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Thread: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

  1. #1
    treaclemine
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    Exclamation B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    Greetings,

    In the April 2007 edition of Lifescape Magazine, p24-7, Jennifer Beckman writes on sickle cell disease. She quotes work by Dr O Agbai relating sickle cell to thiocynate deficiency. This deficiency is further described as, "a vitamin B12 deficiency" (p25, second column, under heading "The Nutritional Approach: Is SCD caused by a B12 deficiency?".

    Now, Vitamin B12 in chemical terms means the cobalamins, such as hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Thiocy(a)nate is a completely different and much simpler chemical. Therefore, thiocy(a)nate deficiency is not the same as vitamin B12 deficiency.

    This would be a minor point of detail. But on p27 of the same article, they include a box labeled "Foods Rich in Thiocynate (B12)". They give a long list of a wide range of plant foods. They do not mention, let alone highlight, the controversies about sources of vitamin B12. They don't explain the chemical differences between vitamin B12 and thiocynate, and how they might or might not relate in our bodies.

    Has anyone else here seen this article?

    I don't even know if the foods which they list are indeed good sources of thiocynate. But it seems to me to be potentially dangerously misleading to tell people that there's loads of good sources of vitamin B12 in the plant kingdom without at least giving information and references about differences of opinion on that!

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    Hi,
    I haven't seen the article, but there are some sites mentioning both B12 and Thiocynate (Thiocyanate) here:
    http://www.recipenet.org/health/arti...ickle_cell.htm
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1786788
    http://www.yucadiet.com/gluco.htm
    http://www.neurologyindia.com/articl...4;aulast=Wadia
    http://relentlessimprovement.com/cat...ydroxy-b12.htm

    But it seems to me to be potentially dangerously misleading to tell people that there's loads of good sources of vitamin B12 in the plant kingdom without at least giving information and references about differences of opinion on that!
    The problem with B12 is that 'opinions' as such have no value, only facts matter, and unless one can prove that a plant both contains B12 which is bio-available/active and which actually has an effect on out body, information claiming that this plant is a reliable source of B12 would be potentially misleading. Plus - consuming reliable B12 sources is only part of the 'problem': we must absorb the B12 as well, and make sure we don't consume other stuff that destroys the B12 we consume.

    To assume that the presence of B12 analogues in food always is a problem (without backing this up with scientific data), or that B12 analogues doesn't exist in animal products like eg. cow's milk (again, without backing this up scientifically) would also be potentially misleading.


    Vegans are often trying so hard to be unbiased and reliable that they sometimes forget that while we have to pay attention to certain nutrients, non-vegans must do that as well (most likely to more nutrients than vegans). Some vegans sometimes focus so much on the lack of firm knowledge about B12 that they forget that B12 analogues appear in animal products as well, and that lots of meat eaters (who normally consume a lot of B12 from eating blood/muscles etc. of [plant eating!] animals) are B12 deficient. They send out signals - probably without knowing it - that they trust old misconceptions about nutrient levels in plants vs. animal products more than newer info that actually is backed up scientifically.

    If we ignore people who 'haven't done their homework', I don't think there's much disagreement about the fact that B12 comes from microorganisms/bacteria (+ cobalt), and not from animals, the 'disagreement' (to use your term) is about how human bodies react to consuming a mixture of passive B12 analogues and active, bioavailable B12, how much B12 a healthy person actually needs, and to which extent the 'B12 killers' - and not the (low) amount of B12 consumed by many vegans and non-vegans itself - is the real problem.

    In our B12 in plants?-section, I've listed links to many sources mentioning B12 in a number of plants (and trees, soil, water etc). We don't have a warning in each of these posts saying that 'This info may be wrong' or 'A number of people thinks that all B12 found in all plants is always unusable'... If we should add this, we should also have added warnings when referring to people who claim that their safe (in terms of B12 levels) if they eat animal products or take a daily multi-vitamin - because this isn't safe either.

    The warning could sound like this:
    'Warning: Millions of people who eat high amounts of B12 from animal products still are B12 deficient, so the problem may not be the amounts of B12 people eat, but all the other stuff people consume - which destroys B12', or
    'Warning: Animal products and multivitamins contain a combination of active B12 and passive B12 analogues. Eating these products will not guarantee a healthy B12 level', or
    'Warning: Your multivitamin may contain minerals that may convert the B12 in these pills to unusable B12 analogues', or
    'Warning: There are many reports about problems with having too high B12 levels'.




    Having said that - from what you describe it seems that the article you mention definitely mix up B12 and thiocynate. Creating one list which gives the impression that certain plants contain both B12 and thiocynate deficiency can of course create more confusion and misunderstandings. Maybe you could send them an email and ask for an explanation? Maybe they've just mixed up the words?

  3. #3
    Cattmogg's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    I read this article and found it extremely confusing...
    If i keep a green bough in my heart my singing bird will come.

  4. #4
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    Which article?

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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    The Lifescape one.
    If i keep a green bough in my heart my singing bird will come.

  6. #6
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    Oh. What's on their list over "Foods Rich in Thiocynate (B12)"? Can you mention some vegan examples?

  7. #7
    treaclemine
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    Default Re: B12 in plants in Lifescape Magazine

    Quote Korn View Post
    Hi,
    I haven't seen the article, but there are some sites mentioning both B12 and Thiocynate (Thiocyanate) here:
    http://www.yucadiet.com/gluco.htm

    I quote: "Vitamin B12 is produced through the nitrilization (i.e. the addition of a cyanide radical) of hydroxocobalamin (vitamin B12a) to cyanocobalamin or active vitamin B12 ... thiocyanate that can act as a reservoir of free hydrogen cyanide for the production of vitamin B12".

    So the link is between thiocynate and the 'activation' of hydroxocobalamin into cyanocobalamin. So it appears from this reference that adequate dietary intake of thiocynate and hydroxocobalamin could lead to adequate vitamin B12 in healthy humans.

    The problem with B12 is that 'opinions' as such have no value, only facts matter

    Amongst my scientifically literate friends, there is a saying: "Everyone is entitled to an opinion - but the Universe doesn't have to keep a straight face!" Which is to say, there can be valid debate about the interpretation of facts - but if you want your opinion to be respected, you need to understand the evidence. It's these kind of 'scientifically valid' opinions about vegan sources of B12 that responsible magazines should discuss.

    My omni grandfather suffered permanent nerve damage due to vitamin B12 problems (pernicious anaemia), so I take the scientific nuances very seriously.

    the 'disagreement' (to use your term) is about how human bodies react to consuming a mixture of passive B12 analogues and active, bioavailable B12, how much B12 a healthy person actually needs, and to which extent the 'B12 killers' - and not the (low) amount of B12 consumed by many vegans and non-vegans itself - is the real problem.

    Indeed.

    In our B12 in plants?-section, I've listed links to many sources mentioning B12 in a number of plants ... We don't have a warning in each of these posts

    I think this is fine, as this is a discussion Web site. I think that a published magazine which gives a list of plant foods under the heading, 'Rich sources of Thiocynate (B12)' is a significantly different situation.

    Having said that - from what you describe it seems that the article you mention definitely mix up B12 and thiocynate. Creating one list which gives the impression that certain plants contain both B12 and thiocynate ... can of course create more confusion and misunderstandings.

    My point exactly. I've sent the text of my post here to both the magazine, and the author of the article. I have heard nothing from the magazine. I have had a very unsatisfactory conversation with the author. The author has talked of being a healthy vegetarian who has never taken a vitamin B12 supplement, that the article was meant to be based on the latest information and research, pointed me to Web site which list the same foods - e.g. http://www.pathlights.com/nr_encyclopedia/hn101998.htm which lists:

    Foods Rich in Thiocyanate (according to Maureen Henry):
    african yam, alfalfa sprouts, apricot, bamboo shoot,banana, bitter almond, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,buckwheat, buffalo berry, cabbage, carrot,cassava, cauliflower, cherry, chickpea,cloudberry, elderberry, flaxseed, kohlrabi,lentils, lima bean, macadamia nuts,millet, mustard green, peaches, plantain,plums, radish sprouts, raspberry, red clover,rutabaga, salmonberry, sorghum, strawberry,turnips

    (note this doesn't say thiocynate == vitamin B12!) - and told me that I shouldn't reject contrary information - but not addressed my key concerns at all!

    It could be helpful for other people to contact Lifescape (info@lifescapemag.com) and Jennifer Beckman (yogamaya@vedicworld.org) about this.

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