Vitamin B12 is produced exclusively by microbial synthesis in the digestive tract of animals. Therefore, animal protein products, in particular organ meats (e.g., liver, kidney), are the source of vitamin B12 in the human diet. Other good sources are fish, eggs and dairy products.
A sufficient intake of vitamin B12 is essential for helping the body convert food into glucose, which is used to produce energy, maintain normal nerve cells and regulate, together with vitamin B9 (folate), the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is widely used as a way to enrich cereal products and certain beverages.
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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of vitamin B12 in contributing to:
These health claims are authorized in the EU with specific conditions of use.