Your brain, muscles and nerves all require vitamin B12 to maintain their normal functions. Without a sufficient supply of this essential nutrient, you may experience extreme fatigue, weakness, weight loss, constipation, nerve damage, memory loss or depression. The recommended dosage of vitamin B12 varies depending upon your age and health status. If you have questions or concerns about either your child's vitamin B12 intake or your own, seek additional guidance from your doctor.
Each day, infants up to 6 months of age need to consume 0.4mcg of vitamin B12. As your baby continues to develop during his 7 to 12 months of life, his vitamin B12 requirement increases slightly to 0.5mcg daily. Typically, your infant will get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 by drinking breast milk. However, mothers who have low vitamin B12 levels or choose not to breastfeed may not be able to supply their infant with enough vitamin B12 in this manner. Infants with low vitamin B12 levels may be at risk of developing severe, permanent nerve and brain damage. If you're not sure if your baby is getting enough vitamin B12, talk to your pediatrician. She may recommend supplementing your baby's diet with a vitamin B12-rich formula.
Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 need to consume 0.9mcg of vitamin B12 each day. You can help your child maintain a healthy diet by introducing him to a variety of vitamin B12-rich foods when appropriate. While meat, poultry, fish and dairy products are excellent sources of this nutrient, fortified breakfast cereals may also help your child reach his daily B12 intake requirements.
For Young Children
As children continue to grow and develop their vitamin B12 requirements increase. Between the ages of 4 and 8, both boys and girls need to consume 1.2mcg vitamin B12 daily.
Older children approaching puberty require even more vitamin B12 to support their growing and developing bodies. Each day, make sure your 9- to 13-year-old child gets 1.8mcg of vitamin B12.
For Adolescents and Adults
Anyone over the age of 14 should get at least 2.4mcg of vitamin B12 each day. Women who are pregnant should increase their intake of this nutrient to 2.6mcg daily to support the health needs of their developing fetus. While breastfeeding, women should consume 2.8mcg of vitamin B12 each day, as this nutrient is passed from the mother to a baby through the breast milk.