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Thread: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/72/4/467.pdf

    The growth action of a new analogue of vitamin B,2 isolated in our laboratory
    has been studied in rats* fed a vitamin B12-deficient soybean-base diet.

    The analogue** promoted much more efficient body weight gain in rats than vitamin oil.

    Diet intake, hematological picture and weight, histological aspects and vitamin content of some organs have also been considered: both substances modified behavior to an almost similar mode and degree.

    It was not at once possible to deduce which mechanism of action makes the analogue more active than vitamin B12.
    *It feels kind of wrong to quote studies that are based on animal tests, but it would also feel wrong not to mention info that is derived from what these poor creatures have gone true, especially if this info may help other animals avoid suffering...

    **The term 'B12 analogues' is used both about inactive B12/pseudo-B12 and about B12 that actually is bioavailable and usable.

    This study may not say much about how naturally occurring B12 analogues appearing in nature behave, but it may say something about the usefulness of supplements vs. B12 from food, which is a controversial, but important topic in a world so full of B12 reducing elements.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Here's another study that may show how confusing the B12/pseudo-B12 research results can be:

    http://pcp.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/co...stract/6/2/325


    NUTRITIONAL STUDIES OF THE EDIBLE SEAWEED PORPHYRA TENERA I. THE INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT B12 ANALOGUES, PLANT HORMONES, PURINES AND PYRIMIDINES ON THE GROWTH OF CONCHOCELIS

    [...]

    Factor B, pseudovitamin B12 and Factor Z2 support as much growth as vitamin B12, while 2-methylmercaptoadenine and 5-methyl benzimidazole cobalamine increase the growth more than B12. All the analogues containing benzimidazole can replace B12.

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    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    I didn't know lack of b12 caused growth problems, I thought the main serious problems began with nerve damage in humans?
    "If you don't have a song to sing you're okay, you know how to get along humming" Waltz (better than fine) - Fiona Apple

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    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    It's about growth of microorganisms.

    hth

    Mike

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Quote twinkle View Post
    I didn't know lack of b12 caused growth problems, I thought the main serious problems began with nerve damage in humans?
    Lack of B12 is said to reduce growth in humans, animals and seaweed - one study showed that half of all algae tested were dependent on B12 (which is why it isn't surprising to find B12 in algae). The examples above are about the growth rate of rats and the edible seaweed Porphyra Tenera.

    There are several articles mentioning B12's effect on human growth out there:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1949Sci...110..651W
    http://healthy-information.naturalhe...Deficiency.htm
    http://www.natural-health-informatio...tamin-b12.html

    Even if pseudo-B12 and (one of the two meanings of the term) 'B12 analogues' may support natural growth in rats and seaweed, this pseudo-B12 may not have the same effect on humans.


    Here's a different study on B12 analogues and their activity effect on growth in animals:

    http://www.biochemj.org/bj/064/0682/0640682.pdf


    SUMMARY
    1. Ten analogues of vitamin B12 have been tested
    for vitamin B12 activity in chick growth.
    2. The only naturally occurring analogue to show
    activity was the 5-hydroxybenziminazole derivative
    (vitamin B12111), which had 4-5 % of the activity
    of vitamin B12
    3. Four analogues containing benziminazole in
    the nucleotide also had vitamin B12 activity; they
    were the analogues with benziminazole (23 %),
    monomethylbenziminazole (35-41 %), dichloro-
    benziminazole and naphthiminazole (the last two
    almost as active as vitamin B12 itself).
    4. Pseudovitamin B12 and factor B in large
    doses by mouth, but not by injection, reduced the
    effect of vitamin B12 given simultaneously. In a
    single test factor D showed similar antagonism when
    given by mouth or by injection.
    5. Factor A and the diaminopurine derivative
    were inactive, but not antagonistic to vitamin B12.

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    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    It's also worth bearing in mind that the term "analogue" is not always used in the same way by lay people as scientists, especially where B12 is concerned, nor is it of relevance in the way some assume.

    There's quite good stuff on this in Wikipedia. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_(chemistry) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanocobalamin

    What is important for us is that the compound be "human active". The most commonly used B12 supplement - cyanocobalamin - is in fact an analogue (a similar but not identical chemical structure to the compound the body needs). Sometimes these compounds can be used by the body to create what it needs, sometimes the difference means it cannot.

    In fact cyanocobalamin has for many years been assumed to be metabolically active for humans or "human-active" although there is now some contention of this.

    Cheers

    Mike

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Quote Michael Benis View Post
    It's also worth bearing in mind that the term "analogue" is not always used in the same way by lay people as scientists, especially where B12 is concerned, nor is it of relevance in the way some assume.
    Since laymen has used the term 'B12 analogue' based on what they've heard from people who aren't laymen, I think some of the confusion is derived from the fact that B12 is used in different ways among people who work with this professionally. There are also many examples of people who may be doctors or nutritionists who also use the word 'analogue' (when discussing B12) with more than one meaning - (which is why I wrote what I wrote in the first post, and also why I think it's important to distinguish between active and passive B12 (for humans, of course when talking about humans...).

    The somewhat ugly part of this is that someone claims to know everything about the bioavailability of B12 in all plants, even if most of them never have been tested, and blindly trust that eg. B12 from fermentation can never be 'human-active' at the same time as they are chewing multivitamins with B12 made from fermentation, or that only plant food contain inactive B12 analogues and so forth. Some of the same people who don't trust anything that hasn't been backed up by studies (which most of the time is a healthy attitude IMO) trust blindly that humans can get B12 from 'dirt' or insects sneaking in between the brocolli leaves, without having seen any studies that confirm this.

    I think it's all about 'group thinking'. In the 60s and 70s, all vegans and vegan macrobiotics seemed to trust blindly that they could get the B12 they needed from tempeh or miso, and in the 80s, these people started to learn about B12 analogues, and started to assume that we could get absolutely no B12 from plants (or fermentation) at all, because of the inactive B12 analogues.

    Now, 20-30 years later, I think it's time to stop assuming and find out what the real facts are. We have been living in the myths a la 'there are only two types of tempeh, one from marketplaces in Indonesia, and another produced under sterile conditions in USA, and the US tempeh had no B12 which was usable for humans, so no plants or nothing that's fermented may have any useful B12' long enough.

    Another aspect with some of the information and pseudo-information surprises me a little. At school, in the math lessons, I remember we learned about adding and subtracting, plus and minus, but much of the information about B12 forgets about the subtracting part. We learned about 'plus' first, and 'minus' afterwards - maybe these people weren't at school that week... . They only talk about how much B12 to add, and fails to inform about all the stuff out there which is killing or reducing B12 intake and absorption. The subtracting part of it is very important, not only because it means that people with different lifestyles and habits have different B12 intake needs, but also because using simple math, it's easy to understand that if you have a B12 intake/absorption level that's, say, 50% too low, but at the same tome are exposed to maybe 10 out of the many B12 reducing factors (smoking, sugar, coffee, chlorinated water, food from cobalt depleted soil, lack of access to fresh, organic food etc) which is reducing you B12 absorption with a total of 50%, your B12 intake/absorption would have been OK if you wouldn't have consumed or been exposed to all these 'B12 killers' at the same time.

    The reason why I find this important is that lots of people think that we can't get the nutrients we need (especially B12) from nature and use this as an argument against going vegan - forgetting that we don't live in a pure natural world anymore. (I agree that we don't 'need to' live in a natural way only, but that's a different topic...)

    This - combined with providing information about B12 analogues, homocysteine etc. without telling people the whole story means that the end result is a bunch of vegans informing about B12 based on traditional, old fashioned thinking patters.... These people may eat vegan food, but it doesn't seem that their mind is 'veganized' yet. The result is that lots of potential vegans take a brief look at their info, concludes that the vegan diet can't be natural because these people seem so obsessed with supplements etc.... and: they provide the same info the most active anti-vegans do, and contribute to keep the same myths alive.

    After reading some of the 'neutral' info provided by some vegans, it's no doubt that many people assume that B12 analogues is only a problem associated with plant food - and that unlike non-vegan food, vegan food can't provide the nutrients we need naturally. The result is that they (maybe unknowingly) conclude that humans aren't 'meant to' eat vegan food, and the core of this viewpoint is the B12-issues.

    The core of the B12 discussion is NOT if plants contain B12 - we know many do, it's the B12 analogue confusion.

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    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Sorry, Korn, in my opinion the polemics of how to convert non-vegans who want a "natural" diet should have nothing to do with this. The only matter of any importance is what vegans need to do to ensure they are as healthy as possible. Citing the abstacts of an every-increasing number of studies you find on the internet, some using assay techniques that are no longer considered reliable in identifying B12 that is metabolically actiove in humans, really is of no help to anyone.

    I appreciate your interst in "converting" people but I think you are confusing the issue and - more importantly - risk confusing more and more visitors to the forum about how they can reliably meet their B12 requirements.

    Cheers

    Mike

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    The only matter of any importance is what vegans need to do to ensure they are as healthy as possible.
    Well - I couldn't disagree more. If all we should care for is the people who already are vegans, and not how we present the facts - and disagreements - about being vegan to people that aren't vegans, the vegan movement would probably stand out in history as the only movement that didn't find spreading their message important.


    I know some vegans are more interested in only warning current vegans about which nutrients they need to pay attention to, but they do it in way that makes it look like (for outsiders) as if you go vegan you'll - unlike non-vegans -become very sick or die unless you take a number of pills regularly... they have decided that 'we don't need to worry about what's natural and not', ignoring that this is an important topic for a lot of people.

    As vegans we should tell the whole truth about nutrition, and we should pay extra attention to provide the viewpoints and information that non-vegans never mention. The attitude you mention - which I disagree strongly in has been dominant for a number of years among some vegans, and the result is that the main comment we hear from non-vegans is a question about where we get the nutrients from.

    The people who fail to provide the info potential vegans expect to find on a pro-vegan site very often fail to inform about the fact that B12 analogues - which this thread is about - also can be found in fortified food, in multivitamins and in animal products - and in healthy humans. They hardly mention that there is a disagreement about our ability to - when eating something which contains both true, active B12 and inactive B12 analogues - absorb the active B12 and ignore most of the useless analogues, or the discussions going on about homocysteine. They paint a very black and white picture - the same picture that un-informed non-vegans normally paint.

    Of course it's important - very important - to let current and potential vegans know that vegans need to pay attention to other nutrients than non-vegans. What I dislike is the over-simplified attitude that gives the impression that
    a) eating vegan is un-natural
    b) B12 analogues is an issue only relevant to vegans
    c) vegans need to eat pills, non-vegans don't
    d) no plants contain B12

    People easily accept 'facts' which resembles 'facts' they have heard before, and they way a few sites inform about vegan nutrition today, they may contain useful, practical information for the very small percentage of the world population that already are vegans or have absolutely no interest in what's natural or not.

    If someone would tell a half-informed non-vegan that the only way for a vegan to get B12 naturally is either to eat their own faeces or dirt from the ground, he'd probably believe it, because it reminds of what he assumes based on info from people with non knowledge about vegan nutrition. It's kind of strange that so much nonsense is indirectly generated by one document - written by one of the most active anti-vegans that ever lived, Victor Herbert, where he goes on talking about a few things in a way which not only does not make sense, but which is used as a reliable source of info by who... by those who disagree with him the most!

    I'm talking about the article where he mentioned that

    1) vegans who were involved in a weird experiment eating B12 derived from their own faeces was treated from B12 deficiency
    2) vegans who were eating plants growin in human manure didn't develop B12 deficiency
    3) human faeces contain 95% inactive B12 analogues, and 5% active B12
    4) vegans can't rely on anything that contain a substantial number of B12 analogues, because these analogues block the absorption of real, active B12.

    These four 'facts' simply don't seem to match each other. If you don't understand what I mean, please look again.

    some using assay techniques that are no longer considered reliable in identifying B12 that is metabolically actiove in humans
    I post a lot links to the stuff come across - not because I think all these studies are 'right' (several studies on the same topic often come the opposite conclusions), but as an invitation to discussion or to people posting more info. Several of these studies claim that the B12 that they have found in plant based products is active, real B12, others are poorly documented by the sources.



    the polemics of how to convert non-vegans who want a "natural" diet should have nothing to do with this
    You may have seen our poll where the most commonly mentioned question from non-vegans is a question about where we get our nutrients from. We know that B12 is the most discussed nutrient among vegans. Anyone who have spent more than a minimum of time reading about vegan nutrient have heard about plants containing B12 - we know that the debate is about analogues.

    The two most important questions, when discussing vegan nutrition or the 'naturalness' of vegan food, is IMO B12 analogues... and if we would be able to get enough real, active B12 from vegan sources (plants, water, fermentation etc) in a so called 'natural' world. This thread is about one of these topics, and an important part of this discussion is... who is right? Those who claim that B12 analogues always represent a problem/is a vegan-relevant topic only, or those who claim that healthy humans may distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' B12, and/or that the existence of inactive B12 analogues may represent a real problem among non-vegans as well, and for people who rely on multivitamins and fortified food?

    I try to to focus less on assumptions, and more on facts, and it would be great of you (or someone else) could help me with a list of which plants and plant based foods that has been scientifically tested for it's ratio between active and passive B12 - and which methods that have been used. Info about where the plants had been heated, were fresh, organic etc. would also be useful. For example, tempeh and tempeh like products in various countries may contain B12 due to a number of different bacteria, and the presence of B12 in marine life is very season dependent, something that has been documented at least 25 years ago - most studies I've seen hardly scratch the surface. Some people are happy with references to some undocumented study from someone claiming that 'no plants contain useful B12' without asking for documentation, but let's rather try to look at the existing facts. I've never eaten spirulina or tempeh, and isn't interested from a personal point of view, but I'd like to see all the available studies.

    I agree with the massive amount of vegans who feel that we need more info on B12. We simply don't have the info we would need to make the conclusions some sources have come to. Based on what I've learned so far, the B12 analogue issue is much more complex than it seems, and also, it seems extremely like that vegans would get all the B12 they'd need from vegan sources in a natural world - not including supplements or fortified food. This is a good reason for not giving the impression that the only reason a vegan diet is natural is that 'it's natural to take supplements'. If you miss a nutrient, it's natural/normal to want to increase your level of this nutrient - but the meat eaters who think vegan food is unnatural is using the word 'natural' in a different way.

    Maybe I'm more concerned with the 99% (or whatever) of all people that are not vegans, and how they look at our viewpoints, our food and the nutrients it contains... and maybe that's not such a bad idea, unless we're happy with a Vegan Society (or similar) with not more than 4-5000 members ever.

    Again - please post links to real studies on the ratio between human active versus useless B12 in plants. If you want to search for this documentation on Google, maybe our subforum listing lots of plants that apparently contain B12 in one form or the other is a useful starting point - we must have close to 100 plant products listed there already. If you find info about the 200,000-300,000 plant species which aren't mentioned there, I'll be thankful if you post anything you'll find about their active/passive B12 ratio.

    I think you are confusing the issue and - more importantly - risk confusing more and more visitors to the forum about how they can reliably meet their B12 requirements.
    Anyone who claims that this topic is NOT confusing hasn't done their homework. It is. I think it's unethical not to inform our readers that it isn't as simple as some people claim.

    On the other hand, the size and function of this forum has changed since we started up in 2003. I consider my posts comments to the existing info out there only, but for a newcomer who wants to read max one or two pages of B12 info, and uses our forum as the only source, I totally agree that the amount of info is confusing. And - it's going to be worse. I've got loads if interesting info to post.

    This is why I'm planning to post a 'If you only want to real a tiny bit of vegan related info about B12 - read this!'-article, but it won't happen this month - too busy.

    Meanwhile, those who haven't seen it yet may be interested in looking at this announcement in the 'B12 in plants?'-subforum, posted back in 2004.


    Michael, thanks for discussing this with me - I prefer not to discuss with myself only.

  10. #10
    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Hi again,

    I think you're making this much more complex than it needs to be.

    Animals do not produce B12.

    Plants do not produce B12.

    B12 is produced by microorganisms. It is likely that these were much more abundant around humans when we led a less hygienic lifestyle, without satination systems, toilet paper and chlorinated water etc - which however obviously have benefits for us in terms of cholera and typhoid etc.

    Any food can either be enriched with B12 produced from a culture, or the cultures used to prepare a fermented food can be selected to produce usable B12. The principle is pretty much the same. The question is whether it is done under controlled conditions with foods we buy so that we can be sure that we have a reliable source. If we are able to find such foods and like them, great. If not, we can take a good supplement. This applies to anyone whether they eat plants only or eggs and milk or animals. It's worth noting - just to confuse the "natural" meat-eaters, for example, that most animal feed is supplemented.

    As for studies showing a given vegetable contains B12 regardless of the conditions in which it is grown, I do not know of any reliable modern studies, though there are some studies that show some vegetables may contain levels of B12 under certain conditions.

    But then we know livestock can also be B12 deficient. It's not what's eaten so much as how it is produced/grown.

    The bottom line, however, is that to be easily sure we are getting B12 we can either eat foods that contain B12 because the production process uses a particular culture that reliably and consistently results in a given measurable level (no one is currently doing this but it could be done) or because the foods are enriched with B12 produced from a culture, which is the same process used to produce a supplement.

    In the end it's all the same thing, though. None of these routes is any more natural than another. Even going out into the sunshine regulary to ensure one has enough vitamin D is comparable. You are "going out of your way" to ensure you're getting enough, using a natural process in a controlled manner to do so.

    So, there's nothing "unnatural" about this. All we are doing is controlling the process to make sure it's reliable. It's the same as countries adding iodine to salt or whatever to ensure populations have a reliable source.

    In the end, however, people go for a vegan diet because they care: about the animals, about the environment and about their own health. People also understand that humans change - sometimes in ways that aren't "natural" but are for the better.

    B12 deficiency is a very serious matter, however, and not just in terms of the irreversible nerve damage that can occur with severe deficiencies but the quality of life problems that occur with lower levels of deficiency. The Vegan Society takes these problems very seriously, and as someone who has both had friends and has personally suffered from B12 deficiency, I think they''re right and would advise everyone to take concrete practical steps to ensure they are reliably getting adequate levels, either by eating foods they can be sure contain B12 for any of the reasons above or by taking a supplement.

    The debate is interesting and is moving forward. Keeping interst alive so that research continues in both the academic community and industry will be valuable.

    But in the meantime - please let's make sure we're getting the vitmans we need

    There's no worse advert for veganism than a sick vegan or a "convert" that can't stick the diet for more than a couple of years because they find themselves weak, tired, depressed and anaemic from low B12 levels that their doctor may not even know how to measure.

    They will blame veganism even if they were borderline deficient before going vegan and the only reason things weren't worse before is because they were getting B12 from supplemented cereals that they then stopped eating to benefit from a more "natural" diet.

    The comical thing is that dirt is natural. Our modern lifestyles aren't "natural" and that may be why less of our food is "contaminated" with B12.

    Cheers

    Mike

  11. #11
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Quote Michael Benis View Post
    Hi again
    Hi to you too!

    I'm supposed to work, and not respond to this now, but never mind...

    I think you're making this much more complex than it needs to be
    .

    The way I see it, it's way more complex than how I present it....


    B12 is produced by microorganisms. It is likely that these were much more abundant around humans when we led a less hygienic lifestyle, without satination systems, toilet paper and chlorinated water etc - which however obviously have benefits for us in terms of cholera and typhoid etc.
    Sure, and microorganisms and bacteria isn't always something bad, something that has to do with toilet paper and diseases, as opposed to what many people think. We tend to relate more to what we can see (the cells in the human body) than what we can't (the bacteria in a healthy human body), and even if we consist of more bacteria than cells, 'bacteria' still has a negative feel to it, even if our lives depend on them. Bacteria are everywhere, are supposed to be everywhere, and we would die without them. Dirt and bacteria is two very different things, and I, for one, don't think it's a good to present all this the healthy bacteria as something we don't want to be there, or something 'less hygienic'.

    The question is whether it is done under controlled conditions with foods we buy so that we can be sure that we have a reliable source.
    It would be great if it was that easy in real life. B12 in vitamin supplements, which we should assume are a typical example of something produced under controlled conditions have been found to contain up to 90% useless analogues.


    If we are able to find such foods and like them, great. If not, we can take a good supplement.
    The problem is that you can't go to the supermarket and just look at some food and see if it's a usable source for B12. It just isn't that simple. We need studies, both on food and on supplements.


    It's worth noting - just to confuse the "natural" meat-eaters, for example, that most animal feed is supplemented.
    True, lots of animal food is already supplemented, the soil they grass on is even 'supplememted', and the milk they drink os often fortified - and most meat eaters don't seem to be aware of this.


    The bottom line, however, is that to be easily sure we are getting B12 we can either eat foods that contain B12 because the production process uses a particular culture that reliably and consistently results in a given measurable level (no one is currently doing this but it could be done) or because the foods are enriched with B12 produced from a culture, which is the same process used to produce a supplement.
    This would make more sense if we knew that no plants ever contained useable B12 (almost no plants have been tested yet, for obvious reasons), and if we knew that food fortified with B12 never contained the infamous B12 analogues. My main point is that when we tell people that they may need B12, we should explain why. Some people who visit a vegan site probably feel that they come to a hospital: "Welcome to the vegan movement, let's show you which pills you need and where to buy them".

    I think most people who hear about eg. ten different diets and are told that if you go for the vegan choice, you need to start eating pills - and conitinue to do so for the rest of your life - will find this lifestyle and diet less interesting than the others. Some (but only) some vegans ignore this, and present info about vegan nutrition without focusing on why. Maybe they don't care about how 'natural' something is, but they should remember that many others are. Mentioning a few words about dirt, bugs and stools doesn't help much.

    The above mentioned non-vegans may not agree that the natural/unnatural discussion is as unimportant some people want it to be, and nobody tells them that sugar, coffee, and dozens of other stuff they may consume regularly is bad for their B12 levels, or that the levels of nutrients in the soil has been massively depleted over the las 100 years.

    None of these routes is any more natural than another.
    Here are some common definitions of the word 'natural'.

    If you define 'natural' as something that exist in nature without human interruption (plants, animals, water, soil), and unnatural or non-natural as something that is manmade, like vitamin supplements, iPods or clothes, the routes are very different.

    I wear clothes and sleep in a house. I don't listen only to the wind, I like manmade music, and don't care if it appears in nature without human help or not - I really don't. But there's another aspect to it: If all diets a given person read about contain all the nutrients humans need, and one of them seem to NOT contain all those nutrients... even if only one of them is missing, he may keep using his manmade iPod for music and use an manmade umbrella if it's raining, but may still think that this weird diet that doesn't contain all the nutrients doesn't make much sense.


    Even going out into the sunshine regulary to ensure one has enough vitamin D is comparable. You are "going out of your way" to ensure you're getting enough, using a natural process in a controlled manner to do so.
    Since houses are manmade, and the sun is not, I don't agree, but that's probably because we use the word natural in two different ways.

    So, there's nothing "unnatural" about this.
    We know that many non-vegans who don't know about all the 'B12-killers' out there will disagree. They don't care if you or I think it's natural or not, they follow their own logic and intuition (or lack thereof)...

    Since there is so much info suggesting that our B12 levels would have been a LOT higher if we would live in a less synthetic world, more in contact with nature and unprocessed, fresh, non-canned, non-microwaved, organic food not cooked in chlorinated water etc, it would IMO be totally silly not to try to tell all those non-vegans why both vegans and non-vegans need to pay attention to B12 - and that vegans do NOT need to pay attention to more nutrients than non-vegans do. Most of them are nutrient deficient, many feel horrible - and won't worry about any nutrients before they possibly go vegan.

    In the end, however, people go for a vegan diet because they care: about the animals, about the environment and about their own health.
    The people who go vegan go vegan for these reasons. I think we should focus more on why some people want to go vegan but never do it and some don't even consider it because they wonder how they would get the nutrients they need or because they think the vegan diet seems unnatural. Please look at this poll: Top 50: Comments from non-vegans.

    I think they''re right and would advise everyone to take concrete practical steps to ensure they are reliably getting adequate levels, either by eating foods they can be sure contain B12 for any of the reasons above or by taking a supplement.
    Since B12 intake needs varies from person to person based on a number of things, and because both supplements and fortified food may contain unusable B12 analogues, I'd go further than this, and say that they shouldn't rely blindly on any general advice, and instead take B12/MMA/HCY tests. I don't want vegans to get B12 deficiency because they aren't willing to read a couple of pages of info and learn a little more than the 'take your pills or die'-kind of info some vegans provide. I don't want my non-vegan friends to get sick either, and being aware of everything that can reduce or destroy B12, and knowing about the health professionals that claim that B12 deficiency is a growing, global problem for non-vegans also, I think all people should pay attention to B12.


    There's no worse advert for veganism than a sick vegan or a "convert" that can't stick the diet for more than a couple of years because they find themselves weak, tired, depressed and anaemic from low B12 levels that their doctor may not even know how to measure.
    Of course none of us want anyone to become sick, and we don't want any vegans to develop a B12 deficiency - and we both know that there's a realistic chance that both vegans and non-vegans develop deficiencies. Vegans may not need to pay attention to as many nutrients as non-vegans, but B12 is definitely the main nutrient to pay attention to for us.

    Maybe it's true that there's a 80% likelihood that a vegan will develop B12 deficiency if he doesn't supplement, just like there are a number of nutrient deficiencies that non-vegans are extremely likely to develop. I don't think this even is something we need to discuss - I have been recommending people to monitor their B12/MMA/HCY levels for several years. In addition to this, I'm very interested in how those vegans who do not develop B12 differs from those who do. It seems that we don't agree about how we should present this info. Since nobody but vegans would present this from a vegan perspective, we need to to do it.


    The comical thing is that dirt is natural. Our modern lifestyles aren't "natural" and that may be why less of our food is "contaminated" with B12.
    Stools and dirt as natural, bacteria and microorganisms are natural... but: do you agree that it's time to differentiate between dirt/stools and healthy, necessary bacteria? They way some people write about this, it looks - for non-vegans - like you have two natural choices for B12: stools, insects, dirt on one side, which none of us find attractive, or the 'yummy' food they have been trained to like and eat since before they could talk. The dirt/insects vs. 'normal food' comparison which often is mentioned not only fail to differentiate between bacteria and dirt etc, but could have been used as a basis for campaigning slogan for the meat industry... "Do you want to eat beef or dirt?"

    The term 'analogues' have been used when discussing B12 since the 60s, or maybe even 50s, but some vegans still think that this a new term, some new info that has popped up - and many don't know the different meanings of the term, and assume that whenever something contains B12 analogues, it's 'bad'. I don't think the way we inform about this is good enough? Or are all these vegans incapable of understanding what this is all about... due to too little B12 - or too much B12 supplementation? Maybe we should have another poll?

    Finally, and to everybody: Please post info about the ratio between usable and non-usable B12 in vegan food if you find it. There are very few, reliable studies out there, and we know little about how these tests are done.

  12. #12
    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Quote Korn View Post
    I'm supposed to work, and not respond to this now, but never mind...
    Same here. Which is why I'm going to have to leave this here, otherwise I fear it could just go round in circles. I don't think this disucssion has any practical value.

    Quote Korn View Post
    The way I see it, it's way more complex than how I present it....
    Actually, I wasn't talking about the matter of what's metabolically active, so much as the business of what's natural and how one can most effectively advocate for veganism.

    Quote Korn View Post
    It would be great if it was that easy in real life. B12 in vitamin supplements, which we should assume are a typical example of something produced under controlled conditions have been found to contain up to 90% useless analogues.
    What's the source for that. What was claimed to be providing B12 in that supplement.

    Quote Korn View Post
    The problem is that you can't go to the supermarket and just look at some food and see if it's a usable source for B12. It just isn't that simple. We need studies, both on food and on supplements.
    Sure, but in the mean time we need to live

    Quote Korn View Post
    The above mentioned non-vegans may not agree that the natural/unnatural discussion is as unimportant some people want it to be, and nobody tells them that sugar, coffee, and dozens of other stuff they may consume regularly is bad for their B12 levels, or that the levels of nutrients in the soil has been massively depleted over the las 100 years.
    All good points. Yet what has in some ways helped get more people going vegan is the increasing availability of vegan junk food.

    Quote Korn View Post
    it would IMO be totally silly not to try to tell all those non-vegans why both vegans and non-vegans need to pay attention to B12 - and that vegans do NOT need to pay attention to more nutrients than non-vegans do. Most of them are nutrient deficient, many feel horrible - and won't worry about any nutrients before they possibly go vegan.
    Totally agree! We're all human after all.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Finally, and to everybody: Please post info about the ratio between and non-usable B12 in vegan food if you find it.
    I think there's something missing there. Not sure what you mean

    Cheers

    Mike

  13. #13
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    I think there's something missing there. Not sure what you mean
    Thanks... the word 'usable' obviously disappeared: "Please post info about the ratio between usable and non-usable B12 in vegan food if you find it.


    What's the source for that. What was claimed to be providing B12 in that supplement.
    Look here:

    B12 and B12 analogues in multivitamins, animal foods and spirulina

    I wasn't talking about the matter of what's metabolically active, so much as the business of what's natural and how one can most effectively advocate for veganism.
    Neither was I...

    Which is why I'm going to have to leave this here
    Hey, don't leave the thread when it's starting to become interesting!

    Now, back to work, and this time I mean it...

  14. #14
    Michael Benis's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    Quick Hi again....

    That study dates back to the eighties and uses a questionable methodology. I cannot see that it justifies a blanket statement of "up to 90%" with regard to B12 supplements.

    The sources quoted regarding spirulina and B12 are no more reliable.

    As for the poor old rats: Gain in bodyweight is not a reliable indicator that other B12-related functions are being positively impacted.

    That's why I'm not sure that this hotch-potch of information adds much clarity.

    Cheers

    Mike

  15. #15
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 'analogues' more efficient than actual B12?

    According to Peter Hinde's article Twelve Points On B12 from 2005, some inactive B12 analogues can be active in bone marrow but not in nervous tissue, which is kind of interesting. The article is here.

    Michael, I actually replied to your post back in November when we had some problems with certain posts, so the reply never made it to the forum (for some weird reason, the forum software refused to accept posts that contained the term 'test method' (!!!), but I saved my response somewhere, and will post it later.

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