View Poll Results: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

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  • Yes, according to my bloodtests, but didn't have any symptoms

    6 2.31%
  • Yes, with mild symptoms that was treated with B12

    12 4.62%
  • Yes, with serious health problems that could be cured

    5 1.92%
  • Yes, with serious, non-curable symtoms (eg. neurological damage)

    1 0.38%
  • Yes, during pregnany, with birth defects as a result

    0 0%
  • No / I don't think so / not tested

    153 58.85%
  • No, not according to my blood tests

    51 19.62%
  • No, not according to my blood tests that also included MMA amd homocysteine tests

    7 2.69%
  • No, but one or more of my meat eating friends have had B-12 defiency

    14 5.38%
  • Yes, before I became a vegan

    5 1.92%
  • Yes, but this may be a result of my B12 / health conditions before I became a vegan

    3 1.15%
  • My B12 levels are in the low normal range, but that doesn't worry me much

    3 1.15%
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Thread: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

  1. #201
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote harpy View Post
    The injections don't sound too big a deal if the worst comes to the worst. Your mum got on OK with them did she?

    I get some vitamin B12 from my copious consumption of yeast extract but I do try and remember to take a supplement now and then as well. If one has pernicious anaemia though I think one can eat it until one's blue in the face and still not absorb it?

    Yes, my mum didn't mind the injections too much and lived until she was 82, so if I do the same I'll be happy!

    Thanks Korn, I'll have a look at that now.
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  2. #202
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Having read this part -

    Quote: 'an elevated methylmalonic acid level is clearly more specific for vitamin B12 deficiency than an elevated homocysteine level. Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency can cause the homocysteine level to rise, so folic acid levels also should be checked in patients with isolated hyperhomocysteinemia' End Quote

    I think I'll ask my doctor to test my mma and homocysteine levels when I see him in 4 weeks time.
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  3. #203
    rawveganfit-ns leopd's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote imothepixie View Post
    But! Is not yeast a good source of B12?
    About my only source of beetwelve for the last twenty years justabout must be that and 'marmite'!
    I agree yeast is, but it is a fungus that competes for growth with everything else inside, which lead to lots of other difficulties: That it will compete with other friendly bacteria, and is so much more powerful, killing them off, in effect since there is competition inside, and for food and room to grow.

    The carbs or sugar in alcohol yet to ferment, give off gasses fermenting inside that stiffle other growth, effectively 'starving' you. This would be noticed once the liquid mass passes out and you feel empty.

    I remember what goes on inside after drinking; which I haven't for 19 years, causing dehydration (from alcohol present inside -just think about the burning feeling on the outside if you wipe it on!) and any sclerosis that this triggers, also begins to account for the other arterial damage and problem of alcohol consumption...and to add to this addiction, just to begin, as you feel like something inside of you thrives, but it is on more sugars. It is well know drinkers are more likely to relate to diabetes

    In fact this yeast takes control, leading to Candida etc. In time even in moderate drinking, the positives like social enjoyment- a pastime.. are but a drag, which you (I) can do without, and since it may not lend itself to Vit. B12 dificiency, but that is a minor problem I considered, in comparison to some of the other consequences, about which I'd be far worse off, and perhaps financially to the hilt.

  4. #204
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote leopd View Post
    To my best knowledge, cutting down on alcohol consumption- just stop it. reduced the destruction of B12 in the system
    Hi leopd, this may be true in some cases but my mother NEVER drank alcohol and she suffered from B12 deficiency.

    I think there are varying causes of deficiency and they can't all be put down to alcohol.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  5. #205
    rawveganfit-ns leopd's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote sandra View Post
    I think there are varying causes of deficiency and they can't all be put down to alcohol.
    I'd like to confirm i don't believe i meant to say it is because of alcohol consumption alone,, " in fact similarly it is not always through a lack of consumption that one is deficient but could be the lack of absorption.

  6. #206
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote sandra View Post
    Hi leopd, this may be true in some cases but my mother NEVER drank alcohol and she suffered from B12 deficiency.

    I think there are varying causes of deficiency and they can't all be put down to alcohol.
    Quote leopd View Post
    I'd like to confirm i don't believe i meant to say it is because of alcohol consumption alone,, " in fact similarly it is not always through a lack of consumption that one is deficient but could be the lack of absorption.
    I believe moderate alcohol cosumption IS part of a balanced and moderated lifestyle (and occasional excessive consumption good for the soul*). Brewing and Fermenting are a historic way of turning one foodsuff into another or one way preserving it for another season!

    * Wassail out the dark nights!... (with friends, homebrew Scumpy n elderflower wine!)

  7. #207
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote leopd View Post
    I'd like to confirm i don't believe i meant to say it is because of alcohol consumption alone,, " in fact similarly it is not always through a lack of consumption that one is deficient but could be the lack of absorption.

    Hi Leopd, as you seemed to concentrate on alcohol in 2 of your posts I got the impression you felt 'it' alone was to blame for deficiency.
    I see by your reply to me this isn't the case.

    I feel there isn't one particular reason and the intricacies of bodily systems are still not fully understood.

    Quote imothepixie View Post
    I believe moderate alcohol cosumption IS part of a balanced and moderated lifestyle (and occasional excessive consumption good for the soul*). Brewing and Fermenting are a historic way of turning one foodsuff into another or one way preserving it for another season!

    * Wassail out the dark nights!... (with friends, homebrew Scumpy n elderflower wine!)
    Interesting post imothepixie.............I too believe that 'moderate' alcohol comsumption is not a bad thing.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  8. #208
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    How are you doing now, Sandra? Are the pills helping with the symptoms you mentioned, or is it too early to say?

  9. #209
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hi Harpy, I have to have the tests repeated in about 3 weeks time so I'll know better then if the pills are helping or not. I really hope they are, as if not, then it's more likely I've got pernicious anaemia like my mum.

    (Thank you so much for asking....................it made me feel better just knowing you took the time to ask. xxx)
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  10. #210
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Fingers crossed for the next tests then, Sandra At least you don't have to revise for this kind of test, eh?

  11. #211
    [LMNOP] ellaminnowpea's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hope you're ok, Sandra! If you need the injections, it may not be the worst way to go! They're absorbed more easily and seem to really give a boost of energy! Could help with a few of those 'blues' symptoms and mental fog. I'm considering the injections, myself.
    “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” ~ Alcott

  12. #212
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote harpy View Post
    Fingers crossed for the next tests then, Sandra At least you don't have to revise for this kind of test, eh?
    Ha ha! Thank goodness..............tests and revising brings back awful memories of A- level English literature and Chaucer! I was very OCD about it all! At least these tests are out of my control in a way. xxx

    Quote ellaminnowpea View Post
    Hope you're ok, Sandra! If you need the injections, it may not be the worst way to go! They're absorbed more easily and seem to really give a boost of energy! Could help with a few of those 'blues' symptoms and mental fog. I'm considering the injections, myself.
    Thanks LMNOP I have been feeling very tired lately and in need of an energy boost.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  13. #213
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I haven't been feeling very well this past few days. I wake up at night and both my arms are numb from my fingers to my elbows, it is very unpleasant. I seem to be breathing strangely............as if I can't get a breath. I am due to have more blood tests on Tuesday but I feel so ill I am going to try and see a doctor tomorrow about this.
    I have been taking the B12 tablets for weeks now but my symtoms just seem to be getting worse. I am really afraid I might have pernicious anaemia and that my body just isn't working properly.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  14. #214
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hi Sandra, if you think you have B12 levels/are not feeling well, the best thing IMO would be to check your levels as soon as possible, and maybe you're even in a situation where you actually would need B12 injections.

    I'll move some of the posts from this thread over to another thread soon (since it's about confirmed cases of B12 deficiency)... but: if I would have been in a situation of noting feeling well for several days, I wouldn't have waited anything more than I had to before I saw someone who could help me out. If you have something related to low B12 levels, normal B12 supplementation won't be good enough - you would need therapeutic amounts, so I hope you sort something out as soon as spossible Good luck.
    Last edited by Korn; Mar 14th, 2010 at 04:22 PM.
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  15. #215
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Thanks Korn.
    Sorry for posting in the wrong place about this. I thought having low levels was the same as being deficient.

    I have had a blood test last month that confirmed I have very low levels of B12. I am to have further tests next week that will hopefully confirm if I am deficient in B12 or not.
    I thought having low levels was the same as being deficient.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  16. #216
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    No problem. I'll send you a PM...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  17. #217
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    A little bit about the idea behind this thread...

    First, most people are probably deficient in one or more nutrients. Apparently, only 1% of the population isn't deficient in any nutrients.

    39% of non-vegans have low (but in the "low, normal range") B12 levels. Circa 9% (of non-vegans) are considered B12 deficient.

    The number should be higher in vegans, for reasons discussed in many trheads - not because one becomes deficent in more nutrients by eating vegan.

    After having deleted more than 3000 members (people who nevers posted and hadn't been online for a year), we still have circa 7500 members. If vegans would be as B12 deficient as non-vegans, we should have 675 B12 deficient members. Even if vegans do better than non-vegans re. a lot of nutrients, we don't in terms of B12. We should therefore have more than 675 B12 deficient members here (a lot more actually, if non of us would have been aware of the need to pay special attention to B12).

    So instead of just having a poll about B12 levels (we have that as well), this thread can be useful as a way to share info about stuff like how low B12 levels people had if they had any symptoms of B12 deficiency, how long they had been eating vegan without supplements/fortified food etc.

    From Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient?

    Nearly two-fifths of the U.S. population may be flirting with marginal vitamin B12 status—that is, if a careful look at nearly 3,000 men and women in the ongoing Framingham (Massachusetts) Offspring Study is any indication. Researchers found that 39 percent of the volunteers have plasma B12 levels in the "low normal" range—below 258 picomoles per liter (pmol/L).

    While this is well above the currently accepted deficiency level of 148 pmol/L, some people exhibit neurological symptoms at the upper level of the deficiency range, explains study leader Katherine L. Tucker. She is a nutritional epidemiologist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

    "I think there’s a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there," says Tucker. She noted that nearly 9 percent of the study population fell below the current deficiency level. And more than 16 percent fell below 185 pmol/L. "Many people may be deficient at this level," she says. "There is some question as to what the clinical cutoff for deficiency should be."

    Deficiency can cause a type of anemia marked by fewer but larger red blood cells. It can also cause walking and balance disturbances, a loss of vibration sensation, confusion, and, in advanced cases, dementia. The body requires B12 to make the protective coating surrounding the nerves. So inadequate B12 can expose nerves to damage.

    Tucker and colleagues wanted to get a sense of B12 levels spanning the adult population because most previous studies have focused on the elderly. That age group was thought to be at higher risk for deficiency. The researchers also expected to find some connection between dietary intake and plasma levels, even though other studies found no association.

    Some of the results were surprising. The youngest group—the 26 to 49 year olds—had about the same B12 status as the oldest group—65 and up. "We thought that low concentrations of B12 would increase with age," says Tucker. "But we saw a high prevalence of low B12 even among the youngest group."

    The good news is that for many people, eating more fortified cereals and dairy products can improve B12 status almost as much as taking supplements containing the vitamin. Supplement use dropped the percentage of volunteers in the danger zone (plasma B12 below 185 pmol/L) from 20 percent to 8. Eating fortified cereals five or more times a week or being among the highest third for dairy intake reduced, by nearly half, the percentage of volunteers in that zone—from 23 and 24 percent, respectively, to 12 and 13 percent.

    The researchers found no association between plasma B12 and meat, poultry, and fish intake, even though these foods supply the bulk of B12 in the diet. "It’s not because people aren’t eating enough meat," Tucker says. "The vitamin isn’t getting absorbed." The vitamin is tightly bound to proteins in meat and dairy products and requires high acidity to cut it loose. As we age, we lose the acid-secreting cells in the stomach. But what causes poor absorption in younger adults? Tucker speculates that the high use of antacids may contribute. But why absorption from dairy products appears to be better than from meats is a question that needs more research.

    Fortified cereals are a different story. She says the vitamin is sprayed on during processing and is "more like what we get in supplements."
    It's not good to have too high B12 levels. And people who take B12 supplements regularly aren't necessarily safe. Plus - the results above don't say anything about MMA and homocysteine levels in these people, so the real numbers should probably be higher. Then there's the thing about all people over 50 should take B12 (some experts even claim that all people should take B12).



    It's great if people who post in this thread can share a few lines of info if they post about their B12 deficiency, info that can help others understand more about the "B12 mystery". Please don't take any risks with your health, and don't assume that you are safe because humans living in the wilderness thousands of years ago probably would have gotten all the B12 they needed from water, organic, wild plants and so on. We don't live that way, and have to relate to that.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  18. #218

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I had b12 deficiencies after about 8 years as a vegan without taking a supplement and without regular consumption of fortified foods. I went to the doctor after a prolonged period of fatigue (~3 weeks) and my blood tests showed I was quite low in b12 as well as vitamin D. The doctor told me I had to start eating eggs at the very least. Then I went to a different doctor that said I did not have to eat eggs. In fact, eating eggs would probably not help at all. And, there were vegan sources of the things I needed to fix my problems.

    I started taking a vegan multivitamin and a separate B12 supplement and I stopped feeling so tired and I even started thinking more clearly within a week or two. I did have neon green urine though. I kept up with that for a while, maybe 3 months then stopped with the separate B12. Now I just take the Veglife vegan one multi and only have neon urine sometimes and do not have any of the problems I had before. Also, my blood tests come out fine except for sometimes having slightly low sodium(I do not eat any salt, just what occurs naturally in my food) and slightly lower than normal urea levels. But, I have been assured that those are fine as long as they don't drop dramatically. And my B12 levels are toward the high range of normal or a little higher than that.

    Also, for new vegans that are worried about being deficient in something, it takes quiet a while of lower than recommended nutrients to become deficient in almost anything. Some people will say they tried being vegan for a couple months but became deficient in some thing or another, so they had to stop. But, in order for that to happen, they had to have been eating lower than recommended amounts of that nutrient for years. With only occasional cereals and fortified soy/almond/rice milks and energy drinks it took me 8 years to only start having symptoms of a B12 deficiency. Apparently, it usually only takes a few years, so I was probably eating/drinking fortified foods more than occasionally, but certainly not often and I was definitely not worrying about B12.
    Veganism is the application of the abolitionist principle to the life of the individual. It is not an option; it is essential. — Gary Francione

  19. #219
    rxseeeyse
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    yep, simply not tested. But I think I'm deficit in something!!! I feel dizzy sometimes when I walk...

  20. #220
    Veg Consultant earthsista's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I found out at the beginning of this month that I'm b12 deficient.... though, my doc didnt say it had anything to do with my diet.
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  21. #221
    patientia
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    My B12 was normal, but low normal, and I had been taking about 1 microgram a day (RDA in Europe). I started taking 100 micrograms a day when I got the results. I have to test it again, but it's not free, so I'll wait some more time.

  22. #222

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hi everyone. This is my first day on this forum Which I found from search google for "vegan b12"

    over the past month I have thought I was losing my mind, literally. I have been forgetful, dizzy, blurry/unfocused vision, and well to be honest I feel like I'm becoming an idiot.

    I've been vegan for two years this month. I do not take any supplements. After researching this I picked up iron and b12 pills yesterday. My b12 pills are 1000 mcg which seems like a big much and actually I kinda feel even more dizzy for a few hours after I take them. I'm wondering if I should go pay a doctor to stab b12 in my arm for a few months.

    I'm usually quite active but for the past month or so just don't have the energy at all. And the dizzy lightheaded feeling isn't something that makes me all that keen on working out.

    I don't really know what route to take as of yet but need to figure it out as soon as possible.

    Sorry for any typos. I did this from my phone

  23. #223
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Good luck, DrewW, in finding out what the cause of your health situation is and in finding a proper way to deal with it...


    I've realized that while we have a reply option saying "No/I don't think so/not tested", we don't have a "Yes/I think so/not tested" option.

    I know that vegans and non-vegans alike easily may think that if they/a vegan feel tired etc. it's due to low B12 levels. The truth is that many of the symptoms of B12 levels are quite similar to symptoms other health problems that may or may not have to do with nutrient levels... but since we've had several cases (in this and other threads) of people more or less assuming that they have low B12 levels, I feel that we need to either close the poll and start a new one, or possibly just add at last one reply option to this poll (although the result will be somehow skewed (pardon my English; is that the right word?) that way.

    The poll is meant for people who either know or assume that they have or have had a B12 deficiency - but it's important to distinguish between people who assume it and people who know it.

    Circa 9% of all the /mainly non-veg*n) people studied by Tuft University had a B12 deficiency, and 39% had levels in the 'low, normal' range. This test was taken without taking inactive B12 analogues in the blood into consideration, and MMA/homocysteine levels weren't measured either.

    This means that the numbers easily could be twice as high. The results in the poll so far indicates that the amount of vegans who have voted aren't much (%-wise) than the Tuft results on the average population. Most likely, more people are B12 deficient than those who know or assume they are, and this is particularly true for vegans. This is yet another reason for having a poll for people who've actually taken B12 (and ideally, MMA and homocysteine) tests - to reduce the assumption factor as much as possible.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  24. #224
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote DrewW View Post
    over the past month I have thought I was losing my mind, literally. I have been forgetful, dizzy, blurry/unfocused vision, and well to be honest I feel like I'm becoming an idiot.
    Sorry to hear about the problems, Drew.

    I would definitely see a doctor soon, to check if the problem is B12 deficiency or something else, and if it is B12-related to get some advice about whether pills are enough or whether you may benefit more from B12 shots. I wouldn't leave it because it's better to deal with this quickly.

    As you'll have read there is a possibility that some people have trouble absorbing B12 orally, so it isn't necessarily anything to do with being vegan.

  25. #225

    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Just for additional info:

    Meat is the primary source of vitamin B12 because its is soley produced by bacteria in animals. However some non-animal sources produce them namely, yeasts, mushrooms, seaweeds (like the the Japanese nori is a very good source or the agar agar which is commonly found in Asian shops which is like jello) and soy products like miso, tempeh or tofu. Also the product brand vegemite (in Australia) which is made from yeasts is also a very good source. I think in the States it's called nutritional yeasts of the Kraft brand.
    Respect for all living entities

  26. #226
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    HI Jivattatva,

    With all due respect, both your statements are unfortunately wrong... B12 isn't produced solely by bacteria in animals, and a general statement about B12 being produced by "yeasts, mushrooms, seaweeds", "agar-agar" or "soy products" is wrong and also also potentially very misleading. It may be found is some of these products, and B12 found anywhere are generally classified as either useful/bioavailable, or as inactive B12 'analogues'.

    B12 is produced solely by bacteria/cobalt. In order for B12 to be produced, both cobalt and the right type of bacteria need to be present. To claim that eg. miso or tofu produce (or even contain) usable B12 isn't only wrong: it may falsely cause people who eat eg. tofu or mushrooms to believe that they are somehow safe (in terms of B12 levels).

    Again: this thread isn't really about B12 sources, but since your brought it up, I found a commentary necessary...

    If you are aware of non-animal products that contain B12 - bioavailable or not - please contribute to the B12 in plants?-discussions, and please post links to as scientific sources as possible if you have info that isn't already mentioned in that subforum. Thanks!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  27. #227

    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hi Korn

    Please read the quotes I got from the links below. Yes mushroom (sure mushroom is not a plant nor is it animal because it is classified as eukaryotes) would have Vit B12 and so does seaweeds like agar agar, found mostly in Asian shops and cooked like Jell-o. Soy products and yeasts can be fortified with Vit B12 analogues which is animal product free.

    http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/...12-sources.php


    Sources of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin, cobalamin)
    Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin, cobalamin) is found naturally in food sources (principally animal products) in protein-bound forms. Animal products are the principal food sources of vitamin B12. B12 cannot be made by plants or by animals. It is thought that only bacteria (eubacteria, archaebacteria) manufacture the vitamin. The B12 in animal products is derived from bacterial B12 sources. Cyanocobalamin is the principal form of vitamin B12 used in nutritional supplements and for fortification of foods. Methylcobalamin is also available

    for nutritional supplementation and hydroxocobalamin is available for parenteral administration. Good sources of vitamin B12 include liver, tuna, cottage cheese, yogurt and eggs. Most standard multivitamin supplements also provide the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12.
    In nature, B12 is solely produced by bacteria found in animals (including humans), so that dirt could actually be considered a natural source of B12. Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria and fungi, but not by yeasts or higher plants. Friendly bacteria reside in large quantities in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans. The richest dietary sources of vitamin B12 are liver, especially lamb's liver, and kidneys. Eggs, cheese and some species of fish also supply small amounts, but vegetables and fruits are very poor sources. The richest dietary sources of cobalamin are the liver, brain and kidney. Other sources, include egg yolk, clams, oysters, crabs, sardines, salmon and heart. Lower amounts of cobalamin are found in fish, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, cheese and milk. Plant foods are generally devoid of B12. Some fermented plant products, e.g., tempeh, may have some vitamin B12. Pseudovitamin B12 refers to B12-like substances which are found in certain organisms, such as Spirulina spp. (blue-green algae, cyanobacteria). However, these substances do not have B12 biological activity for humans. Food-form B12 is comprised of protein-bound methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. The only reliable unfortified sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products and eggs. Another alternative source of vitamin B12 is fortified cereal. Other sources of vitamin B12 are fortified soy milk, vitamin B12 fortified meat analogues (food made from wheat gluten or soybeans to resemble meat, poultry or fish)], and vitamin B12 supplements. There are vitamin supplements which do not contain animal products.

    Vegans are recommended to ensure their diet includes foods fortified with vitamin B12. A range of B12 fortified foods are available. These include yeast extracts, Vecon vegetable stock, veggieburger mixes, textured vegetable protein, soya milks, vegetable and sunflower margarines, and breakfast cereals. For the lacto-ovo-vegetarian, reliable sources would include dairy products and eggs which can supply substantial amounts of B12. A slice of vegetarian cheddar cheese (40g) contains 0.5 µg. A boiled egg contains 0.7 µg. Fermentation in the manufacture of yoghurt destroys much of the B12 present. Boiling milk can also destroy much of the B12. Mushrooms cultivated on manure enriched compost will contain vitamin B12. If the mushrooms are not over washed before use they will contain some B12. There is 0.26ug of vitamin B12 in 100g of mushrooms. A serving of 4-6 mushrooms weighs 75g. Fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh, shiitake (dried mushrooms) and algae such as spirulina and nori contain practically no vitamin B12.


    http://www.harnisch.com/well/files/pdf/208/agaragar.pdf page 4

    Agar-Agar is a functional food ingredient
    in terms of its process-performing versatility
    and its beneficial contribution to balanced
    nutrition. It naturally contains minerals, such
    as iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and
    phosphor as well as vitamin B12.
    Respect for all living entities

  28. #228
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    These quotes don't back up your claims about B12 being "solely produced by bacteria in animals" or that seaweeds and tofu produce B12.

    The 'information' in your link has lots of inacurate elements (eggs are eg. listed as a good B12 source), but it seems that you (like many others) have misinterpreted some of statements...

    "Some fermented plant products, e.g., tempeh, may have some vitamin B12" doesn't mean that tempeh "produce" B12 or that tempeh generally (as in 'always') should be seen as a reliable source of B12. Some tempeh contain B12, other tempeh doesn't, but the important part - namely how bioavailable, for humans, this B12 in tempeh is for the consumer, is often ignored.

    In the 80s, many people just assumed that tempeh always produce, or at least contain useful B12. Unfortunately some people still firmly claim this. The other 'school', so to speak, claims the opposite: that useful B12 never can be found in tempeh, or that all the B12 found in always consists of inactive, useless B12 'analogues'.

    Something isn't true just because it's written on an internet page, and we have a reminder/announcement about this in the 'B12 in Plants?' section, here: About this subforum / Do plants contain B12?

    Back to the two 'extreme' schools of thought: The common thing for both these 'schools' of ("all tempeh contain B12"/"no tempeh contain useful B12") is that usually fail to quote real sources. By real sources I mean scientific research on bioavailable B12 in plants - as opposed to a link to someone else who happen to have written that (they think) tempeh contains B12.

    According to your link,"Some fermented plant products, e.g., tempeh, may have some vitamin B12", but also "Fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh, shiitake (dried mushrooms) and algae such as spirulina and nori contain practically no vitamin B12", and you write that Japanese nori "is a very good source" of B12 and that miso, tempeh or tofu 'produce' B12. (My emphasis.)

    We simply have to avoid generalizations when discussing B12 in non-animal sources, which is why we have a dedicated thread for each of the plants/plant products that are claimed to have useful B12. Nori, for example, is discussed here, and actually contains a link to an article claiming that the silica gel 60 TLC and reversed-phase HPLC patterns of the purified pink-colored compound were identical to those of authentic vitamin B12, and not to those of vitamin B12 analogues inactive for humans. Another study in the same thread states (sorry, rats) that vitamin B12 found in nori is bioavailable to rats. A third study suggest that 65% of what they dound in dried nori was cobalamin analogues, but that as much as 73% of the cobalamin homologues in the raw nori were genuine Cobalamin.

    A common misunderstanding derived from such studies is that all nori, or all mushrooms contain B12.

    I've posted loads of posts about B12 in plants over the years, but I can't point to one single plant today - in the state it's commonly sold in stores - and tell my fellow vegans on this forum that if they just eat this plant regularly, they'll get all the B12 they need.

    Even multivitamins, animal products and B12 fortified food may contain so called B12 analogues, so this ain't easy.

    One of the worst things we can do is to give someone who only reads a few post here the impression that eg. all nori, all mushrooms or all tofu always should be considered reliable B12 sources. Another big mistake we can do is to claim that one will never find reliable B12 sources in non-animal foods.

    Most likely, there's a good number of plants that - in it's fresh, organic, non-chlorinated, non-processed (etc) form can be used as a reliable B12 source. But such plants are rarely consumed in a modern society. That's why I both keep reminding people that they need to make sure they get enough B12 - and at the same time (eg. in order to kill myths about B12 only being produced in animals etc) write about all the findings of B12 in plants, soil and water. I post links to sources whenever I find them, but many "opinions" on both sides are just based on something someone read somewhere. Hence the reminder/announcement above.

    Vegans should, in my opinion both avoid to spread myths about plants products never containing B12 and also avoid to spread the idea that B12 only is produced (or only exist) in animals.
    Last edited by Korn; Jun 22nd, 2010 at 07:07 PM.
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  29. #229

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Thanks Korn. Very detailed and useful information!

  30. #230

    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Hi Korn

    Thanks for your information and I also look at your 2004 post introducing some points of discussions about B12.

    At the outset I’d like to stress that my continued response is not to engage in a debate, more like to further understand the topic and refine my understanding. I am used to group discussions because at work, every week we throw at each other ideas and try to understand and refine each other’s understanding. Myself, I do not take debate or discussions personally. I hope that’s the case with you.

    Also I’m sure members here know that the medium of internet forum is just like a medium where people are talking in a living room , talking about topics off the top of their heads, sometime off the cuff. So members of this forum know that they should seek professional advice if B12 is an issue with them. Of course if an internet forum is organized by a recognised expert body and the members have to have a minimum qualifications then that is another matter.



    These quotes don't back up your claims about B12 being "solely produced by bacteria in animals" or that seaweeds and tofu produce B12.

    I have to admit I am a layman regarding this topic. But I think how I understand it is that B12 found in animal meat is produced by bacteria normally occurring in animals. I think in scientific term it’s called natural flora. Like us humans have bacteria which is normally occurring in our system . And those plants or plant-derived products which have B12 are produced by the bacteria external to its system , (I think this is what they term exogenous) or as a side product of an intended process to produce an intended product. This is what I mean when I wrote that.


    The 'informations' in your link has lots of inacurate elements (eggs are eg. listed as a good B12 source), but it seems that you (like many others) have misinterpreted some of statements...

    "*Some* fermented plant products, e.g., tempeh, *may* have some vitamin B12" doesn't mean that tempeh "produce" B12 or that tempeh as generally, should be seen as a reliable source of B12. Some tempeh contain B12, other tempeh doesn't, but the important part - namely how bioavailable, for humans, this B12 in tempeh is for the consumer, is often ignored. In the 80s, many people just assumed that tempeh always produce, or at least contain useful B12. Unfortunately some people still firmly claim this. The other 'school', so to speak, claims the opposite: that useful B12 never can be found in tempeh, or that all the B12 found in always consists of inactive, useless B12 'analogues'.

    Yes, this is the nature of science, sometimes they have conflicting assertions. And that is the reason science sometimes based their conclusion on consensus. Like though some scientists still question the theory of evolution as formulated by Darwin, the consensus reached by science is that ToE by Darwin explains the complexity and diversity of life.


    Something isn't true just because it's written on an internet page, and we have a reminder/announcement about this in the 'B12 in Plants?' section, here: About this subforum / Do plants contain B12? (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/announcement.php?f=22)

    Back to the two 'extreme' schools of thought: The common thing for both these 'schools' of ("all tempeh contain B12"/"no tempeh contain useful B12") is that usually fail to quote *real* sources. By real sources I mean scientific research on bioavailable B12 in plants - as opposed to a link to someone else who happen to have written that (they think) tempeh contains B12.

    According to your link (my emphasis, "Some fermented plant products, e.g., tempeh, may have some vitamin B12", but also "Fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh, shiitake (dried mushrooms) and algae such as spirulina and nori contain practically no vitamin B12", and you write that Japanese nori "is a very good source" of B12 and that miso, tempeh or tofu 'produce' B12.

    You are correct, I was conflicting there as I was citing that article. Actually in other studies nori were shown to contain B12. However, that is dried nori which shows that it is processed in some way and so the process of B12 production is exogenous, as in all plants studied so far.


    We simply have to avoid generalizations when discussing B12 in non-animal sources, which is why we have a dedicated thread for each of the plants/plant products that are claimed to have useful B12. Nori, for example, is discussed here (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259), and actually contains a link to an article claiming that the silica gel 60 TLC and reversed-phase HPLC patterns of the purified pink-colored compound were identical to those of authentic vitamin B12, and not to those of vitamin B12 analogues inactive for humans. Another study in the same thread states (sorry, rats) that vitamin B12 found in nori is bioavailable to rats. A third study suggest that 65% of what they dound in dried nori was cobalamin analogues, but that as much as 73% of the cobalamin homologues in the raw nori were genuine Cobalamin.

    A common misunderstanding derived from such studies is that all nori, or all mushrooms contains B12.


    I've posted loads of posts about B12 in plants over the years, but I can't point to one single plant today and tell my fellow vegans on this forum that if they just eat this plant regularly, they'll get all the B12 they need.

    Even multivitamins, animal products and B12 fortified food may contain so called B12 analogues, so this ain't easy.

    One of the worst thing we can do is to give someone who only reads a few post here the impression that eg. all nori, all mushrooms or all tofu always should be considered reliable B12 sources. Another other big mistake we can do is to claim that one will never find reliable B12 sources in non-animal foods.

    You are right in emphasizing this and I was generalizing which I should'nt. But of course an exogenous process will result in uncertain contents because it is dependent very much on external environment/process, is that not right?

    I think the studies so far have not found a very reliable plant source. But of course that does not mean they will never find them in the future.
    I think vegans will not be hurt if they eat those products that may contain B12.




    Most likely, there's a good number of plants that - in it's fresh, organic, non-chlorinated, non-processed (etc) form can be used as a reliable B12 source. But in reality such plants are rarely consumed in a modern society. That's why I both keep reminding people that they need to make sure they get enough B12 and at the same time (eg. in order to kill myths about B12 only being produced in animals etc) write about all the findings of B12 in plants, soil and water. I post links to sources whenever I find them, but many "opinions" on both sides are just based on something someone read somewhere. Hence the reminder/announcement above.

    Vegans should, in my opinion both avoid to spread myths about plants products never containing B12 and also avoid to spread the idea that B12 only is produced (or only exist) in animals.
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  31. #231
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote Jivattatva View Post
    Myself, I do not take debate or discussions personally. I hope that's the case with you.
    Sure!

    Also I'm sure members here know that the medium of internet forum is just like a medium where people are talking in a living room , talking about topics off the top of their heads, sometime off the cuff.
    Sure!
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  32. #232
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I had a B12 deficiency six months after I first went vegan. I'd been close to vegetarian before that, so my levels were probably pretty low to start with. I got sick. I supplement now .
    Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight
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  33. #233
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    After 6 years and more than 22,000 people visiting this thread, only one person voted for the "Yes, with serious, non-curable symtoms (eg. neurological damage)" option. That's still one too much... so here are a couple of links about the rare cases of B12 deficiency and neurologic dysfunction, suggesting that with early diagnosis and intervention, permanent damage can be avoided. The best solution os of course to make sure one never ends up needing such treatment.


    Recovery of neurologic dysfunction with early intervention of vitamin B12.


    J Clin Neuromuscul Dis. 2010 Jun;11(4):198-202.
    Recovery of neurologic dysfunction with early intervention of vitamin B12.
    Ahmed A, Kothari MJ.

    Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.
    Abstract
    A patient developed numbness and tingling in distal extremities with subsequent weakness. Evaluation revealed B12 deficiency. She had evidence of myelopathy on imaging studies and polyneuropathy on electrodiagnostic testing. Treatment with B12 caused remittance of symptoms and resolution/improvement of abnormalities found on the imaging and electrodiagnostic studies. This case demonstrates that early intervention with B12 supplementation can cause reversal of both central and peripheral nervous system dysfunction.

    PMID: 20516808 [PubMed - in process]
    Neurologic findings of nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency in children.

    Turk J Pediatr. 2010 Jan-Feb;52(1):17-21.
    Neurologic findings of nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency in children.
    Incecik F, Hergüner MO, Altunbaşak S, Leblebisatan G.

    Divisions of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, tukurova University Faculty of Medicine, Adana, Turkey.
    Abstract
    We report herein our interesting case series of 15 infants admitting with neurological symptoms who were found to have vitamin B12 deficiency. Infants who were admitted to our hospital between 2004 and 2007 with neurological symptoms and were found to have vitamin B12 deficiency were included in this study. Data regarding clinical and laboratory features were obtained. Of 15 infants, 9 were boys (60%) and 6 were girls (40%). The mean age was 11.7 months. Anorexia, pallor, hypotonia, and neurodevelopmental retardation were present in all infants. Seizures and tremor were observed in 46.6% (7/15) and 33% (5/15) of patients, respectively. Seizures were generalized tonic-clonic in 4 patients, generalized tonic in 1 patient and focal in 2 patients. Four patients had tremor on admission and 1 patient had occurrence after vitamin B12 treatment. Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to serious neurological deficits in addition to megaloblastic anemia. Persistent neurological damage can be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment. We believe that a thorough clinical and neurological assessment might prevent failure to notice rare but possible vitamin B12 deficiency in infants with neurological deficits and neurodevelopmental retardation.

    PMID: 20402062 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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  34. #234
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote Korn View Post
    After 6 years and more than 22,000 people visiting this thread, only one person voted for the "Yes, with serious, non-curable symtoms (eg. neurological damage)" option. [/URL]
    That's a bit misleading when only 235 have actually voted. Over 98% of visitors haven't bothered to vote.
    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

  35. #235

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I was feeling odd and generally unwell so I went to the doc's and got an overall checkup with bloodwork... B12 deficiency tahdah!

    I'm concerned as I was already taking supplements on my own and they now put me on new one my GP prescribed (yay free vitamins for me). If I developed a deficiency while supplementing and the new supplements don't correct it then it may not be a dietary issue, it may be a stomach issue (I have an ulcer, hiatal hernia and GERD, plus other fun) in which no amount of ingestible B12 will work for me. We'll see.

    So, it doesn't seem mine was caused by veganhood, but I'll know better after next bloodwork. If it was, then I just needed a different supplement, np. If it wasn't, then I need to start injections probably.

  36. #236

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I'm vegan for 3 and a half years now and at my recent dental check up my dentist commented on a slight hint of redness (more like pinkness) around the corners of my mouth and asked me about my B vitamin intake.
    I take only a calcium supplement, a bit of magnesium to go with it, Vitamin C and some kyolic garlic.

    Is this a known symptom of B12 vit deficiency?
    Reading this thread, I can definitely identify with some of the other symptoms like worsening memory, not feeling as clear-headed as I used to, etc.

    I started taking a B complex with 25 micrograms of B12.
    Is that a high enough quantity per day to see a noticeable improvement in a month or 2?

  37. #237
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I started taking a B complex with 25 micrograms of B12.
    Is that a high enough quantity per day to see a noticeable improvement in a month or 2?
    Hi Insomniak,
    I don't think it's a good idea to respond to such questions - not only because you don't know if you're B12 deficient, but because if you are, you would need to find out how low your levels are. You may have no B12 deficiency at all, or you may need to supplement with high amounts than 25 mcg/day as soon as possible

    This is thread for people who know they have a case of B12 deficiency - don't get this wrong, but please let us know if you find out that you have one...
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  38. #238
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    This thread reminds me that I should get my blood test done, it was about a year ago last time. I have been eating quite low daily doses of 3 micrograms. But haven't had any symptoms of deficiency at all, it will be interesting to see if there has been a change since last time. I ordered some strong methylcobalamin from iherb, maybe it would be best to first check my levels before I start taking them. I might need to take like only two to three pills a week of that if my levels are normal.

  39. #239
    Kimberlily1983
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I've never had B12 deficiency - levels were normal when tested - but my partner has, back when he was a meat-eater.

  40. #240
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote Kimberlily1983 View Post
    I've never had B12 deficiency - levels were normal when tested - but my partner has, back when he was a meat-eater.
    Do you take any supplements? I take a vegan multivitamin once every 3 or 4 days but I have no idea what my B12 level is like.

  41. #241
    Kimberlily1983
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote Back-Space View Post
    Do you take any supplements? I take a vegan multivitamin once every 3 or 4 days but I have no idea what my B12 level is like.
    We don't take supplements but we drink Silk soy milk - usually the chocolate - almost everyday; on days that we don't we eat other fortified foods like soy burgers, soy bacon, etc. I haven't had a blood test in awhile, either, but I'm guessing my B12 levels - and everything else - is fine. The only thing I've ever tested low on is iron, and since going vegan I haven't had any problems with that (I can tell when I'm becoming deficient: I recognize the symptoms).

  42. #242
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I used to donate plasma which meant I got a good blood test out of the deal. I doubt they checked the B12 levels though. Maybe I'll see about getting some blood work done in the new year.

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I currently have B12 and D-vitamin deficiency.
    Just heading out to get my B12 shot, actually!

    Been vegan for about 1-2 years, with a few mishaps. Though I'm mostly only vegan in my diet.
    Probably would have had a deficiency even if I were a carnivore, so that's not the issue. I just tend to have bad eating habits.
    Might have been caused by stress, or even caused the stress itself. I hear B12 deficiency can have bad influence on your nerves if going on for too long.

    As long as you know what you're eating and you do it right, veganism shouldn't be a factor when it comes to B12 deficiency.

  44. #244
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    As long as you know what you're eating and you do it right, veganism shouldn't be a factor when it comes to B12 deficiency.
    True - as long as you also know that the amounts of B12 and other nutrients which occur naturally in food and water today aren't what they used to be... Plus - bad eating (and drinking etc) habits can destroy B12 levels in people who consume normal amounts of B12.

    PS - unless you have a special condition meaning that you can't absorb B12 orally, maybe this thread is interesting for you:
    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...lar-injections
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  45. #245
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I had blood drawn maybe a few months ago and I was told I had a folate/Vitamin B deficiency when I was simply vegetarian (10 years). I hadn't been taking any supplements at the time. I don't remember having any of the symptoms, either.
    Cats & dogs have all the luck.

  46. #246
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I've been vegan for just over 6 years. Late this past winter, I felt really, really bad. At first I thought it was exhaustion from the holidays, then maybe a case of the winter blues. I was so very tired for several weeks, and started to become winded when I ran. I thought it might be hormonal (menopause) but I was really worried about depression too, so I went to the doctor. She did a complete blood count, and my B12 count was 280. Technically, from what I understand, 280 is not deficient in the US, but is in other countries, and I honestly felt just terrible - tired and depressed all the time. She treated me with 1000mcg sub-lingual B12 tablets daily for 30 days. It took a couple of weeks, but I finally feel like myself again.

    I always thought my diet was good, but looking back, I now know that I wasn't eating very many fortified foods. I should have been supplementing all along, but just didn't. I have have now made it a habit to take a supplement regularly.
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  47. #247
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote Cowboy View Post
    Technically, from what I understand, 280 is not deficient in the US, but is in other countries

    Hi!

    First, note that B12 can be reported either as pmol/l or pg/ml. 280 pmol/l isn't the same as 280 pg/ml. If you check info about what's considered normal B12 ranges for various countries, you'll find that there are practically no countries (there are only a a few exceptions) which currently consider someone with a level of 280 pg/ml - or 280 pmol/l - as B12 deficient.


    I did have a thread showing a conversion table between pmol and pg, but removed it a while ago, since I had based it on info from a dietician which have a tendency of presenting facts in a very peculiar and often misleading (or either plain wrong) way. I had picked up the info from veganhealth.org, a site I''m not much fan of, and ironically, the only time actually rely on info from that site, the info is plain wrong. There's no disagreement among professionals about how to convert pmol/l to pg/ml - with the exception of the guy behind veganoutreach.com/veganhealth.org, who seems to disagree with himself - and both claims that 1 pg/ml = 1.35 pmol/l and that 1.35 pg/ml = 1 pmol/l. He is a colleague of Ginny Messina, who is the only other person I can remember who has used an inverted/wrong pmol/pg conversion table in her literature. She is also the only one (which I'm aware of) which claims that the B12 'reference' now is 25-100 mcg (from supplements).

    The correct conversion:
    280 pg/ml = 206 pmo/l
    280 pmol/l = 379 pg/ml.

    There could of course be a link between B12 and depression, even when the levels are within what's considered the normal range. A regular B12 test may also give misleading info, since such a test don't distinguish between active B12 and inactive B12 analogues in the blood. It seems that active B12 molecules can 'die' and be converted to inactive B12 analogues, so - depending on what someone eats/drinks and how they otherwise are exposed to B12 'enemies' out there (sugar, tobacco, stress, oral contraceptives + many types of medicine and ther pharmaceuticals, alcohol, coffee and much more), some people may need a much higher B12 intake than others.

    Whatever your situation was, it's good that your situations has improved - and it's impossible to guess why this happened. But 280 - whether it's pg/ml or pmol/l, is generally not considered outside the normal range.

    Japan has a very high minimum threshold in terms of what they consider a normal B12 range. There may be reasons to increase the level in other countries as well, but there's a risk involved in that, since too high B12 levels (just like too low B12 levels) in some cases are associated with health conditions we want to avoid (eg. certain cancer types). People on diets high in B12 generally rank high on lists over the health problems none of us want. There are a number of possible reasons for that: the B12 itself (which stimulates cell division/growth), animal protein, natural and unnatural growth hormones found in animal products etc.
    Japan, with it's high B12 reference range may be better off than many other countries with such a high reference, because Japanase people hostorically has been known for their low intake of milk. Maybe getting B12 from fish is a better way, from a health perspective, than getting it from eg red. meat too, so maybe a possibly too high B12 recommendation will cause less harm in Japan than in most other countries.

    However - to assume that vegans need a much higher total intake of b12 than non-vegans would have to be based ton the idea that eg. 3 mcg B12 is enough for a meat eater, but not for a vegan. I haven't seen anything, anywhere, suggesting that the total B12 intake should be higher for vegans than for others. So whatever you do to maintain good B12 levels, I think it's important to remember that we don't need a higher B12 total intake than meat eaters. Most meat eaters get more B12 than they need, and almost none of them have a B12 intake as high as some of the most fanatical, vegan B12 supplement munchers, who may take as much as 100, 250, 500 or even 1000 mcg B12 - not as a part of a treatment for a B12 deficiency, but as in something they plant to do for the rest of their lives.

    There are various reports (check other posts on this forum or try Google) about what is considered a normal (not necessarily a good/ideal) intake for meat eaters. The last report I looked as suggested 3.5 mcg for woman and 5 mcg for men, and other reports have slightly higher numbers, but it 's generally agreed upon that meat eaters usually don't get as much B12 as 10 mcg/day. And 'most people' consume a lot of animal products. I don't think we should strive for a B12 intake as high as what 'most people' have.

    Still - there are reasons to compensate for the anti-B12 effect of various things vegans and non-vegans are exposed to. But it's still important to distinguish between 'normal' and 'ideal'. Most countries in the world recommend an intake of 2-3 mcg B12 /day (spread over various meals) - not as a recommended addition to the B12 people get from red meat etc, but as the total intake. That's still a lot of B12, but may be needed in our anti-bacterial world.

    Again - there's an exception re. these values as well: the same Jack Norris I mentioned above suggests that when getting B12 from supplements, one should take 25 to 100 mcg B12 daily. Part if the reason for that is, according to Norris, that not all consumed B12 is absorbed and that the more B12 we consume in one portion, the lower the percentage of absorbed will be.

    Here's how he got to that recommendation: "Depending on how you calculate the absorption rates, to get the same absorption rates from supplements in one dose, you would need 25 µg to 240 µg per day". (He probably means absorption and not absorption rate?). However, he also found this result "imprecise". And since he as thought that as much as 240 mcg/day would be way too high, he just changed it to 100. So much for precise calculations.

    The problem with having an inverted conversion table of course occurs if one - as Jack Norris has done - uses this table to convert all the numbers he posts to one of the two values. Conclusions based on numbers which are wrong (due to a wrong conversion table) will most likely, or at least often, be wrong. The real damage of course happens when others use a site with false info (veganhealth.org has promoted an inverted for almost 10 years) as a reference when they write their own books and articles.

    If you work in a bank and mix up currency conversion rates, you won't have your job for long, but we're yet in the childhood of 'professional' health info for vegans, and obviously one can post misleading or wrong info for years without anyone stopping it.

    I've seen no other scientific studies/sources, anywhere, agreeing with him. But I have seen a colleague of Jack Norris who claim claim that "You can’t get enough by eating unwashed organic produce or mushrooms grown in B12-rich soil. The recommended dose is 25 to 100 micrograms per day or 1,000 micrograms 2-3 times per week. " It seems right that you can't get enough B12 from not washing your plants - and even if the B12 reported to exist in some mushrooms should be bioactive, you'd have to eat a massive amount of them to get the B12 you need. But to claim - when talking about food - that "the recommended dose is 25 to 100 micrograms per day" is a false statement, since there no common agreement about that at all. There's no common agreement that people who for some reason will get no B12 from their food should get 25-100 mcg/day from supplements either. If someone wants to launch such an idea - fine, but IMHO they should present is as an highly personal opinion and not as a a mainstream reference.

    Without remembering that Jack Norris and Ginny Messina actually have worked together, I noticed that these two people are the same two people who in a couple of important cases have totally different references that what pretty much everyone else has. The main problem when a person who to some degree is considered an authority posts wrong info is that others will refer to it in other literature and on other sites, which is why we should take false reference values seriously. If you mix up the pmol/pg conversion rate, for instance, your assumptions will be based on distorted numbers, and you may end up with conclusions which are not at all in tune with real life facts.

    If you look at the three reference values mentioned here together, you'll easily end up with totally conflicting conclusions, all depending on whose facts you use. If one thinks that US has lower B12 minimum values than most other countries, assumes that we need 25 mcg B12 per day, and use a pg/pmol conversion a la the one Jack Norris promote (and also have promoted on veganhealth.org for many years until he changed it not long ago), not only will one be out of touch with what pretty much everyone else thinks, but eating vegan will look like a rather bad and 'unnatural' choice for many health interested people.

    The reason for that is that those numbers will cause people to think that if you eat vegan, you'll be extremely far away from the 'healthy' levels meat eaters have of B12, one for some reason some vegan 'authorities' almost never mention that there's a reason both vegans and non-vegans need more B12 today than they'd need in less 'denaturalized' world.
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Last edited by thegreenjudy; Mar 7th, 2012 at 02:04 PM.

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I voted for "My B12 levels are in the low normal range, but that doesn't worry me much." I got this done in December after 4 years of vegetarianism and a few months of veganism.

    I've since started taking 2.5mcg of B12 a day and I feel fine. I just figured I'd head anything off at the pass. I probably won't have another blood test until next December so we'll see if my levels change at all by then.

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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Of course vegans can get a B12 deficiency. Circa one in ten vegans would become B12 deficient even if we had the same levels as non-vegans, and B12 is commonly thought to be *the* nutrient to pay attention to and supplement with for veg*ns. Most people probably know, by know, that the B12 deficiency risk is much higher for vegans than for meat eaters, for a number of reasons. Non-vegans have other nutrients to focus on and supplement with (eg B9). But this raw (half raw?) food women may not have been a vegan or vegetarian by choice, it seems that she may have been raised as a veg*n and not actively chosen a veg*n lifestyle herself - which could explain why she switches to eating animal product every day as a way to deal with B12 deficiency instead of choosing other, animal-friendly and more efficient options.

    It's interesting that she developed a deficiency even when taking oral supplements for circa a decade (she had been a vegan for 4 years and a vegetarian for 23). If I understand this right, before her 10 years of taking supplements she was a vegetarian for 17 years without supplements (and in good health).


    Oral B12 vs. injected B12 is being discussed here: Is oral B12 as effective as intramuscular injections?

    It's kind hard to discuss with statements a la "There is no vegetarian sources of B12" on YouTube. Although there's generally a higher rate of B12 analogues in plant products than in animal products, and lower levels (if any at all) in lots of plant products, several scientific sources who are fully aware of B12 analogues will disagree with her. (See eg this post in the thread about long time, non-supplementing vegans).

    She claims things without any source references (pretty common on YouTube, and unfortunately also pretty common among many, but not all, rawfooders).

    There's no need for a vegan with no atypical conditions to eat animal products to increase their B12 levels. The way she presents this (to people without her special heart condition), she sounds like a person who suggest that people should rather eat animal products than to supplement when needed. In an emergency situation with a severe deficiency it would be better to treat the deficiency first with an intense treatment, and go back to simple, oral supplements afterwards instead of a slow process with getting non-therapeutic amounts from food.

    She is a 'health first' person, but why doesn't she mention the issues involved in high B12 intakes (look eg. here and here, and also look here, because many of these cases could be linked to high B12 levels as well, as explained elsewhere)? I don't know this woman, but if I did, I'd ask if she 100% sure that she wants to be in the upper end of normal range for meat eaters. Is she even aware of the heath risks associated with eating animal products?

    People with problems absorbing B12 usually absorb B12 it better from supplements than from food (google R-binder and intrinsic factor for more), so her story is atypical. It's also commonly thought that people who really need to fix their B12 levels are better off with B12 better from injections than from food as well, but due to her special heart condition she wanted to avoid those. If I would have any symptoms of a deficiency, I'd take therapeutic amounts in one way or the other ASAP, and not rely on food alone, let alone animal foods, which by the way are known for having higher levels of B12 but/and which also are associated with lots of other health problems.

    It's kind of strange if a person who seems to be an active advocate for a particular diet have been lots of years without meat before she finds out that her B12 levels are below the normal range (if that's what has happened). To me it seems as if the oral supplements she have been taking haven't been good enough; there could even be a problem of taking B12 in a multivitamin with copper etc, or the amounts of B12 weren't high enough for her needs - or they could contain inactive B12 analogues eg. from spirulina.

    The way she compares the recommended levels is also a bit strange: she compares USA with Japan - without mentioning that Japan is the or one of the very few nations on this planet with much higher B12 recommendations than the rest of the world.

    She should have mentioned if this was pmol pr pg/ml. According to this link, "The normal blood level of vitamin B12 ranges between 200 and 600 picogram/milliliter (148-443 picomol/liter)".According to this link, "Normal values are 200 - 900 pg/mL (picograms per milliliter)."
    She may sum her approach up pretty well up when she says (the underlined part): "The optimal levels, I would say, would be, I don't know, somewhere between 700 and 1000".


    Including a generous amount of raw food is a IMHO good idea, but for some reason, some rawfooders can be quite preachy and demonstrate that they haven't really done much research about what their preaching about at the same time. But - after all - that could be a good sign, in the sense that they at least are very enthusiastic about the diet they live on. But what this woman promotes is a rather dangerous path: if people have a severe deficiency, with pretty bad symptoms, nobody should recommend that they something which may be understood as a suggestion that just eating the kind of food most people eat will cure it. Severe B12 deficiency can cause permanent damage, a severe deficiency with pretty bad symptoms can't be treated with eggs and fish, injections or strong oral supplements is important to recommend in such cases.

    Her levels went from 86 to 376 in over some months, but if we exclude any special conditions this woman has, taking B12 from oral supplements, would have been a faster and more efficient/reliable solution for most people, vegan or not. It is estimated that 9% of all (non-vegans) have an actual B12 deficiency, and not only "low levels". With the same numbers among vegans we could have almost 1000 B12 deficient members among our almost 11,000 forum members alone. That's important to know, especially since B12 is more prevalent among vegans than non-vegans. But to make this kind video, which almost is evangelizing for use of animal products - when we know the many reasons why a) people may become B12 deficient, and b) know the actual reasons why vegans are more likely to get a B12 deficiency just doesn't make any sense. (Making videos meaning that it takes 10 minutes to go through something one could read in much shorter time doesn't always make sense anyway!).

    OTOH, if she, in her other hundreds of videos, has promoted the idea that rawfooders don't need supplements, she may feel a need to correct herself on YouTube. She could be a victim of the 'just don't wash your vegetables and you're safe'-myth; a dangerous theory to promote to a women like her, who has been a veg*n most of her life. I guess any active "YouTube-activist" (she even seems to have site called "Radiant Health") who gets really sick will feel a need to - and should - correct misleading info they may have posted. She just doesn't do it in a very scientific way, instead she promotes... more misleading info! Then again, If I would have made hundreds of videos about 'raw health' and start to eat cooked animal products, I'd probably feel a need to explain a little something as well.

    She gives the false impression that she, with her raw vegan background, have to eat cooked animal products to become healthy, a theory practically nobody will support. And - if one should evaluate raw vegan food as such, along with her B12 levels, one would have to look at what she consumed anyway. Did she eat/make proper food? What about her previous intake of B12 enemies like sugar, coffee and tobacco in her years as a veg*n... and so on. And by the way, (I looked at part of one of her other videos)... someone should tell her that B12 comes from bacteria+cobalt, not from animal product as such.

    Luckily don't all non-vegans with health problems don't make a video (or 4-5, like this ex-raw woman did!) about their problems on YouTube. That would have represented massive server overloads...

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