View Full Version : Possible B-12 elements in Indian conditions

Sep 1st, 2004, 04:30 PM
Dear friends,

I am wondering about hue and cry about most vital B-12. I would like to know your reply with some kind of reference.

Possible sources of B-12 amongst Indian Vegans who are not taking any supplements ? If any one can throw light on the following sources :-

1. Indian used to take their daily food without using fork/spoon.They eat their foods with hands. Possibility of bacteria in the hands?

2. Dust is quite prevalent in most part of India rural as well as city area. There are dust particles blowing in the air whole day. Is there any possibility of inhaling Bacteria from blowing dust? ( B-12 is found in soil)

3. Indian are habitually eat number of fermented food stuffs like Idli,Dosa,Bada,Uttapam,Jalebi,khaman. These food stuffs are fermented with
Yeast. ( Yeast do contain b-12 ? )

As I have been vegan for almost 2 years or more and I am 41 years old, still I have not in take any B-12. Should I go for medical test for B-12 level in my blood?

Manish Jain.

Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:26 AM
Hi Manish, I read somewhere that according to the standard minimum B12 requirements, almost half the population of India are B12 deficient.

The Tuft University study showed that 30% of (mainly) non-vegan Americans are either B12 deficient or in the 'lower normal zone'.

I think it's smart for most people to check their B12, MMA and homocysteine levels once in a while, vegans or not.

And yes, I've read that there's B12 even in dust, but I have never seen anyone who states that dust is a reliable B12 source. And with the high consumption of white sugar many Indians have (sugar 'eats' vitamins), you'd need a lot of dust to compensate for that! :)

Why not test yourself for B12 without taking any supplements first, if you haven't done that already, and test yourself again later and see how things develop?

Talking about Dosa, do you still have that Masala Dosa recipe from 'Veganforum 1' around? ;)

Aug 28th, 2006, 02:22 PM
Dust is quite prevalent in most part of India rural as well as city area. There are dust particles blowing in the air whole day. Is there any possibility of inhaling Bacteria from blowing dust? ( B-12 is found in soil)

Desert dust (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031222072059.htm) makes algae grow, and half of all algae (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060114152028.htm) need B12 to grow, so maybe desert dust contains B12? :)

As you say, B12 is found in soil, and there is soil particles in dust. Maybe it's more pollen (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11098) in Indian air than is big, western cities too? Fermentation may also promote the production of B12, if they needed bacteria is present, but I wouldn't rely on that. But you mention eating with your hands, and you'll get more of all kind of bacteria that way. Maybe even the skin on our hands contains B12 on the surface, because B12 is excreted via sweat (and urine + other body fluids), and we always sweat a little, at least in India! :) Since nutrients may both be excreted and absorbed via our skin, maybe we need to sweat a little to recycle some micro-nutrients?

Aug 28th, 2006, 02:40 PM
Hi Manish,
I think it would depend on your source of vegetables. If the vegetables are not carefully washed they could contain bacteria with vitamin K in, so if you are getting them from a local field or garden there may be enough bacteria.
Bacteria off hands may not be hygenic as hands can pass diarrhoea bacteria. Also I think the vitamin B12 bacteria are a special kind which may not live on hands.
Here is a factsheet for you:

Aug 28th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Here is a factsheet for you:

Factsheet? Let's call it an assumption-sheet lacking a lot of essential info, and we agree. :)

[Edit: that discussion is moved over here (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=230847). Korn]

Sep 7th, 2006, 03:51 PM
you lucky, lucky people - its a good job my brother-in-law has not seen this thread. he lectures on geology at sheffield uni and at the moment, dust, is his thing. he can 'talk dust for britain'!! :(

he has said before that, dust particle travel millions of miles, that sahara dust can end up many miles away. thinking about that it may not be completely non-feasible that soil dust containing b12 can move around the globe and be inhaled, eaten on things etc. of course the quality and amount is the important point here - it may be negligable.

i will mail him and see if he has any thoughts or info on this :)

Sep 8th, 2006, 09:15 AM
well this is some feedback from my brother-in-law.

its a partial dont-know really, but interesting nonetheless::

"desert dust certainly contains bacteria as a coating - many diseases have been directly linked to transport via desert dust (eg foot and mouth) - and when deposited in the worlds oceans - the bacteria can work symbiotically (or bsically helps) to allow algae in the ocean to fix substances such as vit b12 (which the algae themselves cannot produce) - and thus helps the algae to grow. the algae in return provide the bacteria with carbon - and helps them to grow too. so desert dust is important for any kind of productivity in the world's oceans - and for a lot of soils on land. but doesnt directly contain vit b12 that i am aware of.

now in countries with a lot of natural airborne dust (like in parts of india) i'm not aware of any research that links dietary deficiencies/levels of b12 and the inhalation of dust. in fact - dust is actually more likely to contribute to respiratory disease and other nasty associated infections. however, dusty areas may as a result - just have natural soils that allow foodstuffs to be grown with naturally higher b12. im just not totally sure at all and i cant seem to find much that would help the argument."

Sep 8th, 2006, 09:27 AM
Thanks Cedarblue,Korn and others for contribuing valuable information.

Manish Jain

Sep 10th, 2006, 06:14 PM
You're welcome! (I just created a new thread from the posts that are not related to Indian conditions right now, here: What's a good way to inform about B12? (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11424))