Cooking B12

Have had two questions in the last two days from people asking whether they can get vitamin B12 from cooked fortified foods. To answer them, I updated Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It – Vegan Sources:

Tucker et al. (2000, USA, 13) found that vitamin B12 from fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products was associated with better vitamin B12 status than was B12 intake from red meat, poultry, and fish, leading the researchers to suspect that the B12 from meat might be damaged by cooking. The B12 in animal foods tends not to be cyanocobalamin, the form used in fortified foods and that is more stable during cooking. For example, in an acid medium (pH 4-7), cyanocobalamin can withstand boiling at 120° C (1).

Even so, for people wondering whether they are destroying the B12 in their fortified foods by cooking, we do not have enough evidence to know for certain, so it is safest to make sure you rely on uncooked sources of vitamin B12.

1. Personal communication, March 6-7, 2002 with Dr. Fumio Watanabe, Kochi Women’s University, Department of Health Science, 5-15 Eikokuji-cho Kochi 780-8515 Japan.

13. Tucker KL, Rich S, Rosenberg I, Jacques P, Dallal G, Wilson PW, Selhub J.
Plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations relate to intake source in the Framingham
Offspring study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Feb;71(2):514-22. | link

4 Responses to “Cooking B12”

  1. Idan Says:

    To my understanding milk in its highly processed production is stripped out of most of the b12 and is later being added by a b12 supplement , If that’s the case then no wonder that its better absorbed since its not bound to animal protein

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:


    I’ve never heard that before.

  3. Eni Says:

    Interesting! Research of this kind could be useful in conversations about veganism and meat eating with others. My experience is that most meat eaters have picked up some where that B12 is a thing to think about for vegans and many make a point of bringing that up. Most reading this will probably have had that kind of conversation several times.

    Next time I will ask back: “Yeah I have made it a habit to twice a week take a 1mg supplement with B12 in cyanocobalamin form, whichsome evidence indicate is more reliable than B12 through meat since that form of B12 might be destroyed during cooking. How do you yourself get a sufficient amount of B12 every week?” I wonder what the reply to THAT will be 🙂

  4. Idan Says:

    Yes look like you’re right jack , I don’t remember where I’ve seen this claim about b12 but it made sense that the processing of milk destroys the b12 content . But now when i looked for information about this it looks like the processing part of milk have a very low impact on b12 content and does not destroy it .

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