Here we go again:
Myth: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources.
: Of all the myths, this is perhaps the most dangerous. Vegans who do not supplement their diet with vitamin B12 will eventually get anemia (a fatal condition) as well as severe nervous and digestive system damage (6). Claims are made that B12 is present in certain algae, tempeh (a fermented soy product) and brewer's yeast. All of them are false.
: Like the niacin in corn, the B12 analogues present in algae and tempeh are not bioavailable. We know this because studies done on people's blood levels of B12 remained the same after they ate spirulina and tempeh; there was no change, clearly indicating no absorption by the body (7). Further, the ingestion of too much soy increases the body's need for B12 (8). Brewer's yeast does not contain B12 naturally; it is always fortified from an outside source.
: Some vegetarian authorities claim that B12 is produced by certain fermenting bacteria in the intestines. This may be true, but it is in a form unusable by the body. B12 requires intrinsic factor from the stomach for proper absorption in the ileum. Since the bacterial product does not have intrinsic factor bound to it, it cannot be absorbed (9).
: It is true that vegans living in certain parts of India do not suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This has led some to conclude that plant foods do provide this vitamin. This conclusion, however, is erroneous as many small insects, their eggs, larvae and/or residue, are left on the plant foods these people consume, due to non-use of pesticides and inefficient cleaning methods. This is how these people obtain their vitamin B12. This contention is borne out by the fact that when Indian Hindus migrated to England, they came down with pernicious anemia within a few years. In England, the food supply is cleaner, and insect residues are completely removed from plant foods (10).
: The only reliable and absorbable sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, especially organ meats and eggs (11). Though present in lesser amounts, milk products do contain B12. Vegans, therefore, should consider adding dairy products into their diets. If dairy cannot be tolerated, eggs, preferably from free-run hens, are a virtual necessity.
: That vitamin B12 can only be obtained from animal products is one of the strongest arguments against veganism being a "normal" way of human eating. Today, vegans can avoid anemia by taking supplemental vitamins or fortified foods. If those same people had lived just a few decades ago, when these products were unavailable, they would have died.
: In my own practice, I recently saved two vegans from death from anemia by convincing them to eat generous amounts of dairy products. Both of these sickly gentlemen thought their B12 needs were being met by tempeh and spirulina. They weren't.
Pernicious anemia results from a deficiency of vitamin B12, usually caused by a defect in the absorption of B12 in the intestine.
It is a widely held belief that vitamin B12 can be obtained from mushrooms, tempeh, miso and spirulina but this is not true. Vitamin B12 in a form that can be absorbed by humans is [only found in foods of animal origin].
Because vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, vegans (strict vegetarians) are at risk of low B12 levels and anemia.
I am not against eating my vegetables Larry but I am concerned about not getting the right nutrients in the right amount absorbed and utilized for my body's health and well being. Apparently vegetarians lack of knowledge in this area has caused untold harm to millions of people, putting not only themselves at risk but also unwittingly putting the lives of their children and even their unborn at risk too.
Small Amounts of Animal Products Not Enough to Restore Optimal B12 Status
van Dusseldorp et al.102 (1999, Netherlands) investigated whether moderate consumption of animal products is sufficient for achieving normal B12 function in 73 adolescents (in good health) who had received a macrobiotic diet until 6 years of age and had then switched to a LOV or omnivorous diet. 94 nonvegetarian (NV) adolescents from birth were used as a reference. In macrobiotics, dairy products supplied on average 0.95 g B12/day.
Additionally, they consumed fish, meat, or chicken 2-3 times/week. Serum B12 was significantly lower and MMA, folate, and MCV were significantly higher in macrobiotics. Of macrobiotics, 21% had abnormal MMA levels, 10% had abnormal total homocysteine, and 15% had abnormal MCV (> 89 fl). Authors concluded that a substantial number of the formerly strict macrobiotic adolescents still had impaired B12 function.
Thus, moderate consumption of animal products is not sufficient for restoring normal B12 status in adolescents with inadequate B12 intake during the early years of life. They might need B12 intakes higher than recommended to obtain normal B12 status.
Even if you are eating Dairy products while your only other food comsumption is plant based foods be advised that you still may NOT be getting the required B12 that you need. More like be WARNED!
Vegetarians tale of B12 deficiency:
Normal level of B12 is apparently 160, problems start around 140. Tiredness numbness in tips of the limbs, hazy outlook on everything and a regular fainting feeling etc. I knew something was wrong. I had pernicious anemia. Not something to be enjoyed. I ended up requiring a round of B12 injections for a few weeks and some recovery time off from work. My levels shot up to 1100 and I broke out into a mass of acne. Within 8 weeks they were back down to 165. There is now concern my digestive system has been damaged.
Just be careful with your diet. Get tested to make sure, better to ensure you're safe than dying. Regardless to the fact I had no idea about B12, I ate tofu and tempeh weekly and became ill.
I would hate for you to wake up and realize that you're in a hospital somewhere with an irreversible and/or fatal neurological disorder or other condition that could have been prevented if your mind hadn't been blinded to the truth Larry. I care for you too much to not say anything to you and in a way would feel responsible if I didn't say anything. And I hope you wake up, smell the roses and once again face the facts, ie., reality.