Vitamin B-12 discussion thread - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-26-2005, 04:57 PM
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Ok, whats the deal with the B-12 ?



Why do you need it? How do you get it? How much do you need?



Most people assume you can only get your vitamin B-12 from animal sources. Is this the case though?





http://www.vegansociety.com/html/food/nutrition/b12/



The issue of vitamin B-12 is very important. Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that you need for healthy blood and healthy nerves. There is a prevailing feeling that only animal products contain vitamin B-12, as if cows make it. Let me be very clear about this, cows do not make vitamin B-12. They never have, they never will. Pigs don't make vitamin B-12, chickens don't make vitamin B-12, no animal makes vitamin B-12. They never have, they never will.



Vitamin B-12 is made by little microscopic plant cells called soil bacteria that live in the earth. And long ago when the earth was healthy and the soils were healthy, before we put all sorts of chemicals on them, The surface of the earth was covered with vitamin B-12, and there use to be lots of vitamin B-12 in our lives even if you were a pure vegetarian 300 years ago. You'd open up your cottage door and outside the back door would be a beautiful organic garden, and every carrot you pulled out of the ground would have little particles of vitamin B-12 sticking to it. When it came time to get your water, you'd take a bucket of water out of the stream, there would be vitamin B-12 in the stream water. There would be B-12 in the well water you brought out. There would be B-12 under your finger nails from working in the garden. There would be plenty of B-12 in your life and you needed so little of it, that it was not an issue.



We've become very isolated from the earth and we've lost our natural sources of B-12. Cows have B-12 in their muscles because they're eating grass all day and their pulling up clumps of dirt that have B-12 producing organisms clinging to the root of the grass. They eat the B-12 producing organisms who then produce the B-12, gets absorbed into their bloodstream and goes out into the muscles and is deposited into their muscles and livers. But that is bacterial B-12 in the cow's muscle. The cow did not make it, nor did the pig or chicken. It's true that you can go up to the cow, bash it's brains in, rip open it's abdomen and tear out it's liver and eat it to get your vitamin B-12. But I submit to you there is far less expensive and less violent ways to get your vitamin B-12.



Those same organisms are now cultured in big vats, they produce their B-12 which is separated out. It is then sprayed on breakfast cereals, it's added to soy milks, it's added to soy burgers, it's added to nutritional yeast, it's added to vitamin tablets. It's easy to get vitamin B-12 without consuming animal products and I suggest to you if you really want to lighten up your diet, find a non-animal source of B-12. Is it unnatural? Only because the lives we're living are unnatural and I think it's a much more holistic and gentle way to meet your B-12 needs.



by Dr Michael Klaper

Taken from http://www.eatveg.com/optimum.htm#osteo





One reason why many people think Veganism is not natural is because we have to take a B-12 supplement daily if we want to be healthy (although recent studies have shown everyone should be, not just vegans). What most people don't realize is that cows at the slaughterhouse are being given synthetic vitamin B-12 injections because they are not being fed a natural diet.

So taking a supplement is no less natural.
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#2 Old 02-26-2005, 05:02 PM
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From Veganhealth.org:



http://www.veganhealth.org/shv/index_html#vitaminb12



Quote:
Vitamin B12

There are no reliable, unfortified plant sources of vitamin B12; therefore fortified foods and/or supplements are necessary for the optimal health of vegans. See B12 in Tempeh, Seaweeds, Organic Produce, and Other Plant Foods for more information.



Vitamin B12 protects the nervous system. Without it, permanent damage can result (e.g., blindness, deafness, and dementia). It also keeps the digestive system healthy and reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels. Early deficiency symptoms sometimes include fatigue, and tingling in the hands or feet.



B12 keeps the digestive system healthy. By lowering homocysteine levels, it also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, neural tube defects, and other diseases.



Since 1999, there have been 12 studies comparing the homocysteine levels of vegans, vegetarians, or both, who do not supplement their diet with vitamin B12, to those of non-vegetarians. In every study, the vegans or vegetarians had higher homocysteine levels than the meat-eaters. In all cases, the vegans and vegetarians had homocysteine levels in the range associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, in the one study comparing vegans who were supplementing their diets with vitamin B12 (an average of 5.6 micrograms a day) with non-vegetarians, their homocysteine levels were the same, and well within the healthy range. Details can be read in the section Homocysteine, B12, Vegetarians, and Disease of Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It?



Vegan infants get B12 through breast milk (their mothers must have a consistent B12 intake) or formula.



The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for adults (abbreviated as µg or mcg).



B12 is stored in the liver. If you have been a typical meat eater for most of your life, your liver should have stored enough B12 to prevent serious deficiency symptoms for a number of years. However, when B12 intake is zero, old B12 stores cannot be relied on to keep homocysteine levels in check.



B12 Recommendations:



In foods, B12 is measured in micrograms (aka "µg" or "mcg"). 1,000 µg = 1 mg.



Step 1. If you have not had a regular source of B12 for some time, buy a bottle of 1,000 µg (or greater) B12 tablets. The following (and many others) are vegan:



Pangea VeganLife B12 Chewable Supplement 1,000 mcg tablets

VegLife sublingual 1,000 mcg lozenges. Sold in stores (website has a store locator).

Freeda Vitamins 500 mcg lozenges

Nature's Bounty sublingual 2500 mcg

Solgar sublingual 1,000 mcg nuggets (cherry flavoring contains beeswax as of 7/19/04 per phone converstaion with a reader)

Place 2,000 µg under your tongue until the tablet(s) has dissolved, once a day, for 2 weeks. Then follow the advice under Step #2.



Note: You can break the remaining tablets in half or quarters for Step #2. It's okay to take more than recommended.



Step 2. If you have had a regular source of B12, skip Step 1. One of the following daily recommendations should maximize your B12 status:



1.5 - 2.5 µg, twice a day, from fortified foods or supplements1

10 - 100 µg, once a day, from a supplement1,2

Click here for an explanation of how these recommendations were formulated.





Notes for Recommendations



Fortified foods: Amounts listed on a nutrition label are based on 6 µg/day. For example, 25% of the Daily Value = .25 * 6 µg = 1.5 µg.



Do Not Rely On: Any seaweed (e.g., algae, nori, spirulina), brewer's yeast, tempeh, or "living" vitamin supplement that uses plants as a source of B12. Do not rely solely on one type of fortified food such as Red Star Nutritional Yeast.



Vegan Infants: The Institute of Medicine recommends that infants of vegan mothers be supplemented with B12 from birth because their stores at birth and their mother's milk supply may be low.3



Exceptions: People with digestive or malabsorption diseases (such as pernicious anemia), chronic kidney failure, B12 metabolism defects, or cyanide metabolism defects should consult a bona fide health professional.



Cigarette smokers: Should consider a non-cyanocobalamin source of B12. Click here for more information.



Notes for Recommendations for Vegans and Near-Vegans

1. Lower limit based on minimum recommendations in What Every Vegan Should Know about Vitamin B12.

2. In a single dose, B12 absorption drops to 1-1.5% for the amounts above 5 µg.

3. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.



See Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It? for more information about B12.

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#3 Old 02-26-2005, 07:17 PM
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But what about the enslavement of the B12-making bacteria? Don't they have rights? Where does one draw the line exactly? If it isn't okay for vegans to eat honey because it exploits bees...then why is it okay to eat B12 supplements that were made from the enslavement of bacteria? Those bacteria are living things too. (And they aren't plants!)





Just a thought...I'm not saying I actually agree with the above statement...it's just food for thought (so to speak!).
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#4 Old 02-26-2005, 07:25 PM
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Since we can't really observe the behavior and habits of *bacteria* in the same way we can quantify the sentient qualities of larger creatures *AND* we are constantly comsuming bacteria just by swallowing and breathing there is an OBVIOUS difference between a vegan eating B-12 in supplemen form(NEEDED for survival) and eating animals or secretions (NOT needed for survival).



As far as the human need for fat and cholesterol are concerned, breast milk is the best choice for children up to age 2. A diet rich in fresh, raw oils and oily foods such as avocadoes and coconut oil supply saturated fats that assist the body in positive ways and support proper brain development.
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#5 Old 02-26-2005, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugvet View Post

But what about the enslavement of the B12-making bacteria? Don't they have rights? Where does one draw the line exactly? If it isn't okay for vegans to eat honey because it exploits bees...then why is it okay to eat B12 supplements that were made from the enslavement of bacteria? Those bacteria are living things too. (And they aren't plants!)





Just a thought...I'm not saying I actually agree with the above statement...it's just food for thought (so to speak!).







its one question after another, it does my head in. I think one has to stop asking questions after questions.



How I feel is, our bodies need b-12, since the beginning of man we've needed it so its natural for us to consume it.

We dont 'need' meat and certainly not dairy. We know a plant based diet is best for our health, we know rearing animals for food damages the environment and contributes to world hunger. So living on a vegan diet is pretty amazing huh? Im doing the best I can to stop suffering, Im doing my best to look after my health and the health of others and this planet. The fact is, I need my health to keep on living to be able to do these positive things and be a positive influence in this world.
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#6 Old 02-26-2005, 08:23 PM
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Bacteria are members of the .... (*drum roll*)









(*cymbal crash*) Bacteria kingdom. They are not animals.



The case you're offering is used for fungi. If it applies to fungi, why wouldn't it apply to plants?







Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugvet View Post

But what about the enslavement of the B12-making bacteria? Don't they have rights? Where does one draw the line exactly? If it isn't okay for vegans to eat honey because it exploits bees...then why is it okay to eat B12 supplements that were made from the enslavement of bacteria? Those bacteria are living things too. (And they aren't plants!)





Just a thought...I'm not saying I actually agree with the above statement...it's just food for thought (so to speak!).

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#7 Old 02-27-2005, 09:44 AM
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Froggy---Thanks for actually clearing that up! That was certainly a very concise and convincing answer.



Foxy--I'm just curious...do you have children? I have heard many times on these boards (not just from you) that breastmilk is the preferred method of nutrition for children up to age two. Although this may be the case, repeating over and over again is just plain rude. Some of us were unable to breastfeed, either for medical, financial, or emotional/psychological reasons. I don't think it's fair to keep insisting on this when there are many women who can't do it. Furthermore, although breastfeeding felt very natural to me at the beginning, I am glad that I had to stop. My son is now 14 months-old, and the thought of having that "little man" sucking on my breasts all day completely grosses me out. (And scares me...especially because he has 12 teeth!!). Some women have no problem with it...and that's great for them...but I certainly wouldn't want to do it...even if I could. By insisting that my child should only be getting his necessary cholesterol from my nonexistent breastmilk, you are condemning my innocent baby to poor development. Why should he be punished for something that is not his fault?
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#8 Old 02-27-2005, 10:04 AM
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[QUOTE=Pugvet]



I have heard many times on these boards (not just from you) that breastmilk is the preferred method of nutrition for children up to age two. Although this may be the case, repeating over and over again is just plain rude. QUOTE]



Sorry you think my statement was rude. I never intended it to be taken as such. I was simply bringing up a matter that is often connected to the B-12/cholesterol/veganism issue.



Please take it in context under which it was given. I never said anything about you and your situation (How could I, when I didn't know about it until just now ) so I don't see how I was being "rude".



Perhaps you are sensitive/defensive about this, and so whenever it is brought up (even by a person such as myself who doesn't know what your personal issues are) you are a bit on the defense. Sorry if this is the case.



I am a Doctor and Educator. I was simply stating the facts. Naturally, everyone has unique circumstances, and needs and must do what they deem appropriate. Thank Goddess for sublingual B-12!
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#9 Old 02-25-2006, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxy View Post


I am a Doctor and Educator. I was simply stating the facts. Naturally, everyone has unique circumstances, and needs and must do what they deem appropriate. Thank Goddess for sublingual B-12!



Foxy - are you an MD? Just curious.
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