To B or not to B: Here are the questions

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a member of the group of water-soluble vitamins in the B-complex family. Take the quick quiz below for a fun test of your knowledge about this important B vitamin.

True or False?
Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells.

Strict vegetarians and vegans may be at risk for B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12, although essential for our health, is required only in minute amounts.

It is easy to overdose on vitamin B12.

1. True. Vitamin B12 is essential for nerve-tissue metabolism and helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.

2. True. Naturally occurring forms of B12 are found predominantly in red meat, with the highest amounts in organ meats such as liver; fish, such as trout and salmon; and dairy products, in that order. B12-fortified breakfast cereals and drinks and foods, such as nutritional yeast, are some of the few plant sources of B12 (always check nutritional labels to be sure of B12’s origins).

3. True. The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adult men and women. A microgram (mcg) is one one-millionth of a gram. A milligram (mg), the unit by which many vitamins are measured, is one one-thousandth of a gram.

4. False. As with all the B vitamins, there is little potential for toxicity, even at high doses. According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., no adverse effects have ever been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake in healthy individuals.

—Vonalda Utterback