We know you’ve never had a problem with occasional engine failure, but if you’ve heard it happened to a friend — cough — the reason may be a low level of vitamin B12. A recent report from Harvard University highlighted a study that has linked low levels of B12 to erectile dysfunction. Although an exact causal link hasn’t been determined, the B vitamin is used by every system in the body, particularly in cell metabolism and the production of blood — two essential factors in getting and keeping a quality erection.
So stock your grocery cart with the following foods, which are among the highest sources of B12 in their respective categories. The FDA recommends getting six micrograms of B12 a day. Call it the stay-lean, stay-hard diet for better sex.
Vitamin B12 in 3 oz serving: 84 µg (1,400% DV)
These “sea pistachios,” as the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt calls them, are no joke.They’re one of the richest food sources of B12 you can find. The boner-boosting bivalves are also high in L-arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide (NO), the Marvin Gaye of naturally occurring gases: It causes blood vessels to relax and facilitate blood flow, helping you get and stay hard. (NO is so powerful it’s used medically to treat erectile dysfunction.) Additionally, clams are high in muscle-building protein (and low in fat) that’ll help you look better naked.
Vitamin B12 in 1 filet (184 g): 25 µg (417% DV)
This IKEA-cafeteria staple can actually help you put things together in the bedroom. In addition to packing four times your daily requirement of B12 in one average-sized filet, herring is also rich in magnesium, which boosts testosterone and keeps sperm healthy and viable. On top of that, oily fish like herring are sky-high in vitamin D, which can help you get and keep it up. In a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Italian researchers examined 143 men with ED; 80% had suboptimal levels of the nutrient, and the men with severe ED had a 24% lower level of D than those with a mild form of the condition. The theory is that low levels of D promote dysfunctional blood vessels and a shortage of nitric oxide.
Vitamin B12 in 3 oz serving: 20 µg (333% DV)
These chilly-sounding mollusks have the ability to heat things up quick, with more than three times the recommended daily value of B12. A 3-ounce serving also has 20 grams of muscle-boosting protein, with only 4 grams of fat and 150 calories. Like clams, they’re rich in iron, which helps ensure that your blood flows everywhere it needs to. They’re also high in magnesium, a natural erection enhancer; low levels of the mineral have been shown to contribute to ED. Boost your levels even further with these magnesium-rich foods.
Vitamin B12 in 1/2 filet (198 g): 20 µg (333% DV)
This fish is your ultimate wingman. Aside from having 100% DV of B12 in a serving, it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which spur the creation of nitric oxide, helping you stay hard. The fish is also incredibly high in protein at 40 grams a serving, and is rich in vitamin B-6, which aids healthy blood production—good for muscles above and below the belt. Plus, researchers have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in produce, fish, whole grains and healthy fats (like omega-3s) can improve erectile function in men with metabolic syndrome. Remember to always choose wild salmon — the farmed variety contains too many PCBs, nasty chemicals that can act as pseudo-estrogens and can lower your testosterone levels. Pair a fillet with some of these foods that increase sexual stamina.
Vitamin B12 in 3 oz serving: 14 µg (233% DV)
According to legend, Casanova — the Tinder master of his time — regularly ate a breakfast of 50 oysters. Turns out he could’ve doubled as a nutritionist if he’d been able to get out of the sack. In addition to being high in B12, oysters contain more zinc than any other food source ( almost five times your daily DV). This nutrient is essential for testosterone production, and when your T levels droop, so does your business. Like other bivalves, oysters are high in D-aspartic acid, an amino acid that has been shown to temporarily boost low testosterone levels and improve sperm quality in infertile men. On a purely aesthetic level, zinc also helps the body synthesize protein into muscles, which will pump you up in more ways than one.
Vitamin B12 in ¾ cup: 6 µg (100% DV)
If seafood isn’t your thing — or the Casanova Breakfast Plan doesn’t work with your budget — know that fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of B12. According to the USDA, healthy cereals such as Kellogg’s All-Bran, Special K, Smart Start and Whole Grain Total provide a full day’s allowance. Check the nutrition facts and opt for whole grains, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, or clogged and constricted arteries, which inhibits blood flow. That’s dangerous for your heart, but guess which artery-rich organ you’ll probably notice it in first?
Vitamin B12 in 3 oz serving: 5 µg (83% DV)
In addition to being leaner and lower in calories than conventional cuts, grass-fed beef offers a host of benefits, from muscle-building to fat-burning to heart protection. You can add assistance in the bedroom to its list of good qualities; it’s a good pick for getting your B12 if you’re not into seafood. So, eat up! It’s one of the healthy fats that actually makes you skinny.
Nasoya Tofu Plus
Vitamin B12 in 3 oz serving: 1.2 µg (20% DV)
Wondering about the lack of veggies on this list? That’s because B12 is found almost entirely in animal products; vegetable sources have negligible levels of the nutrient. Sorry, vegetarians, but that extends to regular tofu, which is a good source of protein — but zilch B12. The exception is fortified tofu, such as Nasoya Tofu Plus, which is pumped up with additional nutrients, including B vitamins. A 3-ounce portion also contains 7 grams of muscle-friendly protein. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan whose libido has gone limp, you may want to do a cost-benefit analysis of tofu as a protein source and consume it sparingly, as some studies have shown that it can lower testosterone levels. If you’re concerned, you can always double down on these testosterone-boosting foods.
Vitamin B12 in 1 cup: 1.2 µg (20% DV)
If you don’t usually connect Greek yogurt with sensuality, that’s understandable (and probably sane). Just know that one container can provide 20% of your daily value of B12 and up to 17 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of potassium, which keeps your heart healthy and aids circulation — two essential factors in getting hard. And those are only a few of the factors that make it one of our favorite foods; it’s also instrumental in weight loss and management.