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Thread: B12 found in organically grown produce

  1. #1
    rakin' muck
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    Default B12 found in organically grown produce

    So I'm a serious tree-hugger. I don't believe in supplements, it seems like God wouldn't design a world where everything we need couldn't be found in the ground. I'm always trying to dig deeper on what the vitamins/minerals actually do for us, where they come from, etc. I had read that B12 was related to bacterial processes in the animals' gut, and that it was found in dirt and I could get it by not washing my veggies, but this article is hands-down the most complete analysis of the subject I've ever seen. A must read for anyone worried about their intake! You don't need to eat animal products, just fruits/veggies that were fertilized with old-fashioned animal waste and not chemicals. (T. Colin Campbell is the author of The China Study, btw, if anyone hasn't heard or him or the study I suggest you look into it for more health reasons to avoid animal products!)

    http://www.tcolincampbell.org/course...und-in-plants/

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    Hi vegmonkey!

    You don't need to eat animal products, just fruits/veggies that were fertilized with old-fashioned animal waste and not chemicals.
    There's actually nothing in that article which documents that statement, and while I of course agree that we don't need to eat animal products, there's no scientific proof that 'modern' humans living today can get the B12 they need from fertilized with animal products or non-chemical fertilizers. I'm pretty sure we would live well without supplements in a different kind of world - where we all ate organic and often fresh food etc, before water was chlorinated and before humans were 'domesticated'.

    this article is hands-down the most complete analysis of the subject I've ever seen.
    Read again. Not even the writer suggest that it's a complete analysis, he ends up with writing that...

    This was written in 1996. Now, 12 years later, I still don't know that this view whether this view is right. However, in the meanwhile, I have been influenced by two of my clinician colleagues, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, that their understanding of the literature and their experience in the clinic suggest that B12 deficiency may be seen in vegans, thus advocate B12 supplementation. I defer to their view.
    I don't believe in supplements, it seems like God wouldn't design a world where everything we need couldn't be found in the ground.
    Since we live in a very de-naturalized world, it may not matter much if we believe in supplements or not; not n practical terms. All we need to know is if we get the nutrients we need. Most non-vegans don't, and there are some nutrients which vegans ned to pay extra attention to as well - and B12 is one of them.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  3. #3
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    I kinda just figure that if plant eating animals have sufficient B12 that eating plants can yeild sufficient B12.

    Not very scientific that, I know.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  4. #4
    rakin' muck
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    Yeah, I'm with you, Cupid. I wasn't trying to say this scientifically shows we don't need to eat animal products(though I guess I did kind of give that impression in my first post, whoops, I just wanted people to know how good the article was!), just that it sheds interesting light on what B12 is exactly, some kind of compound in waste that goes back into the earth, grows new plants, and we need to eat it to get by. The circle of life and all. I don't really think humans can replicate nature in a lab, plus it seems like it could do more harm than good (taking a high dose of anything, even if it's a "nutrient" conventional wisdom says we should eat tons of, conventional wisdom also says it's necessary to eat cow's milk for calcium...)thus my non-supplementing.

    I would say the reason lots of vegans end up with B12 deficiency isn't because they don't eat animal products, it's because they don't eat organic produce, or they don't eat any produce and live on soy products and bread and vegan cookies and whatnot. That's not going to be fixed by a supplement. Unless you're "supplementing" your existing diet with additional organic veggies!
    Last edited by vegmonkey; Mar 25th, 2013 at 04:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    I kinda just figure that if plant eating animals have sufficient B12 that eating plants can yeild sufficient B12.

    Not very scientific that, I know.
    Not scientific for a number of reasons...
    Both humans and animals produce B12 (eg in the intestines), but the processes are most likely not identical between humans and other animals. Some of the B12 humans produce apparently is produced after that area which absorbs B12.
    Cows, sheep and many wild animals eat all day long. Humans don't.
    Today's humans usually drink chlorinated water - wild animals don't.
    There's no evidence that the amount of B12 which is enough for, say, deer would be enough for humans.
    And do on....

    But still: I think along the same lines. We were also wild animals at some point, living very close to nature, almost all food was fresh, it was all organic, there were no synthetic fertilizers, we got a lot of vit. D from the sun (which helps the intake of calcium and B12) - and so forth. Based on everything I've read, it's extremely likely that humans living in the wilderness, in the past, when oceans, rivers, the air and soil were unaffected by all the stuff the planet is exposed to today, we'd be perfectly fine with no supplements, as long as we had some knowledge or strong intuition about what to eat and what do avoid.



    Quote vegmonkey View Post
    I just wanted people to know how good the article was!
    With all due respect, I think it's more 'interesting' than good, because it doesn't even mention the core topics it indirectly touches, with questions like "How large percentage of the B12 found in the Mozafar study was active, bioavailable B12?", or "If non of the B12 they found was inactive, how would we know that it was still active when it reached our grocery stores?", or "Why would a vegan use animal products as a fertilizer if he is against using animal products?".

    some kind of compound in waste that goes back into the earth, grows new plants
    There are massive amounts of B12 in nature, we don't need to look at animal products or waste. Check some of our articles about B12 in water (rivers, oceans) or in soil. But we don't use that B12, we don't know how reliable it is, and most of us are exposed lots of things which affect our B12 intake/consumption.

    Please look eg at the sticky threads in this section:
    B12 in plants?

    But also - please look at this thread:
    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...B12-deficiency

    We can't expect non-vegans to work hard at documenting how reliable B12 in eg algae or sea buckthorn is. Nevertheless; the mentioned threads do insist that the B12 found in eg. nori and chlorella is bioavailable for humans, and therefore should not suffer from the "inactive B12 analogues" dilemma. They are aware of the risk that B12 found in certain vegan sources may be 'false' B12; inactive B12 molecules which appear as B12 in labs, which have no real activity which is beneficial for humans - but still insist that the B12 they have found is in of the 'inactive B12 analogue' type.

    What's the problem then? Why don't we all just get B12 from these vegan sources and forget the whole B12/vegan discussion? Well - many do. The missing link is still that in order to recommend these B12 products to others, we need empirical data confirming that they have a real, measurable, beneficial effect on those who use them. We need to test the effect on humans; not only test the products in a lab.

    Such studies could have ben initiated by eg. The Vegan Society, Peta, PCRM if funding for such studies could be raised.

    But the sceptics, those remaining old men and women who publish articles stating that we need meat or dairy to get the nutrients we need may not respect the outcome of a study funded by pro-vegan sources (but have no problem with studies funded by pro meat eating sources!). This takes us to the core of the problem: how can we influence non-vegan researchers to test these products on vegans?
    As far as I can tell, the only solution is to *start* by arranging small scale studies on vegans performed by vegans/pro vegan organisations. When/if they are successful, they will be referred to in articles, forums and books - which most likely will inspire others to check if the results are correct by setting up similar studies.



    I don't really think humans can replicate nature in a lab
    No, but there are various ways to produce supplements, medicine etc. which is proven to work. Right now humans are living more disconnected from nature than we every have done, and this development doesn't seem to stop. We just can't live as if we were living in an organic jungle full of good, natural bacteria and nutrints 1000 years ago. IMHO the vegan movement needs to take a serious step away from the pseudo-hippie* way of thinking which dominated vegans, macrobiotic eaters etc in the 1960s/1070s, without 'throwing out the baby with the bath water' - as in without starting to claim that the vegan diet is un-natural, that humans are natural omnivores, or that vegans ned supplements while meat eaters don't.

    it could do more harm than good (taking a high dose of anything, even if it's a "nutrient" conventional wisdom says we should eat tons of it...
    Conventional wisdom usually suggests that too little or too much of something usually is a bad solution. Read more about taking B12 overdoses/megadoses here:
    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...rdose-megadose

    We need extremely small amounts B12.

    ...conventional wisdom also says it's necessary to eat cow's milk for calcium...)thus my non-supplementing.
    I already mentioned the risk of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Many vegans have done well for years without supplemention, but that doesn't mean that this will work for everybody. Not only that - but unless someone can prove that long term effects of B12 deficiency never can be very dramatic, and in the most extreme cases irreversible, there's not reason to take some precautions - just like meat eaters do. Some insist that we can develop irreversible symptoms of B12 deficiency without noticing it, and such warnings need to be taken seriously.

    The page you posted a link to concludes this way:
    However, in the meanwhile, I have been influenced by two of my clinician colleagues, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, that their understanding of the literature and their experience in the clinic suggest that B12 deficiency may be seen in vegans, thus advocate B12 supplementation. I defer to their view.
    How do you relate to that?

    I would say the reason lots of vegans end up with B12 deficiency isn't because they don't eat animal products
    Of course.

    it's because they don't eat organic produce, or they don't eat any produce and live on soy products and bread and vegan cookies and whatnot.
    For this thread to make any real sense, someone needs to post something which demonstrates that some kind of organic produce, which is commercially available where we live, not only may provide us with the B12 we need, but which does it in such a reliable way that we can be sure we aren't running any risks of discovering irreversible neurological damage, say, 5-10 years after we lived on this organic produce and no other B12 sources.

    Without such data, we might just as well skip all discussions about facts and reality, and instead use people like this guy as a "reliable" sources of info about food and nutrition.


    * ETA - I have nothing against "hippie-philosophy" as such, but it's the lack of touch with reality which sometimes can cause unwanted side effects.---
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  6. #6
    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    The article in question does have some very good points, as does Korn...

    I personally think that yes, because we do not operate in nearly a natural way with regard to food, agriculture, animal farming, medicine, and of course, scientific study and development; we are indeed better served by "covering" any eventualities for future ill health or permanent injury to our nervous system with supplementation.

    Indeed, even the author of this article added a nearly-unseen footnote (after the references list) as follows:

    This was written in 1996. Now, 12 years later, I still don't know [...] whether this view is right. However, in the meanwhile, I have been influenced by two of my clinician colleagues, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, that their understanding of the literature and their experience in the clinic suggest that B12 deficiency may be seen in vegans, thus advocate B12 supplementation. I defer to their view.
    My personal thought on how we can best represent ourselves and advocate for the vegan diet over animal based one (because of course, the entirely understandable reason many vegans do not wish to supplement is that they don't want to add fuel to the erroneous non-veg*n view that being vegan is a "bad" for human health, thereby justifying the worldwide cruelty to animals, as it is "necessitated" by the instinct for survival), is this; we can find as much of our dietary needs as possible in naturally available plant food sources, and then we ought to supplement certain nutrients that we may not be sure of obtaining (because a sick vegan is a far more dangerous advert than a supplementing one imho), as long as we validate it (for the benefit of vegans and non-vegans alike) with the following -

    1) B12 may well be obtained in plant foods... However, as at the present time we are far and away living, in general, an unnatural life, and some of our interference with nature means we can't (yet) be sure how much of this is easily available, even if those plant foods are organically grown.
    2) Some medications, such as proton-pump inhibitors for example (which for some with GERD/esophagitis and it's associated risks of dyphagia and cancerous changes, are extremely important and cannot be treated conservatively), interfere with the absorption of B12 in it's primary form, and supplemented products such as plant milks deliver it in a form which negates this process (and therefore the problem) completely.
    2) Humans also supplement farm animals, which begs the question; why on earth do we need to get those same supplements from a third party? Even if some farm animals do NOT require supplementation, or detrimental medications/pesticides in feed, such as those in strictly organic farms, we have in the past done these things and in some cases they have permanently altered some of the original processes and environments these valuable nutrients would thrive in.
    3) *and this one is for non-vegans who use the B12 argument* Regardless of where or how vegans get B12, why on earth would humankind continue to use the very unnatural, mechanised, cruel, inhumane, and wasteful system of farmed animals, in order to obtain something we could so easily get by using our great intelligence and scientific breakthroughs in supplementations, whilst simultaneously trying to foster and nurture a return to an adequate and natural plant based source?

    Imho, as I said earlier, it is entirely altruistic that we may want to denounce ANY need for any unnatural nutrient sources, or medications, or anything else that implies nature did not impart us with the tools we need for survival on a plant based diet, but we need to be humble and remember that humankind's interference with nature is a double-edged sword, which has both destroyed some health giving systems, and positively developed others.

    We just need to pick the best option we presently have, and by far, I always say it's better to supplement, than to allow harm, and that potential harm can be either to the animals used by non-vegans, or to vegans who rely on an uncertain source of plant based nutrition.

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    Trisolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    This is from the "human herbivore" website and sums up info i've read in a variety of other places...

    Vitamin B12 is synthesized by bacteria and can be found in soil, dirty water and faeces. Animals that are "foregut fermenters" (such as cows) can absorb the vitamin B12 that is produced in their own gut, so do not need to rely on an external source. Animals that are "hindgut fermenters" such as gorillas and humans, cannot absorb the vitamin B12 produced in their gut and therefore need an external source. Some would obtain vitamin B12 from contamination of their food with soil or accidental ingestion of grubs and insects, whereas others (such as rabbits and pigs) eat some of their own faeces and obtain vitamin B12 that way. Gorillas eat a 97% herbivorous diet but will eat termites and other insects as a source of vitamin B12.


    Fortunately for humans we now have the technology and do not have to eat dirt, our faeces or insects to obtain vitamin B12. We can obtain it safely and cleanly from fortified foods and supplements. There have been some reports of vitamin B12 being found in some fermented plant foods (such as tempeh), mushrooms, some seaweeds and spirulina. However it has since been found that the amounts found are extremely variable and are mostly biologically inactive analogues, meaning that they are not useable by our bodies. These analogues could even contribute to a vitamin B12 deficiency, by competing with and blocking the absorption of biologically active "true" vitamin B12. At this stage there is no reliable known natural plant source of vitamin B12, and to attempt to rely on any of these so-called sources of vitamin B12 is endangering one's health.

  8. #8
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 found in organically grown produce

    Quote Trisolo View Post

    Vitamin B12 is synthesized by bacteria and can be found in soil, dirty water and faeces.
    The B12 in faeces is known to almost exclusively consist of 'inactive analogues'. Inactive analogues, or rather - a mix of inactive B12 analogues and active B12 can be found it lots of places. Animal products also contain inactive B12 analogues.

    Animals that are "foregut fermenters" (such as cows) can absorb the vitamin B12 that is produced in their own gut, so do not need to rely on an external source.

    That's one version of the story; others claim that the reason some primates consume a small amounts of insects is to get B12.


    Animals that are "hindgut fermenters" such as gorillas and humans, cannot absorb the vitamin B12 produced in their gut and therefore need an external source.

    Others disagree in this as well, for various reasons - one being that we to some degree recycle B12, another is that B12 also is reported to be produced in the mouth.
    Some insist that vegans' digestive systems function better than meat eaters' digestive systems, and many other factors (discussed in other B12 threads suggest that the B12 amounts we (and primates) need from external sources is about a lot more than foregut and hindgut.
    In order to synthesize B12, we need cobalt and B12 promoting bacteria, for instance, and a digestive system which doesn't kill those bacteria.


    Some would obtain vitamin B12 from contamination of their food with soil or accidental ingestion of grubs and insects, whereas others (such as rabbits and pigs) eat some of their own faeces and obtain vitamin B12 that way.

    Meat eaters just love to claim that vegans either need to start eating meat again, take supplements, or eat dirt/faeces... or get B12 from insect droppings on plants. I could comment all this but... have done it already.

    B12 from... insect droppings?
    The myth about B12, dirt and stools

    Fortunately for humans we now have the technology and do not have to eat dirt, our faeces or insects to obtain vitamin B12.

    Fortunately, the theory that we'd get B12 from faeces etc based on pure nonsense. There are other reasons to take supplements, but there's no reason to spread the ridiculous idea that meat eaters can get B12 from meat, while vegans may get it from faeces if they don't take supplements.

    There have been some reports of vitamin B12 being found in some fermented plant foods (such as tempeh), mushrooms, some seaweeds and spirulina. However it has since been found that the amounts found are extremely variable and are mostly biologically inactive analogues, meaning that they are not useable by our bodies.

    Yes, it was claimed in the 60s and 70s that we could just eat tempeh and spirulina, and that real B12 in tempeh only existed in Indonesia and not in tempeh made in labs etc. But after that, there have been some decades with new info. Various other reports, including reports which claim that active B12 levels are higher in the lab produced tempeh than the one found in Indonesia, and that the B12 analogues found in certain vegan sea products actually is bioavailable for humans, unlike what some people have stated earlier.

    But... there isn't a reason to have several parallel threads about these topics, and each of these topics already have dedicated threads. Here's one of them, about B12 in tempeh. B12 in mushrooms also have it's own thread, and there are reports covering the active/inactive status of B12 in some mushrooms out there as well, eg here.

    Let's have some in-depth discussions about each of the many topics this thread mentions in dedicated threads, rather than repeated old a new myths, only scratching the surface of each of the topics, OK?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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