Vitamin B-12 is water-soluble vitamin important for metabolism, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. B-12 helps with management of the nervous system, production of red blood cells and the absorption and use of fats. The fact that B-12 is water soluble means that excess amounts are excreted through the urine. The only natural food sources of vitamin B-12 are animal products, but some populations -- such as vegetarians, the elderly and those whose access to animal products are limited -- are at risk of becoming vitamin B12 deficient. A vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause fatigue, anemia, nerve and muscle damage that may result in tingling and numbness as well as highly sensitive skin, reports the website Disabled World.To prevent deficiency, a wide range of foods are fortified with vitamin B-12.
Foods that are fortified with vitamin B-12 include grain products such as cereal, notes the UMMC. Fortified breakfast cereals are one of handful of plant sources of vitamin B-12 that can be included in the diets of vegetarians and other individuals who do not consume dairy products. For example, a 1-cup serving of Nutri-Grain cereal provides about 2 micrograms of B-12. The recommended dietary intake of B-12, as set by the Institute of Medicine, is 2.0 micrograms for adults, 2.2 if you are pregnant and 2.4 if you are breastfeeding.
Certain meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B-12. Meat analogues are typically made from soybeans or wheat gluten and replace animal sources of B-12 like poultry and meat, notes the Vegetarian Society. Common examples of meat alternatives include vegetable protein and veggieburger mixes. Soya is high protein and low fat. Since soya can mimic the texture of meat it is often used as the foundation for meat substitutes. Quron Not is a mycoprotein that's often combined with egg white to make non-meat burgers, fillets or sausages. Tofu is often fortified with vitamin B-12 and is also a good source of calcium and protein. Tofu is made by fermenting soy milk and is similar to cheese.
Soy Milk and Non-Dairy Margarine
Soy milk is sometimes fortified with vitamin B-12, according to the International Vegetarian Union. It's important to read the nutrition label as not all soy milks contain this nutrient. Certain butter substitutes such as vegetable and sunflower margarine are also fortified with vitamin B-12.
- Vegetarian Society: B-12
- UMMC: Vitamin B-12
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B-12
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- Vegetarian Society: Meat Substitutes
- Disabled World: Vitamins and Minerals A to K
- Ourveg.com: B-12 in Tofu