The Meat Vitamin: B-12

The most important deficiency for the vegan is of vitamin B-12. By definition vitamin B-12 is essential to human life. It is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids, the maintenance of the myelin sheath (the insulation around nerves which when damaged causes Multiple Sclerosis); indeed its presence or deficiency affects nearly all body tissues, particularly those with rapidly dividing cells.

Without it we suffer from pernicious anemia that, as its name suggests, is deadly, and a degeneration of the nervous system.

Vitamin B-12 is unique among vitamins in that while it is found universally in foods of animal origin, where it is derived ultimately from bacteria, there is no active vitamin B-12 in anything that grows out of the ground. Where vitamin B-12 is found on plants it is there only fortuitously in bacterial contamination.

Bacteria in the human colon make prodigious amounts of vitamin B-12. Unfortunately, this is useless as it is not absorbed through the colon wall.

Dr. Sheila Callender (13) tells of treating vegans who had severe vitamin B-12 deficiency by making water extracts of their stools that she fed to them, thus affecting a cure. An Iranian vegan sect unwittingly also makes use of the fact that human stools contain vitamin B-12.

Investigators could not understand how members of this sect remained healthy until their investigations showed that they grew their vegetables in human manure - and then ate the vegetables without being too fussy about washing them first (14) .

To enable vegans to survive, vitamin B-12 is added artificially to breakfast cereals in Britain and may be bought in pill form. This is hardly a natural way to get food and in many cases it is self-defeating. Vitamin B-12 is also unlike all other vitamins in that it occurs as a number of analogues, only one of which, cyanocobalamin, is active for humans.

In collecting human stools for analysis Dr. Victor Herbert found that of each one hundred micrograms of vitamin B-12 extracted, only five micrograms was of the cyanocobalamin analogue (15). Thus even in this most prodigious source of the vitamin ninety-five percent was composed of analogues that were useless.

Several fermented products such as tempeh, a soy bean product, and spirulinas, used by strict vegans as a source of vitamin B-12, either do not contain appreciable amounts of the vitamin or contain analogues of the vitamin which are not active for humans (16).

Vitamin B-12 status was assessed in a group of 110 adults and 42 children from a macrobiotic community in New England. Over half of the adults had low concentrations of vitamin B-12. Children were short in stature and low in weight. The community relied on sea vegetables for the vitamin. However, the researchers say: " We could not show that individuals who reported more of these sea vegetables had increased vitamin B-12 status…"

"Similar null results were obtained with the other sea vegetables, tempeh, and miso, foods considered to contain significant amounts of vitamin B-12 by many individuals in the macrobiotic community.

On the other hand, it is possible that the vitamin B-12 measured in these sea vegetables has no biological activity for humans…only a small fraction of total corrinoids in Spirulina, a genus of blue-green algae contains cobalamin and that the remainder is in the form of analogues that are not biologically active for humans. In these cases the analogues can block metabolism by the body of the ones that are of use."

Dr Herbert suspects that vegans taking the spirulinas as a source of vitamin B-12 actually bring on the symptoms of deficiency quicker.

Yeast is also believed by vegetarians to contain vitamin B-12 - and it does. But even if the yeast is grown on a medium rich in vitamin B-12, unless some of the growing medium is mixed with the yeast, it is unlikely to contain the cyanocobalamin analogue that is the active form for humans.

The amount of vitamin B-12 we need is very small: about five micrograms per day.

Eating more than is needed results in a reserve being built up in the body. When a person becomes a vegan, those stores are depleted - but only gradually. Thus it is possible to live for several years on such a diet before the onset of symptoms of deficiency. In England a carefully conducted study (17) carried out on vegans showed that they all got vitamin B-12 deficiency eventually.

The first manifestation of vitamin B-12 deficiency is usually mental disturbances. These range from abnormal mood swings, mental slowness and memory problems, through hallucinations and depression to severe psychosis.

Physical symptoms include: rapid heartbeat, cardiac pain, facial swellings, jaundice, weakness and fatigue and loss of weight. While a dose of active vitamin B-12 given by injection can cure symptoms very quickly, there is a hidden danger.

A largely vegetable-based diet provides large quantities of folic acid, which works in conjunction with vitamin B-12. In a diet that contains folic acid but is devoid of vitamin B-12 the folic acid can disguise the vitamin’s deficiency. In such a case, irreparable damage to nerves and the spinal cord can take place such that by the time symptoms become apparent, death is inevitable.

B12 is not meat vitamin, it is generated by bacterias and is contained also in milk.
Vegan should eat foods fortified with B12 or additional B12 vitamins. It is recomended by any decent vegan information source.

Although B-12 is found in animal products, it is not a meat vitamin. It comes from bacteria found in the soil. Constant useage of pesticides throughout the years, has almost eliminated B-12 from the soil, so our once fortified fruits and vegetables now contain very little, if any, of this vitamin. Our sanity conditions have also sterilized, and eliminated B-12 from other foods.
B-12 helps to build DNA, our genetic material, and is important for rapidly reproducing cell, such as red blood cells. B-12 also protects the sheaths around nerve fibers. Along with the other B vitamins, B-12 helps convert food into energy so that it can be well utilized.
B-12 is essential in the vegan diet, and should be ingested in the form of supplements and/or fortified foods. B-12 is safe, so overdosing is not a factor.

Yes B12 is enormus important.
But also vegans and vegetarians has often low rates of b12.
This is very dangoures.

Some quots are in english but the rest of the page is in swedish, sorry.
I might find the “investigation”, “report” or “science result” what ever to call it later.

However, I havent heard anything about pesticides kills b12 producing bacterias so that the plant no longer contain b12. I find that imposible.
I dont think that active b12 is possible to find in any plants.
If pesticides causes b12 loss in plants, you should be able to find b12 in plants were not pesticide has been used. And that is something that is total new for me. So please cowpie, could you send a link or a sourze were you read this ?

And one more thing. I know for certain that there is b12 producing bacterias in places were pesticides have been used, is it one specific kind of pesticide ?

Regards Bybo

The last 2 times I took B-12 supplements, I ended up bugsy like I’d eaten non-vegan. :albino:

Perhaps it was from an animal source. What is cyanocobalamin? cyanic acid formed cobalt? Eat more cyanics (almonds)? Moving into a vegan diet in the wilds, we start ingesting old, usually friendly, organisms we’ve been separated from for a long time, perhaps, and will perhaps soon make our own Vit C, Vit D, B-12, etcs. A yeast I picked up, for example, doesn’t bite me unless I’ve ingested non-vegan , or am around someone who has (sober) Beer and a vegan alli…more protein? B-12? Vit C? Vit D? Eat wild grass, herbs, shrooms. peace. Not even sure the yeast is there anymore. I think another myco ate it. Its an alli of a cleanser herb we use. It bites quietly and leaves a small blood spot on the skin that looks like the herb’s bark in places. Then it takes over that area, and goes away. New skin? No scar. The skin seems to glow like the dried bark. I wonder if it makes B-12? I know it facilitates the production of vit D. Vit C?

I get draggy and anemic feeling around carnivores at times, but when I’m away from them, I feel fine. I ate a small bit of chicken (1/4"?) once to study a question, and I became lively, in a usually blues, draggy sit, but I do not think because of any appreciable B-12 in the question. I tend to see it as a connection with that battery post, so to speak, which is resistance otherwise, especially in dominance. I ended up drinking on the sit, so as a treatment, I’m not sure, expecially vegan, as we consider the doctor who might advise such. A vegan might get sick if you feed him carnivore, doctor in the emergency room, etc. You might best assume they are vegan, and I doubt the vegan gene would complain. A place of healing.
I had a dream about George Harrison the night before I heard he died. I had been wondering about his brain cancer. He was quite real in the dream (whereas a dream of Waylon was more a cowboy picture). He seemed to relate an influx of will. The negative gets hot. Amp creates resistance. The metabolism gets blocked…?!?
Jethro Kloss didn’t even know B-12 existed, and lived to 84, vegan.

Good news! Was a bit concerned by this post (and my mother’s been freaking out that I’m going to die at any moment…) So I checked the label, and that dear old vegetarian mainstay Marmite contains B-12. Quite a bit of it too! Hurrah! :smiley: And a whole host of other B vitamins for good measure! My pharmacist first recommended eating it years ago as an acne cure, and I’m hooked…

The vitamin B-complex profile of AFA is very high, especially vitamins B2, B6 and B12. One gram of wild blue-green algae supplies more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells. It helps them to develop to a point where protein, folic acid, iron and vitamin C can mature properly and thus carry more oxygen to the cells. A deficiency of B12 may cause pernicious anemia. Restricted diets and poor absorption can cause a B12 deficiency. AFA has the highest active vegetable source of vitamin B12, in a form that is totally usable by the body. AFA algae have 65 times the B12 content of kelp, and almost 700 times more B12 than alfalfa. The B vitamins within AFA algae are of such high quality that they can boost the body’s energy level, endurance and stamina. B vitamins convert carbohydrates into glucose, which the body can then utilize to produce energy. The ability of blue-green algae to efficiently transfer glucose into energy (via the B vitamins) may represent its more important health contribution.

Gillian, McKeith, Ph.D. Miracle Superfood: Wild Blue-Green Algae. Keats Good Health Guide: Medicine for the 21st Century. Los Angeles: Keats Publishing, 1999.

This is not a problem. I take a multivitamin daily that contains 18 mcg of B12, or 300% of the recommended daily value.

I won’t eat meat just to get B12. That is a totally absurd notion to foist upon people, that they MUST eat meat or die.

I must admit that I didn’t read the entire post because it was waaaay too long, and I can guess that it went something like this

“You shouldn’t be a vegan because B-12 is only found in meat.”

This is a very, VERY sad argument. Studies have shown that vegans and vegetarians have adequate levels of B-12 in their bloodstreams, suggesting that the vitamin stays around for a long time. Even so, ALL veg*ns know to take a supplement or eat foods fortified with B-12.

Question: Where does the cow get it’s B-12?

The lack of B-12 in vegan food is not the fault of the vegan lifestyle or diet; it is the fault of the agriculture corporations and chemical companies. Humans would naturally get B-12 in rinsed vegetables. Trace amounts of dirt still cling to fresh-picked, water-washed foods. We injest it, along with the bacteria normally found in soil, et voila, we get B-12. The problem came with chemicals: dumping toxins into our soil and antibiotics into our “livestock” has destroyed the balance of our soil. Our soils are DEAD. By “disinfecting” everything we come into contact with, we’ve destroyed our land and created superbugs.

First the protein myth got thoroughly debunked, so the ignorant fools moved onto B-12, not realising the culpability lies at THEIR feet, not at the feet of veganism. Next what will it be? Veganism causes superbugs? Veganism causes BSE? Give me an effing break.

TwyztdVallcyrie has hit it dead on!
This just amounts to a call for action on agriculture and its practices.
Vegan, organic, permaculture is the way to go. This often quite sterile, mass produced, processed food society many of us live in is problematic in terms of many essential minerals and vitamins.

It’s from these dastardly myopic arguments that we don’t address the bigger issues. Instead of ‘whether or not we are meant to eat meat’, the question should be ‘can the earth sustain our eating meat in the foresseable future’? For some reason, people are so concerned with the epistemological diet of the human (as though there is a point in which we became ‘human’ that wasn’t through a slow evolutionary process) that instead of recognizing our incredible ability to adapt to our enivornment, we are concerned with what our ancestors did. Even if we are concerned with said study as the OP discussed, we could turn to southwestern Asia, where vegans have existed for thousands of years. And guess what? Their B12 levels are almost compatible with meat-eating Americans/Britans/etc. We evolve. Evolve or perish.