Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

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Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is necessary for making DNA and for creating energy in our cells. (1) A deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression. A long-term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. (2)

Vitamin B12 is created by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products, (1) however, synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods such as packaged cereals.

Vitamin B12 can be consumed in large doses since excess B12 is stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of B12 can last for several years, which is why it takes a long time before people realize they have a deficiency in their diet. (1)

High vitamin B12 foods include clams, fish, crab, low-fat beef, fortified cereal, fortified soymilk, fortified tofu, low-fat dairy, cheese, and eggs. (3) The daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg per day, which has been recently reduced from 6mcg per the USDA food labeling standards. (4) For this reason, the percentage of the daily value (%DV) may appear lower on outdated product labels.

Below are the top 10 foods highest in vitamin B12, click here for an extended list of vitamin B12 rich foods, and here for other foods high in vitamin B.

If you are vegetarian, see the article on vegetarian sources of vitamin B12.

List of Foods High in Vitamin B12

Clams1 Clams
Vitamin B12
per 3oz Serving
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(3502% DV)
(4120% DV)
(5568% DV)

Other Shellfish High in Vitamin B12

  • 1020% DV in 3oz of oysters
  • 850% DV in 3oz of mussels
  • 76% DV in 3oz of scallops

3oz is equal to roughly 3 oysters, 5 mussels, and 10 small scallops respectively.

See all fish high in vitamin b12.

Tuna Fillet2 Tuna
Vitamin B12
per 6oz Fillet
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(771% DV)
(453% DV)
(493% DV)

Other Fish High in Vitamin B12

  • 783% DV per 5oz fillet of Atlantic herring
  • 1346% DV in a 6oz mackerel fillet
  • 555% DV per cup of canned sardines
  • 375% DV in a 5oz trout fillet
  • 248% DV per 6oz snapper fillet
  • 39% DV in 1oz of smoked salmon

See the list of canned fish high in vitamin b12.

King crab legs3 King Crab
Vitamin B12
in 1 Crab Leg
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(642% DV)
(479% DV)
(988% DV)

Other Crustaceans High in Vitamin B12

  • 368% DV in 3oz of Dungeness crab
  • 187% DV in 1 cup of canned blue crab
  • 110% DV in 3oz of crayfish
  • 59% DV in 3oz of shrimp
  • 51% DV in 3oz of lobster

See all fish high in vitamin b12.

A steak on a plate4 Beef (Skirt Steak)
Vitamin B12
per 6oz Steak
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(533% DV)
(314% DV)
(234% DV)

More Red Meat High in Vitamin B12

  • 112% DV in 3oz of broiled beef round
  • 101% DV in 3oz of lean roast buffalo
  • 99% DV per 3oz beef hamburger
  • 96% DV in 3oz of roast lamb shank
  • 93% DV per 3oz of beef short ribs

See all meats high in vitamin B12.

Circle cereals5 Fortified Cereals
Vitamin B12
per 3/4 Cup
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(254% DV)
(875% DV)
(535% DV)

More Cereals High in Vitamin B12

  • 251% DV per cup of Kellogg's Special K
  • 250% DV per cup of General Mills Whole Grain Total
  • 250% DV per 2/3 cup of Kellogg's Low Fat Granola
  • 250% DV per cup of Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Flakes
  • 125% DV per 3/4 cup of Wheaties
  • 121% DV per 3/4 cup of Post Honey Bunches of Oats

See the complete ranking of 200 cereals high in vitamin B12.

Soymilk6 Fortified Soymilk
Vitamin B12
per 16oz Glass
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(249% DV)
(51% DV)
(311% DV)

Other Milk Substitutes High in Vitamin B12

  • 250% DV in a 16oz glass of fortified almond milk
  • 250% DV in a 16oz glass of fortified coconut milk drink
  • 126% DV in a 16oz glass of rice milk

The quantity of vitamin B12 can vary greatly, check product labels.

See more vegetarian sources of vitamin B12.

A block of tofu7 Fortified Tofu
Vitamin B12
per Cup
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(137% DV)
(60% DV)
(131% DV)
A glass of milk8 Low-Fat Milk
Vitamin B12
per 16oz Glass
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(108% DV)
(22% DV)
(88% DV)

More Dairy Foods High in Vitamin B12

  • 108% DV in a 16oz glass of low fat milk
  • 96% DV in a 16oz glass of whole milk
  • 62% DV per cup of non-fat yogurt
  • 38% DV per cup of plain yogurt
  • 51% DV per cup of hot chocolate
  • 48% DV in a 1/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 18% DV per 1/2 cup of soft serve ice-cream

See the full list of dairy foods high in vitamin B12.

A slice of swiss cheese9 Swiss Cheese
Vitamin B12
per Oz
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(36% DV)
(128% DV)
(65% DV)

Other Cheeses High in Vitamin B12

  • 29% DV per oz of gjetost
  • 27% DV per oz of mozzarella
  • 22% DV per 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • 20% DV per oz of feta
  • 20% DV per oz of brie
  • 19% DV per oz of gruyere
  • 18% DV per oz of gouda
  • 18% DV per 1/2 cup of ricotta

See the list of high vitamin B12 cheeses.

Eggs10 Eggs
Vitamin B12
in 1 Large Egg
Vitamin B12
per 100g
Vitamin B12
per 200 Calories
(23% DV)
(46% DV)
(60% DV)

More Eggs High in Vitamin B12

  • 70% DV in 1 cup of scrambled eggs
  • 63% DV in 1 cup of chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • 306% DV in a goose egg
  • 158% DV in a duck egg
  • 56% DV in a turkey egg

Note: Vitamin B12 found in eggs is concentrated in the yolks. Egg whites contain very little B12.

Printable One Page Sheet

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A printable list of the top 10 vitamin b12 foods.

High Vitamin B12 Foods by Nutrient Density (Vitamin B12 per Gram)

FoodServingVitamin B12
1 Clams100 grams4120% DV
2 Octopus100 grams1500% DV
3 Shellfish (Oysters)100 grams1200% DV
4 Mussels100 grams1000% DV
5 Pork Liver Sausage100 grams837% DV
6 Fish (Mackerel)100 grams792% DV
7 Kippered Herring100 grams779% DV
8 Liverwurst Spread100 grams561% DV
9 King Crab100 grams479% DV
10 Tuna100 grams453% DV

Other Vitamin B12 Rich Foods

FoodServingVitamin B12
1 Whelk3oz642% DV
2 New England Clam Chowderper cup478% DV
3 Veggie Burgers1 burger pattie366% DV
4 Manhattan Clam Chowder1 cup330% DV
5 Liver Sausage1oz238% DV
6 Ostrich3oz228% DV
7 Energy Bars1 bar172% DV
8 Deer (Venison)3oz128% DV
9 Salamiper 3oz99% DV
10 Scallopsper 3oz76% DV
11 Rice Milk1 cup63% DV
12 Buttermilk1 cup47% DV
13 Turkey3oz36% DV
14 Luncheon Meat1 slice19% DV
15 Whey Powderper tbsp7% DV

Sources of Vegan and Vegetarian B12

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods (meat, cheese, fish, milk, eggs). See our article on vegetarian vitamin B12 sources to find both natural vegetarian foods (milk and eggs), and fortified b12 foods (soymilk, tofu, vitamin water).

How much Vitamin B12 do You Need?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B12 ranges from 0.4 to 2.8mcg per day. The daily value for vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg per day, which has been recently reduced from 6mcg per the USDA food labeling standards.

0-6 months*0.4 mcg0.4 mcg
7-12 months*0.5 mcg0.5 mcg
1-3 years0.9 mcg0.9 mcg
4-8 years1.2 mcg1.2 mcg
9-13 years1.8 mcg1.8 mcg
14+ years2.4 mcg2.4 mcg
Pregnant women require 2.6mcg, and lactating women should consume at least 2.8mcg of vitamin B12.
*The amounts for children less than 12 months old is the adequate intake (AI) not RDA.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements.

People at Risk of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Older Adults with Atrophic Gastritis - Atrophic Gastritis is a condition affecting 30-50% of adults over age 50 and hampers their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from natural foods. Supplements are recommended for people in this group. (2)
  • People with Pernicious Anemia - A condition that affects 1-2% of adults and can only effectively be treated with vitamin B12 injections or shots. (2)
  • Vegans and Vegetarians - Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, however there are some natural vegetarian foods high in vitamin B12. (2)
  • Pregnant and Lactating Women who are Vegetarian or Vegan (2)
  • People taking Certain Medications (2)
    • Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid), which are used to treat gastric or pepetic ulcer disease can inhibit absorption of vitamin B12.
    • Metformin - often used for type II diabetes, Metformin may interfere with vitamin B12 absorption in certain people.
    • Histamine antagonists, such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), and ranitidine (Zantac), used to treat peptic ulcer disease, can reduce absorption of vitamin B12 by slowing the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach.
    • Bacteriostatic Antibiotics, like Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin), can interfere with the red blood cell response to vitamin B12 supplements.
    • Anticonvulsants - Anticonvulsants have been shown to interfere with vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 (Folate) metabolism. One study found that people taking folate supplements and anticonvulsants experienced a 50% decline in Vitamin B12 blood levels.

Sublingual B12 or B12 Injections?

Both oral supplements and sublingual lozenges have equal absorption of vitamin B12. Due to Intrinsic Factor only a small percentage of vitamin B12 from supplements is absorbed. For example, just 10mcg out of a 500mcg dose of vitamin B12. For this reason, doctors may suggest B12 shots or injections, which will directly be absorbed and incorporated into the human body. (2)

An intranasal vitamin B12 gel also exists as a way to boost vitamin B12 levels. Talk to your doctor or primary care provider about this method, if you prefer it over injections. (5)

Vitamin B12 is added to foods as cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin. Evidence suggests that either form is equally bioavailable and digestible. (2)

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

  • Protection Against Heart Disease - Adequate levels of vitamins B12, B6, and B9 have been shown to lower levels of a protein in the blood: homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine have been shown to improve endothelial function, which in turn may boost cardiovascular health and decrease risk of heart attacks. (2)
  • Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging - Absorption of vitamin b12 and Folate (B9) is essential for DNA metabolism and maintenance, which may reduce the risk of cancer and slow down aging. (4)
  • Protect Against Dementia and Cognitive Decline - Lack of vitamin B12 increases homocysteine levels, which in turn decreases the body's ability to metabolize neurotransmitters. Due to limitations with creating long-term controlled studies in human populations, no definite link between increased vitamin B12 levels and cognitive function has been found, however, several observational studies suggest increased homocysteine levels increase the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with cognitive decline. (2)
  • Alzheimer's Protection - One study has shown that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Folate (B9) can double the risk of Alzheimer's Disease. (2)
  • Energy and Endurance - A lack of vitamin B12 will lead to anemia and weakness. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are necessary to maintain normal energy levels. Claims of vitamin B12 as an energy or athletic enhancer remain unproven. (2)

More Vitamin B Foods

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.

Some of the most popular targets include:
  • Daily Value (%DV) - The daily value (%DV) is a general guideline for consumption that will prevent deficiency of a nutrient in most people. The %DV refers to the percentage of an amount that's found in a single serving of a food. It also accounts for absorption factors. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (%RDA) - The RDA sets an average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97.5 percent) healthy individuals. It's more specific than the daily value, and varies by age and gender. The RDA is set by the US National Instutites of Health.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) -The reference dietary intake is similar to the recommended daily allowance, and is specific to age and gender. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) - This value is primarily used in reference to omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The Adequate Intake is also set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Because there is less evidence to determine the ideal targets for consumption of these nutrients, the specific amount is considered to be less reliable. Using the term Adequate Intake, rather than one of the other terms, helps to emphasize that the ideal intake has not yet been scientifically determined.

See the Guide to Recommended Daily Intakes for more information.

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Use the ranking tool links below to select foods and create your own food list to share or print.

View more nutrients with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease
  2. Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet
  3. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
  4. New FDA Daily Values
  5. The role of folic acid and Vitamin B12 in genomic stability of human cells
  6. Patient acceptance of intranasal cobalamin gel for vitamin B12 replacement therapy.
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