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Thread: B12 in beer?

  1. #1
    campbell Campbell's Avatar
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    Default B12 in beer?

    I heard a guy on the radio last night saying that the yeast used to make beer contains a whole lot of vitamins and nutrients, including B12. He likened it to the yeast in Marmite.

    Naturally, if this is true, it will make many of us very happy to know that beer is good for our body (I already know it's good for my soul)

    Still, I have my doubts about this claim... that said, I've been a reasonably healthy vegan for over ten years (including my fair share of the amber stuff) - a month ago the doc checked my B12 and said it was fine. I don't take supplements and very rarely if ever eat anything fortified with B12.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    B12 is added to Marmite and other yeast extracts..... http://www.marmite.co.uk/love/nutrit...gredients.html

    If it contained significant B12 they wouldn't need to supplement it. Nutritional yeast similarly only contains B12 if it is added to the finished product.
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

  3. #3
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    According to http://www.brewersofeurope.org/docs/.../pdf-Mei04.pdf, beer contains 0.9 micrograms B12 pr. half litre, and this study on homocysteine levels among beer drinkers concluded that moderate beer consumption may help to maintain the tHcy levels in the normal range due to high folate content (homocysteine levels are lowered by folate and B12).

    But look at this study:

    After correcting for body mass index, there was a 5% decrease in the amount of serum vitamin B12 concentrations from 0 to 1 drink/d treatment. Alcohol intake had no significant effects on serum folate or MMA and HCY concentrations. Among healthy, well-nourished, postmenopausal women, moderate alcohol intake may diminish vitamin B12 status.

    Here's some more info (from http://www.buildingbodies.ca/Nutriti...ficiency.shtml ):
    Just as mercury may cause B12 deficiency in the nervous system, so alcohol can cause deficiency in tissues. Even worse, alcohol seems to raise serum levels of vitamin B12, so that the deficiency is masked and the subject may look like they have higher than normal B12 levels! Whether these effects correlate to alcohol intake, or are only found in "alcoholics" is not clear.
    According to this source "A significantly higher concentration of plasma homocysteine compared with controls was noted in a group of alcoholics (n = 42) hospitalized for detoxication. Normal concentrations of plasma homocysteine were reached within 1 or 2 weeks after admission to the hospital. In another group of abstinent alcoholics (n = 16) plasma homocysteine did not deviate from that of controls. Since hyperhomocysteinemia has been associated with premature vascular disease, we speculate that the increased plasma homocysteine in alcoholics might cause the increased incidence of stroke found in these patients."

    The results in people who use alcohol moderately don't need to be the parallel (only less dramatic) to what has been found when studying people who drink a lot of alcohol.

    Some vegans believe that homocysteine levels can only be lowered by B12 (due to a lot of focus on B12's importance for maintaining healthy homocysteine levels), but that's not correct. There is some disagreement regarding whether folate alone can reduce homocysteine levels (but too low B12 levels isn't a good idea even if folate to some degree does what B12 does, because we need both).

    The problem with B12 in beverages containing alcohol, is that if the drink contains B12, it may increase the level of B12 in blood tests as such, but blood is kind of... boring. Blood is a transport system, the interesting part is if the B12 can be active on a cell level.

    I one of my B12 books, B12 in beer was discussed, and the focus was on how people who got B12 from beer may appear as having better B12 levels due to their increased B12 levels in blood tests - and how this was masking the fact that these people's real life amounts of active B12 rather suggested that B12 intake from beer had a negative effect. I'll see if I find that book and post more later, but I wouldn't count on beer as a reliable B12 source...

  4. #4
    campbell Campbell's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    Whoa Korn, I'm not sure if I understood even 1 per cent of what you wrote but I appreciate the depth of your knowledge about this subject!

    So, although B12 can play an important role, it may not be an essential nutrient if we get a lot of folate instead? I get the impression that the main thing is to control homocysteine levels, which folate can also achieve to some extent.

    Well anyway, I feel well enough

  5. #5
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    Quote Campbell View Post
    So, although B12 can play an important role, it may not be an essential nutrient if we get a lot of folate instead?
    No... B12 seems to be an essential nutrient even if some of B12's functions are overlapped by what folate does. There may be several problems with getting usable B12 from beer, one of them the fact that alcohol has a negative effect on B12. It may increase the B12 levels in blood tests, but not have any real effect.

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    This is something I've been wondering about lately. As I understand it there should be a decent amount of B12 in beer (0.9mcg per 500ml) but the problem is that the alcohol in the beer counteracts any gain you might make. Logically therefore wouldn't alcohol free beer be a good source? A lot of alcohol free beers are more like beer flavoured soft drinks but I know Becks Blue is brewed as standard Becks and then has the alcohol removed. I did query Inbev on the B12 content of Becks Blue but unfortunately this was the response - "we are unable to provide the exact information you require due to its competitive and strategic nature." ... I don't see how it can have a competitive and strategic nature when they don't even use that information.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in beer?

    Serum vitamin B12 was higher (p < 0.001) after 3 weeks consumption of alcohol-free beer (382.8 +/- 23.7 pg/liter) as compared with beer consumption (327.5 +/- 22.2 pg/liter).
    So that shows that by drinking alcohol free beer you'll have more B12 than if you drank regular beer. Doesn't show if it's a gain though.

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