Vitamin B12: Tastes good, and good FOR you! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-12-2017, 07:55 PM
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Vitamin B12: Tastes good, and good FOR you!

All mainstream vegan organizations recommend taking vitamin B12.

Here are dosage recommendations: http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/rec

Many brands available. Plus, they taste like cherry candy! (Note: Not actually candy

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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-12-2017 at 08:02 PM.
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#2 Old 01-12-2017, 08:53 PM
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Yes, B12 is important for anyone on a vegan or near-vegan diet. The problems don't necessarily manifest right away because the liver can store B12 for years, but within some period of time (possibly years) after going vegan, irreversible nerve damage could occur if B12 is not being obtained in a supplement or through fortified foods.

NatureMade is a brand that has a good reputation. The problem with vitamin supplements is that there is no requirement for independent verification (in the US.) or government testing that the pills actually contain the listed vitamins. There are some companies, though, that do independent verification, through laboratory testing, to confirm that various brands of supplements are legit. The one I'm familiar with is Consumer Lab at http://consumerlab.org. There is an annual fee, however, to use their service.

I think, though, that some of the supplement brands that have a quality reputation are Nature Made, which David mentioned, Now, and Solgar. There are others. If you're vegan, or even near-vegan, it's a good idea to take not only a B-12 supplement, but one that you're pretty sure is legit.

Last edited by Dilettante; 01-12-2017 at 09:29 PM.
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#3 Old 01-13-2017, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
NatureMade is a brand that has a good reputation. The problem with vitamin supplements is that there is no requirement for independent verification (in the US.) or government testing that the pills actually contain the listed vitamins. There are some companies, though, that do independent verification, through laboratory testing, to confirm that various brands of supplements are legit. The one I'm familiar with is Consumer Lab at http://consumerlab.org. There is an annual fee, however, to use their service.

.

Luckily, major brand names do have their vitamins independently certified.

Independent certification labs include Consumer Lab (as you mentioned), as well as NSF International ( http://www.nsf.org/ ) and U.S. Pharmacopeia ( http://www.quality-supplements.org/ ).

If you have ever seen a vitamin jar that says, "USP Verified", the "USP" stands for U.S. Pharmacopeia.



Even some low-cost vitamins, like those from Kirkland (Costco), are USP Verified (see the "USP" logo at the lower-left part of the bottle):


.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-13-2017 at 05:00 PM.
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#4 Old 01-13-2017, 06:36 PM
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I found that chart confusing.

I take a multivitamin with B12 in it and buy a lot of foods fortified with B12 (bread, plant milk, tofu). Is there any reason to add extra supplementation beyond this? On most days I would take in about 3 times the RDA for B12.
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#5 Old 01-13-2017, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
I found that chart confusing.

I take a multivitamin with B12 in it and buy a lot of foods fortified with B12 (bread, plant milk, tofu). Is there any reason to add extra supplementation beyond this? On most days I would take in about 3 times the RDA for B12.

Hi Avril,

If you are between 14 and 64 years of age, the Veganhealth.org vitamin B12 chart recommends that you either * :

Consume 2 - 3.5 mcg of vitamin B12 twice per day
or
Consume 25 - 100 mcg of vitamin B12 once per day
or
Consume 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 twice per week

(* These recommendations apply only to cyanocobalamin B12. Other forms of B12 (such as methylcobalamin) require higher doses: http://veganhealth.org/b12/noncyanob12)



If you are consuming B12-fortified foods regularly, then you might not need a separate B12 supplement - it's just an easy way to make sure that you're getting enough vitamin B12, without having to think about whether you've consumed enough B12-fortified foods on any particular day.

Taking more than the RDA of vitamin B12 is fine. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, "no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals": https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Vi...ofessional/#h8

Vitamin B12 supplements are incredibly cheap in most places - usually less than $14 for a 6 month supply. Generic-brand vitamin B12 supplements are even cheaper. In the United States, CVS Pharmacy sells a 1+ year supply of B12 tablets for only $7.49.



Final note. Some people balk at the idea of consuming such "high" doses of a vitamin. It should be clarified that B12 dosage recommendations are actually extremely tiny. Even the "high" recommended dosage - 1000 mcg - is only 1 milligram. https://www.google.com/#q=1000+micrograms+to+milligrams
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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-13-2017 at 07:22 PM.
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#6 Old 01-13-2017, 07:31 PM
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Whether something is a high dose or not isn't really whether it objectively appears to be a lot, but you can't really overdose on B12, so that's not really an issue in this particular case. I would "balk" at high doses of many things that simply appear "tiny," though, as we should!

But my question is more, is there any reason why a separate B12 supplement is needed, aside from a regular multivitamin? I keep seeing people emphasizing the B12 and I haven't ever understood why they are insistent on that versus a multivitamin or fortified foods. Unless you need high doses because you don't absorb it well (which is sometimes true with older people), I don't know why you'd want yet another pill to worry about.
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#7 Old 01-13-2017, 11:08 PM
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But my question is more, is there any reason why a separate B12 supplement is needed, aside from a regular multivitamin? I keep seeing people emphasizing the B12 and I haven't ever understood why they are insistent on that versus a multivitamin or fortified foods. Unless you need high doses because you don't absorb it well (which is sometimes true with older people), I don't know why you'd want yet another pill to worry about.

Yes, there is a reason to take a separate B12 supplement instead of a multivitamin.

First, certain fat soluble vitamins, like E and A, that are included in almost all multivitamins appear to reduce life expectancy when taken in supplement form. See, for example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6399773.stm.

So, it seems prudent to avoid multivitamins in order to maximize expected longevity. On the other hand, water soluble vitamins like B12 seem to be okay to take in relatively larger dosages, because any excess is eliminated through the urinary pathway. So, the best approach seems to be taking B12 on its own. No apparent significant risk from the B12, and the fat soluble vitamins in multis are avoided.

Second, if you're vegan, the safest approach is to take a verified, independently tested source of B12, tested by Consumer Lab or one of the other independent testing companies. It's unusual for multivitamins to be tested for B12 in this way.

For both of these reasons, taking a separate, tested and verified source of B12, without any of the potentially harmful effects of the fat soluble vitamins in multivitamins, seems to be the best approach.

Last edited by Dilettante; 01-14-2017 at 03:06 AM.
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#8 Old 01-14-2017, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
.

First, certain fat soluble vitamins, like E and A, that are included in almost all multivitamins appear to reduce life expectancy when taken in supplement form. See, for example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6399773.stm.

.

It's always best, of course, to obtain vitamins and minerals through food.

However, it should be noted that the above-cited study (full text of study here: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/205797 ), included people who were taking huge daily doses of vitamins A and E - much higher than the amounts found in multivitamins.

The above study extracted data from 68 randomized trials, involving a total of 232,606 people. The people in these studies were taking vitamin A doses that ranged from 1333 to 200,000 IU per day, and vitamin E doses that ranged from 10 to 50,000 IU per day. Some of the people in the study were taking daily doses that grossly exceeded the maximum recommended dosages of vitamin A and vitamin E, which are 9,333 IU and 1500 IU, respectively: http://www.consumerlab.com/RDAs/ and http://www.consumerlab.com/RDAs/#VitaminE

In contrast, typical multivitamins contain 100% of the RDI of these vitamins, which is 3000 IU of vitamin A, and 30 IU of vitamin E: http://www.consumerlab.com/RDAs/ and http://www.consumerlab.com/RDAs/#VitaminE .


I want to strongly stress that newspapers, blogs, and popular websites are not complete, reliable sources of information. The BBC article failed to provide important details of this study. The article didn't even provide a link to the full text of the study! I had to search around to find the actual study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-14-2017 at 11:23 AM.
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#9 Old 01-14-2017, 10:55 AM
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Multivitamins almost never contain huge amounts of fat soluble vitamins. That really, really does not worry me. I'm about as worried about that as I am that I'm going to turn orange from eating too many carrots. Theoretically possible? Yes. Going to happen? No.

Thanks, David. I'll stick with my multivitamin and fortified foods, and continue to get the other vitamins and minerals I need.
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