View Full Version : Cobalt deficiency vs. B12 deficiency
Apr 28th, 2004, 10:11 PM
From the article:
"B12 is the only vitamin synthesized solely by certain microorganisms—many of which are abundant in soil. And the only vitamin containing a trace element: cobalt. B12 owes its chemical name—cobalamin—to the cobalt at the center of its molecular structure. Humans and all vertebrates require cobalt, though it's assimilated only in the form of B12.
Cobalt is important in the plant world. Bacteria on root nodules of legumes (beans, alfalfa, clover) require cobalt (and other trace elements) to synthesize B12 and fix nitrogen from air. Soybeans grown without cobalt are severely retarded in growth and exhibit severe nitrogen deficiency, leading to death in about one of four plants. Adding only a few ounces of cobalt per acre can resolve deficiency symptoms in ten to 21 days.
Cobalt deficiency is far more dramatic in animals, particularly ruminants (cattle, deer, camels, and sheep) grazing on deficient pasture. These animals obtain all their B12 from their gut bacteria, but only if bacteria are provided cobalt salts from pasture. Legumes with less than 80 parts per billion (ppb) cobalt can't meet ruminant B12 needs. Under deficient conditions, calves and lambs thrive and grow normally for a few months as they draw on B12 reserves in liver and other tissue, but soon exhibit gradual loss of appetite and failure to grow, followed by anemia, rapid weight loss and finally death. Marginally deficient pastures cause birth of weak lambs and calves that don't survive long. These symptoms mirror B12 deficiency in human infants.
To prevent or alleviate cobalt-B12 deficiency, farmers routinely add cobalt to animal feeds or salt licks. Some fertilize pastures with cobalt-enriched fertilizers; others opt for periodic quick-fix B12 injections. With any of these measures, all symptoms are reversed and B12 in milk and colostrum dramatically increases.
The implication for humans subsisting on vegetarian diets are profound. B12 synthesis by indigenous bacteria is known to occur naturally in the human small intestine, primary site of B12 absorption. As long as gut bacteria have cobalt and certain other nutrients, they produce B12. In principle then, internal B12 synthesis could fulfill our needs without any B12 provided by diet.
But if cobalt in our diet is on the wane, perhaps the problem isn't so much lack of B12-synthesizing intestinal flora as lack of cobalt, the element with which bacteria weave their magic. The burning question then is: how cobalt deficient is our soil? "
May 11th, 2004, 09:43 PM
Inspiredliving.com has a page (http://inspiredliving.com/organic/organic-vegetables-versus-nonorganic.htm) that according to themselves (but see below) describes the levels of some nutrients in organic vs. non-organic food. (If you click on the link, you'll see the info in a table, below is the same information, but with the level measured in organically grown vegetables listed above the levels in the non-organically grown vegetables.)
The cobalt levels should be of special interest for vegans, as cobalt is needed for B12 synthesis (the B12 molecule is built around a cobalt atom). If this article is/would have been correct, 4 of the 5 sampled plants contain no cobalt at all unless it is organically grown. According to comments on this study isn't really about organic vs. non-organic, but about comparing food from different soils. If this is correct (I don't know if it is), this raises another question: why is some soil cobalt deficient? Another study claims that the amount of various minerals have been reduced by 50% over the last 50 years, probably due to environmental issues. If this is correct, could it be that some of the soil in the first mentioned study is from areas with more pollution than others, and that this is the reason that some soil has less cobalt than soil in other areas (and plants grown in it has less B12) ?
I found it interesting an interesting coincidence (?) to see that most of these organically grown plants contain an amount of cobalt pr. 100g food which is very similar to the amount of B12 that dr. Victor Herbert wrote was adequate for 'normal people' pr. day: "The minimum daily requirement (MDR) for cobalamin appears to be even lower, 0.2-0.25 micrograms per day absorbed from food is adequate for normal people (Herbert 1987)". We know more about B12 now than we did in 1987 - but we also eat more than 100g food pr day - and vegans are not 'normal people' anyway :). See bottom of this post for additional info...
VEGETABLE: Snap Beans
Total Ash/Mineral Matter
Total Ash or Mineral matter
Total Ash or Mineral Matter
Total Ash or Mineral Matter
Total Ash or Mineral Matter
After I found this list, I came across http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/24.html which states that this study doesn't really show differences between organic/non-organic, but between vegetables grown in different soils. From the article:
"Just like conventional produce, the mineral content of organic produce depends upon the mineral content of the soil where that produce was grown.
Securing an organic label for produce in no way guarantees that
the magnesium, copper, manganese, cobalt and iron content of
the soils where that produce was grown has been magically
elevated to the higher levels of 1948.
Firman Bear revealed that a lot of farmers produced vegetables
without cobalt and other minerals. This is hardly a surprise when
you consider that for decades minerals have been taken out of
the soil and not replaced.
Cobalt is required for our metabolic enzyme systems. It is
needed for the production of thyroid hormones and myelin, the
insulating material found around nerves.
Does an organic tomato purchased today at a stand in a farmers
market guarantee you a dose of cobalt? No. And eating organic
produce does not guarantee you get regular and consistent
amounts of the other minerals required by your metabolic
You can find some folks putting minerals back in the soil, and
God bless them. But it will take decades to reverse a century of
neglect and abuse of our soils."
Trying to grow vegetables organically in 'abused' soil (that doesn't contain the needed minerals) obviously isn't a solution in itself. But there are studies out there that documents that vegetables that are organically grown contain more nutrients (also B12) than plants grown with chemical fertilizers. Whether the problem is organic/non-organic or other means of neglecting/abusing soil, to me - again - it looks like plant food vs. animal based food isn't the real cobalt/B12 deficiency problem. The important thing is how we treat our soil/plants/environment & ourselves. And - again - fresh, green leafy vegetables seem to be essential for good health, they even seem to do pretty well in poor soil. More about that later...
May 11th, 2004, 10:38 PM
You can read more about cobalt here:
http://www.anyvitamins.com/cobalt-info.htm: "Since cobalt is part of the vitamin B12 molecule, the function of cobalt is interwoven with that of vitamin B 12."
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/cons/3793e.htm: "Cobalt is essential in trace amounts for human life. It is part of vitamin B-12, and plays a key role in the body's synthesis of this essential vitamin. Cobalt has also been used as a treatment for anemia, because it causes red blood cells to be produced. The toxicity of cobalt is quite low compared to many other metals in soil. Exposure to very high levels of cobalt can cause health effects."
http://www.medical-library.net/sites/framer.html?/sites/_minerals_and_enzymes.html: "Cobalt is the co-factor/mineral for vitamin B12 (cobalamine). It enables B12 to do its job in the construction of red blood cells. It is necessary in very small amounts and must be obtained from foods, as it is not built into supplements. Sea vegetables are rich in cobalt even though some writers claim that you have to eat animal products to get it. This is just not true. "
http://www.seasonsindia.com/pregnancy/essential_sea.htm: "Cobalt is found in Green leafy vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, fruits and wholegrains. Benefits: An essential part of vitamin B12 for the normal functioning of cells, especially red blood cells. Deficiency is associated with slow growth and goitre."
"Cobalt: works with copper to promote iron assimilation. Best sources are animal products. Vegetarians often suffer from a cobalt deficiency".
"MAJOR SOURCE OF COBALT IS FOOD; CONCN IN GREEN, LEAFY VEGETABLES MAY BE AS GREAT AS 0.5 MG/KG DRY WT. BIOC: Only a few plant species accumulate cobalt above the 100 ppm which causes severe phytotoxicity. Hyperaccumulators of cobalt have been found which contain over 1% cobalt in dry leaves. Soil pH is very important in cobalt uptake and phyto-toxicity. More acidic soils sorb cobalt less strongly."
"The small amounts of cobalt in a well-balanced diet will satisfy the cobalt requirements of most people. The richest sources are meats, particularly kidney and liver; clams and oysters; milk; figs; and buckwheat. There is some cobalt available in vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, and spinach; but strict vegetarians are at greater risk of a deficiency than others."
Daily Intake: 15-32 mcg.
Dietary Source: Meats, leafy green vegetables, fruits, poultry, milk, clams, organ meats
Deficiency Symptoms: Retarded growth rate, pernicious anemia
Importance: Maintains red blood cells; functions as part of B-12; activates some enzymes in body
Inhibits Absorption: Unknown
Enhances Absorption: Copper, iron, zinc "
"Cobalt is an important agent of Vitamin B-12; it increases the bodyÍs ability to absorb it. Some symptoms of cobalt deficiency: Digestive disorders, Pernicious anemia, Fatigue, Poor circulation, Myelin sheath damage, Slow growth rate, Nerve damage. Natural sources: raw milk, goat milk, meats, apricots, sea vegetables."
"Cobalt deficiency in humans is like vitamin B-12 deficiency, with anaemia and nervous system problems. As little as 0.1 microgram cobalt as vitamin B-12 per day is needed by adults. Total cobalt intake may be in a range from 10 to 1800 micrograms per day."
"FOOD COBALT CONTENT
(micrograms per 100 grams of food)
Green leafy vegetables - 20-60
Organ meats - 15-25
Muscle meats - 7-12"
Reading about the effect of cobalt, the symptoms of cobalt deficiency and the sources for cobalt is a lot like reading about B12.
Could part of the vegan/B12 issue actually reflect a global cobalt deficiency in the soil?
Cobalt is more available in (green, leafy) plants than B12, but if vegans don't eat (enough of) them, or only eat non-organic plants, or organic plants from soil in polluted areas, could they develop B12 deficiency as a result the above mentioned cobalt deficiency issue, not (only?) because we consume too little B12?
May 12th, 2004, 12:26 AM
I eat an almost exclusive organic diet. I love it.
May 13th, 2004, 08:37 AM
mmhhmmm i eat as much organic stuff as i can, living with omnivores who dont care about their health :rolleyes:
May 13th, 2004, 11:57 AM
i try to eat alot of organic but sometimes i cant afford it... i buy what i can when i can... but im happy.. cuz the local health store had 50% off organic produce so i stocked up.... :D
Nov 17th, 2004, 06:24 AM
The original article I linked to above seems to be gone (or moved?), maybe because there is discussion about whether or not this study reflects organically vs non-organically grown plants, or plants from different soils (in both cases I find the study interesting).
From a pdf (http://www.onegrp.com/newspapers/pg12.pdf) -file on the same site, I just came across this info:
"In his 1974 book Atoms in Agriculture,
Dr Americo Mosca, famous chemistry
prizewinner of the Brussels World Fair,
discovered that toxic genetic chemicals used
in agriculture are more dangerous than
I calculate that in the U.S. the use of toxic
genetic chemicals, (herbicides, insecticides,
hormones, steroids etc.) cause damage equal
to the atomic fallout from 145 H-bombs of 14
megatons each, or in terms of atomic bombs
from 72,500 atomic bombs of the
Hiroshima type. For this reason, disease of
all kinds and the birth of mentally retarded
babies have increased tremendously in the
United States in the last 10 years."
It's always difficult to trust warnings/news as dramatic as this, and I guess most of us have a tendency to think that 'this cannot be true'. In this case, even if we would reduce the numbers by 90% or even 99%, we would be looking at scary facts.
From the same article:
"The Journal reported that two commonly used
agriculture chemicals: the herbicide paraquat
(paraquat dichloride) and the fungicid maneb
(manganese ethylene bisdithiocarbamate)
combined ? creates the exact pattern of brain
damage in mice that doctors see in patients with
The environmental reality is that several of
these chemicals are used on the same crops
and in the same geographical locations.
You've got to get rid of the weeds. Then the
insects. Then funguses. These are different
chemicals that do different things, but they're
often applied in the same fields, says Cory-
Slechta, who was joined in the research by
graduate student Mona Thiruchelvam and
faculty members Eric Richfield, Raymond
Baggs, and A. William Tank.
Maneb, paraquat and many other pesticides
are used in the agriculture-rich areas of the
country, including the Midwest, California,
Florida and the North-east. The map of their
use mirrors areas of the country where
people are more likely to die of Parkinson's
The study is one of the first to examine the
effects of such chemicals in tandem."
People who suffer from Parkinson's are also known to have very low B12 levels...
The current regulations and determinations of
safety levels are usually based on the effects
of single chemicals. In the real world,
however, we are exposed to mixtures of
chemicals every day. There are thousands
upon thousands of combinations.
No-one has looked at the effects of studying
together some of these compounds that,
taken by themselves, have little effect, says
Cory-Slechta. This has enormous
Dr Americo Mosca's book is from 1974. Here is a graphical overview over the development since then:
Nov 17th, 2004, 06:41 AM
That is interesting - I hope the organic food isn't better because it has been grown in soil treated with slaughterhouse by-products?
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:24 AM
The soil just about everywhere is so depleted of nutrients, that it hardly makes a difference whether the farmer grows crops using abattoir byproducts (organic) or whether he grows crops conventionally (with chemicals). There is evidence that dietary micronutrient intake is falling in the UK and Europe. A recent EEC survey shows that less than 3 percent of Europeans received the RDA in all recognised essential minerals. This from a UK Govt survey of 19-50yr olds. More elderly people suffer a B12 deficiency regardless of their dietary intake, unless they take supplements. A study last year in the 'Annals of Internal Medicine', found that people taking a daily multivitamin reported dramatically lower levels of infection, and had a lower risk of myocardial infarction.
Of course there are many groups of people - some who are smokers, some who are pregnant, elderly, etc. These conditions and others, including genetic inheritance, all play a part in their health.
Organic has yet to prove its efficacy, and as organic is far more expensive, and as the main items of my diet are fruit and veges, I'd rather buy more fruit and a greater variety of fruit, than a few mangy looking organic stuff. ;)
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:39 AM
"The soil just about everywhere is so depleted of nutrients" (confirmed by studies) - isn't this in itself a proof that exposing the soil to (certain) chemicals depletes the soil of nutrients?
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Very good point, Korn, we have robbed the land of all its nutrients over the years through poor farming methods, and poisoned the soil just like we poison everything good.
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Epidemiology March 2001;22:148-156
About 19,000 fetal deaths occur in the United States each year, and the causes remain a significant public health problem. Among known risk factors are smoking, advanced age among pregnant women and previous history of fetal deaths.
In the past, few epidemiological studies of pesticide exposure and birth defects have considered timing of possible exposures. And now it appears pregnant women living close to farms where pesticides are sprayed on fields may have an increased risk of having a fetus die due to birth defects.
This is the first study to our knowledge of pesticides and pregnancy in which exposures were in close proximity to the subjects and the verification of pesticide use was objective, not relying on people's memories of what they might have been exposed to.
Researchers found a slight increase of fetal death due to birth defects when pesticides were applied near where the pregnant women lived.
That span -- much of the first trimester -- appears to be a special window of vulnerability for birth defects, just as earlier research has suggested. If the women were exposed during the 3rd and 8th week of pregnancy -- the point when the fetal organs are forming -- the fetus seemed to be the most vulnerable to the effects of pesticide exposure.
The association increased for women living within 1 square mile of the field where pesticide application occurred.
The take home message is clear:
Living close to areas where agricultural pesticides are applied will boost the risk of fetal death due to birth defects.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine (1997;54:511-518):
Pesticides Linked to Stillbirths
Maternal exposure to workplace or household pesticides in early pregnancy increases the risk for stillbirths, The study authors discovered that one month of maternal exposure to workplace pesticides during the first two months of pregnancy resulted in a 2.4 times increased risk for stillbirth due to congenital defects, compared with mothers with no such exposure.
Pregnant women with one-month workplace pesticide exposures during their first trimester (three months) also faced a 70% raised risk for stillbirths due to placental, cord, and membrane complications Home exposure was by far the most common site for maternal pesticide exposure Women exposed during early pregnancy to chemicals such as cockroach and ant insecticides for one month in the home environment were found to have a70% raised risk for stillbirths due to congenital defects, the researchers conclude.
This really is only the TIP of the iceberg. This study does not address the well documented delayed effect of this exposure which will clearly increase cancers, breast cancer being a major one. When Isreal banned pesiticides in their food supply over ten years ago their breast cancer rate dropped by over 75%! The take home message is do NOT use lawn chemicals or ANY insecticide in your home. Also eat organic foods whenever possible!
Annual Meeting American Academy of Neurology in San Diego May 9, 2000
Pesticides May Increase Parkinson's Risk
People exposed to bug sprays in the home may have a higher risk of Parkinson's disease, an incurable neurological disorder. The study is the first to show that exposure to pesticides in the home may lead to Parkinson's, although other studies have suggested that exposure to the chemicals at work is a risk.
The researchers studied 500 people newly diagnosed with the disease, which is characterized by tremor and problems with walking and balance. People who had been exposed to pesticides were twice as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as people not exposed to pesticides. This study is the largest yet of newly diagnosed individuals with Parkinson's disease and it is the first study to show a significant association between home pesticide use and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease," Nelson said in a statement.
Parkinson's patients were more than two times as likely to have been exposed to insecticides in the home. People exposed to herbicides also had a higher risk, but exposure to insecticides in the garden and to fungicides did not seem to be associated with the disease. Parkinson's occurs when brain cells that produce dopamine, an important neurotransmitter (message-carrying chemical), are destroyed in a part of the brain known as the substantia nigra.
The Lancet August 7,1999;354:484-485:
Pesticides May Decrease Male Fertility
On-the-job exposure to pesticides may reduce sperm quality, according to results of a study conducted in couples seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy. Fertilization rates were significantly decreased for couples with paternal pesticide exposure.
Despite public concern over the effects of pesticides and other chemicals on reproductive health, data on these issues remains sparse and limited, according to the researchers. Sperm from men with either high or moderate on-the-job exposure to pesticides was associated with a 78% and 48% decline in IVF success rates, respectively, compared with sperm from unexposed men.
Overall, the authors identified 16 couples in which male partners were exposed to moderate or high levels of pesticides at the workplace. Occupations with high pesticide use included fruit or flower harvesting, contracting, livestock, poultry or dairy farming, and gardening.
The authors stress that because most individuals were exposed to multiple pesticides with various active ingredients, it is impossible to draw conclusions as to which chemical may be responsible for the observed effect. They add that exposure to other workplace contaminants, such as organic solvents, metal dust/fumes, or welding fumes had no significant effect on male infertility.
The Lancet September 9, 2000;356:912-913:
Exposure to Pesticides Linked to Learning Problems
People exposed to pesticides on a regular basis, such as farmers and gardeners, may have 5 times or more the normal risk of developing subtle neurological impairments or learning problems categorized as mild cognitive dysfunction (MCD), researchers in the Netherlands report.
The authors note that currently "Little is known about the adverse effects of substances, such as pesticides and metals, on the development of mild cognitive dysfunction."
MCD includes problems with verbal learning, word fluency and recall, among others.
The investigators evaluated exposure histories for 791 individuals.
"Of the 17 people who reported pesticide exposure, six (35%) had mild cognitive dysfunction at baseline, whereas only 85 (11%) of 774 individuals in the unexposed group had MCD," the researchers write.
The authors note that "Exposure to pesticides was consistently associated with the separate neuropsychological test results and the longitudinal changes thereof." Interestingly, they state that "Results did not differ significantly or consistently between currently and previously employed (eg, retired) people. This may indicate long-term adverse effects of pesticide exposure."
The study authors conclude that additional larger studies are needed to more accurately evaluate the risk of these types of pesticide exposures leading to subtle cognitive impairments.
The Lancet 1998;352;1816-1820:
Pesticides Increase Breast Cancer Risk
Exposure to certain pesticides, known as organochlorines, may increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Organochlorines, which are found in agricultural and industrial products, have a weak estrogen-like effect, and play a role in the development of breast cancer. After taking into account other known risk factors for breast cancer, the researchers write that the risk of breast cancer was twice as high in women with the highest (blood) concentrations of dieldrin (an organochlorine) as that in women with the lowest concentrations.
Nov 17th, 2004, 08:01 AM
Journal Agricultural Food Chemistry February 26, 2003;51(5):1237-41:
Organic Vegetables are Better for Fighting Cancer
Conventional agriculture, which depends on heavy applications of chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides and irrigation, may inhibit plantsÍ natural production of cancer-fighting flavonoids, while organic agriculture, which does not use synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, may actually promote the production of flavonoids.
Flavonoids are plant by-products believed to protect the plant from insects, bacterial and fungal infection and photo-oxidation. These plant chemicals are also thought to be useful in preventing cancer and heart disease and combating age-related neurological dysfunctions.
Flavonoids work by protecting the cell against damage caused by active oxygen radicals. Oxygen radicals can cause cancer and are also associated with cardiovascular disease and age-related nerve cell damage.
In studies comparing conventional farming with organic and sustainable (environmentally sound) farming of berries and corn, organic and sustainable produce was significantly higher in flavonoids than conventional produce.
Although previous studies did not evaluate flavonoids, results indicated that conventionally produced foods had higher levels of nitrates and synthetic pesticides and fewer total solids than organic foods.
The natural compounds showed various functions in the cell, including the potential to kill cancer cells or prevent them from spreading. Using plant chemicals in the treatment of cancer could enhance cure rates if combined with standard treatment methods, according to researchers.
Other studies have shown that flavonoids have protective effects against cardiovascular disease and cancer, although separate studies have found that the compounds have no effect, and a few have suggested they could have harmful effects.
Plant chemicals may also be useful in combating age-related neurological dysfunctions such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, which are associated with long-term oxidative stress.
There is substantial evidence to suggest that flavonoids, which are more plentiful in organic than conventional foods, are effective in the fight against cancer, heart disease and age-related neurological dysfunction. Additionally, increasing evidence indicates that organic farming gives high yields and is more beneficial to the environment than conventional farming.
According to researchers, supporters of genetically modified foods often deny or ignore this large body of evidence.
Nov 17th, 2004, 08:13 AM
These poisons horrify me - which, btw, is why I am such a hypocrit to have been a smoker (now trying deperately to do without!!).
I can't even stand next to someone wearing heavy perfume, much less wear it myself, it makes me really ill and headachey.
Chemical cleaners, etc, are now banned in my home - just think of their combined effects on people and the environment, not to mention the aerosol cans, etc, that are thrown away after use.
Why did humans ever feel that these things were a necessity in the first place?
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:27 PM
What I donít grow in my garden I buy organic. It costs more but I consciously make an effort to stay away from chemicals as much as possible. Scrubbing off regular fruit and vegetables won't eliminate the toxins since it will get into the produce. Organic produce usually does look quite different than the regular produce. One of the reasons is it has not been tampered with. I believe a product can be called Ďorganicí if it is 70%. I look for the USDA organic seal. It tells you that the product is at least 95% organic. There are companies that include the 100% organic seal. I purchase those. It is not a requirement for companies to use this seal. It is voluntary.
Nov 18th, 2004, 06:43 AM
How would explain the findings that 'the soil just about everywhere is so depleted of nutrients' (confirmed by studies)- isn't this in itself a proof that exposing the soil to chemicals depletes the soil of nutrients?
Who can prove whether it is exposing the soil to chemicals that is to blame? There is also over-production, poor planning, as well as chemicals. There are so many inconclusive comments made, that it depends who is making them, such as "may lead to Parkinsons", "may reduce sperm quality", "may lead to increased risk". As everyone knows, almost every week we are told something different - coffee is beneficial or bad, alcohol helps or harms, fish should/ should not be eaten by pregnant women, etc. As to people living close to farms where there is chemical spraying, well I pity them. But there is no doubt that the top soil, the waterways, the air, the hole in the ozone layer, may all be contributing factors.
As to organic, well as a vegan I don't wish to 'benefit' from the abattoir byproducts. The poor little creatures are raised in artificial conditions, pumped up with chemicals to make them grow faster, more chemicals to stop their flesh decomposing too quickly, and their manure must be godawful to contemplate, even the young chooks in the intensive battery farms. How on earth can the blood, bone, horn, manure, of these nonhumans be beneficial when dug into the soil with seeds? Of course I don't like the idea of chemicals, but to me it is the lesser of two evils. We are all comprised of chemicals after all, and when people are sick, they tend to take more chemicals of one sort or another.
This is a discussion that tends to be circular, but it is just irritating when people who boast about eating organic food seem to be like 'holier than thou' boasters.
Nov 18th, 2004, 07:00 AM
So, what do farmers use as fertilizer on non-Organic farms?
Cos the ones I know use Chicken Manure, and Human Slurry, which to me is no better than the icky Blood and Bone meal.
Also, I am sure that pesticides/spray fertilizers are adding to the ozone layer problem.
Nov 18th, 2004, 09:32 AM
There are so many inconclusive comments made, that it depends who is making them, such as "may lead to Parkinson's"....
Well, even if it was only a 50/50 chance that putting chemicals that are not proven NOT TO HARM ourselves or our environment in the air, waterways, soil or food was harmful, would you think it's OK to use these? The fact that we don't know a lot about this yet, is a major issue and a reason to proceed with caution. But there are a lot of things we know regarding how chemicals interfere with microorganisms, nutrients etc.. As an example, the list of man created chemicals that kill, reduce or prohibit absorption of vitamin B12 is long. Very long. And with hundreds of millions of people who consume chemicals in their food, medicine, oral contraceptives etc, we know that many of these chemicals don't disappear; they are recycled. The problems these cause add to both the pesticides and fertilizers we either know have unwanted side effects, and those that are not yet proven NOT to. Experimenting with our air, soil and water can be quite hazardous, because if/when we discover long term, or even worse, irreversible damage, the damage is... irreversible - or long lasting! People in the chemical industry tend to think that until someone can prove that our chemicals can harm our environment or people, it's OK to use them. I look at it the other way round.
"may reduce sperm quality", "may lead to increased risk"
"Inconclusive comments"? What about "This is the first study to our knowledge of pesticides and pregnancy in which exposures were in close proximity to the subjects and the verification of pesticide use was objective, not relying on people's memories of what they might have been exposed to." If living close to a farm that put pesticides in the soil, how likely is it that it food grown in the same soil is safe? "The study authors discovered that one month of maternal exposure to workplace pesticides during the first two months of pregnancy resulted in a 2.4 times increased risk for stillbirth due to congenital defects, compared with mothers with no such exposure"? This is not inconclusive.. it's clear enough for me. The way I see it, "When Isreal banned pesiticides in their food supply over ten years ago their breast cancer rate dropped by over 75%!" is enough info make people think different about pesticides too. Same with "People who had been exposed to pesticides were twice as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as people not exposed to pesticides." Twice as likely... thats a 100% increased chance of developing Parkinson's... not 3.5 or 12. It says 'may lead to', because, as in many studies, various people have different reactions, resistance and immune systems, so even if there are people who are exposed to pesticides that are not affected by them, the numbers are clear. It would still be wrong to state that 'everybody who are exposed to ****** will develop *****, because that is not what they have found. They write 'may lead to increased risk', but that doesn't mean that they are guessing. It's not certain that they will get Parkisnon's, but it's pretty certain that the risk is increased, unless we choose to ignore all studies because there might be other studies may have different conclusions.
Imagine a child and a bottle of 'something' physically close to you. If someone said that 'if you allow the child to drink this stuff, the chance that she will get Parkinson's disease later this evening will be increased by 100%. You wouldn't do it, because 'later this evening' is very close in time, the child might be emotionally close to you; the bottle is even right in front of you.
Now, the references above point to studies that are clear, they are not assuming something. (Again, it's not certain that they will develop Parkison's, but it is certain that the chances will be increased by 100%.) But what if things were uncertain?
If I imagine the same child and the same bottle, and 5 people would tell me that they KNOW that allowing the child to drink it's contents would dramatically increase his chance to get, say, an irreversible disease tomorrow, and 5 people would say that 'this is not proven yet', or 'we think it's safe' or even 'we KNOW it is safe', I still wouldn't do it. But we are all constantly fooled by distance and by lack of visibility: if bad consequences might happen in 10 years, we allow more risks than if they will happen tonight, even in cases of lethal diseases. Pollution we cannot see doesn't frighten us as much as a bottle with a risky contents that we can see. Plus, we all seem to think that 'this won't happen us'.
As everyone knows, almost every week we are told something different Does that really give us any reasons to follow the most risky route?
As to people living close to farms where there is chemical spraying, well I pity them. ...but the not the people eating the food grown on the same soil?
But there is no doubt that the top soil, the waterways, the air, the hole in the ozone layer, may all be contributing factors. If there is no doubt about this, and I agree, why not focus on what we can do different that will *not* destroy our waterways, ozon layer, the soil and the air, and do whatever is most likely to be beneficial for ourselves and the future generations?
it is just irritating when people who boast about eating organic food seem to be like 'holier than thou' boasters. I know a guy who says that 'I'm not better than others, I just have better ideals' :). In the long run, I think it would harm the development towards a less destructive world, if imperfect people like him and myself and thousands of others should keep quiet because it irritates others ;-).
We can eaisly be fooled by some sentences (that you quoted parts of) that makes this look like something that just 'may happen'. "On-the-job exposure to pesticides may reduce sperm quality" may sound diffuse, but "Fertilization rates were significantly decreased for couples with paternal pesticide exposure. [...] Sperm from men with either high or moderate on-the-job exposure to pesticides was associated with a 78% and 48% decline in IVF success rates, respectively, compared with sperm from unexposed men" is quite clear.
The same goes for the breast cancer study: Maybe "Exposure to certain pesticides, known as organochlorines, may increase the risk of breast cancer in women" doesn't sound that convincing, but "After taking into account other known risk factors for breast cancer, the researchers write that the risk of breast cancer was twice as high in women with the highest (blood) concentrations of dieldrin (an organochlorine) as that in women with the lowest concentrations" does.
Why take risks in situations where we don't need to? I do it myself sometimes, and often wonder why.
Nov 18th, 2004, 10:04 AM
Korn - yes, I take risks with my health all the time (see my smoking thread!!!!) - but am really beginning to wonder at my sanity!!
Here's to a healthier, non-toxic future!!
Nov 19th, 2004, 05:37 AM
Ok Korn I give in with this argument, because for every statement made, someone can find a statement to contradict. I'm unwilling to investigate too much as it is too time-consuming, so those who want to continue with organic, will do so, Those, like me, who prefer not to, will not. It really doesn't bother me that Korn may have right on his side, but what *does" bother me, are the byproducts of abattoirs that go into organic growing. The waterways are terribly polluted and not just by sprayed chemicals, but by the huge quantities of effluents coming from intensive farming and flowing into the rivers, and into the sea.
Nov 19th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Ok Korn I give in with this argument, because for every statement made, someone can find a statement to contradict.
You're not by accident thinking of me, are you? :)
I'm unwilling to investigate too much as it is too time-consuming, so those who want to continue with organic, will do so.
It really doesn't bother me that Korn may have right on his side, but what *does" bother me, are the byproducts of abattoirs that go into organic growing.
Good point. But as we know, there are ways to grow plants without using blood, bone, horn and manure from animals. And a certain amount of animal products will always be found in water and soil, unless wild animals totally cease to die or go to the toilet; in this case being nature itself! :)
Feb 19th, 2005, 06:04 AM
I find that in most cases, the organic versions of stuff tastes better. It is more flavoursome, although in some cases can look less "attractive" - for example organic mangoes. I find them ugly coz they have black spots but the taste kicks the ass of the conventional.
Apr 8th, 2005, 07:33 AM
Apr 11th, 2005, 05:59 AM
I have no idea what B12 is, even after browsing a few threads. But I went and got a bloodtest the other week, and my doc reckons that everythings fine except low B12. I usually get a bloodtest once a year to just check it all out, not necessarly because Im a vegan, just because I like to know if Im dying or not. And usually everything is fine, and I dont take any supplements or vitamins or anything for being a vegan. BUT, this time round I have low B12, and I have just gave up adding salt to my meals, like a month or so ago, when before I ate stupid amounts of salt with each meal, like Id add 4 or 5 teapsoons of salt a meal, not to mention the salt already added to my food during preparation. And even my excessive use of salt in the past, it never affected my health, and I always wondered why when I had way too much of salt suggested for a meal. And it might just be a coincidence that I get low B12 after giving up salt, but I have my conspiracy theories.
Apr 11th, 2005, 07:55 AM
I doubt that there is any link between salt and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of the the family of B vitamins that are necessary for health. It is supposedly only found in animal products, which is why it is a hot issue for vegans.
High salt intakes may only be harmful in salt sensitive people. Its main drawback for salt sensitive people is that it raises blood pressure, which damages your arteries and leads to heart disease. I have abnormally low blood pressure, which is hereditary, not due to being vegan. I don't limit my salt, but I don't eat as much as you have been eating. It might be a good idea to cut back a little, and get used to the taste of natural food, but cutting back salt shouldn't have any effect on your vitamin B12 levels. Too much salt also throws your potassium levels out of balance, which is also bad for your heart. Try a good, natural grey sea salt, instead of the processed, pure white kind. It is full of minerals, and its higher cost might help you to be more sparing with it. You may have to supplement B12, unless you include certain fermented foods like tempeh in your diet. :)
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