It is estimated up to 40% of older adults have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which is often attributed to impaired absorption. Importantly, past research indicates that the bioavailability of vitamin B12 varies between foods. To this effect, a Quebec study sought to investigate the differential impacts of food categories on the vitamin B12 status of older adults.
This study of 1,753 older adults from the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging (NuAge) assessed whether dietary vitamin B12 intake (total or from specific food categories) was associated with vitamin B12 status over 4 years. In this study, dietary vitamin B12 intake was linked to a reduced risk of B12 deficiency. Dairy products were the only food category consistently associated with a reduced risk of low serum vitamin B12 and vitamin B12 deficiency. In fact, decreased deficiency risk was observed at 2.50 mcg of dairy sourced B12, which can be obtained in a day by consuming 30 grams of Swiss cheese, one cup (250 ml) of milk and ¾ cup (175 ml) of Greek yogurt.
This study provides an in-depth analysis of the potential contribution of vitamin B12 naturally present in animal-based foods to the prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency, while emphasizing the potentially differential impacts of foods such as dairy.
Want to learn more?Read a detailed summary here.
Huang HH et al. Vitamin B-12 Intake from Dairy But Not Meat is Associated with Decreased Risk of Low Vitamin B-12 Status and Deficiency in Older Adults from Quebec, Canada. The Journal of Nutrition 2022. Doi: 10.1093/jn/nxac143.