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Thread: Why are my B12 levels good?

  1. #1
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Default Why are my B12 levels good?

    Quote eve
    .... has some excellent nutrition and health articles.
    I disagree with you here, Eve. I think this site is good at pretending to be scientific, because it contains a lot of info that looks like reliable background material for the opinions the present. But...

    I have been looking closely at the B12 info they present: a lot important information is avoided, many important questions are not asked, and some of the conclusions are potentially very dangerous. The overall feeling they give is that the vegan diet is an unnatural choice, by assuming a lot of things that they pretend to know. The patterns they follow always go in the same direction without looking at 'the whole picture'. In my opinion it's the worst possible site one can use for B12 info, because it is so full of nonsense, and unfortunately a good example of how one can fool people with numbers, simply by mixing facts with assumptions, combined with filtering away the information that doesn't fit in with what they assume.

    I know some people recommend this site as a reliable source for B12 info, which I find sad. It provides B12 'information' in exactly the same way as an anti-vegan would do, and I'm convinced that the way they have set up this material is responsible for keeping a lot of people away from going vegan.
    Last edited by Korn; Dec 13th, 2005 at 10:18 AM. Reason: This thread is based on posts originally from the Australia-forum
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  2. #2
    I eve's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Queensland, Australia


    Korn, I do appreciate that you have researched the B12 issue quite thoroughly, and, frankly I've researched as much as I can but not to that extent. My annual test reveals a good level of B12, but is it because I take a daily tablet containing the B complex, or is it because I follow a vegan lifestyle? Who knows?

  3. #3
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Apr 2004


    Hi Eve!

    Eating B12 supplements will increase the B12 results on your annual B12 tests, but good levels of B12 in itself doesn't mean that you're 'safe'. A meat eaters who consumes a lot of B12 isn't 'safe' either.

    Neither will following a vegan lifestyle by itself. We don't the liver and blood of other animals, so we have to do what they do: make sure we get the B12 we need; we need to create our own B12 reserves instead of stealing others'. So, in order to answer your question, the best I can do is to suggest that 'the question is wrong'. Our goal is not to get good blood tests, but to be healty and, unfortunately, believing that a good B12 test warrants good health is potentially risky.

    There are no other wild animals that eat or need B12 supplements. (But many meat eaters don't know that the animals they eat might take B12 supplements!) There are no other minerals or vitamins that even the most extrme anti-vegans claim that you can't get from a natural life style. (Or; if they do, they haven't done their homework). I find it very unlikely that humans from nature's side would be the only animal that need a certain supplement, and I also find it unlikely that we are made in such a way that we get everything we need from nature (without the need to kill others) except one of the B-vitamins.

    But 'find likely' = 'assume'. While many of us might trust nature, it wouldn't be very responsible to suggest other you don't know to follow one's own 'trust' or 'assumptions', especially without knowing anything about them or their lifestyle.

    Plus, and this is an important plus: water, air and soil is polluted, and so are our lifestyles, so it would be an illusion to believe that we live 'a natural life'. We don't. That's why I find B12 research so interesting and important: B12 seems to be nature's own 'red light' - it's own 'warning sign', so to speak. The more unnatural lives we live, the more our B12 levels are influenced, in one direction or the other.

    Unlike some vegans, I'm not saying that vegans never need B12 supplements, or that 'we get what we need from nature'. Trying to convince people that they are safe if they eat organic food only, or only raw food would be potentially dangerous.

    It's also dangerous to tell people that they are safe if they ignore all the B12 related lifestyle issues we often discuss here at TVF (microwave ovens, pollution, mercury, coffee etc etc), as long as they eat enough pills or enough fortified food. Saying this would be the same as insisting that 'people who consume enough B12 are safe', and studies show that many meat eaters - circa a third of them, according to recent studies - have low B12 levels We KNOW that consuming 'enough' B12 isn't enough. One of the major mistakes I think The UK Vegan Socierty and does, is to create an impression that we would be safe if we would eat more B12. even if this has been proven wrong by meat eaters in all ages.

    Another big mistake they in my opinion do, is to give vegans the impression that vegan food isn't safe, 'because it contains B12 analogues'.

    Non-vegan food also contain a lot of B12 analogues. Multivitamins do. B12 fortified food does! Why would B12 analogues be OK in a vitamin pill, in B12 fortified food or in a standard diet, but not when eating a plant containing B12?

    The whole veganoutreach/veganhealth/The Vegan Society approach becomes even more absurd when they actually recommend B12 fortified food as a 'safe' soultion. When they suggest this, they seem to have forgotten that they consider the B12 analogues in plant based food the main problem, because it competes with true B12 in the consumption process.

    Moreever, they also fail to mention that healthy people seem to be able to distinguish between true B12 and non-active analogues. They should know, because they both use the leader of the anti-vegan crusade in the 20th century, Victor Herbert as their information source. Now, this Victor Herbert was the same Victor Herbert that wrote that 'a significant percentage of the activity in B-12 enriched foods are inactive analogs'. He is also the same Victor Herbert that let us know that giving B12 deficient people a mix of 95% inactive B12 analogues and 5% true, active B12, cured their B12 deficiency. And he is the same Victor Herbert that in 1996 said that B-12 deficiency is rare among vegans, even though most do not take supplemental B-12. He wrote: "To a great extent, B-12 is recycled from liver bile in the digestive system...The enterohepatic circulation of vitamin B-12 is very important in vitamin B-12 economy and homeostasis...bodies reabsorb 3-5 mcg of bile vitamin B-12. Because of this, an efficient enterohepatic circulation keeps the adult vegan, who eats very little vitamin B-12, from developing B-12 deficiency disease..."

    I don't understand why The Vegan Society and Jack Norris' two sites choose to quote the anti-vegan crusader Victor Herbert when the quotes strengthens the impression that eating vegan food might be a risky diet to live on, and avoid to focus on Herbert-quotes that suggest that we need very little B12, that B12 analogues might not be the problem some people insist that it is, and that even even B12 fortified food also contains B12 analogues. But I don't want to discuss if they are infiltrators, as some people suggest, if they suffer from hypochondria, which others have suggested, or if they just try so hard to make veganism 'mainstream' that they trigger the opposite effect.

    To me it looks like they at a personal level don't care if it's natural to eat a plant based diet, but ignore that most people out there at some level have deep respect for nature, and will consider the vegan diet a bad choice if it requires supplements or from nature's side is missing an essential nutrient.

    As you may remember, we had a member here who was very active a while ago at posting links to Jack Norris' site, and who wrote that the...
    "mathematical approach to veganism" is convincing and fascinating and the whole talk about nature, for me, is null and void.
    My blind guess is that Jack Norris of and Stephen Walsh of The Vegan Society share this viewpoint - but I might be (and hope that I am) wrong.

    There seems to be two 'wings' in the vegan movement, one represented by Stephen Walsh and Jack Norris - let's call it the 'right wing' - and on the other side, all those who feel/think that the vegan diet is the natural solution for humans, and that the B12 problems that some vegans (and some meat eaters) encounter is due to enviromental and lifestyle issues, and not the result of living on a diet that 'we're not meant to eat, because it lacks B12'.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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