Results 1 to 50 of 50

Thread: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

  1. #1
    Melina
    Guest

    Question B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Hi all,
    I've recently gone vegan and find myself needing to explain my reasons to friends and family. One of the reasons which I give, is that it is natural. We do not have the canine teeth and claws to bring down animals and tear their flesh, like other carnivores. Cow milk is made for baby cows, not humans, and it is not natural to drink the milk of another animal. OK. So what about vitamin b12? I understand it is only found naturally in animal products. And we need it to be healthy. So how am I supposed to answer when someone asks me, "how natural is it, to take an artificially-made supplement?". How do they get the b12 into vitamin supplements? Where does that b12 come from? I am curious to hear what you have to say about this. I want my arguments to be strong and sound, yet I'm stuck on this issue. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    1,112

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Melina,

    B12 is derived from bacteria and fungi, not animals. This bacteria resides in dirt and water. Animals get it while grazing, eating food that has not been washed, or unfiltered water. Humans used to drink water that was not purified and eat bits of dirt (with the bacteria in it) before we had kitchen sinks to rinse everything. Also, home-fermented foods used to get B12 from bacteria in the air. Our great desire to be hygienic has rid us of B12, not declining animal products. So, now we have the choice of eating a supplement from the bacteria - or - eating dirty animals!

    The book "Becoming Vegan" has a great chapter on vitamins and Brenda Davis/Vesanto Melina go into great detail. If you do not have this book, I urge you to read it. As they state in their book, please take a B12 supplement if you are vegan.

    It's amazing to me that people have no problem with taking vitamin A, C, and other supplements but give us a hard time about B12.

    Check out the sub-forum on B12. There's a lot of great info there!
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    soyabean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Leicester, UK
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: what is natural?

    From what I've read about vitamin B12 (please correct me if anyone knows more about it here), I believe it actually comes from bacteria that live in the soil (or some animals have the bacteria living inside them too).
    So if we were living naturally as vegans, we would get vitamin B12 - the reason we sometimes might not nowadays is because with the way food is picked and processed, it's so thoroughly washed and processed that all the soil and bacteria gets removed - but if we were living a more natural vegan food gathering lifestyle, then we would be getting the tiny amounts of soil and B12 producing bacteria on food we ate.
    I think most animals get B12 either from having the bacteria living in their gut, or because they eat food from the earth that hasn't been so thoroughly washed and processed as food for human consumption is.
    (Hope I remembered that right - I'm sure that's what I read ages ago)

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Yes the book also suggests that people (vegetarians) were not B12 deficient when they did not/could not wash their produce as thoroughly as we do.

    To me this translates as: animals are never clean enough!?

    littleTigercub

  5. #5
    Melina
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Thanks! I posted on another forum and got the same explanation from a few people, so you're right! It's great to hear, because intuitively I knew that veganism was natural and there had to be a natural way to get b12, this explains it!

  6. #6
    Melina
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Thank you! This explains it!!! I've got to get myself that book!!!

  7. #7
    FR
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Quote Dianecrna
    Melina,

    B12 is derived from bacteria and fungi, not animals. This bacteria resides in dirt and water. Animals get it while grazing, eating food that has not been washed, or unfiltered water. Humans used to drink water that was not purified and eat bits of dirt (with the bacteria in it) before we had kitchen sinks to rinse everything. Also, home-fermented foods used to get B12 from bacteria in the air. Our great desire to be hygienic has rid us of B12, not declining animal products. So, now we have the choice of eating a supplement from the bacteria - or - eating dirty animals!

    The book "Becoming Vegan" has a great chapter on vitamins and Brenda Davis/Vesanto Melina go into great detail. If you do not have this book, I urge you to read it. As they state in their book, please take a B12 supplement if you are vegan.

    It's amazing to me that people have no problem with taking vitamin A, C, and other supplements but give us a hard time about B12.

    Check out the sub-forum on B12. There's a lot of great info there!
    Exactly, I practically cringe when I read things posted on the internet from people trying to justify eating animal products (usually lacto-ovo vegetarians) because they feel they provide the only natural source of b12. There are multi-vitamin companies who use natural b-12 obtained from bacteria feeding on plant matter. I'd rather obtain natural b12 in that manner as opposed to consuming cruel and unnecessary animal products. Not all vegan b-12 is synthetic.

  8. #8
    Melina
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Hey that's good to know, I'd rather take naturally-derived than synthetic b12, right now I'm taking a Centrum multi-vitamin every day, it says it has 100% of my daily requirement of b12, do you know if this b12 is synthetic?

  9. #9
    FR
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Quote Melina
    Hey that's good to know, I'd rather take naturally-derived than synthetic b12, right now I'm taking a Centrum multi-vitamin every day, it says it has 100% of my daily requirement of b12, do you know if this b12 is synthetic?
    I am not sure as I only take vegan multi-vitamins and am unfamiliar with where other vitamin producers source their vitamins. You can always e-mail the company.

  10. #10
    Glen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Yeah, theres studies showing that eating unwashed veg gets you plenty of B12, god damn our cleanliness

  11. #11

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: what is natural?

    I think all vitamins you get from supplements are synthetic.

    littleTigercub

  12. #12
    FR
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Quote littleTigercub
    I think all vitamins you get from supplements are synthetic.

    littleTigercub
    Link/source please.

  13. #13
    FR
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    New Chapter offers a line of supplements that use no vitamins of synthetic origin (they are pricey). I currently use VegLife, but I am not sure if they are synthetic free (these are priced very low). I am more concerned with consuming a vegan product than worrying about if the product is 100% synthetic free. However, being 100% synthetic free I is better because I am led to believe the vitamins are more readily absorbed by the body, thus my interest in New Chapter's line.

    The only questionable item in New Chapter's line is the source of their vitamin D. Apparently, it may be grown from nutritional yeast (according to their website), but I have e-mailed the company for clarification as I know of another vegan who was using this line and later found out the vitamin d, is vitamin d-3 (animal derived). They make the claim their product is 100% vegetarian but I see the word vegan no where on their site.

    http://www.new-chapter.com/product/pro_nutrient.lasso

    If New Chapter's products are in fact vegan, they look amazing:

    We are a small company owned by families and friends, and are based in Brattleboro, Vermont and our organic estate near the Children’s Rain Forest of Costa Rica. Since 1982, our mission, our passionate commitment, has been producing the finest probiotic nutrients and herbal formulations in the world. Our purpose is to create the finest products that are truly natural, made of 100% real food and herbs. We have never made products with chemical isolates or solvents, and we won’t. We culture all our vitamins and minerals, and we always will. They are not synthetic-they are food. We are committed to supporting and protecting the environment, and our Costa Rican farm is a world model for organic sustainable farming in the rain forest.
    ETA ... this site has a listing of vegan vitamins/supplements:

    http://www.gentleworld.org/vegan_alt.../vitamins.html

    VegLife's website:

    http://www.nutraceutical.com/about/veglife.cfm

  14. #14
    FR
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    I got a response from New Chapter:

    Brian-

    Thank you for your interest in New Chapter. That's correct the vitamin D
    used in some of our multiple vitamin/mineral formulas is made using
    lanolin which comes from sheep's wool. Thank you for contacting us.

    Susan

    Susan E. Stanton
    New Chapter, Inc.
    Technical Information Advisor
    Inside Sales
    800-543-7279
    Fax: 877-287-8202
    www.newchapter.info
    That bites. Here you have a company that sources their vitamins from organic, whole foods, yet resorts to using d3. Stupid!

    Shit like this only gives people who want to be vegan, but insist on having non-synthetic vitamins, an excuse to cop out.

  15. #15

    Default Re: what is natural?

    I'd get rid of those Centrums ASAP. Of course it makes sense to use the rest of what you have, but a lot of the Centrum line has gelatin in it.

  16. #16
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Quote Melina
    Where does that b12 come from?
    Hi Melina, maybe you'll be interested in this thread...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  17. #17
    John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NJ USA
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: what is natural?

    No animal makes B12. I'll bet these omnis don't even know where the animals they eat get their B12. Do they think that B12 is a vitamin that other animals create--but not humans? Do they know that livestock are given B12 supplements? So basically, instead of the omnis taking the B12 supplement, their food is. The "natural" argument is groundless because intensive agriculture drains soil of its nutrients.

  18. #18
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Hi John, livestock aren't always given B12 supplements – I think the difference between the need for B12 supplements in between livestock/wild animals and humans/'wild' humans' is a gradual one. Animals are not exposed to all the B12-reducing effects of tea, coffee, tobacco, amalgam, or (in some cases) to pollution from cars. (More about causes of B12 deficiency here). They don't eat refined sugar, take sleeping pills or microwaved food; they need less B12 than us, plus they consume more from grass and the surface of other plants (and soil). In the case of wild animals, plants are also always eaten fresh. But they are exposed to some of the same side effects of the modern society that humans are (acid rain, pollution in air, in some cases chlorinated water and even anti-biotics). Soil depletion also affects both humans and livestock.

    So, some animals get their B12 from nature, and some vegan humans does. This gradual, as opposed to total difference and the relation between B12 consumptions in humans and animals are also reflected in studies that show that some animals need B12 supplements, while others don't, just like some vegans don't seem to have any B12 deficiency even after a long time without eating animal flesh (which of course contains B12 – for example because it contains blood that is used for transport of B12 in the body of the animal).

    But I do agree that the 'natural'-argument sometimes used by omnis is groundless, and I have also observed that most of them are not aware that some animals are given supplements of B12 and other nutrients (or that cobalt is added to the soil to improve the B12 levels in the grass the cows are eating)...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  19. #19
    John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NJ USA
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: what is natural?

    Yes, yes. Fine, fine. Livestock do not get B12 supplements if they do not need them, but sometimes they do.

  20. #20
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: what is natural?

    No big deal, John, but since Melina wrote that she wanted her 'arguments to be strong', it could cause trouble for her if she was claiming that all animals would get B12 supplements (and also just trigger a whatabouteatingwildanimals-reaction...)

    But: While kettle often et a variation of food and fortified food, I've heard that other animals like pigs and chicken often gets only strongly supplemented fake food, and not any natural food at all (correct me if I'm wrong). Fortified food = food + supplements, but some animals don't get food+supplements, they get food substitutes+supplements. I can't see how eating someone who has been raised on food substitutes + supplements should is even close to being natural. And if humans would be dependent on eating wild animals only, there simply wouldn't have been enough of them (the wild animals) anyway. So your comment. John, is more relevant than I originally thought, not because of the B12-issue (alone), but because the standard diet for many of these animals aren't food+supplements, but fortified fake food, often with supplements in addition.

    I just saw a site that discussed what kind of supplements to give to factory pigs when the fortified food they normally eat didn't provide enough nutrients. Another site I saw, discussing supplements for animals, mentioned how great AloeVera was because of all the nutrients it contains (it mentioned B12 as one of them). Yet another site about supplements for animals (pigs) mentioned giving them a supplement that had both added vitamins, minerals and three different fish-derived products in it. How natural is it for a pig to eat fish? Also, cow's milk have been been given to lambs, which also is not natural, and I've read about cases where this created problems for the poor lambs –*they developed serious anemia, and died as a result of that.

    Isn't it strange that most people who seem to bring up the natural-argument are people who live on a strictly un-natural diet? I do agree that it is essential to look at what is natural and what is not, and I guess I'm even more concerned about this than most people are. I consider eating plants the only natural choice for humans.

    There's another issue related to the B12-in-plants-topic: Since most people - and most scientists - are getting their B12 from animal products, there hasn't been a lot of research on B12 in plants. Probably not even one percent of all plant species have been tested. The amounts we need are also so small that they hardly can be measured, and the test method often used to test plants for B12 use heating to extract the B12 from the plant: but the heating kills the B12....

    So, since we know far too little about potential plant sources of B12, and the vegan movement still is so small/young that there are not a lot of money to invest into more research, and there is a lot of confusion/lack of knowledge about the B12 analogue issue, some vegans just say that it is as natural to cultivate B12 using bacteria, that it is to build a house or wear clothes not to freeze.

    There are several types of bacteria that produce B12, like Streptomycus griseus, Streptomyces aureofaciens, Streptomyces olivaceus, Propionibacterium shermanii and Pseudomonas denitrificans. (I know of only one company (in France) that is using a genetically engineered microorganism to produce B12.)

    In (some) tempeh, a bacteria called K. pneumoniae is responsible for the B12 production. Bacteria are not animals, and if they are not genetically engineered or tweaked in other ways, they are natural.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  21. #21
    Melina
    Guest

    Default Re: what is natural?

    I had no idea about gelatin. I just learned what gelatin actually is. Man. What a shocker.
    This is all very interesting and I am learning so much here. Thanks guys!

  22. #22

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default How natural is the vegan diet?

    People should not get too caught up in the what is "natural" argument, because that is not what is ideal for health. If you were to spend too much time thinking about what is natural, then the vegan diet also isn't natural because it does not contain an adequate source of B-12. Of course there is the argument that we used to get B-12 naturally from plant foods because there were insects on them that we would eat which had b-12, but of course that diet would no longer be vegan, would it?

    The real question should be what is healthiest? The answer is a vegan diet (wth high quantities of veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds) supplemented with B-12 and DHA is the healthiest. We are in a rare position today that we don't have to eat what is grown within a few mile radius, we have supermarkets which import healthy produce from all over the world. Little about how we eat today is "natural" in the original sense of the word. But we are afforded an opportunity to eat healthier than at any other time in our history. I say take advantage of that and eat all the healthy produce year round, and supplement the diet when necessary with b-12 and DHA.

    Best,
    Josh
    Last edited by Korn; Jul 5th, 2006 at 09:44 AM. Reason: This thread is based on posts from another thread

  23. #23
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: Anyone taking DHA supplements?

    There are many studies that confirm that B12 is found in a variety of plants, and also many studies that confirm that B12 is destroyed by a large variety of 'B12 enemies' (age, light, cooking, chlorinated water etc). There are to my knowledge not one single study that have measured and proved that B12 in those plants come from insects, but there are a number of studies that confirm that this B12 come from bacteria (and cobalt, of course, since B12 contains cobalt). Cobalt is not an animal, neither is bacteria...


    B12 is found in leaves, bark, in soil, in water etc., the problem seem to be that we don't eat the right plants, we don't eat them while they are fresh enough to contain useful B12, and is that we don't eat plants that are not exposed to 'B12 killers'.

  24. #24
    DonQuinoa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    On the high seas
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Anyone taking DHA supplements?

    The whole "it's natural" argument for a vegan diet is frought with pitfalls.

    It's natural to survive.

    It's easy to be vegan and we have a moral responsibility at the top of the food chain to appreciate our gift of choice - whether to make things worse - or try to make things better by making choices that are ethical, responsible, sensible, logical, healthy, avoid unnecessary suffering and are better for the environment.

    But natural ?? Naaah - we'd have never got this far - A gorilla is the closest to a natural vegan diet but they eat incidental insects which are a good source of vitamin B12 for them. But they don't control their environment and spend all day eating! No time for philoshophy or theories of relativity. Throw an ice age at them - they'd die without turning to scavanging and risking constipation.

  25. #25

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Anyone taking DHA supplements?

    None of those of those points dispels my main point which is B-12 is not found reliably in the vegan diet. IF the points you make are true, and I have read many of your posts and it seems you have done your homework so I'm not doubting you, it still remains true that the average vegan is not getting a reliable source of B-12 in their diet. And my point was native peoples who relied exclusively on plants in the past would inevitably get ample B-12 while eating plants because the plants were not appropriately washed to get rid of all insects. Since insects have sufficient quantities of B-12, there would be no concern of b-12 deficiency.

    OF course, I also believe there is no clean food source of B-12 eaten by the average individual (even those who eat meat should not rely on in it as a good source of B-12 because it is such an unclean and unhealthy source), so I recommend a supplement to everyone. My only point is, this argument in and of itself does not suggest that a vegan diet is less than optimal.

    Best,
    Josh

  26. #26
    DonQuinoa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    On the high seas
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Anyone taking DHA supplements?

    Vitamin B12 in Plants - That's misleading

    The pseudo vitamin B12 found in plants and many seaweeds has been not been found to be true B12 that is bioavailable for the human body

    There is one japanese study that shows that B12 is available and increases blood B12 which is a study done on Chlorella but you won't find this study quoted by vegan nutritionists as it was done on rats.

  27. #27
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12 - How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote DonQuinoa
    But natural ?? Naaah - we'd have never got this far - A gorilla is the closest to a natural vegan diet but they eat incidental insects which are a good source of vitamin B12 for them.
    Meat eaters often say that if gorillas or other animals gets B12, it's because they eat insects or digests something animal derived - they like to stick to the false belief that B12 came from animals, and not from cobalt/bacteria. I have never seen any studies confirming that gorillas, elephants, zebras or giraffes get their B12 from insects. To prove that they would get it from insects, and not from water, soil, fresh, non-chlorinated plants etc., one would have to set up a complicated, highly controlled study. There are dozens of differences between how wild animals live and how non-wild humans live, and the theory about dirt and insects is just a theory.

    Another theory (promoted by a very active anti-vegan) was that some vegan Iranian tribe weren't B12 deficient because they would use "night soil" (human excrements) as fertilizers on their plants. These people just love to try to create an association between insects and excrements and being vegan, probably because it makes their own diet sound superior. Re. that Iranian tribe, it later came up that no such study ever was made - not on Iranian vegans. The insect study has to my knowledge never been made either. Studies that has found B12 in water, bark, leaves, soil, grass and other fresh plants has been made. Then there's the big issue with analogues vs. non-analogues (when does a bio-available B12 molecule turn into a non-active 'B12 analogue'?)... more about that later!

  28. #28
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12 - How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote j&k
    None of those of those points dispels my main point which is B-12 is not found reliably in the vegan diet.
    Do you take our unnatural lifestyle into consideration when you say that? And: with so many B12 deficient meat eaters, do you suggest that B12 is found reliably in a non-vegan diet?

    Since almost none of the circa 300,000 existing plant species have been tested for B12, the most safe thing to say would be that we know very little about this issue.

    If we look at the history of the B12/vegan/natural issue, it has gone through several stages.

    • The vegan movement was created before someone had identified B12.
    • B12 was discovered a few years after the word 'vegan' was invented
    • The (mainly vegan) macrobiotic grew strong in the sixties and early seventies. People in the macrobiotic movement trusted George Oshawa and Michio Kushi more or less blindly. It was believed that tempeh, nori, seaweeds etc. were reliable B12 sources.
    • Studies were made showing that some tempeh, but not all, contained B12. Likewise, while it has been confirmed that (some) dried Nori is bioavilable on rats, that doesn't mean that (all) nori is bioavailable for humans.
    • From a situation were a lot of people trusted than one could get B12 from seaweed etc., and that getting B12 from plants was not a problem at all, a new illusion was spread, with good support from meat eaters, supplement manufacturers and people who have read a little (but not very much) about the B12/vegan issue that 'the vegan diet isn't natural because you may get B12 problems', and that 'there are no reliable B12 sources except animal products'. Since several studies show that circa 38-40% of meat eaters have low B12 levels (lots of these people eat multivitmains in addition to a lot of animal products), let's agree that animal products vs. plants isn't the real problem here. The problem must be somewhere else.
    • The current, and probably most healthy status of the B12/vegan discussion is where many people are right now: we claim that we know little about it, and instead rely on what we find likely, based on all the information we have gathered.

    We know that B12 is destroyed by heat, and that it is also destroyed by exposure to light (and a lot of other B12 killers). It has been said that it is difficult to distinguish between real, active B12 and B12 analogues, and also that the amounts we need in order to are some small they they can be hard to measure. From my contact with labs that test B12 levels, a few other issues also came up: The tests on plants are often done several days after you send them the plants (read: they are exposed to light, and not fresh), and the test process involves heating. I can understand that a simple/short way of dealing with the vegan/B12-issue is to say that we can't get B12 from plants, but not only have most plants never been tested, but those who have, have probably neither been tested while being fresh, plus they have probably been tested after having been exposed to B12 killers like chlorinated water and light etc. People who don't care if something is natural or not will just say that it doesn't matter if it is natural, so why bother - while many meat eaters - and many vegans - have a strong respect for nature and believe that the way the planet is 'designed' (by nature) is meaningful. For example, we have teeth in the mouth, because we 'are meant to chew food'... our teeth are not on our back for a reason.
    Along the same lines, people would think that if there is no B12 in plants, it isn't there for a reason, the reason being that 'we are meant to eat animal products'.

    We have a list of more than 60 non-animal sources that has been reported to contain B12 here. NB: I'm not saying that they are all bio-avaiable, that B12 analogues is not a problem, and that we don't need supplements.

    When analyzing the B12 levels in human faeces, it has been found that 95% of this B12 are B12 analogues. There are B12 analogues in tradition food, in human liver, in blood cells, in our brains and even in mineral and vitamin supplements. They also exist in standard, animal based food.

    There are some theories about B12 analogues.

    1) Our system won't absorb them. This is interesting, because since our excrements contain 95% B12 analogues, we must either produce them (for some reason), or we must have a way to convert real, active B12 to passive B12 analogues.
    2) We can absorb them, but if we eat food containing both active and non-active B12, we'll get less active B12. According to Kanazawa (1983) 'vitamin B-12 analogues are preferentially excreted while human-active cobalamins are largely resorbed'. According to this information, normal humans are able to discriminate between the active and non-active forms of B12 as both have always been in nature and in foods. Do I know if this theory is correct? No. I would believe that it's important to eat bioavailbale B12, and not passive B12 analogues as much as possible (limited by the needs we have for B12), because to me, a passive B12 molecule seems like a ex-bioavilable, active B12 molecule. It has either gone old an died, or has served it's function; it looks like an alive molecule, but isn't. (Warning: this is only my personal theory, and only a theory. Don't trust theories! )

    3) A third theory, (or rather; rumor) is that any contact with any kind of B12 analogues is almost dangerous. Nature and humans are full of B12 analogues, so that theory doesn't make much sense to me.

    4) A forth theory could be that if we look at the total amount of B12 in a given mean or supplement, we could assume that if more than 50% of the B12 was analogues only, the remaining (49.9%) 'real' B12 would have no effect. This could make sense from a mathematical point of view, but a study has shown that it has been possible to treat a B12 deficiency with a 'B12 mix' that consisted of almost only B12 analogues.

    In this thread, you can read that 'about 36% of the total corrinoid vitamin B-12 activity in Spirulina is human active' (referring to a specific study). If a mix of 95% B12 analogues and 5% 'real' B12 can cure a deficiency, why shouldn't a mix of 36% human active B12 and 64% B12 analogues be able to have a good effect? Wait, I'm not saying that it has, I'm only asking questions....!

    This study shows that 20-90% of the B12 in multivitamin pills 'was present as analogues'. A natural question is then: why should we trust certain pills that may contain up to 90% B12 analogues more than the the spirulina mentioned above, which contained 64% analogues?

    Here's another study published at PubMed:

    A nutritional analysis was conducted on the dietary intake of a group of 6 vegan children aged 7 to 14 who had been living on a vegan diet including brown rice for from 4 to 10 years, and on that of an age-matched control group. In addition, their serum vitamin B12 levels and other data (red blood cell count, hematocrit, hemoglobin, etc.) were determined in the laboratory. In vegans' diets, 2-4 g of nori (dried laver), which contained B12, were consumed daily. Not a single case of symptoms due to B12 deficiency was found. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to any of the examination data, including B12 levels (p < 0.05). Therefore, consumption of nori may keep vegans from suffering B12 deficiency.
    There are also, as most of you know, and for a number of reasons, studies that show that vegans have lower B12 levels than non-vegans.

    With reference to our list of possible vegan B12 sources, two main questions are: how often do we actually consume these plants? And: how often do we consume/inhale something that may kill the B12 in these plants (sugar, coffee, pollution, amalgam, tobacco, various chemicals etc).?

    Many vegans seem to want a simple answer, or a simple theory to relate to re. the B12 vs. natural issue. But the situation is complex, we actually know relatively little and theories are only theories. Pianos or umbrellas don't grow on trees, I still use them; I don't require that everything I'm in touch with should be totally untouched, uncultivated nature. I don't NEED a theory saying that there we would get enough B12 from plants, because I'm happy to consider 'natural cultivation' as a part of human life. Still, I'm 99% sure that we would get exactly the amount of B12 we need from a natural lifestyle, in a natural world.


    Now I'll have a semi-natural breakfast. Will check my spelling and grammar later!

  29. #29
    peasant terrace max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near Skipton, UK
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    I'm interested in this notion of 'natural' and why - by implication - the planet should somehow cater to human needs. I wonder if it is a remnant of those religious ideas that the earth was created for man?

    Anyway, I can't see why it undermines veganism even if there is/was no natural vegetable source of B12. Surely human beings are destined to break natural patterns - from the first human made fire to the i-pod...for better or for worse (usually the latter) the human monkey has mastered non-natural action...

    Seems to me that veganism is one good way of restoring some balance in nature...
    We are saved in the end by the things that ignore us. Andrew Harvey

  30. #30
    DonQuinoa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    On the high seas
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    I still think the natural argument is risking banging your head against a wall.

    It's natural for an organic reared cow to eat grass covered in pooh and bacteria.

    It's natural for Gorillas to eat a tiny bit of pooh and the odd tick or insect as bathhrooms and toilet paper are few and far between.

    However it's also natural for these animals to have superior gut bacteria because of their lifestyle.

    Frankly I'd rather avoid being natural, wash my hands after scratching my bum, smell of essential oils rather than cows, wear unnatural hemp clothing, eat unnatural hempseed sugar free chocolate, drink un-natural German beer and take an un-natural sublingual B12 supplement or eat and drink natural B12 and EFA rich algae.

    Call me old fashioned..................

  31. #31
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote DonQuinoa
    It's natural for an organic reared cow to eat grass covered in pooh and bacteria.
    Wait... here comes the link to poo again. Bacteria is something we need, but bacteria and what falls out of their bums are two different things. I'm just not supporting the attempt made by some anti-vegans who says that one can only get B12 if one eats faeces. Pooh contains only a little bit B12, we can absorb only part of what we consume, and the microscopic amount of B12 that has been found in stools has been found to have a analogue/true factor of circa 95:5.

    It's natural for Gorillas to eat a tiny bit of pooh and the odd tick or insect as bathhrooms and toilet paper are few and far between.
    I'm not willing to discuss faeces or toilets - that's definitely a different thread! Plus, the only study I've seen on B12 in faeces says that it contains 95% B12 analogues. If the presence of B12 analogues isn't a problem, why worry about B12 analogues in plants?

    Your body - just like meat - is full of bacteria. You can buy bacteria-based products in pharmacies, and if it were not for bacteria, you couldn't buy B12 in health food stores... you wouldn't even be alive without some of them. Bacteria is a natural part of life!


    However it's also natural for these animals to have superior gut bacteria because of their lifestyle.
    If we would have been eating food and been drinking water that wasn't over-sterilized, our intestines would also have a different chemistry. And I'm not talking about uncleanliness, faeces or mud, Im talking about avoiding almost any kind of touch with natural water, soil and plants that have not been treated against dangerous bacteria in case they should pop up. B-12 is produced by single-celled microbes that live in the soils of the earth - just like vegetables. If you don't want to be in touch with anything that has been in touch with soil and bacteria, you can't eat eat plants!

    According to the Nutraceutical Corporation, makers of VegLife, their B12 source used in their B-Complex supplement comes from a “microbial fermentation of brown rice.” The soymilk called Silk uses a fortified B12 source from a vegetable glucose fermentation process. Other B12 is produced on the surface of molasses. But it has been documented several times that the fermentation that is supposed to create B12 doesn't happen if certain bacteria isn't present.


    Frankly I'd rather avoid being natural, wash my hands after scratching my bum
    Your bum isn't relevant in this discussion!

    smell of essential oils rather than cows
    Are we talking about the same topic? Smell of cows? How did the cows get in here?


    Probiotics, Acidophilus, a healthy intestinal microflora balance... stuff that 'everybody' talks about these days are all about bacteria. Too little touch with natural, good bacteria won't only keep you low in B12, it may mean an increased risk for asthma an allergies (you've probably read about The Hygiene Hypothesis...). If you are afraid of bacteria, the bad news is that the unnatural B12 that can be bought in clean, small bottles also originally comes from bacteria. We had a discussion a while ago where someone mentioned that they preferred non-organic food, because they didn't like the idea that cow dung was used when growing plants organically, but cow dung is used in non-organic farming as well... a lot, in addition to chemicals. It's the same kind of discussion...

    People who prefer to get their B12 from meat are at high risk of being exposed to bacteria against their will, and so are veg*ns (but not as much as meat eaters). To associate bacteria with bums, faeces and toilets isn't 'old fashioned', it's a modern, popular myth that maybe even is becoming more and more wide spread.

    Luckily, most people who see a juicy apple on a tree or wild berries in a forest forget about bacteria and see only delicious food - but for how long?

  32. #32

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Korn:

    It is difficult to fully respond to your messages because they are so long, and I don't have the time to devote to this forum that you do. That being said, I am still at a loss for how your arguments affect what I have said. Let me try and make my point even more clearly -- I don't believe it matters one way or the other if the vegan diet is the most natural. From my perspective, it is not important. What matters is what is the healthiest diet we can eat? And the answer to that question is a vegan diet that has a high nutrient per calorie ratio, and is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds (in that order).

    You are trying to make an issue of my statement regarding B-12 as the bulk of my point, and that is really almost a footnote to my point. From all you have said, we know relatively little about B-12. Let's assume that is right. That would not counter the point that vegans (as well as others) need to concern themselves with getting ample B-12 (from supplements) to ensure ideal health. I for one have no interest in waiting around to see how the B-12 argument turns out before I decide whether or not to supplement. There is ample B-12 in meat, according to nutritional evaluations. As I said in my last post, I would never recommend to people to get their b-12 from meat because it is an unhealthy and unethical food to eat.

    So does this point to the fact that being vegan is the most natural? I think it points to the fact that there is a question there. But, as I said, I really don't care about that question or the answer to it. We are at a point where we can eat the healthiest possible diet by being 100% vegan (and adding two supplements, b-12 and algae derived DHA), and by eating this way, we harm no other living animal and create a better all around environment on this planet (reduce carbon dioxide emmissions etc.).

    The details of the B-12 argument are fine if you care to reallly pursue it, but for me, it doesn't affect my stance. The real question is, not is a vegan diet the most natural, but:
    Why would anyone not eat a vegan diet when it is the healthiest and causes the least harm to animals and our planet?

    Best,
    Josh

  33. #33
    DonQuinoa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    On the high seas
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Why mention Pooh?

    Because B12 is produced in your intestine (if you have the right gut flora)

    Not the only source I Know ... it's a by product of yeast growth.

    As I mentioned - my favoured source is Solgar sub lingual variety, Algae (oh and of course new squeezy Marmite!)

    High levels of homocysteine are not something I want to take a chance with especially as there is history of altzhiemer's in my family - hence being a fan of Algal EPA / DHA too.

  34. #34
    Haniska's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,107

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    There is a lot of notes on this site concerning b-12. I originally was posting because I thought that this page said that pestisides killed b-12 on crops. Now I can't see to find it
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegan
    it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble

  35. #35
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote j&k
    Korn:

    It is difficult to fully respond to your messages because they are so long, and I don't have the time to devote to this forum that you do.

    Take your time....

    I don't believe it matters one way or the other if the vegan diet is the most natural. From my perspective, it is not important
    I know. But for a lot of people it is both interesting and important, and I think some vegan sites and writes make a big mistake by ignoring that most people have deep respect for nature. They start talking about which pills to buy instead of explaining why we (both vegans and others) in our de-naturalized world may find too little of certain nutrients.


    From all you have said, we know relatively little about B-12.
    We do. But some vegans and vegan sites behaves like we know absoulutely nothing about B12. We know enough to B12 to explain why vegans are concerned with this nutrient - and why meat eaters and lacto-vegetarians should be concerned with it too.


    There is ample B-12 in meat, according to nutritional evaluations.
    Sure - animals eat plants. Some animals - of the kind eaten by humans live on artificial food and supplements. Most humans who eat meat also often use amalgam, vaccines, sugar, coffee, cars.... which means that they still get low in B12. Or very high, because they eat both meat and supplements.



    As I said in my last post, I would never recommend to people to get their b-12 from meat because it is an unhealthy and unethical food to eat.
    I know, and that's good!

    So the conclusion is that both you - who may not find the vegan diet a strictly 'natural' choice, or who don't care - and those who have the opposite viewpoint (like me) - agree that the vegan diet is the best choice whether it's to be considered 'natural or not?

    The real question is, not is a vegan diet the most natural, but:
    Why would anyone not eat a vegan diet when it is the healthiest and causes the least harm to animals and our planet?
    Well, I guess we all know the answer to that one: most of them happen to like the taste of meat because they have been trained to like it, and have never actually chosen to eat meat. They eat meat because they have been brought up with parents, schools, friends and media who are pro-meat - or who don't care.

  36. #36

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Interesting post. I've responded to each part below:

    You said -- "I know. But for a lot of people it is both interesting and important, and I think some vegan sites and writes does a mistake by ignoring that still, most people have deep respect for nature and start blah-blahing about which pills to buy instead of explaining why we (both vegans and others) in our de-naturalized world may find too little of certain nutrients."

    It may be interesting and important, but with this question I fear you are teetering on the edge of a sword. Some arguments go your favor, and others are hard to contend against (or at least, hard to convince non-vegans of). I hate to see the vegan movement in such a precarious position when the other argument is a clear and easy one to win.



    You said "We do. But some vegans and vegan sites behaves like we know absoulutely nothing about B12. We know enough to B12 to explain why vegans are concerned with this nutrient - and why meat eaters and lacto-vegetarians should be concerned with it too."

    Fair enough


    You said "Sure - animals eat plants. Some animals - of the kind eaten by humans live on artificial food and supplements. Most humans who eat meat also often use amalgam, vaccines, sugar, coffee, cars.... which means that they still get low in B12. Or very high, because they eat both meat and supplements."

    Yes, but this argument can easily be countered by saying the feeds of our livestock are grossly unnatural, and therefore we would expect them to be deficient in many nutrients they would not otherwise be deficient in. This still doesn't help the vegan argument other than to say that we should not eat these livestock because they are treated so inhumanely.


    You said -- "So the conclusion is that both you - who may not find the vegan diet a strictly 'natural' choice, or who don't care - and those who have the opposite viewpoint (like me) - agree that the vegan diet is the best choice whether it's to be considered 'natural or not?"

    Yes, we get to the same conclusion. But the question is, how many people will agree with our two forms of reasoning to get to that answer? The argument has to be convincing, and the natural argument is as convincing for meat-eaters from their point of view as it is for vegans from ours. The studies are far from unanimous on this point, so it is more a "take my word for it" argument. The studies on nutrition, however, are overwhelmingly in favor of a high vegetable, high fruit diet.



    You said "Well, I guess we all know the answer to that one: most of them happen to like the taste of meat because they have been trained to like it, and have never actually chosen to eat meat. They eat meat because they have been brought up with parents, schools, friends and media who are pro-meat - or who don't care."

    Sure, but can we change their mind by appealing to their desires to attain great health? Or at least to overcome their debilitating arthritis, heart disease, cancer etc?

    I thought I 'd get those cool quotes like you did, but I guess I did it wrong.

    Best,
    Josh

  37. #37
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default " - How can a vegan diet be natural?"

    Quote j&k
    You said "Sure - animals eat plants. Some animals - of the kind eaten by humans live on artificial food and supplements. Most humans who eat meat also often use amalgam, vaccines, sugar, coffee, cars.... which means that they still get low in B12. Or very high, because they eat both meat and supplements."

    Yes, but this argument can easily be countered by saying the feeds of our livestock are grossly unnatural, and therefore we would expect them to be deficient in many nutrients they would not otherwise be deficient in.
    Hi, I'm sorry it took so long to reply... Regarding you last sentence above, I have probably been unclear (or do I misunderstand you?). My point is exactly that the food humans eat is so far from being natural that it can't possibly contain all the nutrients it would have done in a 'natural world' - which is relevant if we talk about 'natural'.

    If we compare unnatural (processed etc) human food with unnatural animal food, I'm sure we agree that both these diets are nutrient deficient, right? That's why so many farm animals get supplements, and that's why so many meat eaters both eat animals (fed on supplements) AND supplements. The absurd think is that meat eaters seem to have no problems with eating meat from animals that have been filled up with supplements due to poor soil etc., but if a vegan eats supplements, his diet is 'unnatural'!

    Wild animals in a natural world will probably get everything they need from their natural diet. It definitely seems that humans living close to nature, in a natural world, also would get the nutrients they need. But they/we life in a situation that is very nutrient/B12-unfriendly.


    The argument has to be convincing, and the natural argument is as convincing for meat-eaters from their point of view as it is for vegans from ours. The studies are far from unanimous on this point, so it is more a "take my word for it" argument.
    Let's agree that more research is needed. But even without all that research, we know that organic, non-canned, non-cooked, non-processed and so forth food contains a lot more nutrients (including B12) than they originally had, because we know that they have lower B12/nutrient levels after all these processes. If the levels are reduced by 15% after a certain process, down to eg. 0.85 mcg, the original levels was 1.0 mcg.

    We also know that the way we live means that the nutrients we consume are fought against after they enter our bodies (coffee, chlorined water, tobacco, alcohol, mercury, medicine, pollution we inhale etc).

    Now, if we combine everything an average person does that isn't good for his nutrient levels, and look at everything his food has gone through before it enters his mouth, we know that the levels will be a lot higher the less nutrient killers he and his food is exposed to. This isn't a 'take-my-word-for-it kind of logic - it's based on proven facts.


    Let's say that something you eat daily contains 1 mcg of something you need 1 mcg of. In our various posts, you'll see that many of the nutrient-killers reduce the nutrient values by far more only a few percent... but for simplicity, let's use 10% reduction in this example. Let's say that you are exposed to 5 nutrient killers pr day, and that the food is exposed to 3 nutrient killers before you eat it (the real number is most likely higher).

    1mcg minus 10% eight times = 0,43 mcg. That's less than 50% of the original nutrient values intact. You may say that this is very unscientific example, and you are of course right. For example, do we know that growing plants in nutrient deficient soil will mean that the plants will as much as 10% lower nutrient values than they had, say 1000 years ago? No.

    But we do know that soil that has been tested contains 50% less nutrients than it did only 50 years ago. 50% is a lot more than 10%! We also know that some nutrients are lost even before they get to the lab that's going to test their levels of various minerals and vitamins, due to light exposure. Heat is also destroying nutrients, and heat is often used in the process of measuring nutrients in food.

    If we need 1mcg, and get 0.43 mcg for whatever reason, we don't get enough. Most meat eaters are dealing with this by eating animals which are fed supplements. This isn't 'natural'. 50% of them also eats supplements. Still, three different studies have shown that they are low in B12, right?

    Some meat eaters would say that a few hundred or thousand years ago it would be enough wild animals to feed all the humans on the planet. One short reply to that - without going into the discussions about we were designed to eat meat, if we 'always ate meat' etc, is that this isn't the case today. If this argument ever had been valid, it's dead and gone now. Too many humans, too few animals - because we - the human race - have eaten them. *


    Sure, but can we change their mind by appealing to their desires to attain great health? Or at least to overcome their debilitating arthritis, heart disease, cancer etc?
    We see that happening already. Some people, who are not vegans, eat vegan food due to health problems. The ironic thing is that some people who go vegan for ethical reasons alone are not aware of this, and worry if a vegan diet can be healthy.)

    The argument has to be convincing, and the natural argument is as convincing for meat-eaters from their point of view as it is for vegans from ours.
    For people who don't care if something is natural or not, it will never be convincing. Many meat eaters believe that we need meat for protein and milk for calcium, and when they understand that many strong, wild animals get both all the protein and calcium they need from natural plants, and that they and the animals they eat already are on supplements, people who say that a vegan diet can't be natural, and that this is the reason they eat (unnatural) meat, they often become very quiet!


    * We have these threads too:
    Was meat eating essential for human evolution?
    Are we designed to eat meat?
    Did humans always eat meat?

  38. #38

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Korn,

    You make a number of very good points in this post. The ones I think are particularly strong are:

    (1) The absurd think is that meat eaters seem to have no problems with eating meat from animals that have been filled up with supplements due to poor soil etc., but if a vegan eats supplements, his diet is 'unnatural'

    (2) Now, if we combine everything an average person does that isn't good for his nutrient levels, and look at everything his food has gone through before it enters his belly, we know that the levels will be a lot higher the less nutrient killers he and his food is exposed to.

    But the natural argument will continue to get us into trouble I fear. You point back to a nicer time when the anti-nutrients were not consumed as readily, and the air and water were cleaner etc. But during those same times, meat would have been a necessity in a large portion of the world due to climatic pressures. Vegetation becomes hard to store throughout the winter, so the eating of meat provided much needed caloric density.

    Of course, we could mix and match our arguments by saying that a natural vegan diet provided all nutrients necessary, and today we are never without proper vegetation at any time of the year, therefore the vegan diet is natural is coherent. But, this sort of argument becomes very unruly and messy.

    While you could make the argument to me, who is receptive enough to it, I find it an unconvincing argument to someone who is new to the subject. The health argument, on the other hand, continues to be a slam dunk. As is the ethical argument (but that depends on the person caring, which unfortunately is a rare commodity). The natural argument may ultimately prove meritorious after years more research is done, but as an ex-attorney, I prefer making an argument I know I can win.

    Best,
    Josh

  39. #39
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    But during those same times, meat would have been a necessity in a large portion of the world due to climatic pressures.
    Is it 'natural' to live in an area where it isn't possible to survive without killing anyone? Would a vegan tribe even settle in such an area? Lots of us feel that it's not natural to live as far from equator as most of us do.

    I have seen animals struggle in the winter (we have a separate thread about being vegan in cold climates)... Today, as then, many of them die, and as we know, it would be very hard for us to catch and kill them during winter due to their superior physique: they are faster, have four legs, birds can fly, fishes can swim from us: we're all dependent on tools that are not growing on trees. Which leads is to the humans-don't-need-to-make-weapons-even-if-we-can-make-tools discussion, also going on somewhere else. In short: if we need tools that or not growing on trees ('not natural') to kill animals,why can't we eat B12 that's not growing on trees instead, to get that B12? Does that comparison make sense? No. Because B12 IS, according to various sources, growing on trees! (Leaves, bark and roots).

    I have seen people who keep horses outdoors when it's snow; they try hard to find something to eat under the snow, but can't, most of the time. Cows or sheep wouldn't survive long in a snowy winter. Humans have been collecting, drying and freezing nuts, legumes and other plants food for ages, but still: unlike many other animals, it seems we aren't really designed by nature to survive in cold climates. (Sure, we can use tools. But we don't have to use them for killing.)

    Have you seen the thread about the tribe that has been living on vegan food for 5000 years? The Brok-pa Aryans have lived in a hostile terrain at 15,000 feet altitude for ages. From this article: "The weather in September is pleasantly cold, though temperatures in January can plummet to -20 degrees Celsius. There are an unusually large number of Aryans above 70 years. Many are active even at 90." It seems that they live as long and are as healthy as people in European countries, but without the animal products - and without all our technology. I've been trekking not far from these areas, and most people live on rice, lentils or other beans, and green, leafy vegetables. The Brok-pa's also use walnuts (Omega-3!) and barley - barley grass juice is said to contain 80 mcg B12 per 100 grams. Four gram fresh barley juice pr. day should provide 3 mcg B12 if this is correct. Maybe they know a lot of nutrition, but live simple lives because they want to. I've asked people living in similar areas in the Himalayas (via translators) if they ever have been to any cities near by, and expected a reply saying that it would be too far too walk (there were no cars, bicycles or electricity there, so it would take two weeks to get there). The answer I got was only 'no - why would I go there?' - with a smile. We have a tendency to think that everything simple, 'primitive', natural, 'un-modern' is lacking something essential. Maybe it's the other way round?



    Of course, we could mix and match our arguments by saying that a natural vegan diet provided all nutrients necessary, and today we are never without proper vegetation at any time of the year, therefore the vegan diet is natural is coherent.
    At least we can agree that today, the argument that it's hard to grow or find plants during the winter isn't valid today, so starving in the cold months ins't a reason to use animal products. Many animals may starve during the winter - but still don't kill for food.


    While you could make the argument to me, who is receptive enough to it, I find it an unconvincing argument to someone who is new to the subject.
    Interestingly enough, when I talk with meat eating friends about this, and say that the global B12 problem seem to come from environmental and life style issues, and not from nature as such, they seem to think that this makes sense. But of course, unlike you, they aren't manufacturing B12 supplements!


    The health argument, on the other hand, continues to be a slam dunk. As is the ethical argument (but that depends on the person caring, which unfortunately is a rare commodity). The natural argument may ultimately prove meritorious after years more research is done, but as an ex-attorney, I prefer making an argument I know I can win.
    They can't 'win' by using arguments that it's not natural to be a vegan either, can they, because plants actually do contain B12, and if they wouldn't we could still use our cultivating skills to produce non-synthetic B12 instead of weapons...


    Personally, I don't think arguments is really important for meat eaters. Most of them haven't even made a conscious decision to eat meat - they just do it, just like the children of the Brok-pa's - or our vegan kids - eat vegan food.

    We all do a lot of 'non-natural' things, like wearing socks or playing guitar, so nobody says that something is wrong if it's isn't growing on trees, really. I'm more concerned with the false statement that it going vegan 'can't be natural', because this view is normally based on misunderstandings about nutrients and human physique.

    If it's winter, the rivers are covered with snow & ice, and we don't have a body that allows us to swim after a fish and catch it, so - is it natural to eat fish or birds or a deer or a moose? Hunting needs a lot of effort and tools not originally provided by nature. And what the hunters hunt for are plants, already digested once by animals that don't eat animals.

    Back to B12, which this thread is about, one doesn't need rocket science to see that we would have gotten a lot more B12 from natural, non-animal sources if we would have lived a more natural lifestyle in a less corrupted environment. If someone ever can prove the opposite, which I find 99% unlikely, I'll go for a 'nothing-is-wrong-with-cultivating-nature' viewpoint.

    Growing B12 using natural bacteria is at least just as nature-friendly as eg. using fire. The meat eaters whoclaim that a vegan diet can't be natural (and who miss the real reasons why so many people are low in B12) seem to have no problems with using bicycles, electricity, internet or iPods, so it looks like the anti-natural thing is some kind of artificially produced argument by people who may lack real, valid, intelligent, good arguments pro eating animal products.

  40. #40

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    You said:

    "I'm more concerned with the false statement that it going vegan 'can't be natural', because this view is normally based on misunderstandings about nutrients and human physique"

    IF we are arguing this point, we can stop our argument. I agree 100% that being vegan can be natural if we live a primitive lifestyle where the bacteria is not washed so thoroughly off our produce where we get all the b-12 we need. I think a vegan diet can work really well from a natural standpoint, and I think the argument is 100% defendable. What I thought we were discussing was whether the vegan diet is the natural diet for humans, and that is not an argument I think we would win.

    So if we are saying that a vegan diet is natural, that's great, and we are in full agreement. IF we are saying only the vegan diet is natural, I think it's a losing argument.

    You also said:
    Interestingly enough, when I talk with meat eating friends about this, and say that the global B12 problem seem to come from environmental and life style issues, and not from nature as such, they seem to think that this makes sense. But of course, unlike you, they aren't manufacturing B12 supplements!

    I know you are partially kidding here, but the truth is I didn't have to add in the extra b-12 into my supplement. I could have left it as is. But, I thought it would be irresponsible to claim it has all the nutrients necessary when people need extra b-12. Despite reading through the studies you have posted, I remain convinced that everyone should be taking a reliable b-12 supplement (not a megadose, but a sufficient quantity). The second I am unconvinced of this stance, I would remove the extra B-12 from my product. I will always adjust our product to make sure it is the best it can be, and in accordance with the best current science.

  41. #41
    Gliondrach
    Guest

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    I believe that veganism was the diet of our very ancient ancestors - probably pre-human ones. They will have obtained enough B12 from the plants they ate - whether that was from inside the plants or the bacteria on them. Many soils are deficient or depleted in cobalt, so farmers have to give their animals cobalt supplements. This means that many meat eaters are, indirectly, taking supplements to ensure they get enough B12. A bit like vegans do.

    None of us leads a 'natural' life. The natural life for humans is in the tropics. We can only survive elsewhere, all year round, by having artificial covering, shelters and heat, and food brought from afar. It is only our intelligence that allows us to live outside the tropics. It is also our intelligence that allows us to have tablets or fortified foods with B12 in them. What's the difference between a meat eater, who needs boots, gloves and a hot water bottle to survive in Milwauke or Scunthorpe in January and a vegan who needs to take a tablet containing B12?

  42. #42
    peasant terrace max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near Skipton, UK
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote Gliondrach
    What's the difference between a meat eater, who needs boots, gloves and a hot water bottle to survive in Milwauke or Scunthorpe in January
    There's nothing intelligent about being in Scunthorpe in January.
    We are saved in the end by the things that ignore us. Andrew Harvey

  43. #43
    Gliondrach
    Guest

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    I was thinking that but didn't dare say it.

  44. #44
    Blueshark
    Guest

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    The bottom line is, Vegans need to take supplements for B12.

    Humans can adapt to many diets, a bit like rats in fact.

    I wonder what the 'natural' diet is for an eskimo.

    BTW I am assuming the moderators are adult enough to realise a secure vegan can talk like this

  45. #45
    JadedShade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lakewood, Colorado
    Posts
    4

    Exclamation Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote Melina View Post
    Hi all,
    I've recently gone vegan and find myself needing to explain my reasons to friends and family. One of the reasons which I give, is that it is natural. We do not have the canine teeth and claws to bring down animals and tear their flesh, like other carnivores. Cow milk is made for baby cows, not humans, and it is not natural to drink the milk of another animal. OK. So what about vitamin b12? I understand it is only found naturally in animal products. And we need it to be healthy. So how am I supposed to answer when someone asks me, "how natural is it, to take an artificially-made supplement?". How do they get the b12 into vitamin supplements? Where does that b12 come from? I am curious to hear what you have to say about this. I want my arguments to be strong and sound, yet I'm stuck on this issue. Thanks.
    The thing that I look at with the physical characteristics of humans isn't the lack claws or canines. It is the digestive system, omnivores and carnivores have very short digestive tracts, ours is very long exactly like a herbivore.
    Now the B12 issue, years ago there was a protein myth, now that this has been disproved we have the B12 issue.

    B12 comes from bacteria, it does not occur in animals naturally.

    Animals get their B12 from plant sources that have basically been contaminated with B12.
    B12 (also called coalmine due to its central cobalt atom) is a water-soluble vitamin with a very low recommended daily intake requirement, about 2-3 micrograms per day. That's MICROgrams, not milligrams. In addition to having extremely low intake requirements, Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, kidneys, and muscle tissue, and most B12 (65-75%) is reabsorbed by the body instead of excreted. A deficiency could take 20 years of inadequate intake to develop.

    An extremely small minority of people develop B12 deficiencies and very few of them are actually vegans.
    So how could anyone develop pernicious anaemia when B12 intake requirements are so low, and when the liver stores so much that it takes years for a deficiency to develop? The reason touted for the B12 myth is that B12 is found primarily in animal foods. Very few plant foods provide good sources of B12, they say. In a way that's true, but only because the source of B12 is not plants OR animals; neither manufacture their own B12.

    I personally do not believe that this is a huge health risk, as long as you are a healthy vegan (because we all know that there is such thing as an unhealthy vegan) eating a varied diet I believe that we can consume our B12 the same way animals do by eating plants.
    Obviously you cannot tell what plants have been contaminated by B12 even if you were to go a year without consuming any B12 you would not develop a deficiency.
    In humans, that bacteria doesn't necessarily come from plants -- the mouth, upper intestine, and lower intestine all contain bacteria that produce B12. However, it's unknown if enough B12 to meet the daily requirement comes from internal sources of B12. More likely, they produce some, and the rest comes in with food and water consumed

    I believe smokers are much more at risk from B12 deficiency than vegans as the cyanide in cigarettes destroys B12. So if someone you know smokes and they are telling you that you will develop a deficiency from being vegan, just them know that your B12 storage isn't being destroyed by cyanide.

  46. #46
    JadedShade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lakewood, Colorado
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote Blueshark View Post
    The bottom line is, Vegans need to take supplements for B12.

    Humans can adapt to many diets, a bit like rats in fact.

    I wonder what the 'natural' diet is for an eskimo.

    BTW I am assuming the moderators are adult enough to realise a secure vegan can talk like this
    To expound on that slightly, it might be a good idea to take a B12 supplement because we modern vegans eat a diet that is very low in bacteria because we wash everything so well in comparison with the days of old, not because we don't eat meat.

  47. #47
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Hi,

    here are some definition of the word 'natural' from various sources:

    • existing in or produced by nature; not artificial or imitation

    • (used especially of commodities) being unprocessed or manufactured using only simple or minimal processes

    • A substance that is derived from mineral, plant, or animal matter and does not undergo a synthetic process

    • Produced or existing in nature; not artificial or manufactured.

    • occurring in nature

    • about material: Material found in nature, such as wood, stone, gases, and clay.

    • Not altered, treated, or disguised

    • in accordance with nature

    • existing in nature or created by the forces of nature, in contrast to production by man; not made, manufactured, or processed by humans

    The definitions may come handy in to prevent misunderstandings in discussions about how natural the vegan diet is or when discussing if B12 occurs naturally outside the animal world....

  48. #48
    Vagetarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    In my opinion the most "natural" diet is the one that let's a person survive as long as possible in the environment where he/she lives with the resources of that environment. Survival is what is natural. In today's world, our environment in the affluent cultures allows for almost any food desireable, which allow us to make choices to have an extremely healthy diet. In my opinion which is based on mounting scientific evidence, a whole foods plant based diet with appropriate supplements as needed, appears to be the healthiest in terms of longevity and would therefore in most parts of the affluent world at this time be considered the most "natural".
    "Hey everybody, I made some Gazpacho"- Lisa Simpson
    "
    Go back to Russia"- Barney Gumble:D

  49. #49
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Quote Vagetarian View Post
    In my opinion the most "natural" diet is the one that let's a person survive as long as possible in the environment where he/she lives with the resources of that environment. Survival is what is natural. In today's world, our environment in the affluent cultures allows for almost any food desireable, which allow us to make choices to have an extremely healthy diet. In my opinion which is based on mounting scientific evidence, a whole foods plant based diet with appropriate supplements as needed, appears to be the healthiest in terms of longevity and would therefore in most parts of the affluent world at this time be considered the most "natural".
    If a new tribe is discovered in the rain forest, and one of it's members is brought to New York, and his immune system breaks down due to polluted air and water and food, I'd say that he and his body functions are having problems because they are still 'natural', and that New York's environment is unnatural.

    I don't think we can expect a natural body to adjust well to an unnatural environment: and one reason is that eg. B12 is missing in that environment due to pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chlorinated water and so on. If the environment is missing B12 and other nutrients, an natural human would have to compensate, possibly by using 'unnatural' methods.

    Survival is what is natural.
    It's normal to want to survive, and it's natural too want it too. But that's slightly different than saying that everything we do to survive is natural.

    If we are surrounded by unnatural environment, we'll be having problems if we would behave as if we would live in a natural environment. If you all of a sudden need to wear a gas mask, the impulse to put it on may be both natural and normal, but IMO that doesn't make a gas mask, or a chemical substance made to eliminate being harmed of another chemical substance, natural...

    There are dozens of chemical substances that kill B12, and people exposed to these may take synthetic (or other) B12 to compensate for that, but the synthetic B12 pill itself would still be synthetic, and not natural...

  50. #50
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    5,969

    Default Re: B12: How natural is the vegan diet?

    Another thought re. the 'naturalness' of killing other beings for food, is that it seems that humans have a natural negative/warning-kind-of association with blood. Not only does it seem that both kids and adults rather would pick an apple from a tree than kill a bird in the same tree, or a squirrel or fox, but even the word blood creates negative associations with most people: a local company that imports oranges changed the product name of 'blood orange' to 'red orange' last year, and now they sell 70% more red oranges!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

Similar Threads

  1. "The Natural Human Diet"
    By Korn in forum Human evolution and environmental issues
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Apr 6th, 2012, 09:46 AM
  2. Natural Health & Vegan Diet - eBooks
    By llvnodr in forum VEGAN HEALTH
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: May 2nd, 2009, 07:50 PM
  3. Vegan Natural Health News
    By Korn in forum Animal products and health risks
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Sep 21st, 2008, 09:35 AM
  4. B12: How natural is the vegan diet?
    By Melina in forum Vegans and B12
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: Jan 8th, 2007, 02:19 PM
  5. "All natural" vegan diet lacks B12?
    By Jdm1981 in forum Vegans and B12
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Sep 17th, 2006, 11:57 PM

Tags for this thread (If you see one or more tags below, click on them if you're looking for similar threads!)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •