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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including nerve function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis.  While vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, it can be challenging for vegetarians who follow an Ayurvedic diet to meet their vitamin B12 needs. However, there are several vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 that can be incorporated into an Ayurvedic diet to ensure adequate intake of this essential nutrient. In this blog, we will explore 15 food sources of vitamin B12 including several vegetarian sources.
Here are 15 Vitamin B12 Sources
Paneer is known to be a significant source of vitamin B12, providing at least 20% of the daily requirement. For instance, 100 gms of paneer contains approximately 0.8μg of vitamin B12, which accounts for about one-third of the daily requirement for adults. 
Milk is considered one of the best and most abundant sources of vitamin B12. Consuming just 250 ml of cow’s milk is equivalent to meeting half of your daily vitamin B12 requirement. 
Curd or yoghurt can be a good source of vitamin B12 as it provides 16% of the body’s daily requirement in just 170 gms. This makes it a viable option for meeting the vitamin B12 needs of the body. 
Bananas are among the various fruits that are naturally rich in vitamin B12. Apart from their nutritional value, bananas are beneficial for humans in several ways, as they are known to reduce stress levels, regulate blood pressure, and alleviate constipation and ulcer-related issues. 
5. Fermented Foods
Some fermented foods like Idli, Dosa, and Dhokla, which are commonly consumed in India, can be a natural source of vitamin B12. These foods are believed to contain small amounts of vitamin B12 due to the fermentation process, which may result in the production of this essential nutrient by certain bacteria. However, the vitamin B12 content in fermented foods can vary widely and may not always meet the recommended daily intake, making it essential to rely on other sources as well. 
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that is known for its high protein content. It is also a good source of vitamin B12, with approximately 0.9 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100 grams of cooked amaranth. Amaranth can be used in a variety of Indian dishes and can provide a nutrient-rich addition to the diet. 
7. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a good source of vitamin B12, with approximately 0.1 μg of vitamin B12 per tablespoon of sesame seeds. Sesame seeds can be used in various Indian dishes like chutneys, desserts, and snacks, and can add a nutty flavour and a boost of vitamin B12 to the diet. 
Mushrooms are known to contain small amounts of vitamin B12. However, the vitamin B12 content in mushrooms can vary and may not be sufficient to meet the daily recommended intake. 
Almonds are nutrient-rich nuts that are also a source of vitamin B12. The exact amount can vary and can be as low as 0.01μg per 100g serving. While they won’t satisfy your daily B12 requirement they can still be consumed for their various health benefits as snacks, added to desserts or smoothies, or used in Indian sweets like Halwa. 
Spinach contains around 0.14μg per 100g serving which doesn’t meet the daily B12 requirement of around 2.4μg. It is regardless highly recommended for its additional nutritional benefits. 
Fish, such as salmon, trout, and tuna, are good sources of vitamin B12. A 100-gram serving of cooked salmon contains approximately 80% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin B12. 
Raw and boiled whole chicken eggs, particularly egg yolks, contain vitamin B12. One large egg provides about 10% of the daily intake for vitamin B12. Eggs are versatile and can be incorporated into various dishes, such as omelettes, and baked goods. 
Chicken is another animal-based food that contains vitamin B12. A 100-gram serving of cooked chicken provides about 13% of the RDI for vitamin B12. Choosing skinless chicken breasts or lean cuts can be a healthier option. 
Meat, particularly organ meats like liver and kidney, are good sources of vitamin B12. Per 100g serving can contain between 30 to 70μg of Vitamin B12. 
Mutton can contain around 30 to 70μg of Vitamin B12 per serving. 
While the non-vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 have the nutrient in usually higher quantities compared to the vegetarian sources, Vitamins aren’t required to be consumed in large quantities, unlike macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fibres, etc. Vegetarians can easily fulfil their daily Vitamin B12 requirements by including a few of the sources mentioned above that are easily available in India. Ayurveda recommends following a sattvic diet that incorporates vegetarian food sources.
1. Can vegetarians get enough vitamin B12 from their diet?
Yes, vegetarians can get enough vitamin B12 from their diet by incorporating vegetarian sources of this nutrient into their meals. While vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods, there are several vegetarian sources such as paneer, milk, curd, bananas, fermented foods, amaranth, sesame seeds, mushrooms, almonds, and spinach that can provide an adequate intake of this essential nutrient.
2. How much vitamin B12 do I need daily?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 for adults is around 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day. However, individual requirements may vary depending on age, sex, activity level, and overall health. It is best to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine your specific vitamin B12 needs.
3. Can almonds and spinach alone provide enough vitamin B12 for vegetarians?
While almonds and spinach are good sources of vitamin B12, they may not provide enough to meet the daily recommended intake of this nutrient on their own. It is recommended to incorporate a variety of vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 into the diet to ensure adequate intake.
4. Are non-vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 the only option for meeting daily requirements?
No, there are several vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 that can provide an adequate intake of this nutrient, as listed in this article. Dairy products such as Milk, curd and Paneer are good alternatives to non-vegetarian food sources for Vitamin B12.
While vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods, there are several vegetarian sources such as paneer, milk, curd, bananas, fermented foods, amaranth, sesame seeds, mushrooms, almonds, and spinach that can be incorporated into the diet to meet the vitamin B12 needs of the body. It is important to choose a variety of vegetarian sources to ensure adequate intake of this essential nutrient and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. If you have concerns about your vitamin B12 intake, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Disclaimer: This Article is written from a health and wellness perspective only and does not constitute medical advice. Kindly consult and follow the advice of a medical professional whenever necessary.
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