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Thread: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

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    Default B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    From http://lefcms.lef.org/whatshot/

    'A report published in the Decmeber 2004 issue of the Journal of The American College of Nutrition has found a reduction in the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables occurring over the past 50 years. Modern agrigulture methods designed to improve traits other than nutrition may be to blame.

    Donald Davis, PhD of the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and colleagues studied 43 vegetables and fruits using nutritional data for 1950 and 1999 obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture. They compared the crops individually and as a group, compensating for variations in moisture content.

    The team found a decrease in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past 50 years, with riboflavin showing the greatest decline. Dr Davis commented on the findings: "It is much more reliable to look at average changes in the group rather than in individual foods, due to uncertainties in the 1950 and 1999 values. Considered as a group, we found that six out of 13 nutrients showed apparently reliable declines between 1950 and 1999."

    Dr Davis explained that efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance, and climate adaptability has allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.


    He added, "Perhaps more worrisome would be declines in nutrients we could not study because they were not reported in 1950 -- magnesium, zinc, vitamin B-6, vitamin E and dietary fiber, not to mention phytochemicals. I hope our paper will encourage additional studies in which old and new crop varieties are studied side-by-side and measured by modern methods."'

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    First of all, let me say that this quote is from a site called veganhealth.org - a site I - in spite of it's high amount of data - actually don't trust much.

    Many sites use the term 'B12 analogues' about inactive B12; veganhealth.org are using the terms inactive B12 analogues and active B12 analogues. If you look at 'Vitamin B12: Are you getting it?' at veganhealth.org and are used to the simplified, but common use of the term 'B12 analogues' as something that is 'not active' you will be confused when if you read the material at veganhealth.org.

    'There is a one paragraph report often cited in vegan literature for showing that B12 is found in the soil. Robbins et al.1 (1950, New York Botanical Gardens) used Euglena gracilis var. bacillari as a microbiological assay for vitamin B12 "or its physiological equivalent." A considerable proportion of bacteria and actinomycetes (molds) in the soil were found to synthesize B12 analogues. B12 analogues were also found in the roots of plants (.0002-.01 µg B12/g of fresh material). Some stems had some B12 analogue, but leaves and fruit generally did not. B12 analogue was also found in pond water and pond mud. There was no indication in the report as to how many different soils were tested, but the impression was that it was all in one local area. There is no way to know whether these molecules were active or inactive B12 analogues.'

    So, according to Jack Norris' terminology, defining something as a 'B12 analogue' doesn't necessarily mean that it's inactive or that it can't lower MMA levels. There are too many weird things on that site to list, but one of them is that if a vegan B12 source contains a good amount of B12, he often lists it pr. 30 grams or pr 1 gram, which makes it look like there's not so much B12 in it for people who doesn't notice how he changes the denominator all the time. Also, while other vegan friendly sites seem to be happy when a not-animal-based shows good B12 amounts, or looks like a reliable/possible B12 source, the people at veganhealth seems to be almost disappointed. It's like they have decided beforehand that we need animal foods or supplements for B12, and when they come across studies that question this, the always question these studies and seem to go into a mild depression. The most positive thing they can say about and interesting findings is that it is 'mysterious' or 'deserve further study'.

    Back to topic, according to their sources, fresh soil contains up to 1 mcg B12 (active and inactive B12 combined pr 100 gram soil. Or, as they say, '.0002-.01 mcg B12/g of fresh material).

    The studies (performed by A. Mozafar in 1994) has shown that soil contains 5-9 mcg B12/1000g (synthetically fertilized soil), and 10-14 mcg B12/1000g in soil that has been treated with organic fertilizer once every 5 years.

    On the same page, he also quotes a study comparing soy beans, spinach and barley kernels that were grown in a mixture of soil (2500 g) and cow manure (10g) with the same plants grown in soil without manure. Mozafar, who performed the study, concluded that 'plant uptake of B12 from the soil, especially from soil fertilized with manure, could provide some B12 for humans eating the plants, and may be why some vegans, who do not supplement with B12, do not develop B12 deficiency.'


    Isn't that really strange, on a page that also contains documentation that the same study also showed that ie. spinach grown in soil that did NOT contain manure also contains B12 (almost 40% as much as the plants grown in soil+manure), that their (veganhealth's) comment is 'Does this mean that organic foods are a good source of B12? No. These studies show that when B12 analogues are placed in the soil, plants can absorb them.' The study clearly also shows that plants grown in soil without added manure also absorbs B12 from the soil, so saying only that 'these studies show that when B12 analogues are placed in the soil, plants can absorb them' isn't really a lie, but it's avoiding an important part of the story.

    In the Mozafar study, they added 10g manure to 2500g soil. According to the first study I mentioned in this post, fresh soil contains 0.02-10 mcg B12 pr. 100g. This means that 2500g fresh soil contains 0,5-250 mcg B12. For some reason, the link between up to 250 mcg B12 (active+inactive) in 2.5 kg fresh soil and the plants' ability to absorb this, seem to be bad news for veganhealth.org.

    Why does it seem to be so important for a site that claims to be vegan to promote that organic food isn't a good idea?
    Last edited by Korn; Dec 9th, 2009 at 10:49 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread
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  3. #3

    Default Increased vitamin b12 production in sheep who eat soil

    from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Citation

    Effect of ingestion of soil on the iodine, copper, cobalt (vitamin B12) and selenium status of grazing sheep.

    Grace ND.

    AgResearch Ltd, Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North, New Zealand. neville.grace@agresearch.co.nz

    AIM: To determine the impact of ingestion of soil on the iodine (I), selenium (Se), copper (Cu) and cobalt (Co; vitamin B12) status of young sheep. METHODS: Twenty young sheep were divided into two groups; one group was fed lucerne pellets, while the other group was fed lucerne pellets plus 100 g soil, for 63 days. At the end of the study the animals were blood-sampled, slaughtered, and the liver removed, and concentrations of I, Cu, vitamin B12 and Se were determined. RESULTS: The ingestion of soil significantly increased concentrations of I and vitamin B12 in serum, but had no effect on concentrations of Cu and Se in serum/blood and liver, and vitamin B12 in liver. CONCLUSION: Ingested soil can be a significant source of I and Co (vitamin B12) for grazing sheep.

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    Default Re: Increased vitamin b12 production in sheep who eat soil

    This makes sense, since soil is found to contain B12. Leaves from trees are also given to sheep to increase their B12 levels.

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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    Here's some more research about B12 in soil.

    An excerpt:
    Production of vitamin B12-active substance has been shown by organisms from various sources, including soil. Robbins et al (1950) have stated that as many as 50% of the organisms developing on plates seeded with soil were found to produce B12. Employing special selective media, Burton and Lochhead (1951) found 70 percent of the bacteria isolated from cultivated soil, and 84 percent of the bacteria as well as 66 percent of of the antinomycetes from uncultivated soils of northern Canada to be capable of synthesizing vitamin B12 active substances.
    The table shown on the next page shows that in this test, B12 is most effective at between 0.01 and 0.1 microgram pr. ml.

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    Default Re: 0.02-10 mcg B12 pr. 100g fresh soil (and in pond water/mud)

    We have another thread which mentions a relatively new study showing that the amount of nutrients in soil is found to be 50% lower today than it was 50 years ago, and there's absolutely no reason to assume that this isn't the case for vitamin B12, since it's a very vulnerable vitamin.

    Here's a link to a site discussing the nutrient levels in plants: "Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago".


    A little excerpt:
    Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines -- protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.
    Riboflavin is a B-vitamin. IF the reduction (38%) is similar for other members of the vitamin B family, we'll get 38% less B12 in plants than we did 50 years ago, which may be 38% to little compared with what our bodies need.

    Another excerpt:

    "That's completely wrong," he said, contending his study shows that people need to eat more vegetables and fruits, not less. "Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals. They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these."

    Al Bushway, a food-science professor at the University of Maine and an expert with the Institute of Food Technologists, said the decline of nutrients in vegetables and fruits could be made up through other foods Americans eat.



    "For vegans only using plant sources for food, this could be an issue," he said. But he said most Americans would pick up adequate quantities of calcium they need by drinking milk.
    Now, we know that we can get enough calcium from plant sources, but what about B12, and is the reduced amount of B12 in soil represented by a linear reduction in B12 in plants? In other words, would eg. a 38% reduction of B12 in the soil mean a 38% reduction of B12 in the plants grown in it?

    Here's an interesting study related to this question, from 1990:

    A. Mozafar1 and J. J. Oertli1

    (1) Institute of Plant Sciences, Division of Agronomy, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
    Received: 9 October 1990

    Abstract Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) is one of the vitamins believed to be produced exclusively by microorganisms. Although soil is a rich source of vitamin B12, systematic study as to possible uptake of this vitamin by the plant roots is lacking. This study was undertaken to investigate, under water culture conditions, the uptake of [57Co]-cyanocobalamin by soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). In the range of 10 to 3200 mol L–1, uptake of vitamin B12 was a linear function of the vitamin concentration in the nutrient solution. Depending on the vitamin concentration, 12 to 34% of the total absorbed vitamin was transported to the plant shoots, with proportionally more vitamin B12 transported at higher vitamin concentrations.
    In other words: when the amount of B12 was higher in soil, the amount of B12 absorbed in the plant was higher, with a linear change. But here's another thing they discovered:

    Root temperature (5–30°C) did not affect the total uptake but significantly altered the partitioning of the vitamin between the roots and the shoots.
    This means that if we eat plants that at some point in history has been imported from a warmer climate, but which we today eat solely based on local production, that plant would probably have less B12 in the stem, branches, and leaves than it would have had if it would have been grown in a warmer climate.

    So - not only is the soil less rich in vitamins and minerals that it was earlier, but people living in cold climates (colder than the climates the plants we eat historically came from) will get less B12 from the leaves and branches of these plants than they would if the plant had been grown in it's 'original' climate. Since most plants contain very small amounts of B12, if any, at least nowadays this may all seem like insignificant info/speculation, but just because the mount of B12 we need is so microscopic, maybe these equally microscopic differences (the richness of nutrients in soil etc.) actually have significant importance for vegans.

    Now, someone would maybe conclude that if we would imported plants, they would have that microscopic extra amount of B12 that would make them a safe, reliable source of B12 - but: while the bacteria that is needed for B12 production seem to thrive in warm climates and enjoy sunlight, there's a change happening when a plant is removed from the soil. It can't absorb B12 from the soil anymore, and the small amounts of B12 that may exists on the surface of plants do not like light. B12 is destroyed by exposure to light, which may seem self-contradictory since the bacteria that is needed for B12 production thrives in sunlight. Since studies has shown both these aspects of the relationship between B12/good B12-producing bacteria and light, the only logical conclusion is to eat plants as soon as possible after they have been harvested, which doesn't go well along with eating imported plants. The taste/look of fresh plants is also more appealing than the the taste/look of non-fresh plants, so I'm not surprised that they are more nutritious too. B12 actually behaves just like plants: before they are plucked, they like light and heat, but afterwards, heat and light just contributes a more efficient degradation of the vitamin/plant.

    Conclusion: we all need to move closer to Equator, and eat more fresh food!



    More about nutrient loss in plants here.
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    A little addendum...

    First of all, a little note to our meat eating visitors: depletion of nutrients in soil/plants also means a depletion in nutrient levels in meat and dairy products. If animals get their food from depleted soil/plants, they (and/or the soil) are given supplements. Eating meat/dairy is therefore not a logical answer of the soil depletion issue. Actually, the grain used for livestock feed apparently is be responsible for most topsoil depletion.

    There are many studies showing that the amount of nutrients is soil/plants are decreasing - and soil depletion isn't something new. Here's a link to an article written in 1936 discussing the same problem. A little excerpt:
    The alarming fact is that foods--fruits and vegetables and grains--now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us--no matter how much of them we eat! This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the textbooks on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes.

    You would think, wouldn’t you; that a carrot is a carrot--that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago.
    There's great variation from nutrient to nutrient in the various tests showing how depleted the soil/plants is/are, and here's one of the most extreme examples (Source: Japan standardized Ingredients List):
    Amounts of Vitamin C in 100 g of Spinach

    1950 = 150 mg
    1963 = 100 mg
    1982 = 063 mg
    1994 = 013 mg
    That's a circa 90% reduction and this is not the rule, but an exception. Still, nobody seem to disagree that there is a severe soil depletion going on, and that this affects the nutrient levels in both livestock animals and humans. Nutrient comparisons have also been made between traditional, 'non-Western' diets and current, Western diets - look here. ANother example that has been referred to a lot (possibly/maybe because it's a bit more extreme/scary than the average?), is a comparison between the nutrient changes in potatoes over the last 50 years:

    Using potatoes as an example, in a study to find out what nutrients the potato has lost over the last 50 years. This is what was concluded:

    • 100% of Vitamin A
    • 57% of Vitamin C and Iron
    • 28% of Calcium
    • 50% of Riboflavin
    • 18% of Thiamine

    Out of all of the nutrients analysed only niacin levels actually did increase. The conclusion was very similar for 25 fruits and vegetables under the same test conditions. Broccoli had a huge reduction in which all nutrients had significantly declined, surprisingly including niacin.

    Figures have been published in scientific journals in the UK including the British Food Journal.

    A professor at the centre for Food Policy explained how our food has been so degraded that we would now have to eat 8 oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin A from an orange which our grandparents would have eaten many years ago.


    Here's a graph (based on info from Lindlahr, 1914; Hamaker, 1982; U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1963 and 1997) comparing magnesium, calcium, and iron levels the levels in cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and spinach in 1914 and 1997. Some people - especially those who sell supplements - have a tendency to always select worst cases, but still - the documentation of nutrient depletion of soil and plants over the last 50-100 years is so overwhelming that there's no reason to believe that all these studies contain fake info or is paid by the supplement industry.

    Here's another, American study:

    As a group, the 43 foods show apparent, statistically reliable declines (R < 1) for 6 nutrients (protein, Ca, P, Fe, riboflavin and ascorbic acid), but no statistically reliable changes for 7 other nutrients. Declines in the medians range from 6% for protein to 38% for riboflavin. When evaluated for individual foods and nutrients, R-values are usually not distinguishable from 1 with current data. Depending on whether we use low or high estimates of the 1950 SEs, respectively 33% or 20% of the apparent R-values differ reliably from 1. Significantly, about 28% of these R-values exceed 1.
    According to this site, "a Canadian study mirrored the US results, as did a UK study that analysed the nutrient content of fruit and vegetables going back to the 1930s. It showed that, on average, vegetables had lost about half of their sodium and calcium content, a quarter of their iron and 76 per cent of their copper content. The nutrient levels of fruits had also declined significantly with iron, copper and zinc all falling by up to 27 per cent."

    Another one, from http://www.tjclark.com.au/colloidal-...-depletion.htm
    1992 Earth Summit Statistics
    1992 Earth Summit Report indicate that the mineral content of the world's farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically.

    Percentage of Mineral Depletion From Soil During The Past 100 Years, By Continent:

    North America 85%
    South America 76%
    Asia 76%
    Africa 74%
    Europe 72%
    Australia 55%
    This excerpt is from theecologist.org:
    20th century industrial agriculture has created a food supply that is far less nutritious than it once was. Intensive farming, battery conditions for livestock and widespread processing have depleted food of many vital nutrients.
    • In 1940 the UK’s Medical Research Council produced a report entitled The Chemical Composition of Food. In 1991 it repeated its study. It examined 28 raw and 44 cooked vegetables, 17 fruits and 10 types of meat, poultry and game. The results showed: all vegetables had lost up to 75 per cent of nutrients such as magnesium; meats had about half their minerals; and fruits had lost about two-thirds. The authors concluded that you would have to eat 10 tomatoes in 1991 to obtain the same copper that one tomato would have yielded in 1940, and three oranges to get the same iron as 50 years ago.
    • Comparing nutrient values in US Department of Agriculture handbooks with those of 25 years ago, US nutritionist Alex Jack found that vitamins have also dramatically declined in fruits and vegetables.
    • Current fertiliser methods, which seed the soil with just a few minerals (ie – sodium, phosphorus and potassium), have drastically altered the ratios between minerals that naturally occur in food. In 1940, there was a two-to-one ratio between phosphorus and calcium; now it is one-to-one. Swedes, for instance, now contain 110 per cent of the phosphorus they once did. Because there are critical ratios of certain minerals in human physiology, these new ratios could have profound effects on our body’s chemistry.

    From citybeat.com:
    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a handbook, Composition of Foods, which contains nutrient content tables for 100 grams and one pound of all foods. These are averages and were recorded more than 50 years ago. As an example, recent studies have shown that there are actually oranges coming to market with less than 40 percent of the Vitamin C that the USDA claims there should be.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Reduced nutrient levels in plants

    First of all, a little note to our meat eating visitors: depletion of nutrients in soil/plants also means a depletion in nutrient levels in meat and dairy products. If animals get their food from depleted soil/plants, they (and/or the soil) are given supplements. Eating meat/dairy is therefore not a logical answer of the soil depletion issue. Actually, the grain used for livestock feed apparently is be responsible for most topsoil depletion.

    There are many studies showing that the amount of nutrients is soil/plants are decreasing - and soil depletion isn't something new. Here's a link to an article written in 1936 discussing the same problem. A little excerpt:
    The alarming fact is that foods--fruits and vegetables and grains--now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us--no matter how much of them we eat! This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the textbooks on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes.

    You would think, wouldn’t you; that a carrot is a carrot--that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago.
    A new study was posted only a few years ago, claiming that the levels of many nutrients in the soil was circa 50% lower than they were 50 years ago. Another new study confirms that fruits and vegetables are not as nutritious as they were 50 years ago.

    The info from 1936 was already quite alarming ("Many states show a marked reduction in the productive capacity of the soil…in many districts amounting to a 25 to 50 percent reduction in the last 50 years…Some areas show a tenfold variation in calcium. Some show a sixty-fold variation in phosphorous... Authorities…see soil depletion, barren livestock, increased human death rate due to heart disease, deformities, arthritis, increased dental caries, all due to lack of essential minerals in plant foods."). Even if these two studies are exaggerating or filtering away the not-so-alarming facts they found, there's no reason no believe that soil and plants contain a lot less nutrients now than they did, say 100 years ago. And: there's no reason to believe that this is true for B12 as well, but we have a separate thread about B12 levels in soil here. - where most of the info in this post has been taken from.



    There's great variation from nutrient to nutrient in the various tests showing how depleted the soil/plants is/are, and here's one of the most extreme examples (Source: Japan standardized Ingredients List):
    Amounts of Vitamin C in 100 g of Spinach

    1950 = 150 mg
    1963 = 100 mg
    1982 = 063 mg
    1994 = 013 mg
    That's a circa 90% reduction and this is not the rule, but an exception. Still, nobody seem to disagree that there is a severe soil depletion going on, and that this affects the nutrient levels in both livestock animals and humans. Nutrient comparisons have also been made between traditional, 'non-Western' diets and current, Western diets - look here. ANother example that has been referred to a lot (possibly/maybe because it's a bit more extreme/scary than the average?), is a comparison between the nutrient changes in potatoes over the last 50 years:

    Using potatoes as an example, in a study to find out what nutrients the potato has lost over the last 50 years. This is what was concluded:

    • 100% of Vitamin A
    • 57% of Vitamin C and Iron
    • 28% of Calcium
    • 50% of Riboflavin
    • 18% of Thiamine

    Out of all of the nutrients analysed only niacin levels actually did increase. The conclusion was very similar for 25 fruits and vegetables under the same test conditions. Broccoli had a huge reduction in which all nutrients had significantly declined, surprisingly including niacin.

    Figures have been published in scientific journals in the UK including the British Food Journal.

    A professor at the centre for Food Policy explained how our food has been so degraded that we would now have to eat 8 oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin A from an orange which our grandparents would have eaten many years ago.


    Here's a graph (based on info from Lindlahr, 1914; Hamaker, 1982; U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1963 and 1997) comparing magnesium, calcium, and iron levels the levels in cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and spinach in 1914 and 1997. Some people - especially those who sell supplements - have a tendency to always select worst cases, but still - the documentation of nutrient depletion of soil and plants over the last 50-100 years is so overwhelming that there's no reason to believe that all these studies contain fake info or is paid by the supplement industry.

    Here's another, American study:

    As a group, the 43 foods show apparent, statistically reliable declines (R < 1) for 6 nutrients (protein, Ca, P, Fe, riboflavin and ascorbic acid), but no statistically reliable changes for 7 other nutrients. Declines in the medians range from 6% for protein to 38% for riboflavin. When evaluated for individual foods and nutrients, R-values are usually not distinguishable from 1 with current data. Depending on whether we use low or high estimates of the 1950 SEs, respectively 33% or 20% of the apparent R-values differ reliably from 1. Significantly, about 28% of these R-values exceed 1.
    According to this site, "a Canadian study mirrored the US results, as did a UK study that analysed the nutrient content of fruit and vegetables going back to the 1930s. It showed that, on average, vegetables had lost about half of their sodium and calcium content, a quarter of their iron and 76 per cent of their copper content. The nutrient levels of fruits had also declined significantly with iron, copper and zinc all falling by up to 27 per cent."

    Another one, from http://www.tjclark.com.au/colloidal-...-depletion.htm
    1992 Earth Summit Statistics
    1992 Earth Summit Report indicate that the mineral content of the world's farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically.

    Percentage of Mineral Depletion From Soil During The Past 100 Years, By Continent:

    North America 85%
    South America 76%
    Asia 76%
    Africa 74%
    Europe 72%
    Australia 55%
    This excerpt is from theecologist.org:
    20th century industrial agriculture has created a food supply that is far less nutritious than it once was. Intensive farming, battery conditions for livestock and widespread processing have depleted food of many vital nutrients.
    • In 1940 the UK’s Medical Research Council produced a report entitled The Chemical Composition of Food. In 1991 it repeated its study. It examined 28 raw and 44 cooked vegetables, 17 fruits and 10 types of meat, poultry and game. The results showed: all vegetables had lost up to 75 per cent of nutrients such as magnesium; meats had about half their minerals; and fruits had lost about two-thirds. The authors concluded that you would have to eat 10 tomatoes in 1991 to obtain the same copper that one tomato would have yielded in 1940, and three oranges to get the same iron as 50 years ago.
    • Comparing nutrient values in US Department of Agriculture handbooks with those of 25 years ago, US nutritionist Alex Jack found that vitamins have also dramatically declined in fruits and vegetables.
    • Current fertiliser methods, which seed the soil with just a few minerals (ie – sodium, phosphorus and potassium), have drastically altered the ratios between minerals that naturally occur in food. In 1940, there was a two-to-one ratio between phosphorus and calcium; now it is one-to-one. Swedes, for instance, now contain 110 per cent of the phosphorus they once did. Because there are critical ratios of certain minerals in human physiology, these new ratios could have profound effects on our body’s chemistry.

    From citybeat.com:
    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a handbook, Composition of Foods, which contains nutrient content tables for 100 grams and one pound of all foods. These are averages and were recorded more than 50 years ago. As an example, recent studies have shown that there are actually oranges coming to market with less than 40 percent of the Vitamin C that the USDA claims there should be.
    Last edited by Korn; Dec 9th, 2009 at 10:41 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    From http://www.organicconsumers.org/newsletter/ov117.cfm

    In its letter, Organic Gardening cites the following
    alarming new research:

    * In an analysis of USDA nutrient data from 1975 to 1997,
    the Kushi Institute of Becket, MA found that the average
    calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables declined 27 percent;
    iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent,
    and vitamin C levels 30 percent.
    * A similar analysis of British nutrient data from 1930 to
    1980 published in the British Food Journal found that in 20
    vegetables, the average calcium content had declined 19
    percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent.
    * A 1999 study out of the University of Wisconsin found that
    three decades of the overuse of nitrogen in US farming has
    destroyed much of the soil's fertility, causing it to age
    the equivalent of 5,000 years.
    * A new US Geological Survey report indicates that acid rain
    is depleting soil calcium levels in at least 10 eastern
    states, interfering with forest growth and weakening trees'
    resistance to insects.
    Right here, on Google Answer you'll also find references to studies about nutrient depletion in soil and food, under the title Did spinach really have more nutrients 50 years ago?
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    From http://www.organicconsumers.org/newsletter/ov117.cfm

    In its letter, Organic Gardening cites the following
    alarming new research:

    * In an analysis of USDA nutrient data from 1975 to 1997,
    the Kushi Institute of Becket, MA found that the average
    calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables declined 27 percent;
    iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent,
    and vitamin C levels 30 percent.
    * A similar analysis of British nutrient data from 1930 to
    1980 published in the British Food Journal found that in 20
    vegetables, the average calcium content had declined 19
    percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent.
    * A 1999 study out of the University of Wisconsin found that
    three decades of the overuse of nitrogen in US farming has
    destroyed much of the soil's fertility, causing it to age
    the equivalent of 5,000 years.
    * A new US Geological Survey report indicates that acid rain
    is depleting soil calcium levels in at least 10 eastern
    states, interfering with forest growth and weakening trees'
    resistance to insects.
    Right here, on Google Answer you'll also find references to studies about nutrient depletion in soil and food, under the title Did spinach really have more nutrients 50 years ago?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  11. #11
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reduced nutrient levels in plants

    Surely some of the nutrient loss is due to the fast growing, high yielding varieties of fruit and veg that have been developed.

    Many vitamins are made simply of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen. There is no shortage of these elements in the soil and air. Nitrogen and phosphorous are also routinely added in the form of fertilizer to the soil.

    Loss of vitamin A and vitamin C were both mentioned, yet these (and the carotenes) are both made entirely out carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So any deficiency in those and many other vitamins is most likely due to differences in varieties, the speed of growth, and the maturity of the plants when harvested.

    Yes, there is likely to be depletion of trace minerals in the soil, as these are not routinely added in the form of fertiliser, but this shouldn't affect vitamins that don't contain those minerals.

  12. #12
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Increased vitamin b12 production in sheep who eat soil

    Here's another document that confirms that B12 exists in soil:
    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/...9_112/_article

  13. #13
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    Here's some info about soil depletion in New Zealand:

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/conten...8?crawler=true

    - Many New Zealand soils are naturally deficient in cobalt and/or selenium and/or copper, or are naturally high in molybdenum*. Livestock grazing pasture grown on such soils may be deficient in one or more of these trace elements.
    - In the 1940s and 1950s, New Zealand researchers were at the forefront of research to defi ne the cause of trace-element related ill-thrift and clinical diseases like white muscle disease, peat scours and enzootic ataxia.
    - New Zealanders have devised production-related reference ranges for blood and liver copper, vitamin B12 and selenium that are used for the diagnosis and prevention of deficiencies.
    - A range of supplementation procedures has been devised, from topdressing or spraying pasture to direct animal supplementation, to suit the range of livestock management systems found in New Zealand.
    - Trace-element monitoring programmes are now a routine procedure for farmers grazing cattle, sheep, and deer on trace-element deficient land.
    - Copper deficiency is the main trace-element deficiency diagnosed in deer.
    *Molybdenum is cobalt-antagonistic. Cobalt is the core of the B12 molecule. The amount of cobalt in soil seems to be extremely important for humans and animals, because it determines the amount of cobalt/B12 in plants, and it's not only the soil in New Zealand that suffers from low cobalt levels.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../207319a0.html
    An article in Nature (#207, 319 - 320, 17 July 1965) found that using the "Ochromonas assay of nodules from soya bean plants supplied intermittently with 0.05 p.p.m. of cobalt indicated the presence of 519 mcg vitamin B12 per g of fresh nodules." Ochromonas is considered one of the most useful assay for determining active B12 (and 519mcg pr. g is an extremely high amount.)

  14. #14
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    CHANGES OF SOIL ABUNDANCE IN MICROELEMENTS
    IN LONG-TERM FERTILIZER EXPERIMENT (CZARNY POTOK)


    Here's a study on the long time effect use of fertilizers have on nutrients in soil. Since less cobalt in soil means less cobalt/B12 in plants and therefore in humans/animals, this information from the Polish Journal of Soil Science may be highly relevant when measuring B12 in plants:

    No standard of soil abundance in cobalt has been developed. In the presented experiment cobalt content was particularly diversified by liming. In the soil of the 0Ca series the highest cobalt content was registered on the treatment receiving PK fertilization. Such notable difference in contents in comparison with the other treatments of the 0Ca series is difficult to explain. It may result from systematic application of fertilizers in which Co is bound to ballast or from specific plant composition absorbing smaller quantities of Co in comparison with plants from the other treatments.

    Forms of metals extracted with 1 mole HCl dm-3 are considered to be
    potentially available in the long period. Comparing mean contents of metals in the 3rd and in the 37th year of the experiment it was found out that these contents were smaller in the 37th year in the case of zinc by 8.5-46.6%, for manganese by 57.2-74.1% and for cobalt by 90.3-54.6%. In the case of boron its content was by 15.9% lower on some objects and on others it was higher by 39% and in the case of iron it was higher by 23-59%.

  15. #15
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    From WHY TAKE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS?


    OTHER REASONS FOR HIGH NUTRIENT DOSAGES

    I also recommend higher dosages of certain nutrients for other reasons. These include:

    1) Most people today are born depleted and toxic. Even if you were to find the greatest food, and your health is perfect, most of us are born today with nutritional deficiencies thanks to deficiencies in parents. Both nutrient deficiencies and toxic metals that require extra nutrients for their removal are passed on through the placenta.

    2) Today's soil is depleted. Many soils are low in zinc, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, calcium and magnesium. This means that although one eats an excellent diet of organic foods, one will not obtain all the nutrients one needs.

    3) H-yield crops are deficient in certain nutrients. Ten times the amount of wheat is grown on the same land as was grown 100 years ago. Today's wheat contains about 6% protein whereas 100 years ago it contained 12-14%. Trace mineral levels are similarly much lower due to high-yield farminng methods.

    4) Modern fertilizers do not supply enough trace elements. One hundred years ago, manures were used extensively for fertilizer. Today, superphosphate fertilizers have largely replaced manures. These contain mainly nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and are deficient in the trace elements contained in manures. Superphosphates often act more as growth stimulants. This has contributed greatly to depletion of the soil and crop minerals. This includes organically grown food, although it is much better..

    5) Pesticides and herbicides kill soil microorganisms and affect the nutrition of the plant. Soil microorganisms are needed to make minerals and other nutrients available to plants. The result is lower nutrient content. Also, our bodies require extra nutrients to process pesticide residues that remain inside the foods.
    Many pesticides are deadly chemicals that severely tax the human system. Some contain lead, arsenic and other toxic metals that slowly accumulate in the body unless and until one follows a health program designed to remove them.
    Our laws currently allow sewage and factory sludge to be sold as fertilizer that contains significant quantities of toxic metals. These add greatly to our toxic metal burden and require extra nutrients to help remove them from the body.

    6) Long-distance transportation of many foods diminishes their nutrition. Many foods are grown thousands of miles from population centers. They may spend a week on trucks or trains to reach you. As soon as a food is harvested, the levels of certain nutrients begins to diminish. This is another factor that reduces our nutrient intake and increases the need for supplements.

    7) Food processing often drastically reduces nutrient content. Refining of wheat to make white flour removes 80% of its magnesium, 70-80% of its zinc, 87% of its chromium, 88% of its manganese and 50% of its cobalt.*
    Refining sugar cane to make white sugar removes 99% of its magnesium and 93% of its chromium. Polishing rice removes 75% of its zinc and chromium. Canned food may be quite old. Frozen foods are nutritionally better.

    8) Food additives often deplete nutrients. Thousands of artificial flavors, colors, dough conditioners, stabilizers and preservatives are added to many foods. While some are harmless and may increase the value of food, many are toxic and can deplete the body of nutrients.
    As a result of eating refined, low-quality food loaded with additives, most people's digestion is impaired. This further impairs nutrient absorption and increases nutritional needs. This is why I recommend a digestive aid for everyone who is suffering from any health condition.

    9) Pollution and Stress deplete many nutrients including calcium, magnesium and zinc. Stress also causes excessive sympathetic nervous system activity, which reduces digestive ability. These are other important reasons why supplementation in high doses is sometimes needed.
    *According to "Minerals and Your Health" by Len Mervyn, Ph.D. (Keats Publishing, 1981), quoted here, refining wheat doesn't reduce cobalt by 50%, but by 88.5%.

  16. #16
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reduced nutrient levels in plants

    Here's an article I came across today which could have some relevance if the discouraging numbers earlier in this thread are correct.

    Substance in Black Pepper Increases Nutrient Absorption up to Two Thousand Percent

    Maybe we'll find out more about plants that can be used to increase nutrient absorption in the future...
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  17. #17
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    FYI, I just moved posts from two other threads about nutrient depletion in soil/plants into this thread...
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  18. #18
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    Here's some more info about B12 levels found in soil. The numbers aren't new (the article is from 1950), so the amounts are probably generally lower today. The method used for testing (Euglana) isn't considered the most reliable, but there are studioes out there, using methods that are consider reliable that sometimes get the same results as the Euglana method, so a method that isn't considered the most reliable doesn't necessaily provide wrong results. More about that later, here's the excerpt...


    http://www.jstor.org/pss/2482180

    Soils were found to contain 0.002 to 0.015 μg. of B12 per g. of fresh soil. Roots of a variety of field grown vegetables contained appreciable amounts of B12; less was found in stems and petioles; the results for leaves were generally negative. No B12 was found in excised tomato roots grown under sterile conditions in liquid media.
    0,002 to 0,015 mcg/g equals 0,2-1.5 mcg B12 per 100 g... not that we're meant to eat soil, and definitely not 100 g of it, but it's interesting to see that there's a pattern re. how much B12 that can be found in soil and water, and in plants (that contain B12).

    Some of you may have seen comments about how many cups of organic spinach one would have to eat in order to get enough B12 from spinach alone, and maybe some non-vegan will have a brief look at this thread and later talk about how much soil one would have to eat in order to get enough B12. But of course, the point isn't to eat soil, but to comment the fact that if soil contains B12/cobalt, many plants are capable of absorbing it.

    Reading one or only a few of the trheads in this subforum may not make a lot of sense, but after having read evrything I've come across about B12 in plants, soil and water for longer than you can imagine , the pattern that becomes more and more clear is that since B12 has been measured in ocean water, lakes, rivers, in soil, in leaves, in bark, in tree roots, in moss, in various plants and sealife etc., our forefathers (from nature's side) haven't been needing to look for single sources of edible stuff with very high B12 levels, because the sum of what we would get from natural, vegan sources would be probably offer more B12 than they needed - unless, of course they were consuming many of the same B12-killers we do nowadays (sugar, alcohol, tobacco, coffee and so on).

    So - what does the... 'logic' look like, if humans could survive well, B12 wise, on plain water and plants, say 500 years ago, if they wouldn't indulge in sugary stuff, get drunk a lot, or smoke (etc)? We know they were eating only organic food back then, and we also know that they were eating food that was a lot more fresh than the food people eat nowadays, at least in most parts of the world. Would it be right to say that "they wouldn't get enough B12 from plants, because it's "natural' to want to drink coffee, smoke or get drunk"?

    It really doesn't matter. From what I'm able to see, they could live well on plants and water alone, even if they would expose themselves to some "B12 killers" now and then.

    Many vegan sources contain B12, and even if some of these B12 molecules are inactive B12 analogues, active, bioavailable B12 can still be absorbed (animal products, multivitamins and fortified food also contain inactive B12 analogues). But since our forefathers consumed only organic food back then, and mainly fresh food, and never was exposed to nitrous oxide from cars, mercury in amalgam or vaccines, chlorinated water, pesticides, antibiotics, carbon monoxide, acid rain, pharmaceutical drugs or microwaved food.... they were in many ways better off than us.
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  19. #19
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    More about the effect of natural soil bacterium:

    Can Bacteria Make You Smarter?

    ScienceDaily (May 24, 2010) — Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

    Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature," says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.
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  20. #20
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  21. #21
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    Did people in UK eat as much animal products in 2000-2001 as they did in 1986-1987?

    Here's a study showing that " the average diet typically provides inadequate amounts of particular micronutrients such as Vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iodine and copper. A comparison of two NDNS surveys, 1986/7 and 2000/1, shows a marked decline in intakes of key nutrients in the average diet between the two surveys, especially in the case of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc. Inadequate intakes of these and other nutrients have been associated with increased risk of most of the key degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease."
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  22. #22
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients

    Incorporation of a high level of vitamin B12 into a vegetable, kaiware daikon (Japanese radish sprout), by the absorption from its seeds
    This article confirms what other studies already have stated: that plants are capable of absorbing B12.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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