When You Lack Vitamin B12 – Oh, Those Delicious Clams

April 11, 2014


Muscle weakness, tremors, fatigue, an unsteady gait, low blood pressure, incontinence, depression, forgetfulness, moodiness, numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, mouth soreness, a tender tongue, constipation, loss of appetite… sounds like a recipe for a long hospital stay, right?

Believe it or not, every one of these scary symptoms can be a sign of Vitamin B12 deficiency. But fear not, if you’re in need of a little (or a lot) more Vitamin B12 there’s a simple answer you won’t believe – eat more clams!

Why we need our daily dose of delicious bivalves

Since we first began noshing on solid food, our mothers have practically force fed us an array of scary looking fruits and vegetables in attempt to give us the vitamins and minerals they promised would make us grow big and strong.


Turns out, they kind of knew what they were talking about. Every vitamin has its own set of notable benefits, and Vitamin B12’s involvement in blood formation, energy production, and DNA synthesis makes it pretty essential to your basic survival.

Just 3 ounces of cooked clams packs an impressive 84.1 mg of Vitamin B12.

That’s a whopping 1401% of the daily value the Food and Drug Administration suggests for adults, and more than enough to keep your energy levels up and your body functioning in tip top shape.

And 3 ounces is next to nothing. That’s the amount you might toss with pasta and tomatoes for a quick mid-week meal!

Clams help your hair and skin as well!

Want long, shiny hair you can toss in the wind and the kind of skin that makes Photoshop irrelevant? Not without Vitamin B12! This vital nutrient helps keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy and in a constant state of renewal. Who would’ve thought that getting and keeping cover-girl worthy looks could be as simple as dishing up a heaping helping of clams casino?

How do I know if I’m not keeping up on my clam consumption?

The National Institutes of Health estimates that between 1.5% and 15% of people in the United States are Vitamin B12 deficient. If you suspect you’re one of them, your doctor can order a simple blood test to check your levels. You need more Vitamin B12 the older you get, so your daily recommended dosage continually grows, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to boost your intake even more.

Nip your potential B12 problem in the bud by working more vitamin-rich foods like clams into your diet now, and you may never have to experience the many downsides of a deficiency. Few things are more comforting on a cold windy day than digging into a piping hot pot of creamy New England clam chowder and knowing you’re boosting your happiness quotient and your health at the same time.

Fixing Vitamin B12 deficiency, one clam at a time

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products like meat, eggs, cheese, dairy, and fish, but the most efficient thing you can do to maintain your B12 levels is to incorporate foods like beef liver and, best of all, clams, into your diet.

Cook up a bowl of 20 small clams, steamed with butter, garlic, white wine, and some fresh herbs, and not only will your stomach be thrilled, you’ll have treated yourself to about 30 times the amount of Vitamin B12 your body needs to work the way you want and need it to!

Sure, there are plenty of supplements on the market that can help you get your daily dose of Vitamin B12 goodness.

A good multivitamin might get the job done, you could take a separate Vitamin B supplement (usually enriched with other nutrients and folic acid as well), or even try out the sublingual options, which dissolve under your tongue and enter the bloodstream without entering the digestive system, but really, why treat a vitamin deficiency with tasteless, man made pills and potions when a simple trip to the fish market or the seafood counter at your local grocery would do the trick in a much more delicious fashion?