This time of year, when the days are short and the weather is cold, we’re all looking for ways to summon more energy. Most people think of vitamin B-12 as a great source for that. While taking a supplement of B-12 won’t give you a boost of energy, a deficiency in this vitamin can cause fatigue so you’ll want to be sure you’re getting enough. Plus, this vitamin is actually vital for so much more. It regulates the nervous system, reduces depression and stress (also important during the winter months), and it helps keep your skin, hair and nails healthy.
The average adult needs about 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 a day. For folks who love seafood, reaching this goal is not a problem. In fact, most 2.5 ounce servings of seafood will more than meet that requirement. (Lucky for you, the body can store vitamin B-12 in the liver, so the excess intake does not go to waste.) High amounts of B-12 can also be found in meat.
If you’re looking to load up on the vitamin, below are the foods leading the charge.
(The B-12 mcg amounts below were sourced from a database from the Dieticians of Canada and are based on 2.5-ounce serving.)
Clams - They’re a top source of vitamin B-12. We’re talking almost 75 mcg found in just 2.5 ounces of clams.
Liver - It turns out there’s a reason our grandparents ate liver, it’s chock-full of good nutrients. The liver of a lamb, veal or cow contains anywhere between 52 to 64 mcg for just 2.5 ounces. Chicken or pork liver contains 12 to 16 mcg. And paté, which can be made with goose or chicken liver, contains about 7 mcg.
Oysters - Oysters contain anywhere between 18 to 26 mcg.
Mussels - Mussels offer 18 mcg.
Bluefin Tuna - Raw or cooked, a 2.5-ounce serving contains 8 to 9 mcg of B-12.
King crab - One serving contains 8.6 mcg, plus it gives you a great excuse to eat more crab.
Trout - One serving averages between 3.7 to 5.6 mcg.
Salmon - Wild Atlantic salmon contains 2.3 mcg.
Beef - Different cuts of beef vary in their B-12 amount. Ground beef will average 2.5 mcg and other cuts can range between 1.3 to 2.5 mcg.
Those are not the only foods that will supply you with B-12 vitamins. Dairy, such as milk and cheese, contains more than 1 mcg per 2.5-ounce serving. And so do eggs. If you follow a vegan diet, it can be harder to get your daily recommended dose of B-12. It’s recommended to look for foods such as cereal fortified with this vitamin, or taking a daily supplement if your doctor recommends it.
For you B-12 lovers who need some recipe inspiration, here are a few ideas that will more than satisfy your needs.