Rice is a poor source of vitamin B12. Only fortified rice milk is rich in vitamin B12, while fermented rice contains only traces of vitamin B12.
Health benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is involved in DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, cellular energy production, and the proper function of the central nervous system.[1,2]
Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to anemia, neuropathy, neurodegenerative disease and cognitive impairment. Pregnant women should get enough vitamin B12 to decrease the risk of neural tube defect.
How much vitamin B12 do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg. Both for women and men.
Pregnant and lactating women require slightly higher doses of 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg, respectively.
Is vitamin B12 deficiency common?
Actually, vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty common. As we can’t synthesize vitamin B12, we have to get it from food.
But, there aren’t many common foods high in vitamin B12. Only certain animal-based foods are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
On the other hand, most plant-based foods contain no vitamin B12 whatsoever. Only fortified cereals, juices, and nutritional yeasts are good sources of vitamin B12.
White rice contains no vitamin B12
White (or refined) rice contains no vitamin B12 whatsoever. All rice products, like flour, pasta, crackers, cakes, milk, bread, noodles, and cereals naturally contain no vitamin B12.
Only fortified products may contain some vitamin B12. For instance, rice milks are usually enriched with vitamin B12.
Fortified rice milk contains about 0.63 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100g, or 1.5 mcg per serving. So, a cup of rice milk may provide up to 63% of the recommended daily intake.
You can buy rice or any other plant-based milks on Amazon. Look at the nutrition facts label to find out if vitamin B12 has been added.
Is brown rice rich in vitamin B12?
The vitamin B12 content of rice doesn’t depend on the rice variety, processing, or cooking method. Even brown rice as well as wild rice contain no vitamin B12.
As a rule of thumb, whole-grains are more nutrient-dense than refined foods. But, the bran of rice doesn’t contain any vitamin B12.
What’s the vitamin B12 content of fermented rice products?
Actually, there aren’t common plant-based foods containing vitamin B12. Plants can’t synthesize it. Vitamin B12 is naturally synthesized only by certain bacteria and microflora of animals.
Hence, only certain fermented plant-based foods contain some vitamin B12. For instance. tempeh is a good dietary source of vitamin B12. It’s made of fermented soybeans. It contains vitamin B12, while all other soy products lack of it.
Fermented rice contains some vitamin B12 as well. There are many traditional recipes with fermented rice around the world. The most popular recipe is curd rice. It’s also known as yogurt rice. It contains only 0.004 mcg of vitamin B12 per serving.
Other traditional foods made of fermented rice, such as biriyani, dosa, and idli, contain negligible amounts of vitamin B12. They contain less than 0.001 mcg of vitamin B12 per serving.
Thus, we can’t depend on fermented rice to meet our daily needs.
Sushi may prevent vitamin B12 deficiency
Although, rice doesn’t contain any vitamin B12, eating sushi could help us meet our daily needs.
First, you could prefer sushi with nori. Nori is an edible seaweed, which is naturally rich in vitamin B12. It is a key ingredient of many sushi recipes. Nori contains approximately 32 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100g.
According to studies, the regular nori consumption can help us meet our daily needs of vitamin B12. Vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet would benefit the most.[5,6]
Seaweed and algae are good vegan sources of vitamin B12. They have a decent chlorophyll content as well.
Salmon in sushi is also a great dietary source of vitamin B12. Salmon, as most fish, is a great dietary source of vitamin B12.
Are there good plant-based sources of vitamin B12?
There aren’t many common plant-based foods high in vitamin B12. Only tempeh, some types of algae and seaweed, like chlorella and nori, as well as fortified foods are the only good vegan dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet might benefit the most from taking a vitamin B12 supplement. You’ll find a wide variety of vitamin B12 supplements on iHerb.
Vitamin B12 supplements are considered pretty safe. Vitamin B12 toxicity is rather uncommon. Even extremely high dosages of 1,000 mcg are rather unlikely to cause any side effect.
Common foods high in vitamin B12
Actually, only animal-based products are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Beef liver is the richest food in vitamin B12. Just a serving contains more than 70 mcg of vitamin B12. This dose is 2,940% of the recommended daily intake! But, we shouldn’t eat beef liver regularly. It may lead to vitamin A overdose, as it’s extremely high in vitamin A.
Common foods high in vitamin B12 are fish, milk, dairy, eggs, chicken, and meat.
Cow’s milk is the most important dietary source of vitamin B12, though. Not only it’s rich in vitamin B12, but also, vitamin B12 in milk is highly bioavailable.