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How much do I need?
The current recommended dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin B12 are:
- Infants 0 - 6 months - 0.4mcg
- Infants 6 - 12 months - 0.5mcg
- Children 1 - 3 years - 0.9mcg
- Children 4 - 8 years - 1.2mcg
- Men 9 - 13 years - 1.8mcg
- Men 14 and older - 2.4mcg
- Women 9 - 13 years - 1.8mcg
- Women 18 and older - 2.4mcg
- Pregnant Women 14 - 50 years - 2.6mcg
- Breastfeeding Women 14 - 50 years - 2.8mcg
These are the daily amounts established by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine).
Why we include it
We don’t mean to make your coffee jealous but… Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that your body uses to support energy production and normal immune function.* Vitamin B12 is important for overall good health, but it’s not something your body makes. Instead, it must come from your diet.
We use the premium form of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, because it’s what’s best for your body. Many other supplements are made with cyanocobalamin. However, methylcobalamin is the form your body prefers and can easily use.
Where can I get it?
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products. It’s not typically found in plant-based and other foods unless they are fortified.
Some food sources of vitamin B12 include:
- 3 oz clams – 84 mcg
- 3 oz beef liver – 70 mcg
- 3 oz lamb – 60 mcg
- 8 oz oysters – 30 mcg
- 3 oz mussels – 20 mcg
- 3 oz mackerel – 16 mcg
- 2 oz fish eggs – 6 mcg
- 3 oz beef – 2 mcg
- 2 eggs – 2 mcg
If you don’t eat animal products…
If you or your children are vegan or vegetarian, you may need to supplement to ensure you are getting adequate B12 in your diet. We recommend you work with your primary care provider to determine your needs.
If you do decide you need to supplement, we recommend you look for vitamin B12 in the premium form of methylcobalamin. This is the form that is found in nature and most easily used by the body – it’s also the form we use in all SmartyPants supplements.
The majority of supplements contain B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin, where the cobalamin molecule is bound to a cyanide molecule. However, methylcobalamin is the form your body prefers.
We recommend you seek the advice of your pediatrician or primary care provider before making changes to you or your child’s nutrient intake.