View Full Version : [bio] B12 in algae

May 15th, 2004, 11:11 AM
There is a lot of disagreement and confusion about the B12 found in algae. Here is a study about algal vitamin B12 (from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12656203):

"Substantial amounts of vitamin B12 were found in some edible algae (green and purple lavers) and algal health food (chlorella and spirulina tablets) using the Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis ATCC7830 microbiological assay method. Corrinoid-compounds were purified and characterized from these algae to clarify the chemical properties and bioavailability of the algal vitamin B12. True vitamin B12 is the predominate cobamide of green and purple lavers and chlorella tablets. Feeding the purple laver to vitamin B12-deficient rats significantly improved the vitamin B12 status. The results suggest that algal vitamin B12 is a bioavailable source for mammals. Pseudovitamin B12 (an inactive corrinoid) predominated in the spirulina tablets, which are not suitable for use as a vitamin B12 source, especially for vegetarians."

PMID: 12656203

Mar 17th, 2005, 02:28 AM
Okay, this is an old post, but I though I would comment.

Microalgae like spirulina are a cynobacterium. That means they produce cobalamin. Of course you are going to find cobalamin in microalgae that produce cobalamin, and not find cobalamin in algae which do not produce cobalamin.

Aug 14th, 2010, 12:48 PM
Here's a newer (pilot) study about B12 in algae:


Vitamin B12 is a critical nutrient that is often inadequate in a plant-based (vegan) diet, thus the inclusion of a reliable vitamin B12 source in a vegan diet is recommended as essential. Unfortunately, many natural sources of vitamin B12 have been proven to contain biologically inactive vitamin B12 analogues, inadequate for human supplementation. The aim of this non-randomized open trial was to determine whether supplementation with a natural Klamath algae-based product ("AFA-B12", Aphanizomenon flos-aquae algae plus a proprietary mix of enzymes) could favorably affect the vitamin B12 status of a group of 15 vegan subjects. By assessing blood concentration of vitamin B12, folate, and more importantly homocysteine (Hcy, a reliable marker in vegans of their B12 absorption), the vitamin B12 status of the participants at the end of the 3-month intervention period, while receiving the Klamath-algae supplement (T2), was compared with their vitamin B12 status at the end of the 3-month control period (T1), when they were not receiving any supplement, having stopped taking their usual vitamin B12 supplement at the beginning of the study (T0). Compared to the control period, in the intervention period participants improved their vitamin B12 status, significantly reducing Hcy blood concentration (p=0.003). In conclusion, the Klamath algae product AFA-B12 appears to be, in a preliminary study, an adequate and reliable source of vitamin B12 in humans.

PMID: 20108213 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Feb 26th, 2011, 10:30 PM
There is a lot of disagreement and confusion about the B12 found in algae.

There is also a lot of confusion regarding the organisms that are described as "algae." Cynobacteria are not algae. Saying that cyanobacteria are algae is like saying a seahorse is a horse. Cyanobacteria superficially resemble algae. But if you look past the superficial resemblance, it is impossible to avoid the fact that they are bacteria, which are not at all the same thing as algae. This was known and understood by taxonmists, even before dna testing made it absolutely indisputable. Some of them said that "blue-green algae" seemed to have many characteristics in common with bacteria and perhaps they should not be considered algae, and instead be considered to be bacteria, or be considered to be in a group apart from either algae or bacteria. Others argued that they clearly had more characteristics in common with bacteria than they did with algae, and should be renamed blue-green bacteria. Genetic testing removed all doubt.

No one who has seen both a horse and a seahorse would confuse the 2; they would not be confused or mislead if we continue to call them by similar names. However blue-green bacteria have a stronger resemblance to algae, than a seahorse has to a horse, and so to avoid confusion, I think it is probably best to refer to them as bacteria, and not as algae. The exception might be when discussing the topic with biologists, who would be expected to be alert to the distinction and would therefore not be confused by the misnomer.

The misnomer may perhaps be preferred by many who market products made from blue-green bacteria, who may believe that something called "algae" would be easier to convince people to buy, and eat, than something called "bacteria," and I suspect this may be one reason why the misnomer persists.

Jun 1st, 2012, 09:07 AM
A 'B12 shot' for marine algae? Scientists find key protein for algae growth in the ocean (http://phys.org/news/2012-05-b12-shot-marine-algae-scientists.html)