of animal products is to take a vitamin B12 supplement. Most vitamin B complex supplements include B12. Vitamin B12 supplements also are available individually, in liquid and tablet form, some of which are to be taken sublingually, placed under the tongue, where it dissolves and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Prescription vitamin B12 can be administered nasally or via injection in the case of deficiencies, notes the National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.