We’ve all heard about the importance of vitamin B12. We need it for our overall mental and physical health. If you’re into Keto or carnivore eating, you’re in luck. Animal-based sources of vitamin B12 are in abundance.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that your body does not produce on its own. Therefore, it must be ingested via diet or supplementation. Among other things, B12 is vital for the development, function, and sustainability of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and other parts of the body.
You can supplement B12 with drops, tablets, caplets, or via shots in a brick-and-mortar clinic that have become common at shopping malls.
On an animal-based diet, you won’t need to do any of that.
What are some of the animal-based B12 sources?
Pound for pound, clams have the most B12 of any food. Six clams provide 40 times the required daily amount of B12. While ideal fresh, clams can come in canned form. My mom loved to make a clam butter sauce for her spaghetti. I never cared for it as a kid, but came to love it later in life.
Do you like steamed clams? Clam chowder? I like them both.
This is one thing I will not eat. Maybe you love it, though. Who am I to judge?
I’ll supplement B12 with other sources of animal-based B12, of which there are plenty…keep reading.
Liver can have up to 15 times the amount of the recommended daily allowance of B12, depending on the animal it comes from. Lamb liver is the highest.
Animal kidney is also in this category.
Among containing a ton of B12, mussels also contain a number of other vitamins. Mussels also have relatively low mercury content, with mercury being a valid concern among seafood diners.
As with all seafood, I like mussels a lot. Their bold taste and firm meat, along with butter and/or horseradish, is a home run for anyone who likes seafood.
They also go excellent with a white wine and garlic sauce.
Readily available canned in supermarkets, sardines are always a good bet for a quick snack. Like mussels, sardines are relatively low in mercury content.
My go-to for sardines are the ones covered in mustard. Unlike with most canned options, the ones in mustard don’t contain cottonseed oil.
One can of drained sardines contain as much as three times the daily amount of vitamin B12.
Trout is a versatile fish caught in waters throughout the world–from cold water to the warm waters of the Caribbean.
As a teenager, my dad and I would load up our coolers with beautiful, tasty trout in the shallow grass flats of Tampa Bay. Our most effective method of catching them was with live shrimp and a float about three feet above the hook.
Different varieties of trout are also readily available at most supermarkets and meat markets and are fairly affordable.
A single trout filet can carry your total recommended daily allowance of B12.
Salmon is another powerhouse when it comes to B12. Not just B12, but Omega 3 and amino acids.
Salmon is more of a cold-water fish and I’ve never caught one. But like trout, salmon is abundant and can be found in abundance in stores.
In terms of B12, salmon has roughly half the amount of rainbow trout.
We take a break from the long string of seafood and their B12 properties to concentrate on beef.
Your cut of beef and how it’s prepared dictates strongly how much B12 content there is. Grilling a steak helps keep the B12 content. Lower-fat cuts of beef also contain higher concentrations of B12.
A 7-ounce cut of a relatively low-fat cut of steak, grilled, can contain as much as 200% of the recommended daily allowance of B12.
That stuff in the can at the store contains a good bit of B12. One can of tuna contains up to 85% of your recommended daily allowance.
Of course, you want to aim for maximum quality and to do so you should buy tuna fresh. If you can afford it, do it. The fresh stuff is also likely to be more B12 dense with dark parts beneath the skin being the richest.
The canned stuff is OK in a pinch though.
Eggs are my go-to of late. I eat anywhere from 4-8 eggs per day on most days. I like them hard-boiled as well as in the form of an omelet.
Do I eat the whole egg or just the white? Of course, I eat the whole egg.
Eggs should not be an exclusive go-to for animal-based B12, though. One large egg contains about 20% of your recommended daily allowance for B12. Most of that B12 comes from the yolk. Don’t skip those yolks!
10.) Pork Loin or Shoulder
Like with steak, the highest concentration of B12 is in the protein–the meat. There are so many cuts and great ways to make pork. My favorite is the pork shoulder. In the least fatty parts of the pork, you can get your recommended daily allowance of pork in about 13 ounces. Pork loin is also a quality cut of pork, best roasted in the oven.
Another member of the pig family of foods is ham. Ham comes from the rear end and hind legs of the pig. Pork butt is not part of the butt, but the shoulder of the pig. It’s simply a misnomer.
Ham is best for cold cuts, or for Christmas or Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Ham is rich in B vitamins, containing all of them other than folate.
As far as B12 goes, you can get your daily allowance in 12-13 ounces of ham–similar to other pig meats.
Finally, chicken ends up on the list for those of you who love chicken. I like it myself, my favorite part being the thigh.
You can get your daily allowance of B12 with these amounts of the following parts:
- Breast: 3-4 breasts, or 24 ounces
- Wings: 34 wings
- Thigh: 6 thighs
- Leg: 7 legs
Chicken is also full of various essential amino acids, so this clucky yard bird provides all sorts of benefits.
A valuable resource
I wish I had stumbled upon this calculator years ago. The Automatic Meal Planner is a terrific resource for the nutritional facts on virtually any food you care to look up. Select your diet type on the front page, or simply click on the “browse foods” tab near the top-right of the homepage and type in what you want in the search tab on the left.
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What are your favorite B12-enriched foods? Please let us know in the comments down below.
Thanks for reading!
This is exactly what I was looking for — a list of animal proteins containing B12. Glad you included some of the extra details like mercury content and meal suggestions. Thanks!
Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for reading!