SmartyPants Nutrient Guide

Vitamin B12

The Energizer bunny

Why we need it

B12 is essential for:

  • Energy production
  • Memory and brain function
  • Mental and emotional well being
  • Making DNA, red blood cells, and the protective covering around our nerves.
  • Helping our bodies utilize carbohydrates and fats
  • Making S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) – a critical nutrient for immune function and mood.

How much do I need?

Current Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 is 6 mcg for adults and children over the age of 4, and 3 mcg for children ages 3 and younger.

Why we include it

You may have noticed we include a lot of B12 in our SmartyPants vitamins. This is because B12 is difficult to absorb1. Additionally, there are other, common lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase the need for B12 including:

  • Old age
  • Vegan or vegetarian diets
  • Low B6
  • Low vitamin E
  • Low stomach acid
  • Some medications such as PPIs and other acid-suppressing drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or other use)

Where can I get it?

B12 is the only vitamin we can’t get from plants or sunlight. It is a common misconception that it is possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed and spirulina. B12 is found exclusively in animal products.

  • 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 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 SmartyPants.  The majority of supplements contain B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin, where the cobalamin molecule is bound to a cyanide molecule.

We recommend you seek the advice of your pediatrician or primary care provider before making changes to you or your child’s nutrient intake.

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