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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin important for red blood cell production, brain health and DNA synthesis.
A deficiency in this key vitamin can cause serious symptoms, including fatigue, nerve damage, digestive issues and neurological problems like depression and memory loss.
Vitamin B12 is available only in animal foods like meat, fish, eggs, and milk or brewer’s yeast.
Aging affects how well you take in and use B12 from foods, so people over 50 should get most of their vitamin B12 from fortified foods or dietary supplements because, in most cases, their bodies can absorb vitamin B12 from these sources.
B12 deficiencies are also more prevalent in vegans or vegetarians than in meat-eating people due to B12 being in animal products.
B12 Supplement Recommendations
At least 2,000 mcg (µg) methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin once each week, ideally as a chewable, sublingual, or liquid supplement taken on an empty stomach
or at least 50 mcg daily of supplemental cyanocobalamin (you needn’t worry about taking too much)
or 3 servings of B12-fortified foods a day (at each meal), each containing at least 190% of the Daily Value listed on the nutrition facts label (based on the new labeling mandated to start January 1, 2020—the target is 4.5 mcg three times a day).
Those over 65 years of age should take at least 1,000 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin every day.