Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin, important for the body's maintenance of healthy red blood cells and nerve cells and for the formation of DNA. Vitamin B12 is largely found naturally in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs and dairy products. Therefore, vegans and strict vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. The elderly, whose bodies are less able to absorb certain nutrients, and those with the medical condition pernicious anemia are also likely to be deficient in vitamin B12. Fortunately, it's quite easy to increase your vitamin B12 level with the right foods and supplements.
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Eat more animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy products. The Harvard School of Public Health states that these foods are the main sources of dietary vitamin B12. Most people naturally obtain plenty of vitamin B12 via their normal diets, but if you need more vitamin B12, concentrate on adding more of these foods into your meals and snacks.
Eat a B12-fortified breakfast cereal. Some plant-based foods are fortified with B vitamins for added nutrition. To increase your vitamin B12 intake, read the nutrients label on boxed cereals at the supermarket and choose one with added vitamin B12. Eat a serving of fortified cereal for breakfast each day to effectively increase your B12 intake.
Discuss a vitamin B12 supplement with your physician. Some people require vitamin B12 pills or injections to obtain the amount of B12 their bodies need. However, this should be approved by your doctor for optimal safety. If injections are needed, they are given by a health-care professional.