The Revised D-A-CH-Reference Values for the Intake of Vitamin B12 : Prevention of Deficiency and Beyond

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Mar;63(6):e1801178. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201801178. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


Scope: The nutrition societies of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are the joint editors of the "D-A-CH reference values for nutrient intake", which are revised regularly.

Methods and results: By reviewing vitamin-B12 -related biomarker studies, the reference values for vitamin B12 were revised in 2018. For adults, the estimated intake is based on the adequate serum concentrations of holotranscobalamin and methylmalonic acid. The estimated values for children and adolescents are extrapolated from the adult reference value by considering differences in body mass, an allometric exponent, and growth factors. For infants below 4 months of age, an estimated value is set based on the vitamin B12 intake via breast milk. The reference values for pregnant and lactating women consider the requirements for the fetus and for loss via breast milk. The estimated values for vitamin B12 intake for infants, children, and adolescents range from 0.5 to 4.0 µg d-1 . For adults, the estimated values are set at 4.0 µg d-1 , and for pregnant and lactating women, they are set at 4.5 and 5.5 µg d-1 , respectively.

Conclusion: Based on the data of several vitamin B12 status biomarkers studies, the reference value for vitamin B12 intake for adults is raised from 3.0 to 4.0 µg d-1 .

Keywords: cobalamine; holo-transcobalamin; methylmalonic acid; reference value; vitamin B12.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Reference Values
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*
  • Vitamin B 12 / pharmacokinetics*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B 12