Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency include constipation, weight loss, anemia, dementia and numbness in the fingers. In infants and children, a deficiency results in delayed development and more serious problems, including impaired motor skills. The main forms of vitamin B12 that affect your health are methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Both contain the mineral cobalt. The U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements notes that your body needs a daily supply of Vitamin B12—cobalamins—to synthesize DNA, create red blood cells and regulate your nervous system. Dairy products offer options for including vitamin B12 in your daily diet.
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Recommended Adequate Intake
The Office of Dietary Supplements' Recommended Dietary Allowance chart for B12 daily intake recommends 2.4mcg vitamin B-12 for adults and children older than 14. This amount provides 97 to 98 percent of your daily B-12 requirements. ODS increases this amount to 2.6mcg for pregnant women and 2.8mcg for lactating women. Children ages 9 to 13 need 1.8mcg; ages 4 to 8 require 1.2mcg. ODS recommends 0.4mcg for infants younger than 6 months; 0.5mcg at 7 months and 0.9mcg for children between age 1 and 3.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration uses 6 mcg as the vitamin B-12 daily value for individual servings of food. However, the FDA only requires that manufacturers list vitamin B-12 content on the labels of fortified foods.
The Office of Dietary Supplements states that a 1-cup serving of plain yogurt provides 25 percent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's daily value for vitamin B-12. With a content of 1.4 mcg, yogurt exceeds the 20 percent threshold that the FDA uses to rate foods as high nutrient sources.
A 1 cup serving of canned, sweetened condensed milk provides 1.35 mcg of B-12. This is the highest value for milk products listed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chart of vitamin B12 sources. Vitamin A and D fortified 2 percent has 1.29mcg per 8 oz. serving. Nonfat milk provides 1.23mcg; fortified 1 percent milk provides 1.15mcg. Whole milk, fortified with vitamin D, has 1.10mcg.
Low-fat cottage cheese—1 percent—has 1.42mcg per 1 cup serving, while 2 percent provides 1.02mcg. A 1 oz. serving of Swiss cheese has 0.95mcg and 1 cup of whole milk ricotta has 0.84mcg. An average size camembert wedge—38g—provides 0.49 mcg. The 1 oz. serving of whole milk mozzarella has 0.65mcg, feta 0.48 and Muenster has 0.42mcg.