Why is Vitamin B12 Important?

Written by UConn Dietetics student Nina Seok

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that it dissolves in water.¹ It plays an important role in nerve/brain functions, the formation of your red blood cells, and DNA production.¹ Vitamin B12 is generally rich in foods that have high amounts of protein or products fortified with vitamin B12 (meaning B12 is added).¹ With a well-balanced diet, most people can get enough vitamin B12.²

Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include:2table of food choices

  • Meats/Organ meats such as liver and kidneys
  • Eggs, Salmon and tuna fish
  • Dairy products or non-dairy products that are fortified with vitamin B12
  • Fortified cereals

Recommended Intakes for Vitamin B12

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4mcg for both males and females.¹ For example, one tuna sandwich and one bowl of fortified cereal gives you 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12, which is the exact amount that you need for daily vitamin B12 consumption. If you have a good diet, supplements aren’t typically needed.  Vegetarians or vegans who avoid animal-based products may have their doctors prescribe B12 supplements³. Also, older adults, pregnant women, or individuals having problems with vitamin B12 absorption may need supplements.³ Vitamin B12 supplements are generally safe, and because vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, any extra vitamin B12 that your body does not need is going to be eliminated by urination³.

Tuna Egg Salad⁴ – Here is a very easy, protein/vitamin B12 packed side dish, and can be paired with whole wheat breads or leafy greens as you like! tuna egg salad

  1. Ingredients
    • ½ cup Mayonnaise, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp Fresh parsley, ½ tsp Paprika, 3-5 oz Tuna can, drained,  ¼ cup Celery, finely chopped, 2 tbsp Pickles, finely chopped,  2 tbsp White onion, minced, 4 Large hard boiled eggs, diced, Sea salt & Black pepper to taste.
  2. Instructions
    1. In a medium bowl, use a fork to whisk together the mayo, mustard, parsley and paprika, until smooth.
    2. Add the tuna, celery, pickles and onions. Stir together, breaking apart any large pieces of tuna.
    3. Fold in the diced eggs.






    1. https://www.wholesomeyum.com/tuna-egg-salad-recipe/#jumptorecipe

    Photo credit: https://blog.insidetracker.com/vitaminb12-vegetarian-consideration


    This material is funded by UDSA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

    This institution is an equal opportunity employer.