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b12 Controversy Unveiled For Vegans And "Meat-Eaters Alike"

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    • Hi Eric,

      You jogged my memory with that 3-part Dr. Greger video series covering B12 and the essential fatty acids!  I saw those some time ago and enjoyed his exploration of these topics.

      I don't wish to get too in depth in our discussions about B12 at this juncture as supplements are a topic covered in one of the modules the last class, TCC503.  However, we can lay some ground work for those discussions.  Have you read Dr. Campbell's article, “B12 Breakthrough - Missing Nutrient Found in Plants” where he discusses the idea of plants possibly containing B12?  Here is a link:

      http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/b12-breakthrough-missing-nutrient-found-in-plants/

      Following is an excerpt regarding some of Dr. Campbell's thoughts on vitamin
      B12 along these lines (The China Study, p. 232):

      "Vitamin B12 is made by microorganisms found in the soil and by microorganisms in the intestines of animals, including our own. The amount made in our intestines is not adequately absorbed, so it is recommended that we consume B12 in food. Research has convincingly shown that plants grown in healthy soil that has a good concentration of vitamin B12 will readily absorb this nutrient.(10) However, plants grown in “lifeless” soil (non-organic soil) may be deficient in vitamin B12. In the United States, most of our agriculture takes place on relatively lifeless soil, decimated from years of unnatural pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use. So the plants grown in this soil and sold in our supermarkets lack B12. In addition, we live in such a sanitized world that we rarely come into direct contact with the soil- borne microorganisms that produce B12. At one point in our history, we got B12 from vegetables that hadn’t been scoured of all soil. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that modern Americans who eat highly cleansed plant products and no animal products are unlikely to get enough vitamin B12."
       

      EarthManEric's Earth Man at Cornell University Plant Based Nutri album on Photobucket
       

       

      Dr. Campbell calls the vitamain B12 supplement (and D) separation from nature pills.  We did use to consume B12 by default (and we got more sun).  We may still do if we pull a carrot out of our own organic garden without washing it.  But I wouldn't advise this for veggies from unknown sources! 

      Our bodies store B12, so in the absence of its intake, it would take some time to become deficient.  However, the issue of B12 deficiency is a consideration for the seriousness of its potential health consequences. 

      Dr. Campbell writes in The China Study (p. 232):

      “If you do not eat any animal products for three years or more, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a small B12 supplement on occasion, or going to the doctor annually to check your blood levels of B vitamins and homocysteine.”

      A person may have their B12 and homocysteine level measured with a simple blood test (here is the US, in many states, this test can be ordered directly by the consumer).  There are several websites offering this service, for example:

      B12:

       http://www.privatemdlabs.com/lab_tests.php?view=search_results&show=757&category=24&search=b12#757

      Homocyseine: 

       : http://www.privatemdlabs.com/lab_tests.php?view=search_results&show=11&category=2&search=homocysteine#11

      As I mentioned, the topic of supplementation is covered in TCC503, so stay tuned!


       

      Hello Eric, 

       

      Have you read Could It Be B12? : An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses by Sally M. Pacholok and Jeffrey J. Stuart (2005, Paperback) 

       

      When I realized I had a severe B12 deficiency the book proved to be a phenomenal resource. 

       

      (Synopsis

      A silent crippler stalks millions of North Americans. It afflicts one person with tremors, makes another depressed or psychotic, and causes agonizing leg pains or paralysis in still another. It can mimic Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, early Parkinson's disease, diabetic neuropathy, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It can make men or women infertile or cause development disabilities in their children. The disorder is vitamin B12 deficiency. This isn't a new or fad disease. You'll find it listed in the textbooks of any first-year medical student. Yet it may be the most misdiagnosed disease and, when this occurs, the consequences can be tragic.)

       

      One idea about B12 deficiency that makes a lot of sense to me is this: First, B12 is often offered in a sublingual delivery method because it is well absorbed. Now add that people only began brushing their teeth so diligently in relatively very recent history. We know that bacteria build up in the mouth when left to nature and B12 is a bacterium. So, it has been suggested that the prolific cleaning of our oral cavities is a huge contributor to, if not a major cause of, B12 deficiency.

       

      Now, I am not suggesting that we stop brushing our teeth nor would I do so myself. Teeth are meant to last a life time and we are living much longer. I just think it is a very interesting point and worth strongly considering. There may be information out there; I have not delved into researching it. It would be interesting to know where the highest and lowest rates of B12 deficiency have been found in the world and if there is a correlation to B12 sufficiency in populations who do not brush their teeth.

       

      What do you (all) think?

       

       


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