Vitamin B12 is essential for your body’s functioning and health. It aids in the formation of red blood cells, helps with metabolism, and maintains the central nervous system (see ref 2 and 4). The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms per day (see ref 1, 2, and 4). There are no reports of toxic effects from vitamin B12 intake up to 100 micrograms per day from food or supplements (see ref 2). You can meet the recommendations by eating a variety of animal foods, fortified foods, and taking supplements (see ref 1 and 4).
Vitamin B12 In Pregnancy
The recommended daily allowance increases to 2.6 micrograms per day for pregnant women (see ref 1 and 4). The need for vitamin B12 increases during pregnancy because it is needed to create new maternal and fetal cells and prevent neural tube defects (see ref 2 and 3). Vitamin B12 and folic acid – an important nutrient for fetal development -- work together. When vitamin B12 is deficient, so is folic acid (see ref 2). Vitamin B12 should be supplemented during pregnancy if a deficiency is suspected (see ref 3).
Vitamin B12 Supplements
Vitamin B12 is found in many multivitamins, and the body absorbs B12 better when it is taken with other B vitamins – vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, and magnesium. You may also find vitamin B12 in a dissolvable form (see ref 4). Before starting any supplement, speak with your doctor to make sure it is healthy for you and your baby. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may prescribe an injection or nasal gel that contains vitamin B12 (see ref 4).
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline
- Visualizing Nutrition; Mary B. Grosvenor, M.S., R.D. and Lori A. Smolin, Ph.D.
- American Family Physician: Update on Vitamin B12 Deficiency