Foods Containing B12

Graphic Art - eggs, meat, fish, milk, Swiss Cheese - Lightening bolts aim at cheese - Flashes of energy around cheese - Text: Swiss Cheese has the Power of Live B12 making Bacteria
SWISS CHEESE has the POWER of B12 making bacteria!

Famously, the foods containing vitamin B12 are dairy, eggs, fish, seafood, and meat.

What isn’t well known is that vitamin B12 originates exclusively with microorganisms, that is, bacteria.

When you eat a food like Swiss Cheese that has the actual, live, vitamin B12 making bacteria, you enrich your digestive system with an ongoing source of vitamin B12.

Equally, Asian black tea that is fermented with B12 making bacteria not only contains Methylcobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12, but also the live bacteria.

Mushrooms, some seaweed, soil, in fact almost everything around us contains the bacteria that originate B12.

On the other hand, cereals like Fruit and Fiber contain B12 only because it has been added in the commercial, cyanocobalamin form.

Emmentaler Swiss Cheese with its distinctive label is imported from Switzerland
Emmentaler Swiss Cheese with its distinctive label is imported from Switzerland

1/8/2015 ~ I began ordering the Swiss cheese, Emmentaler, so I could add bits to the yogurt I make in the hope of increasing the amount of B12 in the yogurt.

It seemed to work in that the yogurt culture was very bubbly, which gave the clear impression that the B12 making bacteria, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, were alive, well and at work. The B12 making bacteria, you see, are responsible for the “bubble” holes characteristic of Swiss cheese. The holes are a result of the bacteria releasing carbon dioxide.

Next, I decided to test eating Emmentaler regularly to see if the Propionibacterium freudenreichii in it would restore my body’s ability to get vitamin B12 from food via the bacteria making B12 from things I eat, like tomato paste. Read more.

The American Swiss cheese I just ordered doesn’t have holes, so I’m not sure it has the actual bacteria.

Photo - Index, middle and ring fingers - moons beginning to reappear on index and middle fingers
Moons from eating Emmentaler Swiss Cheese

On the other hand, the moons seem to be coming back on my fingernails. The question is, will they actually return or are they emerging in the brief respite from stress I’ve been enjoying?

1/9/2015 ~ It turns out the Swiss are aware of imitators. Given that there are imitators, I wonder how much of an imitation my Emmentaler is. Was it made with pasteurized milk? Does propionibacterium freudenreichii grow less well in pasteurized milk, thus reducing the number of holes, or… holes in their entirety.

Photo of Swiss cheese with its characteristic holes made by propionibacterium freudenreichii
Swiss cheese with its characteristic holes made by propionibacterium freudenreichii

Swiss Seek to Protect Emmental ~ View article.

Genuine Emmentalers from Switzerland wear the full moniker of Emmentaler Switzerland AOC (the word “Emmentaler” itself is not protected, meaning that cheeses with that label can come from anywhere).

Swiss Emmantaler is made from raw milk—an ingredient that is part of their centuries-old and now legally enforced recipe for Emmentaler Switzerland AOC. Raw milk’s native microflora and enzymes work in tandem with cheese cultures to develop the fullest flavor spectrum.

The FDA requires that cheeses made from raw milk be aged at least 60 days. Thus, production costs less when pasteurized milk is used and aging time cut.

The age of Swiss cheese is directly related to its most recognizable feature: the holes.

These “eyes” are gas bubbles that form inside the cheese wheels when cultures (that is, the bacteria) consume lactic acid in the cheese and release it in the form of carbon dioxide.

Young cheeses might have gaps the size of peas, whereas the craters in Emmentaler Switzerland AOC can grow as large as walnuts.

Swiss Cheese by Cook’s IllustratedRead more.

3/4/2015 ~ My moons are definitely returning.

Best of all, despite a week of extreme cold because the vinyl covering my kitchen skylight came partially down, my moons have not disappeared. That seems to indicate that the B12 level they represent is deeper than that achieved by B12 shots that raise the level primarily in blood.
jarrow-1000 mcg-methylcobalamin-lozenges

Methylcobalamin Lozenges 1000 mcg.

I’m eating about 6 ounces of Emmentaler cheese a day.

Just to be clear, I’m also using some Methylcobalamin lozenges. They on their own, however, have not, over the years, been able to restore my moons in a significant, long lasting way.

Increasing Yogurt’s B12 (more about Emmentaler) ~ Read more.

Foods Containing Vitamin B12

FoodsMicrograms (mcg)
per serving
Yogurt, low fat, 1 cup
MacDonald's Parfait
Milk, 1 cup
Milk, 2%
Dairy ~ Cheeses, 7 oz.

Cream cheese

Goat, soft and semi soft
Mozzarella (whole milk)
Parmesan, dry grated

Pasteurized American
Swiss - Emmental





Egg, whole, hard boiled, 10.6
Fish ~
Salmon ~ 4 oz.
Atlantic wild, cooked
Atlantic Farmed, cooked
Chinook, wild, cooked
Chinook, wild, smoked, (lox)

Chum/Dog Salmon, cooked
Chum/Dog Salmon, canned
Coho, wild, cooked
Coho, farmed, cooked

pink, canned with bone
Salmon, sockeye, cooked
Salmon, sockeye, canned


Other Fish
Cod, Pacific, fillet, baked/broiled
Haddock, , cooked, 3 oz
Halibut, , baked/broiled
Snapper, baked, 4 oz

Sole, 1 fillet
Trout, , rainbow, wild, 3 oz
Tuna in water, drained , 3 oz

Clams, breaded & fried, ¾ cup
Mollusks, clams, etc., steamed, 3 oz
Shrimp, steamed/boiled 4 oz
Beef, tenderloin 4 oz.
Beef, top sirloin, lean, broiled, 3 oz
Beef, liver, braised, 1 slice
Calves liver, 4 oz
Chicken, roasted, ½ breast

Emu, steak, ground or fillet
Fast Food, Cheeseburger, double patty
Fast Food, Taco,
Pork, ham, 3 oz

Rabbit, wild, cooked, stewed
Squirrel, cooked, roasted
Turkey, dark meat, 5 oz.
Turkey, white meat
Venison, 4 oz.


Cereal (Breakfast)
Fortified, ¾ cup 66.0

Note: The unit of measurement in the list above is a microgram.

The unit in the list below is ppb – parts per billion. ppm – parts per million – is the usual.

Foods less famous for B12parts per billion
Barley Grass (100 grams powdered)
White Button Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms
Crimini Mushrooms
Tempe: fermented soy bean cake, 3 oz.

Miso: fermented rice, barley or soybeans per 100 g
Batabata-cha, per 100 g of dry weight
Grain, flour, cereals: approx.

Atlantic Wakame
Irish Moss
Sea Lettuce



Because the B12 content is so low in the foods less famous for containing B12, it is important to recognize that the content may vary greatly depending on where the food was grown.

photo of tea cup with tea - Batabata Chai Tea
Batabata Cha tea

 Batabata-cha ~ Fermented Japanese Tea


This is pretty technical, but so impressive, given that the operative word is,  Authentic.

A Japanese fermented black tea (Batabata-cha) contained a considerable amount of vitamin B(12) (456 +/- 39 ng per 100 g dry tea leaves and 2.0 +/- 0.3 ng per 100 mL of tea drink). A corrinoid compound was partially purified and characterized from the tea leaves. The patterns of the purified compound by the silica gel 60 thin-layer chromatography and C18 reversed phased high-performance liquid chromatography were identical to those of authentic vitamin B(12).

When 20 week old vitamin B(12) deficient rats, which excreted substantial amounts (about 250 mg/day) of methylmalonic acid in urine as an index of vitamin B(12) deficiency, were fed the tea drink (50 mL/day, 1 ng of vitamin B(12)) for 6 weeks, urinary methylmalonic acid excretion (169 +/- 29 mg/day) of the tea drink-supplemented 26 week old rats decreased significantly relative to that (250 +/- 32 mg/day) of the deficient rats.

The results indicate that the vitamin B(12) found in the fermented black tea is bioavailable in mammals.

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Feb 25;52(4):909-11. Characterization of corrinoid compounds from a Japanese black tea (Batabata-cha) fermented by bacteria. Kittaka-Katsura H, Ebara S, Watanabe F, Nakano Y. Source: Department of Food and Nutrition, Kyoto Women’s University, Kyoto 605-8501, Japan.

Soy fermented with Lactobacillus makes B12 rich beverages

Fermented Soy has vitamin B12

In view of the the fact that soy is a popular food (sadly much U.S. grown soy is GMO) and the fact that soy itself contains no vitamin B12, researchers fermented soy using Lactobacillus reuteri CRL 1098, a bacteria known to produce an active form of vitamin B12. The resulting soymilk beverage was fed to animals (pregnant females and their offspring), and not to similar animals in the control group. 

At the end of the trials, females and their corresponding offspring were sacrificed and studied. The researchers found that drinking the fermented soymilk prevented the development of all symptoms associated with nutritional B12 deficiency both in females their offspring. Soybean-based functional food with vitamin B12-producing lactic acid bacteria by Verónica Molina, Marta Médici, Graciela Font de Valdez, and María Pía Taranto. Journal of Functional Foods, 2012. Read more.

Easily add B12 making bacteria to yogurt you make

It’s easy to make yogurt, which in itself contains vitamin B12. You can increase the amount of vitamin B12 in the yogurt you make quite easily by adding a bit of Emmentaler cheese while preparing your yogurt mix. The yogurt tastes good, not cheesy. Yogurt and Vitamin B12 ~ Read more.

B12 Status in Long-term Vegans

Rauma et al. (1995, Finland) examined the B12 status in long-term adherents of a strict uncooked vegan diet called the “living food diet”…The 16 vegans consuming nori and/or chlorella seaweeds had serum B12 levels twice as high as the 5 vegans not using these seaweeds. Rauma et al. concluded that some seaweeds consumed in large amounts can supply adequate amounts of bioavailable B12. However, they also thought the high levels of iodine in the seaweeds would be detrimental over time. Vitamin B-12 status of long-term adherents of a strict uncooked vegan diet, Rauma, 1995

An indication of low vitamin B12

One indication that you might be significantly low on vitamin B12 is the appearance of lines or ridges on your fingernails, and the disappearance of the moons at the bottoms of your fingernails.

There are many common things, not to mention stress, which reduce the amount of B12 you get from your food. Some of these things also deplete the B12 you have stored in your body. (For your body to work properly you need B12 in all of your muscle tissue, according to the neurologist I was seeing when my B12 problem was first diagnosed.)
Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges

Jarrow Methyl B12

There are two forms of Vitamin B12 commonly available for purchase. It’s a good idea to learn to distinguish between them, since one form, Methylcobalamin, is the active form of B12 and acts both more quickly and more efficiently, the other is Cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin gives far better results than the form which is simply labeled “B12”.

Because there is so little B12 in foods, (there’s more than enough if you aren’t under a lot of stress, I don’t want to give the wrong impression) I’m going to talk about the amount to take. 1,000 mcg (micrograms) is the same as 1 mg. Dissolving a 1 mg Methylcobalamin lozenge under your tongue every day for a month is the same as having a B12 shot a month. A 5 mg Methylcobalamin lozenge dissolved under your tongue every day for a month will equal 5 B12 shots a month.

So, How much Methylcobalamin to use?

Let me give you an idea of how much B12 is generally prescribed by doctors: replacement therapy typically begins with a shot a day for a week or two, followed by a shot every week for a few weeks, after which there is a shot a month, generally for life, for “maintenance.”

To equal a shot a day, you would need to dissolve 30 mg a day of Methylcobalamin lozenges under your tongue. That would be 6 of the 5 mg lozenges a day.

Just to be clear, it appears that once there is a B12 deficiency, the amount of B12 needed to recover is not available from food.

When I was having a shot a day my peripheral neuropathy went away.

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Foods Containing B12
Article Name
Foods Containing B12
Foods famous for vitamin B12 are dairy, eggs, fish, seafood, meat. But, the fact is B12 originates exclusively with microorganisms, that is, bacteria. Swiss Cheese has live B12 making bacteria.
Publisher Name
Health Boundaries
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4 Replies to “Foods Containing B12

  1. I was reading that you received a shot a day for your periferal neuropathy. How many days did it take? i have just been diagnosed after 4 long painful years. i would like to be able to tell my dr how long it took for you. just to have some perspective. Thank you

  2. Hi Mary Pat,

    I don’t think doctors are even remotely interested in things people find on the internet. In fact a lot of people have told me that telling their doctors about things like that has made the doctor Less helpful.

    The holistic doctor that gave me the prescription for 12 bottles of cyanocobalamin, each containing enough for 30 shots, wrote me the prescription months before I began using it. I thought she’d made a mistake because I’d never heard about shots being that frequent.

    When I had tetanus I began using the prescription. I kept track of the results in my Tetanus Journal. I don’t remember exactly how long it took for the peripheral neuropathy to go totally away. I’m sure it was several weeks. I don’t remember if it was a few months, or longer, or less than several months. Tetanus Journal ~ Read more.

    I do know that last year when I stopped eating GMOs and began eating veg out of my garden without washing them, since cobalamin comes from microorganisms in the air, ground, etc. I began using far fewer methylcobalamin lozenges. It was fine, too. Except that last winter I forgot that I wasn’t eating out of my garden, but rather, cans. So I should have begun using more lozenges. I didn’t. Pretty soon the neuropathy came back. Intensely painful burning, particularly on my right thigh.

    Over the last month I’ve been using 3 to 5 lozenges a day with the result that the burning happens only infrequently, and usually when there’s something stressful precipitating it.

    I feel sure that your peripheral neuropathy will go away.

    Karen Kline

  3. I have high b12 levels. .. 1350…what can I do to reduce this level and what if any are the negative effects of such a high level

  4. Hi Jo,

    1350 as a B12 level sounds high because in the US many labs and doctors accept 180 as normal.

    In Japan the lowest normal is 500-550 because levels lower than that are shown to be accompanied by some loss of mental abilities. What is a Healthy B12 Level?

    The holistic M.D. I went to said she liked to keep her patients at 1200, no lower. When she gave me a prescription for a shot a day I didn’t use the prescription for a long time, thinking it must have been an error. But, when I did use it pain from nerve damage I’d been told was permanent, went away.

    What you probably need to be looking at is whether or not you still have symptoms of low vitamin B12.

    Thank you for taking the time to write a comment.

    Karen Kline

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