Nutrient to Know: Vitamin B12

Get the facts about vitamin B-12.

There are a lot of misconceptions about this vitamin. Get the facts about B-12.

What is it?

Less commonly known as "cobalamin" this water-soluble vitamin is almost always found in multi-vitamins and B-complex supplements. Unlike most other water-soluble vitaminss, B-12 requires stomach acid for absorption. It’s also stored within the body for many years, unlike others like riboflavin and thiamin that are quickly passed in the urine.

Why is it good for you?

Your body needs B-12 to help form DNA, to build your nervous system and keep red blood cells healthy. Since the body likes to store B-12, large amounts of supplements are often not necessary – there’s just one catch. B-12 is mostly found in animal products, so folks that follow a long-term vegan diet might need to consider a daily supplement. Since you need stomach acid for absorption, your ability to break it down decreases with age. Folks who take a lots of antacids will also need to up their intake to make sure they're getting enough.

Where can you find it?

The daily requirement for B-12 is 6 micrograms per day and it can be found in all kinds of foods including daily, meat, fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.

B12-Rich Foods
3-ounces cooked clams = 84 micrograms (1400%)
3-ounces cooked salmon  = 5 micrograms (83%)
1 cup fortified cereal (such as bran flakes )  = 1.5 milligrams (25%)
1 cup low fat (1%) milk = 1.2 micrograms (20%)
1 ounce Swiss cheese = 0.9 micrograms (15%)
1 large egg 0.6 micrograms (10%)
3-ounces cooked turkey breast = 0.3 micrograms (5%)
Keep Reading

Next Up

Nutrient to Know: Vitamin A

Did you know vitamin A can be found in 2 major forms – each with their own special functions? Learn more about this “two-faced” nutrient.

Nutrient to Know: Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect cells from damage that may cause heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Nutrient to Know: Vitamin C

Which has more vitamin C – a cup of broccoli or an orange? Find out the answer along with other vitamin C facts that may surprise you.

Nutrient to Know: Vitamin D

You may be up to speed on vitamin C and even know a bit about the various B vitamins, but what about vitamin D? Well, some are calling it the "super supplement." Here's what you need to know.

Nutrient to Know: Potassium

Your muscles just wouldn’t be the same without this mineral. Most folks know there’s potassium in bananas, but that’s not the only place you can find this powerful electrolyte.


Nutrient to Know: Calcium

This important mineral is essential to both bone and muscle health. It also happens to be one of the nutrients most folks don’t get enough of.

Nutrient to Know: Zinc

You may have heard of this trace mineral but do you know how important it is to your health? Get the facts about zinc.

Nutrient to Know: Tryptophan

You always hear about tryptophan around Thanksgiving time -- folks warn that that gorging on turkey (a well-known source for the nutrient) puts you in a "food coma." Is it really to blame for that post-dinner snooze?

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.