View Full Version : 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

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May 31st, 2007, 12:15 PM
It's confusing, I know, partially because real studies often are mixed with assumptions or 'facts' that aren't documented. Due to all the 'B12 destroyers' in our modern world I guess most long-term vegans either check their levels every year or so or take some supplements 'to be on the safe side'... although almost no vegans or non-vegans will ever be 'on the safe side' re. B12 - both because we know too little about what's safe and because even if people consume enough B12, they may also be exposed to a lot of B12-killers or have an absorption problem (the latter is rare, but there's probably no way to find out if you're among the people who actually have a B12 absorption problem without actually testing yourself).

B12 is a a hot topic, and there are fanatics on both sides of the discussion - some people insist that as long as you eat enough green, organic vegetables or seaweed you're always safe (wrong!), while others claim that unless you take B12 daily or weekly, you'll necessarily living a dangerous life (also wrong!). So - you're confused for good reasons, and it doesn't get any simpler when looking at all these studies and sites that doesn't come to the same conclusions!

Oct 17th, 2007, 11:45 AM
From http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070518125629.htm:

Bertrand and Saito said. At the same time, climate changes could affect the availability of B12 by causing changes in ocean temperatures, bacterial populations, and other factors. The ozone hole produced in the austral spring above Antarctica could also induce a cascade of effects by allowing more penetration of ultraviolet radiation that is known to degrade B12, they said.

I came across this was I was reading about ultraviolet radiation being used to remove bacteria from drinking water. The ultraviolet radiation could be one of several reasons that normal tap water contain practically no B12, while B12 has been found in sea and river water.

Nov 2nd, 2007, 09:37 AM
Read about the link between amalgam fillings and B12 here:

From http://www.vitab12.com/b12.html

The transport of vitamin B12 into the brain can be disturbed or prevented by heavy metals such as inorganic mercury or lead. These affect the blood-brain barrier by causing leakage and restricting the active transport of nutrients. Also exposure to nitrous oxide (N2O), often called laughing gas, can cause cobalamin deficiencies in the brain. This may occur to women given the gas in labour or otherwise during use of this anaesthetic, and may result in permanant brain damage to someone with B12 deficiency. It is also worth bearing in mind that since metals can cause deficiency, then anyone exposed to sufficient quantity of metals may suffer permanent brain damage, even when ingesting RDA levels of the vitamin.

meat or other animal products and refined carbohydrates (sugars) when used generously may more than double B12 needs ([adapted from; Thrash & Thrash, "NUTRITION FOR VEGETARIANS", 1982, "Heavy Metal Bulletin" Vol 2, Iss 3, Dec 1995 and Thorsons "Complete Guide To Vitamins and Minerals"]
*B12 detoxifies cyanide in food and also tobacco smoke)

With dental amalgam now banned in Sweden and Germany, we can only wonder at the fate of populations who are continually exposed to this major mercury source in other nations. It would be sensible for people with amalgam fillings to have them replaced by a non-metal material. Vegans should also be careful to avoid alocohol, refined sugar, smoking and the other risk factors listed above. It would also be advisable to filter tap water. Dietary fibre helps to remove heavy metals from the body as does sweating. Unfortunately the half life of Hg in the brain/CNS is 25 years, thus steady accumulation, leading to neurological disorders is virtually guaranteed.

Dr. Britt Ahlrot-Westerlund from Stockholm is an advocate of this hypothesis. She recommends high doses of B12 for those suffering from heavy metal exposure, such as from dental amalgam, since in the presence of metals in the blood-brain barrier ( plexus chorioideus ), most of the vitamin B12 is consumed depending on the level of metal, such that regular B12 intake will not be sufficient.

Apr 27th, 2008, 11:05 PM
Or you can switch suddenly from Rice Dream (with B12) to almond milk (w/ no B12, I just assumed it had it) and watch your B12 go to 90 something. Big d'oh on my part.

A good bloodtest for B12 is to get your homeocystine checked, too--FYI.

Jun 8th, 2008, 07:19 PM
"[...]vitamin B12 use by the body can be disrupted by chloroform, one of the four main trihalomethanes in chlorinated drinking water." (From http://www.garynull.com/Documents/erf/dangers_of_chlorinated_water.htm)

Most people drink water with chlorine every day, and the water most plants are watered with contain chlorine.

Re. water that is not chlorinated:


Here's some new info that demonstrates what chlorinated water can cause:

Chlorinated water 'increases risk of birth defects'

Babies born to mothers who drank heavily chlorinated water while pregnant could have an increased risk of a range of birth defects, new research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham made the link after studying nearly 400,000 babies born in Taiwan.

Their study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found no direct link between the prevalence of any birth defect and the level of chlorination by-product exposure.

But exposure to high levels of chlorination by-products substantially increased the risk of three common defects: ventricular septal defects (holes in the heart), cleft palate and anencephalus (where neural development fails, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull and scalp).

Exposure to the highest level of total by-products was associated with a doubled risk of defects.

"The biological mechanism for how these disinfection by-products may cause defects are still unknown," said lead researcher Jouni Jaakkola.

"However, our findings don't just add to the evidence that water chlorination may cause birth defects, but suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products may be responsible for some specific and common defects.

"Whilst the benefits of water chlorination are quite evident, more research needs to be carried out to determine these side-effects."

The UK's Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said however that people need not be worried by the research and pointed to previous studies on the subject.

In 2007 a DWI-funded study with eight times the sample size of the current research found no conclusive link to birth defects.

But DWI principal inspector Sue Pennison added: "We are not complacent and we will look at [the latest] findings and have them reviewed by our scientists and health advisors."

“Ventricular Septal Defect Closure in a Neonate With Combined Methylmalonic Aciduria/Homocystinuria,” was published in 2001. MMA and homocysteine levels are related to B12 intake.

This (http://www.greenjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/110/2/378) article from 2007 discusses the link between dietary patterns (and B12) and the risk of developing a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate: " The Western dietary pattern, eg, high in meat, pizza, legumes, and potatoes, and low in fruits, was associated with a higher risk of a cleft lip or cleft palate (odds ratio 1.9; 95% confidence interval 1.2–3.1). This risk remained significant after adjustment for potential confounders of maternal education and smoking at the time of the study, and periconception use of folic acid or multivitamins. This dietary pattern was associated with lower red blood cell folate (P=.02), vitamin B6 (P=.001), vitamin B12 (P=.02), and higher homocysteine (P=.05) concentrations. The use of the Prudent pattern, eg, high intakes of fish, garlic, nuts, vegetables, increased vitamin B12 (P<.001) and serum folate (P=.05) levels, was not associated with cleft lip or cleft palate risk compared with the Western diet."

Anencephaly is a neural tube disorder / a disorder that results from a neural tube defect (NTD), and low B12 levels during pregnancy can cause NTD.

Looking at all this info, maybe the chlorinated water can cause both a B12 deficiency and ventricular septal defects, cleft palate and anencephalus - meaning that low B12 levels as such may not be the direct reason for the various medical problems, but just another symptom.... or: the link between these disorders and chlorinated water is that that chlorinated water affects the B12 levels (and MMA/homocysteine) levels, then causes the disorders.

Jul 25th, 2008, 10:08 AM
A lot of pharmaceuticals will affect or deplete B12. I'll post more detailed info later - but meanwhile, you'll find some interesting information in these two threads:

Pharmaceuitcal drugs that can cause or contribute to B12 deficiency
Drugs in drinking water (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=488171#post488171)

Aug 14th, 2010, 02:38 PM
Serum homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and total antioxidant status in vegetarian children. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17357323)

Ambroszkiewicz J, Klemarczyk W, Chełchowska M, Gajewska J, Laskowska-Klita T.

Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Mother and Child, ul. Kasprzaka 17A, 01-211 Warsaw, Poland. jagodam7@yahoo.com
PURPOSE: The results of several studies point to the positive role of vegetarian diets in reducing the risk of diabetes, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases. However, exclusion of animal products in vegetarian diets may affect the cobalamin status and cause an elevation of the plasma homocysteine level. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of vegetarian diets on serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and total antioxidant status (TAS) in children. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study included 32 vegetarians (including 5 vegans), age 2-10 years. Dietary constituents were analyzed using a local nutritional programme. Serum homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 were determined with fluorescence and chemiluminescence immunoassays. The concentration of TAS was measured by a colorimetric method. RESULTS: Average daily energy intake and the percentage of energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates in the diets of the studied children were just above or similar to the recommended amounts. It could be shown that vegetarian diets contain high concentrations of folate. In vegan diets it even exceeds the recommended dietary allowance. Mean daily intake of vitamin B12 in the studied diets was adequate but in vegans was below the recommended range. The serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and TAS in vegetarian children remained within the physiological range.

CONCLUSIONS: The presented data indicate that vegetarian children, contrary to adults, have enough vitamin B12 in their diet (excluding vegans) and normal serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12. Therefore, in order to prevent deficiencies in the future, close monitoring of vegetarian children (especially on a vegan diet) is important to make sure that they receive adequate quantities of nutrients needed for healthy growth.

PMID: 17357323 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

This is interesting, because not only does it show that in this study, the inclusion of dairy products (eggs don't help much) is enough to ensure proper homocysteine and vitamin B12 levels in kids, but the 'contrary to adults' part also indicates that there's something happening in the process from being a child to growing up that's not very good for the B12/homocysteine levels.

What could it be? Alcohol, tea, coffee, smoking, (passive smoking ain't good for the homocysteine levels either (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20558908)), stress, oral contraceptives and much more...

Oct 25th, 2010, 08:53 PM
2) Using microwave owens might be the worst thing you can do to your food. Please check this. (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=203)

ACcording to this (http://www.webhealth.co.uk/research/vitamin_b.asp) site, Japanese researchers have found that microwaving foods for 6 minutes causes 30-40% loss of vitamin B12. Microwaving caused greater B12 loss then bringing milk from room temperature to boiling point. However, loss of B12 was the same after 6 minutes microwaving or 30 minutes boiling.

Reduction rate: 30-40%

What should do people who's only cooking equipment is a microwave?

Clueless Git
Oct 27th, 2010, 06:32 PM
What should do people who's only cooking equipment is a microwave?

Eat as high a percentage of their food as they can in raw form?

Totally unscientific but I have found that the more raw food I eat the better I seem to feel.

Mar 12th, 2011, 10:40 AM
What should do people who's only cooking equipment is a microwave?
Stop using a microwave oven? :)
It all depends on what you put in it. If the food you put into it doesn't contain any significant levels of B12, not microwaving it won't help....

Here's yet another study about drugs that interact with B12 levels:
Antiepileptic drugs interact with folate and vitamin B12 serum levels.
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21246600) (Feb 2011)

INTERPRETATION: Treatment with most of the commonly used AEDs is associated with reduced folate or vitamin B12 serum levels and is a risk factor for hyperhomocysteinemia. Oral substitution is effective to restore vitamin, MCV, and homocysteine levels.

Apr 27th, 2012, 05:21 AM
Sound like it's pretty much inevitable no matter what :P

Jun 1st, 2012, 03:46 PM
This is not such a hot topic.... B12 is only found in animal products. The form of B12 in plants cannot be absorbed by our bodies. While this may be so, if you are determined to stick to a 100% Vegan diet, B9 is known to mask the the symptoms of B12 defficiency. Not too sure whether "masking" the problem is the right way to go. I myself eat Vegan, but do take B Vitamin suppliments, which like most, are probably derived from animal products....

www.jackrabbitfreedom.weebly.com (http://www.jackrabbitfreedom.weebly.com)

Jun 1st, 2012, 05:26 PM
I myself eat Vegan, but do take B Vitamin suppliments, which like most, are probably derived from animal products....

B12 is made by bacteria not animals. B12 supplements are made by growing bacteria in a lab, not from animal products.

Also I haven't read your link but I assume from your claim that you 'eat vegan' and your insistance in speading B12 myths that you're a troll.

Jun 1st, 2012, 07:23 PM
I appologize, not a troll, just made a mistake...lol. I wrote "only found" not "mostly found" like I should have. You are right, B12 comes from bacteria, and yes you can buy that from labs in pill form, but it was my understanding that the major source used to harvest that bacteria is still derived from animals or their byproducts. Though, some people live long healthy lives just by not washing the produce they eating in an effort keep all the enzymes and bacteria alive for consumption, but a lot of my personal reading has stated that most of the B12 consumed from plants alone will not absorb in our bodies. Thanks for the reply. Keeping me on my toes! :-)

P.S. I only "eat vegan" mostly because I still wear an heirloom leather belt.... it's more a health issue for me, not ethics; though, I do not condone the enslavement and slaughter of any animal for any thing.

P.P.S. I really hope you are right and that my vitamins are not coming from animals at all....would be great!

P.P.P.S. LOL, guess it is a hot topic! :o

Jun 1st, 2012, 09:35 PM
Sorry that I called you a troll, we've had a few trolls around here recently so I'm ever vigilant! I very much doubt that your b12 is animal-derived but check the label anyway to see if there's any gelatine/carmine or other nasties they sneak into vitamins. And yeah it is a hot topic!

Sep 4th, 2014, 05:00 PM
Acid reducing drugs are also linked to B12 deficiency:


An excerpt:

People who use certain acid-suppressing drugs for two years or longer are at increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia, neurological problems or dementia, researchers reported on Tuesday.
The drugs in question are called proton-pump inhibitors, or P.P.I.’s, and histamine 2 receptor antagonists, and they are available by prescription and over the counter under brand names like Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium. Nearly 157 million prescriptions were written for P.P.I.’s alone last year.
“People who are taking these medications are more likely than the average person to be vitamin B12 deficient, and it’s a potentially serious problem,” said Dr. Douglas A. Corley, senior author of the new study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. “This raises the question of whether people taking these medications for long periods should be screened for vitamin B12 deficiency.”
Dr. Corley has received funding from Pfizer, which makes a P.P.I. called Protonix.
He and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., examined the medical records of 25,956 adults who received vitamin B12 deficiency diagnoses between 1997 and 2011, comparing them with 184,199 patients without B12 deficiency during that period.
Patients who took P.P.I’s for more than two years were 65 percent more likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jama.2013.280490), the researchers found. Higher doses of P.P.I’s were more strongly associated with the vitamin deficiency, as well.

Sep 5th, 2014, 09:04 PM
From http://www.thevitaminlady.com/VLvitaminind.htm :

From http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nut...ls/vitamin.htm (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nutrition/facts/vitamins_minerals/vitamin.htm) :

Coffee consumption — Four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce your B vitamin stores by as much as 15 percent.

More about coffee here... (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88)

This article discusses whether drinking green tea could block B12 absorption - due to it's caffeine content :