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Thread: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

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    Arrow 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    During the following months, I'll list at least 50 possible ways you could develop B12 deficiency. Many points on the list would be interesting for non-vegans as well, but (of course) I will focus on B12 issues that are relevant for plant eaters. You're all welcome to discuss each and every point on the list, but please do it by starting a separate thread.

    As a reference, the late dr. Victor Herbert insisted that nobody would need more than 0.1 mcg B12 daily (the B12/homocysteine issue was probably NOT taken into consideration here), and he wrote that "0.2-0.25 micrograms per day absorbed from food is adequate for normal people". The Recommended Daily Average is 1.0 mcg/daily according to World Health Organization, USA recommends 2.4 mcg daily. Safety margins are normally built into RDA values.






    1) You might be eating only B12 poor plants.

    According to this study, which focused on spinach, barley and soy only, 1kg spinach grown in maneured soil contains 17.8 mcg B12 (dry weight), while soybeans grown with manure had only 2.9 mcg of B12 (and only 1.6 mcg with chemical fertilizers.) Whether plants are a reliable B12 source or not is a hot topic, but this example should document that the B12 levels should NOT expect that all plants contain enough B12, even if they are organically grown, raw, or eaten unwashed.

    Some plants contain B12. Some of these B12-molecules are so called 'B12 analogues', which may - or may not - be a problem (this is another hot topic). Whatever you do, and whether you are a vegan or not, we recommend everybody to pay attention to their B12 levels.

    If you want to get B12 from plants, at least make sure you eat plants that may contain B12.
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    Default 2) Microwave owens

    2) Using microwave owens might be the worst thing you can do to your food. Please check this.


    ACcording to this site, Japanese researchers have found that microwaving foods for 6 minutes causes 30-40% loss of vitamin B12. Microwaving caused greater B12 loss then bringing milk from room temperature to boiling point. However, loss of B12 was the same after 6 minutes microwaving or 30 minutes boiling.

    Reduction rate: 30-40%
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    Default 3) Breastfeeding (1)

    3) B12 deficiency will/can occur in children of mothers with low B12 levels. If you were raised as a vegan, and your mother was exposed to for example these chemicals during (or before) pregnancy or nursing, your life most likely started with too low B12 levels.

    There are known cases of vegan babies that are breastfed for a short time only, and then fed the babies with B12-poor formulas, soy milk etc, where the babies developed severe cases of B12 deficiency. Of course, in such situations, many doctors and media will blame the V12 deficiency on the vegan lifestyle it self, not on lack of breast feeding or lack of B12 in the mother in question.

    Mother's milk contains good* levels of B12 (unless the mother is deficient). Since most babies prefer breast feeding for 3-4 years if they are allowed to, many have started out with too little B12 in their bloodstream, since breastfeeding for 3+ years isn't normal except in so called 'primitive' cultures.

    *The normal level of B-12 for breast milk is 180 - 300 pg. per ml, if the mother is eating standard (non-vegan) diet.

    More about breastfeeding in this article.
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    Default 4) Use of antibiotics

    4) Use of antibiotics. Here are some examples of antibiotics that reduce B12 levels, and according to this and other articles I've seen, we should also use plants that contain antibiotics with care, in order to preserve the B12 levels in what we eat: "Taking antibiotics or eating plants that contain antibiotics can upset the bacteria that manufacture B12 and this too can contribute to a B12 deficiency. We do know that B12 deficiency in rural diets (including vegetarians) is extremely rare. Recent research completed in Australia indicated that 40% of people who ate meat regularly were B12 deficient, so it is common in both meat eaters and vegetarians living in westernized, more affluent communities. Whether this is due to over sterilization, stress or consumption of other processed foods is unclear."
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    Default 5) Lactose intolerance (many vegans are lactose intolerant vegetarians)

    5) Lactose intolerance may increase B-12 needs, according to 'Nutrition for Vegetarians' by drs. Trash. I assume that many vegans are lactose-intolerant people who would have been lacto-vegetarians if it wasn't for their lactose intolerance. If this is correct, this would affect studies on B12 deficiency in vegans, because these vegans (the lactose intolerant ones) might have increased needs for B12, and therefore more easily develop signs of B12 deficiency.
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    Default 6) Helicobacter pylori

    6) Helicobacter pylori.

    From http://www.yourhealthbase.com/vitamin_B12.html :
    "It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of adults in developed countries are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. H pylori has been implicated in stomach ulcers, indigestion (dyspepsia), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), stomach cancer, and MALT lymphoma. About 10-15 per cent of adults over 60 years of age are affected by a vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency. Researchers at the Turkish Military Medical Academy now provide convincing evidence that the two are linked. A detailed study of 138 patients with vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia discovered that 77 (58 per cent) of the patients had a H pylori infection. Eradication of this infection successfully cured the anemia and reversed the vitamin B12 deficiency in 31 (40 per cent) of the 77 infected patients. The researchers conclude that a H pylori infection can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency and that this deficiency, in many cases, can be totally eliminated by eradicating the infection. EDITOR'S NOTE: Memory loss, fatigue, and mental confusion are often the first indicators of a vitamin B12 deficiency."
    From http://www.mothernature.com/Library/...cfm/Id/2924006 :
    Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of gastritis and ulcers, has been shown to cause or contribute to adult vitamin B12 deficiency. H. pylori has this effect by damaging cells in the stomach that make intrinsic factor—a substance needed for normal absorption of vitamin B12. In one trial, H. pylori was detected in 56% of people with anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Successful eradication of H. pylori led to improved blood levels of B12 in 40% of those infected.8 Other studies have also suggested a link between H. pylori infection and vitamin B12 deficiency.9 10 Elimination of H. pylori infection does not always improve vitamin B12 status. People with H. pylori infections should have vitamin B12 status monitored.

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    Default 7) Tapeworm from fish

    Fish tapeworms can consume 80% to 100% of a host's vitamin B12. Tapeworm, like other parasites, doesn't necessarily disappear even if one stops eating fish...

    For people who have been eating fish in the past, don't forget that it's possible that parasites/eggs (like fish tapeworm) can be transmitted from the fish to the human in the process of cutting/preparing the fish before it's cooked, for example by using the same knives for both the fish and when preparing a salad.

    More here:
    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=663
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    Default 8) Parasites - from your past?

    If it is correct that between 60 and 95% of all people have been/are exposed to parasites, parasites could be a more important B12 reducing factor than most people think. More information on parasites and B12 here.


    Parasites can cause B12 deficiency. Even if you don't eat beef or smoked salmon anymore, you may still have parasites in your system. Some of them can live in your body for years, and some of them survive even in chlorinated water for up to 18 months!

    You can read more about natural treatments for parasites here:

    http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/cond.../Parasites.htm
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    Default 9) Unclean colons

    You body wasn't born into a healthy world. Even if we avoid animal products and maybe junk food now, our intestines and digestive system in general is affected by the fact that most of us haven't lived like that forever. I don't have any links (yet) that proves that B12 intake is reduced due to an 'unclean' digestive system (maybe you do?), but if you look at the pictures in this thread, you might agree that it's very likely that intestines that have been exposed to toxics, unhealthy foods, pesticides etc. for years isn't really capable of absorbing all the B12 and other nutrients we consume. You might have noticed how sticky cheese or sugary food is, especially when heated a little? My guess is that the sticky behavior doesn't disappear after we have chewed it.
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    Default 10) B12 & chlorine.

    "[...]vitamin B12 use by the body can be disrupted by chloroform, one of the four main trihalomethanes in chlorinated drinking water." (From http://www.garynull.com/Documents/er...ated_water.htm)


    Most people drink water with chlorine every day, and the water most plants are watered with contain chlorine.


    Re. water that is not chlorinated:

    Adventist health scientist Matt Steele wondered about this for a long time. Vitamin B12 is almost the universal product of bacterial action. So it dawned on him that it might have come from natural drinking water -- which would have had many bacteria in its catchment area. He tested the water in the Yarra River near Warburton Adventist Hospital in Australia. The river water there is good drinking quality. When he tested it, he found one litre (two pints) of the water contained the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin B12.
    http://www.tagnet.org/adventist.fm/health/heallup.htm
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    Default 11) B12 & Light

    According to http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_ad...mins_which.htm and many other sources, B12 is reduced by sunlight. Don't get this wrong: the problem is NOT that the person who consumes B12 is exposed to sunlight, but that food that is stored in sunlight will have it'd B12 levels reduced. We know that plants need sunlight to grow; the problem seem to be the period of time it takes from a plant is harvested until it is bought and eaten. There are various opinions on how much B12 there is in plants, and I suspect one main reason is that very few seem to take into consideration that food that is not fresh will have less nutrients in it than fresh food. Fanatics on one side claim that there is no B12 whatsoever in plants, fanatics on the other side that B12 in plants is not a problem, because fresh, organic food is full of nutrients. But how many of us eat really fresh food?

    The heating process during canning destroys from one-third to one-half of vitamins A and C, riboflavin, and thiamin. For every year the food is stored, canned food loses an additional 5 to 20% of these vitamins. However, the amounts of other vitamins are only slightly lower in canned food than in fresh food.
    Most produce will begin to lose some of its nutrients when harvested. When produce is handled properly and canned quickly after harvest, it can be more nutritious than fresh produce sold in stores.
    When refrigerated, fresh produce will lose half or more of some of its vitamins within 1 to 2 weeks. If it's not kept chilled or preserved, nearly half of the vitamins may be lost within a few days of harvesting. For optimum nutrition, it is generally recommended that a person eat a variety of foods.

    SOURCE: FDA/CFSAN Food Safety A to Z Reference Guide, Sept 2001
    Since light destroys B12 and probably other vitamins (after the plant has been harvested), one reason that keeping things in the fridge could be useful is that it's dark in there. Vitamin pills are normally stored in light proof jars, but plants, that seem to start to loose their vitamin content as soon as they are picked, are often exposed to a lot of light before they are eaten...
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    Default 12) B12 and cooking

    From http://www.questhealthlibrary.com/vitamins/b12
    Vitamin B12 is freely soluble and therefore lost into cooking water. It is sensitive to strong acid, alkali and light.
    From http://www.greathealthandwellness.com/id2.html :
    If your diet consists of sugars, alcohol, overcooked veggies, pre-cooked foods and if you are stressed or take sleeping pills, you are depleting your vitamin B supply.
    From http://www.internethealthlibrary.com...&Lifestyle.htm
    Vitamins are easily destroyed by storage and cooking, so eat fresh fruit and vegetables as soon as possible and donêt over-cook them.
    From http://www.gamerooster.com/spotlight/tonic.html
    Prolonged cooking, including boiling of cow's milk, destroys B12.
    From http://www.satyamag.com/june03/cousens.html
    According to the Max Plank Institute in Germany, you lose 50 percent of the protein, up to 70 or 80 percent of your vitamins, pretty much 100 percent of your phyto-nutrients, and up to 96 percent of your B12.
    From http://www.acne-advice.com/diet/vitamins_minerals.shtml
    B vitamins are very unstable at high temperatures, try to eat these foods raw, or only lightly cooked
    From http://www.sare.org/htdocs/hypermail...html/0217.html
    It is the only known nutrient which contains the trace element cobalt. When exposed to light, oxygen or acidic or alkaline conditions, it slowly looses its vitamin properties. On the other hand, it is relatively
    heat-resistent. The average loss as a result of cooking, for example, is said to be about 12%.
    http://www.nutritionfocus.com/nutrit...tamin_b12.html :
    Vitamin B12, a member of the B-complex vitamins, is a water-soluble vitamin that is stable to heat. It slowly loses its activity when exposed to light, oxygen, and acid or alkali environments. Loss of activity from cooking is approximately 70%. The main cobalamins in humans and animals are hydroxocobalamins, adenosylcobalamin, and methylcobalamin, the last two being the active coenzyme forms. Cyanocobalamin is widely used clinically, because of its availability and stability, and is transformed into the active factors in the body. Vitamin B12 is produced commercially from bacterial fermentation.

    http://www.isn.net/~deighanj/v&m-pag2.html :
    The vitamin is relatively stable in heat and light, normal cooking tempuratures do not destroy significant quantities of it.

    However, tempuratures sufficient to sterilize and not merely pasteurize milk products may deplete milk of up to 70% of its vitamin B12.Therefore, the practice of sterilizing milk for baby's consumption by boiling bottles of it at 119 degrees C for 13 minutes (versus using commercially prepared, enriched, formulas and gently warming before feeding) could result in vitamin B12 deficiency if that overprocessed milk were the sole (or a major) nutritional source of the baby's diet.
    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?t...rient&dbid=107 :
    How do cooking, storage, or processing affect vitamin B-12?
    When derived from animal foods, vitamin B-12 is fairly well preserved under most cooking conditions. For example, about 70% of the vitamin B-12 present in beef is retained after broiling for 45 minutes at 350º Fahrenheit. Similarly, about 70% of B-12 is still present after cow's milk is boiled for 2-5 minutes. Retention of vitamin B-12 in plant-based foods like tempeh, a fermented food made from soy, has not been well researched
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    Default 13) Vitamins and storage

    In addition to exposure to sunlight, there are many indications that the time that passes from a plant is harvested until it is eaten in itself will reduce the level of nutrients in it (independent if exposure to light).

    In an article I just found discussing canned food, I read that
    Canning is a useful way to preserve vitamins, as concentrations of some vitamins can decrease by 50% within the first 7 days after harvest when stored at ambient temperatures.
    ( http://www.nutrition.org.uk/home.asp...on=299&which=1 )

    Some of this loss could of course be due to the food being exposed to light, as mentioned above.

    Part of the problem with canning (even if this is not a black/white situation) is that
    1) ...the food is pre-cooked (if it is going to be cooked anyway, this part is less important, but being cooked twice instead of once sounds like increasing the risk of losing nutrients to me),
    2) ...it is stored for quite a while. This is also true for some plants (ie. dried pulses) even when not canned. To me, it seems like that it's more likely that you will consume more 'old' food if you eat a lot of canned food
    3) We don't know for sure if the plants were canned immediately after being harvested. For example, the beans might have been dried first, then been cooked, and then stored for a while.


    We have a thread discussing fresh/vs. canned food
    here.

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    Default More on cooking / microwaving

    Quote Korn
    2) Using microwave owens might be the worst thing you can do to your food. Please check this.
    A little more on how cooking and microwaving destroys B12:

    Microwaves bedevil a B vitamin - research indicates overcooking and microwaving meat and dairy foods inactivate vitamin B12 - Brief Article
    Science News, Feb 14, 1998 by Janet Raloff


    Diets containing ample vitamin [B.sub.12], also known as cobalamin, not only help prevent pernicious anemia, they may also lower heart disease risk by reducing concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. A new study now suggests that to preserve the integrity of this vitamin, chefs should avoid overcooking meats and dairy foods--a major source of cobalamin--especially in a microwave oven.


    Fumio Watanabe of Kochi (Japan) Women's University and his colleagues tested 100-gram samples of milk or liquid emulsions made by mixing 10 grams of raw beef or pork with 50 milliliters of water. Heating each sample for 6 minutes in a microwave oven inactivated 30 to 40 percent of the [B.sub.12], that had been present, the scientists report in the January Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


    The milk reached a boiling temperature after about 1 minute and steadily lost [B.sub.12], thereafter. Conventional boiling can also inactivate milk's [B.sub.12] though more slowly. It took about 25 minutes of regular boiling to inactivate as much of a milk sample's [B.sub.12] as microwaving achieved in 6 minutes. Acknowledging that the 6-minute microwave cycle would be considered "lengthy" for the reheating of refrigerated foods, Watanabe notes that such a period wouldn't be unusual for stewing meats or vegetables, steaming chicken, or preparing curries.
    ( http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...53/ai_20346932 )
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    Default 14) Too much unfermented soy increases the body's need for vitamin B12

    Consumption of unfermented soy foods increases the body's need for vitamin B12. Phytic acid (or phytates) is an organic acid present in the hull of all grains and beans. Phytates are known as 'anti-nutrients'. (I love that word.) They chelate, or bind, to calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and Vitamin B12 in our intestinal tracts blocking their absorption. Soybeans have the highest phytate content of any studied legume. Unlike with other beans and grains, the phytate level in soybeans is not neutralized by soaking and cooking.
    http://www.drycreekherbfarm.com/newsletter.php
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    Default 15) B12 and pollution from cars

    Just being around cars seems to be a potential source of B12 deficiency. Look here.
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    Default 16 & 17 (?) Does the appearance of B12 analogues limit the absorption of 'true' B12?

    According to various sources, the existence of so called B12 analogues (molecules that appear to be true, active absorbable B12, but isn't), will prohibit the absorption of real B12 in the same meal. Others claim that that the digestive systems healthy human beings are able to distinguish between 'true' and 'false' B12.

    Normally food contains both true and false B12.
    IF it is correct that B12 analogues found in plants will actually reduce the intake of true B12, and if it would have been true that meat, supplements and fortified food only contains 'true' B12 while plants only contain B12 analogues, eating plants containing B12 analogues would be really harmful, because they would reduce the overall B12 intake. Some people insist that this is the case. It is often the same people who claim that plants only contain B12 analogues that recommend fortified food and supplements.

    As you can write about here, 20-90% of the B12 in multivitamin supplements is present as B12 analogues. And as you can read about here, you'll find a lot of B12 analogues not only in B12 fortified food, but also in typical non-vegan meals:

    'Studies of normal patients with no stores of cobalamin have shown that only 1 microgram per day is required to quickly reverse early pernicious anemia. A dramatic increase in young red blood cells and reticulocytes and a rise to normal hemoglobin and hematocrit was observed within days. The minimum daily requirement (MDR) for cobalamin appears to be even lower, 0.2-0.25 micrograms per day absorbed from food is adequate for normal people (Herbert 1987). It has been found that a significant percentage of the activity in 'B-12 enriched' foods are inactive analogs. Hamburger, cottage cheese and boiled eggs averaged about 10% analogs while milk products (whole, evaporated, nonfat) averaged about 30%, whereas nearly 100% is inactive from tempeh. A typical 'VA lunch' consisting of potato soup, cottage cheese, lettuce, peaches, crackers, butter and milk was analyzed and found to contain 40% inactive analogs (Herbert 1984b). This is not a problem for normal people, as it has been established that inactive B-12 analogs exist in human liver, red blood cells, brain and mineral and vitamin supplements (Kanazawa 1983, Herbert 1982). Normal humans are able to discriminate between the active and non-active forms as both have always been in nature and in foods.'

    And here comes the interesting part:
    If you decide that you do believe that plants are always unreliable sources of B12 because of the B12 analogue issue (don't forget that thousands of types of plants never have been tested for B12), then the B12 analogues are the problem, not the plants, right? And if existence of B12 in itself is a problem, and if it is true that the appearance of B12 analogues in your meal will cause the real B12 not to be absorbed, then why would you
    a) eat multivitamin supplements, which also contain B12 analogues?
    b) eat B12 fortified food, which also contain B12 analogues?
    c) eat a standard non-vegan diet instead, which also contains plenty of B12 analogues?

    To sum it up: for those of you that decide that the existence of B12 analogues is prohibiting true B12 from being absorbed, you should include two new items to the list of possible ways to become B12 deficient:

    16) Eating multivitamin pills
    17) Eating B12 fortified food

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    Default 18 (?) Plants and chemical-free, natural drinking water

    Some people seem to suggest that one should follow the idea that the mere existence of B12 analogues in food will prohibit absorption of true B12, and that all such food therefore should be avoided. B12 analogues exist in vegan and non-vegan food, in multivitamins, and in B12 fortified food. Here's a list of plants that may (or may not) contain B12 analogues - and there are more to come:

    Spinach
    Broad Beans
    Barley
    Soy
    Tempeh
    Shiitake
    Laminaria
    Concord grapes
    Catnip
    Goldenberries
    Dandelion
    Lamb's quarters
    Chickweed (starweed)
    Aloe Vera
    Prickly Pear Cactus
    Ginseng
    Sea buckthorn
    Barley grass juice
    Sprout chick peas
    Batabata-cha tea
    Maca
    Bananas
    Hops
    Dulse
    Nori
    Dong Quai
    Various algae
    Bladderwrack
    Alfalfa
    Various mushroons
    Grass
    Burdock
    Strawberries
    Bark from some trees
    Chlorella
    Spirulina



    Since I guess natural drinking water from streams also is reported as containing B12, I suspect a certain person on a certain website to claim that 'Unless natural drinking water is eventually shown to lower MMA levels, it should not be considered a source of active B12.'.

    Here comes the other interesting part of this 'logic': If food or water contains B12 but does not lower the homocysteine levels, and true B12 does reduce homocysteine levels, the explanation seem to be that the B12 is only a B12 analogue. But if it also true that the mere existence of B12 analogues prohibit true B12 from being absorbed, and that fresh plants and natural drinking water contain B12, and this B12 is not 'true', but 'analogue', we should really feel sorry for mankind, who has been eating fresh plants and drinking water from streams, containing B12 analogues for thousands of years. Poor guys, who didn't have all the chemicals we now have, that would kill the analogue bastards properly.
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    Default 19) Presence of mercury can reduce B12

    19) "In a joint article in the December 1995 issue of Heavy Metal Bulletin by Dr Ahlrot-Westerlund and Editor, Monica Kauppi, they explain that the presence of heavy metals can reduce the uptake of vitamin B12. "The transport of vitamin B12 to the brain can be disturbed or interrupted by heavy metals such as mercury, which affects the blood-brain barrier by causing leakage and hampering the active transport of nutrients."


    More here: http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...?p=570#post570
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    Default 20) Calcium deficiency can cause reduced B12 absorbtion.

    More info here: http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2008

    In short: B12 needs calcium for absorption, and according to at least one study*, vegans (who eat unbalanced vegan food; calcium is not difficult to get from vegan sources) are often low in calcium. Heavy metals in the water are believed to prevent the absorption of calcium, in addition to disturbing the B12 transport directly.




    *Vegans low in three nutrients, meat eaters in seven
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    Default 21) Food irradiation

    According to this and several other sources, food irradiation destroys B12:

    "In addition, irradiation destroys essential vitamins, including vitamin A, thiamin, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, C, E, and K; amino acid and essential polyunsaturated fatty acid content may also be affected. A 20 to 80 percent loss of any of these is not uncommon."

    Food irradiation may not be very widespread yet, but ie. potatoes are already being irradiated in USA, they have tried it on strawberries in Florida, and tropical fruits have been mentioned in this thread...

    As an example of what food irradiation can do with vitamins, here's some info from http://www.organicconsumers.org/Irra...rradiation.cfm

    For example, 91 percent of vitamin B6 in irradiated beef stored for 15 months and 33 percent of vitamin B12 in meat can be lost due to irradiation.[5],[6]
    We surely don't eat beef, but I can imagine that nutrients in plants are at least as vulnerable...
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    Default 23) Dioxin

    According to sources Dioxin disturbs B12 absorption:
    .
    "These secondary symptoms are neuropathy, joint damages, chronic fatigue, B12, B6, B1 and E wasting.* Also premature bone wasting and damage, along with autoimmunity, etc.* EPA has suggested a B12, B6 and E issue with dioxin that your body, [b]no matter how much you have - you can no longer absorb these essential minerals and vitamins in your cell building processes.[/n]* Long-term damage is serious stuff."
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  23. #23
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    Default 24) Toxic breast milk

    Here is a sad one. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for breastfeeding even if minuscule amounts of toxic chemicals, but in the quote below, you'll see several names that also appears in lists over chemicals that are known to disturb B12 absorption.

    http://www.b12partners.net/mt/archiv...reast_mi.html:

    The New York Times > Magazine > First Person: Toxic Breast Milk?:
    If human breast milk came stamped with an ingredients label, it might read something like this: 4 percent fat, vitamins A, C, E and K, lactose, essential minerals, growth hormones, proteins, enzymes and antibodies. In a healthy woman, it contains 100 percent of virtually everything a baby needs to survive, plus a solid hedge of extras to help ward off a lifetime of diseases like diabetes and cancer. Breast milk helps disarm salmonella and E. coli. Its unique recipe of fatty acids boosts brain growth and results in babies with higher I.Q.'s than their formula-slurping counterparts. Nursing babies suffer from fewer infections, hospitalizations and cases of sudden infant death syndrome. For the mother, too, breast-feeding and its delicate plumbing of hormones afford protection against breast and ovarian cancers and stress. Despite exhaustion, the in-laws and dirty laundry, every time we nurse our babies, the love hormone oxytocin courses out of our pituitaries like a warm bath. Human milk is like ice cream, Valium and Ecstasy all wrapped up in two pretty packages.

    But read down the label, and the fine print, at least for some women, sounds considerably less appetizing: DDT (the banned but stubbornly persistent pesticide famous for nearly wiping out the bald eagle), PCB's, dioxin, trichloroethylene, perchlorate, mercury, lead, benzene, arsenic. When we nurse our babies, we feed them not only the fats, sugars and proteins that fire their immune systems, metabolisms and cerebral synapses. We also feed them, albeit in minuscule amounts, paint thinners, dry-cleaning fluids, wood preservatives, toilet deodorizers, cosmetic additives, gasoline byproducts, rocket fuel, termite poisons, fungicides and flame retardants.
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    Default

    Thanks Korn,
    I appreciate your articles on B12. I have learned so much reading them.

    This article has been circulating for a few years and it is important that moms are made aware of this. Dia Michel’s writes about this in one of her books, Milk, Money, and Madness. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with her for quite a while at the Annual Breastfeeding Convention last year. Here is an article that talks about this issue.
    It is also important to note the information in regards to vegetarian mothers.
    Pesticides in Breastmilk: The Good News for Vegetarians

    Vegetarian Voice Spring 2001 <www.navs-online.org

    Remember those ads from the 1950s featuring thriving, chubby-faced
    babies sucking on bottles of formula? You've probably seen them,
    because those ads do, of course, still exist. But now there's a
    difference: today, medical professionals and nutritionists are adamant
    that breastmilk is best.

    But over the past year, discussions on the topic of pesticides in
    breastmilk have left some mothers questioning the safety of their
    milk.

    Fortunately, there is a way for women to minimize the levels of
    pesticides in their breastmilk - they can go vegetarian, or better
    yet, vegan. As described by Virginia Messina, PhD and Mark Messina,
    MPH, RD in the Dietitian's Guide to Vegetarian Diets, studies of
    vegetarians show lower breastmilk levels of the pesticides DDT,
    chlordane, heptachlor, and dieldrin, and industrial compounds or
    byproducts, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and
    polychlorinated dibenzodiozins.

    This is hardly new information: it's been known for years. One study
    published twenty years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine
    found that in an analysis of breastmilk from a sample of vegans, the
    levels of 17 chemicals were markedly lower than in the general
    population.

    Another study from nearly a decade ago, published in the European
    Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that frequency of consumption of
    meat, dairy, and fish was directly related to [breast] milk
    contamination.

    Also, in the mid 1970s, the EPA analyzed the breastmilk of vegetarian
    women and found the levels of pesticides to be far less than average.

    In 1992, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical
    Nutrition found that meat and dairy products strongly contribute to
    breastmilk concentrations of dieldrin and PCBs. This same study also
    found that fish consumption leads to PCB contamination. This may be
    why Japanese mothers have such high levels of dioxin in their milk,
    according to Carol Huotari of La Leche League International. Huotari,
    who heads the Center for Breastfeeding Information at LLL, points out
    that while Japanese women eat much less dairy and meat than Americans,
    they do consume more fish.

    How does eating animal-based foods lead to increased breastmilk
    contamination levels? Pesticides are stored in body fat. So, when
    women eat animal (including fish) flesh, they also absorb the
    pesticides consumed by that animal. Women, in turn, store those
    pesticides in their body fat, then pass them along to their nursing
    infants through their breastmilk. Remember, even a skinless chicken
    breast contains over six grams of body fat.

    Likewise, dairy cows release much of their stored pesticides in their
    "uddermilk." So, consuming dairy products also leads to an increase
    in one's own pesticide stores.

    Plant foods, on the other hand, don't bioaccumulate, or store
    pesticides. On average, a pound of apples - even apples that are not
    organic - will have nowhere near the levels of pesticides as found in
    a pound of chicken flesh. Of course, it goes without saying that a
    pound of organic apples wont have any pesticides at all.

    Pesticides made headlines across the nation this past year with the
    Environmental Protection Agency condemning and phasing out two popular
    pesticides for home and garden use due to the potential health risks
    they pose.

    This and other pesticide-related issues are causing more and more
    parents, including actress Jane Seymour, to warn others about the
    potential health risks children face from exposure to potentially
    dangerous pesticides. "As parents, we want to do everything we can to
    protect our kids, but there is an incredible void of simple
    information to guide parents to better choices," says Seymour.

    Put aptly by John Robbins in his historical book Diet for a New
    America, "women, and even little girls, who think they may wish to
    have and breastfeed a baby in the future would do well to realize that
    the diet they eat today will greatly affect the health of their
    young."

    The bottom line, however, even for non-vegetarians, is to choose
    breastfeeding over formula feeding - except in extreme and rare cases.
    As Robbins states, human breastmilk is nutritionally and vastly
    superior for a human infant to any cow's milk formula, formulas are
    also likely to be contaminated with toxic chemicals, human breastmilk
    contains antibodies which are crucial for the newborn, and
    breastfeeding provides the bonding and emotional nurturance which are
    tremendously important to the well-being of both mother and baby.
    There was a study done on various infant formulas a few years ago and some contained a high amount of pesticides. It might be in Dia Michels book. I will have to read through her book again.

    I have read conflicting information in regards to B12/breastfeeding. I recently read about studies in vegetarian breastfeeding moms who ate whole foods there babies did not have a problem with B12 deficiency. I can’t remember how long the researchers followed the children. I need to hunt for that article. I read so much on health/nutrition on a daily basis I tend to forget the sources at times.

    I think it is important to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from your lifestyle. If possible always buy organic. If you have space (and time) where you live plant a few vegetables/fruit.

  25. #25
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    Default 25) Can the (worldwide) reduced soil quality cause B12 deficiency?

    Thanks, Opal!

    http://www.championtrees.org/topsoil/b12coblt.htm

    B12 (cobalamin) contains cobalt, and there are many studies that document that our planet is in bad shape. Dan Reeter has been documenting that wity special attention to cobalt:
    Investigating soil-cobalt links, we sought perspectives of two researchers: an expert in agricultural chemistry, another in nutrition. Dan Reeter, chief researcher at Bio-Systems Labs in Salida, Colorado, is creating one of the world's most comprehensive computer facilities for soil biology testing. Reeter, whose lab has served agricultural industry for over 40 years, told us: "I can say with certainty there's a decline of soil cobalt. Confirm this for yourself. Simply to pick any Ag magazine—they all push cobalt supplements, spurred by B12-poor condition of crops."


    Asked if current research suggests an across-the-board decline in B12 due to soil demineralization, Robert Kay, PhD candidate in nutrition at the Univ. of Connecticut responded, "It's complex to study, and probably premature to make hard conclusions. But subjectively—yes, I have a sneaking suspicion that speculation is valid."

    Others have mentioned that the soil we use to grow plants in is both exposed to acid rain, pesticides and chlorinated water - all known to destroy B12.
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  26. #26
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    Default 26) Selecting organic food vs. non-organic food

    The same chief researcher Dan Reeter I mentioned above have reported that his extensive tests demonstrate plants grown in organically managed soil make significantly higher levels of usable B12:

    Reeter said soil bacteria, comprising 20 percent of soil biomass, is destroyed or inactivated by ag chemicals, inhibiting uptake and metabolism of cobalt and other trace elements. Reeter directly traces this problem to increasing presence and proportion of B12 analogues ("false" B12). Reeter reports his extensive tests at Bio-Systems demonstrate plants grown in organically managed soil make significantly higher levels of usable B12.

    Robert Kay, PhD candidate in nutrition at the Univ. of Connecticut, emphasized uncertainties in B12 research, especially in light of new methods to measure B12 and new insights these methods made available. He also cautioned categorization of "true" vs. "false" B12 may be too absolute. "We no longer talk about simply B12, since we now know there's many varieties of cobalamins with varied biological action (i.e., availability). There is no 'gold standard' in this area."
    http://www.championtrees.org/topsoil/b12coblt.htm
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  27. #27
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    Default 27) Disease history

    Even if you are healthy, but during some period of your life has been ill and taken some of the MANY known nutrient depleting drugs, this may have lowered your B12 levels so much that you need a period of boosting B12 to get back to normal again. I have mentioned some of the most important drugs earlier in this thread, but if you look at this list, you'll get a pretty good overview of which drugs that disturb what nutrients. On the list of B12 troublemakers, you'll find...:

    Alcohol
    Anorectic Agents ( Diet pills Including Amphetamines)
    Antibiotics (see also Trimethoprim, Sulfasalazine, Isaniazid, Penicillin)
    Anticonvulsants
    Antidiabetics (Oral)
    Antituberculosis Drugs
    Anti-Ulcer (Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid)
    Cholesterol Lowering drugs
    Colchicine
    Cycloserine
    Diuretics
    Laxatives (excluding herbs)
    Muscle Relaxers
    Neomycin


    Since vegans are consuming less B12 than meat eaters, vegans should pay special attention to their B12 levels if they ever have used any of the above. Most people have...
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  28. #28
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    Default 28) Contact with pets

    From http://seasilver.threadnet.com/Preve.../parasite.htm:
    "Ascaris larvae (in lung: Common roundworm of cats and dogs - Brings with it Bacteroids fragilis and Coxasckie viruses. [...] Ascaris are often pink from absorbing our Vitamin B12. [...]Petting will transfer these to humans."

    There is a thread about pets and parasites here.
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  29. #29
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    Default 29) Vaccines

    Thimerosal was once widely used in Vaccines. Despite its well-documented potential toxic effects, this harmful preservative remains present in the flu vaccine, which is given to pregnant women, the elderly and children, according to
    this and several other sources. (His site contains a lot of info on mercury poisoning and mercury in childhood vaccines. You might also have seen the discussion about mercury and autism:

    From http://www.wysong.net/health/post_141_031604.shtml :
    'Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Datalink concluded that children who are given three thimerosal-containing vaccines are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who receive thimerosol-free vaccines. * Thimerosal has been gradually removed from vaccines since 1999, however it is still present in some vaccinations – including virtually all flu shots.* One study that showed urinary mercury concentrations were six times higher in children with autism, as opposed to controls.* Evidence also suggests that the link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism is stronger than that between lung cancer and smoking cigarettes.'

    But let's skip the discussion about a possible link between autism and vaccines for now, since this is a thread about B12... and a post about vaccines.

    CureZone and many other sites has a lot of info on vaccines and mercury.

    According to consultwebs.com you may have a valid legal claim if you or your child was innoculated with a vaccine containing thimerosal and experienced any adverse reactions.

    Thimerosal is an ethyl-mercury based preservative used in some vaccines and a number of other biological products since the 1930's.

    From drgreene.com:
    'Mercury (thimerasol) is an ingredient in several vaccines -- included in order to kill any live contaminants. In rare instances this causes allergic reactions.

    At much higher doses, mercury is a known cause of irreversible nerve and brain damage, especially before birth and in the first 6 months of life. Mercury was responsible for the first known epidemic of cerebral palsy from a toxin when it was dumped into Minamata Bay in Japan in the 1950's by a vinyl plastics factory (Textbook of Pediatrics 1996 WB Saunders). Might it also cause mercury toxicity in children who frequently get mercury-containing vaccines? This has long been a concern with the gamma globulin shot used to prevent Hepatitis A in travelers. Where practical, the Hepatitis A vaccine is a safer and more effective alternative that does not contain mercury. Still, getting a shot of gamma globulin is still far better than getting hepatitis.

    Mercury has been used as a preservative in the Hepatitis B vaccine given to all newborns around the first day of life and again when they are only 4 weeks old. While there is no data showing that this has caused harm to children in the doses they get from routine immunization, the AAP and the PHS recently called for the elimination of mercury from all vaccines.'


    Why are vaccines a relevant topic in a thread about B12? Because scientists recently obtained have more insight into the mechanism by which thimerosal interferes with folate-dependent methylation. It acts by inhibiting the biosynthesis of the active form of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). Doctors treating autistic kids are having good success with the administration of B12/methycobalamin. Whether there is a link between autism and vaccines/mercury or not, we know that there is a link between mercury and B12:

    'The monovalent cobalt atom in methyl B12 is readily oxidized by various compounds - for instance nitrous oxide. This oxidation inactivates methioninsyntase (MS) which has then to be formed de novo. Mercury, as we know, does oxidize many compounds, logically also cobalt. lf this hypothesis (which is about to be verified), is confirmed, it means that mercury can block the methylation cycle and thus induce a functional B12-deficiency (folates are not altered). This in turn is one explanation of why symptoms of mercury overload and vitamin B12-deficiency may be identical!*


    There is also a second possible interaction between vitamin B12, and mercury. Mercury has indeed been shown to impair the Transport of vitamin B12 over the blood-brain barrier which results in a low CSF/serum concentration ratio of the vitamin. Low CSF levels of vitamin B12 (and high CSF-homocysteine levels) have been observed in fibromyalgia (chronic fatigue syndrome), MS and in dementia. High doses of vitamin B12, that overcome the block to some extent, has had sometimes stunning results in these conditions.*' (From http://www.ever.ch/b12hg.htm)

    More about B12 and mercury here.
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  30. #30
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    Default 30) Iron deficiency can cause B12 deficiency

    From http://www.victorherbert.com/INACG2001.htm :

    iron deficiency produces gastric damage, which produces B12 deficiency, which, like folate deficiency, produces intestinal megaloblastosis, which produces further folate and B12 deficiency, each of which produces further malabsorption of B12, folate and iron.

    http://www.nutritionfocus.com/nutrit...tamin_b12.html :
    Absorption decreases with age and with deficiencies of vitamin B6, calcium, and iron.

    See also http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...highlight=iron

    From
    PubMed:
    Nutrition Food & Health Research Centre, King's College London, UK. Tom.Sanders@kcl.ac.uk

    The nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets is discussed. Energy and protein intakes are similar for plant-based diets compared with those containing meat. Fe and vitamin B12 are the nutrients most likely to be found lacking in such diets. Bioactive substances present in foods of plant origin significantly influence the bioavailability of minerals and requirements for vitamins. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are able to support normal growth and development. It is concluded that meat is an optional rather than an essential constituent of human diets.
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  31. #31
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    Default 31) Oral contraceptives

    Serum B12 levels were 33% lower in oral contraceptive users than in controls in a study of 229 adolescent females, but folate and homocysteine levels did not differ significantly

    (Source: Am J Diet Association, 1998; 98, 49-55)

    Let's say that in your country the recommended daily intake of B12 is 2.2 mcg. Of course, the people who define these values know that oral contraceptives are widely used. If they are taking the OC-reduction of B12 levels into consideration when they define the recommended daily intake (if they don't something is very wrong here...), the needed value for people who don't take oral contraceptives must be 18 mcg only, right? Why? Because 2.4 mcg minus 33% = 1.8 mcg.

    I assume that they have taken into consideration all the other B12 reducing elements many people are exposed to as well, like coffee, tea, cooking, sleeping pills, smoking, canning, chemicals in water etc., because... if not, these people need to be fired! In a society where most people daily expose themselves and their food to stuff that kills or reduced B12, this simply must be taken into consideration when defining recommendations for daily needs.

    The interesting thing is that if you are one of these people who do not take oral contraceptives, drink coffee, smoke, use sugar etc.... your daily needs might be a lot lower than these 2.4 mcg daily that I used as an example.


    From http://www.vic-japan.gr.jp/vic/no99.htm
    Results from our current logitudinal (six menstrual cycles) study on young women taking TriphasilR in regard to vitamin B12 and other nutrients are summarized in Table. Mean serum vitamin B12 level was reduced by 26% but the difference was not significant (due to high variance of data), despite the fact that the blood sample was withdrawn at the same period of menstrual cycle for all subjects.
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  32. #32
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    Default 32) Exaggerated cleanliness

    From http://www.healthpromoting.com/Artic...ticles/b12.htm
    Vitamin B12 recommendations for total-vegetarians

    By Alan Goldhamer, D.C., and Douglas Lisle, Ph.D
    There is no dispute that we must be concerned about obtaining adequate vitamin B12. The question is, “Do vegans need to resort to eating animal products—and expose themselves to the well-documented health risks of these foods—in order to maintain adequate vitamin B12 reserves?”


    Before attempting to answer the above question, we need to consider whether animal products are naturally necessary for humans to maintain vitamin B12 reserves. This raises two important questions: “Have animal products always been the sole purveyor of vitamin B12 in the human diet?” and, “Are they the best source of this nutrient?”


    We believe that the answers to both of these questions are likely to be “no.” Upon reflection, we should note that in a more primitive setting, human beings almost certainly would have obtained an abundance of vitamin B12 from the bacterial “contamination” of unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables—regardless of their intake of animal products. Human vitamin B12 deficiency is very unlikely to occur in such a setting. Only very small amounts of dietary vitamin B12 are needed because our bodies do a fabulous job of recycling this essential nutrient. A person living in the ancestral environment regularly would have consumed fresh fruits and vegetables that were not consistently, fastidiously cleaned—as we routinely do today. Our current unusual degree of hygiene is useful for combating many health threats—but may leave long-term, strict vegans vulnerable to the potential problem of vitamin B12 deficiency.

    [...]

    Even in the modern environment, with our fastidious food cleanliness, a person consuming a vegan diet may never experience the need for vitamin B12 supplementation. Even the small amounts of B12 commonly found in the nodules of organically-grown root vegetables, and the small amounts produced by the bacteria in our own mouths, may be enough to sustain many of us. A very little of this substance can go a long way. For those who switch to a vegan diet, for example, there are usually stores of B12 in the liver that can last for several years, or even decades. However, the doctors at the TrueNorth Health Center work with a large number of vegan patients every year, and we have documented dozens of cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, all of which corrected with supplementation. Although many of our patients are understandably resistant to the idea that they might need supplementation, we urge them to test periodically for this possible deficiency, and to take appropriate action when indicated. We also recommend that all pregnant and lactating women include a reliable source of vitamin B12 to ensure the nutritional adequacy of their milk supply.
    [...]Unlike many unfounded “deficiency problems” associated with the vegan diet, the issue of potential vitamin B12 deficiency is real. However, B12 deficiencies, when they occur at all, take years to develop—so don’t take our cautioning like the blaring of a five-alarm fire. If you choose to consume a diet consisting exclusively of whole natural foods, as we recommend, it is possible that—partly as a result of our modern cleanliness—you may become B12 deficient.
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  33. #33
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    Default 33) B12 and age

    Because 10 to 30 percent of older people may be unable to absorb naturally occurring vitamin B12, it is advisable for those older than 50 years to meet their RDA mainly by consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a vitamin B12-containing supplement.
    Source: The Institute of Medicine (US).

    I suspect that this is much less of a problem for long term, old vegans than for old meat eaters. More about this later...

    Anyway, 'People above 50 needs B12' can be handy when people insist that a vegan diet isn't natural and that a meat based diet IS, 'meat eaters don't need supplements'. (As we know, there are many meat eaters below 50 that are low in B12 as well, as expected).


    From http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente...ns/vitaminB12/ :

    Food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption is defined as an impaired ability to absorb food or protein-bound vitamin B12, although the free form is fully absorbable (11). In the elderly, food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption is thought to result mainly from atrophic gastritis, a chronic inflammation of the lining of the stomach that ultimately results in the loss of glands in the stomach (atrophy) and decreased stomach acid production. Because stomach acid is required for the release of vitamin B12 from the proteins in food, vitamin B12 absorption is diminished. Decreased stomach acid production also provides an environment conducive to the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the stomach, which further interferes with vitamin B12 absorption (3). Because vitamin B12 in supplements is not bound to protein, and because intrinsic factor (IF) is still available, the absorption of supplemental vitamin B12 is not reduced as it is in pernicious anemia. Thus, individuals with food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption do not have an increased requirement for vitamin B12; they simply need it in the crystalline form found in fortified foods and dietary supplements.
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    Here's a similar list found at this site. The list (like this one) should be interesting reading for both vegans and others
    Finally, after more than 50 years, leading medical journals now recommend all adults take multivitamins. Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association have concluded that:

    "Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone"
    "Inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis."
    "Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteoporosis and bone fracture; and low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases."
    "It appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements."
    A large body of research has clearly demonstrated that the nutrients found in dietary supplements reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve quality of life, and increase longevity.

    [...]

    Why You Can't Depend on Food Alone
    for Essential Nutrition



    Listed below are 22 reasons why you cannot depend on food alone to provide you with all of the nutrition you need to stay healthy.

    Reason #1. Overfed and undernourished. The average American is overfed and undernourished. It's no secret. Just look around you. Most people are gaining weight. Even kids are overweight these days. You or someone you know has a chronic disorder of some kind.

    If you're like most Americans, you're consuming fabricated convenience foods high in calories but low in food value (nutrition). This type of diet leads to "subclinical" or marginal deficiencies that lead to vague health complaints such as nervousness, listlessness, recurring minor infections, general aches and pains, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and just not feeling right.

    A large body of research has demonstrated that most Americans are not getting what they need from their diet. For example, in one recent U.S. Dept. of Agriculture survey of 20,000 people, not a single person was consuming adequate levels of all the vitamins and minerals. In this study, the percentage of Americans were found to be deficient as follows: 90% in vit. B6, 75% in magnesium, 68% in calcium, 57% in iron, 50% in vitamin A, 45% in vitamin B1, 41% in vitamin C, 34% in vitamin B2, 34% in vitamin B12....and the list goes on.

    There are literally hundreds of medical studies to suggest it’s a virtual certainty that you and every member of your family are deficient in one or more essential nutrients.


    Top
    Reason #2. Soil depletion. Modern mass-production agriculture depletes nutrients from the soil without replenishing them. The application of synthetic fertilizers stimulates the growth of beautiful-looking plants. However, the nutrient content is missing.

    So when you bite into that healthy salad or slice of whole-wheat bread, you're getting less nutrition today than from the identical foods grown in the same soil fifty years ago.

    Reason #3. Commercial food processing. Much of the food you eat is processed in one way or another. When foods are processed, they are exposed to heat, light, oxygen, or drastic change in temperature or humidity. This exposure causes the destruction of vital but fragile nutrients. Examples of processing include baking, extruding, milling, grinding, boiling, cooking, recombining, spray-drying, etc.

    Reason #4: Food storage and transportation. All foods deteriorate as they age. This is a problem for the food industry, because many foods are shipped over great distances. Therefore chemicals are added to preserve foods and give them a longer "shelf life". Unfortunately, in spite of chemicals, the nutrient content of foods decline over time, even though they may look the same.

    Even fresh fruits or vegetables may be sprayed, gassed or fumigated in order to make them look "ripe" and "fresh". So what looks healthy isn't necessarily as healthy as you may think.


    Top
    Reason #5: Preparation and cooking of foods. Many people eat out or bring something home from the market that is already cooked. Even if you prepare your meals at home, most of your food is probably cooked, not raw. Here's the problem: the more you cook a food, the less its nutrient value.

    Of course, there are some foods, such as grains and dried legumes that you have to cook because they're inedible when raw. You're obviously not going to eat a bowl of raw rice. However, if you overcook rice, you lose nutrients.

    Reason #6: Home storage of food. Have you looked in your refrigerator lately? How long has that head of lettuce been in there? What about those leftovers from three days ago? Refrigeration does slow down the deterioration of food, but it certainly does not stop it. As every day goes by, whatever is in your refrigerator is losing its nutritional value.

    Some people will eat something out of the refrigerator that is three weeks old, or something from the pantry that is a year old. By this time, some vital nutrients have been completely lost.

    Reason #7. Food irradiation. Exposing foods to gamma rays, x-rays or other radiation extends their shelf life by destruction of microorganisms, inhibition of sprouting, and delay of ripening. Some meats, chicken, and vegetables are irradiated. Foods served in restaurants or schools may be irradiated. The problem with irradiation is that vital nutrients, especially antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, are destroyed. There's no label to tell you if a food has been irradiated.


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    Reason #8. Pesticides in foods. A pesticide is a poison. A little bit of pesticide will kill a bug. A lot of pesticide will kill you. Most foods contain pesticides. Even organic produce contains pesticides, although a lot less than regular produce. Pesticides may be applied to the soil, to the growing plant, or to the food while in storage or shipment.

    Keep in mind that you can’t see, smell or taste these pesticides. So you have no way of knowing if what you're eating contains pest poisons. But your body knows. Some pesticides can accumulate in the body and cause problems. Your body has to deal with the problem by expending valuable vitamins and minerals to detoxify and try to eliminate these poisons.

    Reason #9. Genetically modified foods. Millions of acres of genetically modified corn, cotton and potatoes have been planted in the U.S. (Cotton is mentioned here because cottonseed oil is found in many processed foods, and cottonseed meal is fed to cattle.) These foods, which are now in our food supply, have been engineered to produce a naturally occurring pesticide that is supposedly toxic only to insects. There are no long-term human studies to indicate that genetically modified foods are safe. However, rats fed genetically modified potatoes had increased intestinal infections, reduced immunity, and reduced weight of intestine, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs and brain. Since you may be unknowingly consuming genetically modified or irradiated foods, you would need dietary supplementation to offset the invisible but potentially negative effects of such foods.

    Reason #10. Environmental pollution. We dump nearly six billion pounds of chemicals into our environment every year. While some of it ends up in our food, much of it is in our air and water. If you breathe air and drink water, you are ingesting chemical pollution. Medical research has clearly established that environmental chemicals contribute to degenerative diseases.

    You have no choice but to eat food, drink water, and breathe air. Therefore, you will need dietary supplements to help you process and detoxify the pollution entering your body every day.


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    Reason #11. Bioaccumulation of pollution in animal foods. There are certain "persistent" pollutants that tend to accumulate in any living thing, whether animal or plant. The higher up the food chain, the greater the accumulation. Take swordfish for example. Swordfish is known to have high levels of mercury, a toxic metal.

    The problem starts when small bait fish eat organic material that contains mercury. They metabolize the organic material but retain the mercury. Small predatory fish then eat the bait fish, thus inheriting their accumulated mercury. The more bait fish they eat, the more mercury they accumulate. Finally a swordfish comes along and eats a bunch of small predatory fish, and picks up a load of mercury. So a big swordfish can gather a lot of mercury over time. But the swordfish is not the end of the chain. You are! You eat the swordfish, and now all that accumulated mercury is stored in "your" body.

    Swordfish is only one example out of hundreds. Here's the point. You're at the top of the entire food chain on earth. Therefore, you unknowingly accumulate heavy metals and chemical pollutants, which are proven to be detrimental to your health. If you consume animal foods, you need dietary supplements to help you handle the pollutants they contain.

    Reason #12. "Energy" pollution. Energy pollution invisibly burdens your body. The form of energy pollution you’re familiar with is radioactive fallout, like that from nuclear testing in Nevada which caused an increase in cancers downwind from the test site. Another, less well known form of energy pollution is altered magnetic fields from electrical motors and circuits, and all kinds of energy transmissions (microwave, radar, cell phone, etc.). Not only can energy pollution destroy or damage cells directly, but it causes a stress reaction in the body which leads to hormonal imbalances. For example, energy pollution reduces your levels of melatonin, an essential hormone. Once again, dietary supplements are a method to assist your body to compensate for another type of pollution from which there is no escape.

    Reason #13: Genetic weaknesses. Each of us is genetically and biochemically unique. But none of us is perfect. We all have some kind of genetic weakness. For example, you might have a genetic abnormality in methionine metabolism called homocystinuria (methionine is an amino acid required to make your body function). In this case, taking large doses of vitamin B6 is a way to compensate for this weakness. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible genetic abnormalities. Many of them can be minimized with dietary supplementation.


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    Reason #14. Chronic Stress. “Stress” occurs when your body has a “fight or flight” response to any situation. Most of the time, you're not aware of it. Stress can come from anywhere at any time. It could be a barking dog, a disagreeable boss, a car that needs repair, an unpaid bill, a relationship that isn’t working, or living alone. Anything at all. You become so accustomed to stress that you consciously tune it out – but your body doesn’t.

    When stress is repeated over and over, it is called chronic stress, which seriously depletes your body of energy and vital reserves. Chronic stress produces hormones that have a long-term weakening effect on your body which accelerates the aging process and leads to chronic degenerative disease. Supplements reduce the detrimental effects of chronic stress.

    Reason #15. Your lifestyle. How you behave may increase your need for supplementation. For example, smoking or drinking alcohol to excess dramatically saps your reserves of vital nutrients. In both cases, dietary supplementation is not an option - it's a requirement.

    On the other hand, if you're an avid mountain climber or high-performance athlete, you use up nutrients faster than the average person. The same is true if you work in a physically demanding occupation. Your performance will be improved with dietary supplementation.

    Reason #16: GI problems. Any kind of digestive or gastrointestinal problem will diminish your absorption of vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fats, and plant substances required to maintain a healthy body. Irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, Crohn's disease, or chronic diarrhea hurt your ability to absorb nutrients. Ditto for bacterial, viral, yeast or parasitic infections. Food allergies are notorious for causing GI problems. In short, any inflammation in your GI tract means trouble. Therefore, you will need supplements to help you deal with the inflammation, as well as to increase the amount of essential nutrients you are consuming and absorbing.

    Reason #17: Weak digestion. Heartburn, bloat after eating, burping, or gas may suggest you have an impaired ability to digest your food. If you can't digest your food, it can't be absorbed into your body. Supplementary digestive aids may be indicated.

    Reason #18: Getting older. Medical studies have proven that you lose your digestive power as you get older. By the time you're "elderly", you have a serious problem that can only be corrected by supplementation.

    In addition, studies have shown that many elderly people eat less well than they did in earlier years. In this case, dietary supplements can augment an otherwise inadequate diet.

    Reason #19: Teenager. It's no secret that adolescents eat and drink things that are very unhealthy, i.e., "junk food". This is no way to nourish a maturing body. Most teenagers need dietary supplementation.


    Top
    Reason #20. Chronic disease or disorder. It doesn't matter what the disorder is. It could be arthritis, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, eczema, PMS or anything else. Specific dietary supplements can help almost any disorder.

    Reason #21. Medications. Americans consume an astounding quantity of prescription and over-the-counter medications. However, nothing in your body operates in isolated compartments - everything interacts with everything else in some way. Many drugs interact with supplements, or cause an increased need for them. For example, women on birth control pills may have an increased need for vitamin B6. People on Glucophage need more calcium, B12 and folic acid. The list is endless. So if you're on medication, consult with one of our physicians to determine the specific supplements you need.

    Reason #22. Pregnancy. Your requirement for nutrients undergoes a big shift when you become pregnant. It's to your and your baby's benefit to take supplementation to reduce your risk of a miscarriage or pregnancy complications, and to have a healthier baby.

    BOTTOM LINE: Because of worldwide pollution and degradation in the quality of our food supply, it's hard to imagine anyone who will not need nutritional supplements for the rest of his or her life. In addition, many people have health problems, a lifestyle, or special situations where supplements are advisable.
    Again, this is list is not addressing a vegan diet, but most of them are relevant to vegans as well. #11 isn't so relevant for long term vegans, but then again, switching from an animals based diet to a vegan doesn't mean that the poisons accumulated in the past will disappear immediately.

  35. #35
    treehugga's Avatar
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    Default

    There is also the reason I was given for not absorbing B12. Simply that some individuals cannot absorb it through the gut. Apparently we all had this ability once, but over time and changes in diet have led to a percentage of people being unable to absorb B12 through the gut. In this case suppliments are of no use. I know I keep banging on about this but feel it's important for people to understand, that supplimentation with pills etc may not help.

    No wonder people develop deficiencies when you look at all the reasons Korn!

    Panda, you need 3 injections to get enough of a dose, not sure why you only had 2 and they should last for several years unless you have some underlying health issue?

  36. #36
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 34) Absorption problems

    From http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030301/979.html
    The classic disorder of malabsorption is pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease that affects the gastric parietal cells. Destruction of these cells curtails the production of intrinsic factor and subsequently limits vitamin B12 absorption. Laboratory evidence of parietal cell antibodies is approximately 85 to 90 percent sensitive for the diagnosis of pernicious anemia. However, the presence of parietal cell antibodies is nonspecific and occurs in other autoimmune states. Intrinsic factor antibody is only 50 percent sensitive, but it is far more specific for the diagnosis of pernicious anemia.

    A Schilling test, which distinguishes intrinsic factor-related malabsorption, can be used to diagnose pernicious anemia (Table 3).14 Specifically, Schilling test results were once used to determine whether a patient required parenteral or oral vitamin B12 supplementation. This distinction is now unnecessary, because evidence points to a B12 absorption pathway independent of intrinsic factor, and studies have proved that oral replacement is equal in efficacy to intramuscular therapy.9 Regardless of the test result, successful treatment can still be achieved with oral replacement therapy.
    Circa 2% of older adults do not produce enough intrinsic factor to prevent pernicious anemia, so lack of intrinsic factor is not a very common problem.

  37. #37
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 35) Can folic acid deficiency cause falsey low serum B12 levels?

    According to this site, folic acid deficiency can cause falsely low B12 levels.

    In addition, folic acid deficiency can cause falsely low serum vitamin B12 levels. One study revealed that approximately one third of patients with folic acid deficiency had low serum vitamin B12 levels--less than 100 pg per mL (74 pmol per L) in some patients.
    Based on the above, maybe both the low B12 levels and the low folic acid levels with were symptoms of ie. a poor diet, so if you have any info on this topic, please let us know...

  38. #38
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 36) Stress and B12 levels

    http://www.greathealthandwellness.com/id2.html

    If your diet consists of sugars, alcohol, overcooked veggies, pre-cooked foods and if you are stressed or take sleeping pills, you are depleting your vitamin B supply.
    http://www.rawfoodsupport.com/read.p...&i=2133&t=2133
    B12 deficiency may be brought upon by antibiotics (also contained in milk), alcohol, smoking and stress (alcohol damages the liver, so drinkers need more B12, smoking (and all high temp cooked food is smoky) also raises B12 needs)
    http://www.symmetrydirect.com/info/vitamin-b12.htm
    Stress and stomach surgery also weaken the body's ability to produce the intrinsic factor.
    http://www.living-foods.com/articles/b12issue.html
    B12 deficiency may be brought upon by antibiotics (also contained in milk), alcohol, smoking and stress (alcohol damages the liver, so drinkers need more B12, smoking (and all high temp cooked food is smoky) also raises B12 needs).
    http://www.fruitnut.net/index2.htm?PAG=50B12Cont,REF=
    B-group vitamins are known to be utilised in increased quantities during times of stress. My own opinion based on observation and circumstance is that the greater the 'buffer' we can provide between a strong usual constitution and the ravages of a low B12 deficiency the happier we will be. Particularly, I believe that high stress situations are an additional cause of potential imbalance when B12 levels are marginal.
    http://allianceteam.com/healthylivin...ingualB12.html
    Like all of the B-Complex vitamins, Vitamin B12 is easily depleted by stress and whether from food or a supplement, is perhaps the most complex and difficult to absorb of all vitamins.

  39. #39
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 37) Cough syrup

    From http://www.innvista.com/health/nutrition/destroys.htm

    Cough syrups , especially those containing alcohol, can drain all B vitamins, especially folic acid and B12, as well as iron, magnesium, and zinc.

  40. #40
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 38) B12 deficiency from inhaling fumes, wood preservatives

    According to this source, PHP (pentachlorophenol), a wood preservative, destroys B12, and "and since it is inhaled in the fumes, it travels directly from lungs to the brain to do its damage".

    Maybe some of the above reported 'B12 killers' (and there are more to come) may not have much effect on us alone, but since there are so many of them, from fluoride to drinking water to amalgam and car pollution, I find it likely that the sum of all these factors should have a pretty strong effect on us.

  41. #41
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 39) B12 deficiency from our mothers' exposure to N2O (laughing gas)?

    According to vitab12.com, xposure to nitrous oxide (N2O), often called laughing gas, can cause cobalamin deficiencies in the brain. This may occur to women given the gas in labour or otherwise during use of this anaesthetic.

    If a woman is becoming B12 deficient as a result of medication given to her during her babies birth, it is reasonable to believe that her child will get less B12 from mother's milk.

  42. #42
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 40) B12, free radicals and lack of vitamin E

    From http://vvv.com/healthnews/vitamin_B12.htm

    Vitamin E protects vitamin B-12
    LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. Adenosylcobalamin is an important coenzyme which is involved in the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids, cholesterol, methionine, and odd-chain fatty acids. It is synthesized in the cell nucleus from vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin).

    Now researchers at the University of Arkansas have found that the synthesis of adenosylcobalamin is impaired if the cell membranes have been subjected to peroxidative (free radical) attack.

    They also found, through experiments with cell cultures, that vitamin E effectively prevents the peroxidation and thereby allows the enzyme synthesis to proceed unhindered.


    Turley, Charles P. and Brewster, Marge A. Alpha-tocopherol protects against a reduction in adenosylcobalamin in oxidatively stressed human cells. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 123, July 1993, pp. 1305-12
    The researchers conclude that short-term (five weeks) administration of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 will reduce post-methionine load homocysteine levels and eliminate or ameliorate endothelial dysfunction (an early manifestation of atherosclerosis). Chao, Chia-Lun, et al. Effect of short-term vitamin (folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12) administration on endothelial dysfunction induced by post-methionine load hyperhomocysteinemia. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 84, December 1, 1999, pp. 1359-61

  43. #43
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 41) Coffee

    From http://www.thevitaminlady.com/VLvitaminind.htm :
    B12 / Negative Interactions : alcohol, coffee, tobacco, calcium deficiency.
    From http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nut...ls/vitamin.htm :
    "To improve your diet's content of B vitamins follow these practical tips:

    Try not to drink large quantities of tea, coffee or cola-based drinks as caffeine inhibits the absorption and increases the excretion of vitamins.
    Coffee consumption — Four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce your B vitamin stores by as much as 15 percent.


    More about coffee here...

  44. #44
    hempseed
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    Default Re: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    wow, that's nuts.

  45. #45
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 39) Potassium supplements

    http://hkpp.org/physicians/b_12_pp.html



    Patients who take potassium supplements long-term, i.e., potassium chloride and potassium citrate, are at high risk for developing vitamin B-12 deficiency. Potassium supplements such as K-Dur, Micro-K, Slow-K, K-Lyte, etc. interfere with the absorption of vitamin B-12 and eventually lead to the depletion of body stores of this crucial vitamin. (1, 2, 3)

    Unlike other B vitamins, vitamin B-12 is stored in the body. Most people have enough B-12 stored in their liver and other organs to last from three to four years. But if the supply is interrupted long enough a deficiency can result, which can be devastating if not recognized and treated appropriately.

    Patients and their physicians should be aware that neurological symptoms of B-12 deficiency may begin well in advance of any laboratory evidence of disease.(4)
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  46. #46
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    Default 40) Fluoride

    From http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu...ical/b/b12.cfm
    B12:

    Hemolyzed specimens are unacceptable and may produce a falsely elevated result. Ascorbic acid and fluoride destroy B12. Fasting specimen preferred. Pregnancy may cause a decrease in values. Excessive exposure to light may alter B12 values.
    From http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chri...ementia_ad.htm
    Dr. Dommisse does not reveal the proportion of his patients who are thyroid deficient, drink fluoridated water, have extensive dental amalgams, take Ibuprofen, etc. Correcting each/all of these sources of B12 deficiency seems unlikely to effect permanent reversal of dementia unless B12 is repleted and maintained at high level.
    From http://www.pharo.com/health_and_heal...0_contents.asp
    Despite assurances from water companies, tap water is full of potentially dangerous chemicals - even, in some areas of Britain, including the highly controversial fluoride, and also probably residues from the contraceptive pill. Heavy metals in the water are believed to prevent the absorption of calcium
    From http://www.presswatch.com/health/pri...hive_year=2003

    12/05/2003
    The Independent
    Millions more to have fluoride added to water
    Several of today's papers, including the Independent, report that fluoridation of Britain's drinking water could be extended to millions of extra consumers under new Government plans. The aim is to cut the high levels of tooth decay in deprived neighbourhoods, but campaigners opposed to the move claim that too much fluoride can cause teeth to become mottled, as well as causing cancer, brittle bones and thyroid disease. Around six million people in Britain already have fluoride added to their water, and in some areas, the natural levels of the mineral are high enough to protect teeth. Government ministers say that if people are opposed, they "would be able to use water filters or buy bottled water."

    From http://www.healthyshopping.com/OlaLoa/FolicAcid.asp
    Chlorinated and brominated chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides destroy vitamin B12. This includes lindane, which is still in use for treating lice, even in children. Fluoride-containing refrigerants and propellants, such as freon and fluorohalomethanes, are another class of chemicals that destroy B12; but they are seldom appreciated because doctors are not taught to consider this possibility. I made the diagnosis in a bank executive who suffered neuropathy and cardiac irregularity after repeated exposure to chloro-fluoro-methanes from the insulating materials of his desert home. The 110-degree heat vaporized these toxics, which were sucked into his home office through the air-conditioner.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  47. #47
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    Default 41) Pesticides?

    Watson WP and others. Chem Res Toxicol 2004 Dec;17(12):1562-7.
    Pesticides and chemicals also deplete vitamin B12. High doses of B12 can protect against these xenotoxins
    Except possibly the source above (I haven't read this text - it was quoted in an article I read), I've seen that most articles who claim that pesticides deplete B12 fail to list any studies that actually document this. If you know of any studies on this topic, please let us know!

    http://eat.rawfood.com/_poll_quiz/re...er&pollid=1799
    Pesticides reduce and or destroy the B12 content of food by destroying beneficial bacteria.
    http://www.esotericferret.ca/Cause-O...Deficiency.php
    Farmers use pesticides and other chemicals that prevent insects from eating their crops, but also kill the bacteria that produce vitamin B12. We now wash potatoes and carrots, which means that even if there were a little bit of vitamin B12 in the soil that clings to them it would be washed off. Pesticides and other chemicals get washed into rivers, and our water supply is treated with chlorine and other chemicals that kill dangerous bacteria and protozoans along with the bacteria that produce vitamin B12.
    http://www.vegetarianaction.org.au/Living/VLB12.htm
    B12 is a unique nutrient. It is produced micro-organisms are found in the soil and on the surface of plants. (However, it's destroyed by pesticides and washing.)

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m..._16930507/pg_3

    Back when people grew their own food without chemicals, they got all the [B.sub.12] they needed from soil particles clinging to the carrots and potatoes they pulled from the ground. They even got [B.sub.12] from the water they drank from streams and backyard wells.

    Today, our lives are much different. We eat commercially grown vegetables farmed in soils that have been repeatedly saturated with pesticides and herbicides; these poisons kill off beneficial soil microbes, including [B.sub.12]-producing bacteria. This means that the surfaces of the carrots and the radishes in our salads are no longer dependable [B.sub.12] sources. And the chlorine added to our municipal water systems kills off [B.sub.12]-producing bacteria along with disease-producing microbes. Today's vegan has more to think about when it comes to [B.sub.12] than did our rural ancestors, but the fact that today's plant-based diet contains no natural [B.sub.12] is not an inherent argument against an animal-free diet. Rather, it's a strong reminder of the nutritional price we've paid for what we've done over the years to our food and water supply. Today, we simply have to add back the [B.sub.12] that has been lost.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  48. #48
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    does the b12 disappear from garden veg when washed free from dirt though or does the b12 penetrate the skin??

    - or, to put it another way, is the b12 taken in when the veg is eaten having been absorbed from the earth during growth in a pesticide/herbicide-free soil? or does the b12 exist only in the soil itself and when veg is washed clean of soil before eating, the b12 will be washed off too?

  49. #49
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    Hi Cedarblue,
    B12 has been found in root nodules of leguminous plants / roots of nonleguminous species, in some cases in stems, and also in various leaves. In the Mozafar study, they also reported that B12 could be found in grains - if the soil contained B12. So yes, B12 can be absorbed into the plants... the theory about B12 being washed away when the plants are washed clean isn't a very documented one, I'm afraid... it's based on the idea that most of the B12 that can be found in plants exist on the surface of the plants, and not inside the leaves, roots etc., but I can't remember having seen any studies that document that the B12 is only on the surface (or on the dirt on the surface) of the plant, or a comparison between B12 levels in a plant before and after washing it. If you see any reports, please let me know!

    Another thing is that we normally wash plants (and cook them) in chlorinated water, which may affect the level of the possible B12 it contains, or possibly covert the 'real' B12 into inactive B12 analogues.

    Since B12 has been found in both (natural, unprocessed) water and soil, and there's a common conception that B12 can't be found in (inside) any plants, maybe someone has assumed that all the B12 we can get from plants is from the dirt/soil that may come with it.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  50. #50
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency

    there's so much b12 information from various studies - it makes my head hurt sometimes... sometimes its provided in such a way using scientific language that either i dont quite follow it or i give up on reading it - and hope that i am getting enough myself to prevent deficiency...

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