If you eat meat and dairy products, chances are your vitamin B12 levels are fine. But for some people, like strict vegetarians (called vegans) who don’t consume animal products, and the elderly, whose bodies may not absorb the nutrient well, vitamin B12 levels could be low.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. It also helps maintain healthy nervous system function and plays a part in the production of DNA, the genetic or hereditary material in humans.
Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as fish, shellfish, meat and dairy products. People who eat these foods usually don’t have a problem obtaining the recommended amount (2.4 micrograms per day) through diet. Fortunately, for those who don’t, many breakfast cereals, soymilks, meat analogue products and nutritional yeast are now fortified with vitamin B12.