Vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is mainly found in eggs, poultry, seafood, meat, fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and dairy products, including cheese. The intrinsic factor secreted by the stomach must bind with vitamin B-12 to be recognized and absorbed in the intestines. This water-soluble vitamin is also produced by the gut flora, but since it is produced in the colon and vitamin B-12 absorption site is located in the ileum, endogenously synthesized vitamin B-12 cannot be absorbed.
Roles of Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 has many important functions in the human body. Cobalamin helps in releasing energy from the main macronutrients--carbohydrates, fat and protein--and also is necessary to activate folate into its active form. Moreover, this important water-soluble vitamin participates in the maintenance of the nervous system, in the formation of blood cell and in the metabolism of bone, says healthcastle.com.
There are different types of anemia caused by different types of deficiencies: iron, folate or vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 anemia, or pernicious anemia, is often seen in vegetarians since this vitamin is only found in foods from animal origin, such as meat, eggs and dairy products, including cheese. It is characterized by unusually large and immature red blood cells. In addition to the typical symptoms of feeling tired , pernicious anemia also causes muscle weakness and may also induce irreversible neurological damage.
Cheese With Highest Vitamin B-12 Content
Different types of cheese contain variable amount of vitamin B-12. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, cottage cheese is the best source of vitamin B-12, with 1.02 to 1.42 mcg in 1 cup of 2 percent and 1 percent milkfat cottage cheese, respectively. An ounce of Swiss cheese provides 0.95 mcg, 1 cup of ricotta cheese between 0.71 and 0.84 mcg and 1 oz. of mozzarella cheese 0.65 mcg of vitamin B-12 per serving. Camembert, feta and provolone cheeses have between 0.4 and 0.5 mcg per ounce.
Cheese With Lowest Vitamin B-12 Content
The vitamin B-12 content of cheese is highly variable. The following cheese contain vitamin B-12, but in smaller amount. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, an ounce of American cheese contains 0.2 to 0.36 mcg; blue cheese, 0.35 mcg; cheddar, 0.24 mcg; cream cheese, 0.04 to 0.15 mcg; and cheese spread, 0.11 mcg. Parmesan cheese provides 0.11 mcg of vitamin B-12 per tablespoon.
Vitamin B-12 Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine set the dietary reference intake for vitamin B-12 at 2.4 mcg per day for healthy adults. A cup of 1 percent milkfat cottage cheese and 1 oz. Swiss cheese can provided 100 percent of the recommended intake for vitamin B-12, although vitamin B-12 can also be supplied from other foods from animal origin.
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin B-12
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data Laboratory D
- HealthCastle: Nutrition 101: Vitamin B-12
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline
- Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition; Sharon Rady Rolfes; 2005