Vitamin B12

Hi there,

The levels of B12 and iron in my blood are currently low. I was quite shocked by some of the ingredients in the iron tablets I was prescribed by my GP which included liquid paraffin, sodium laurel sulphate and gelatin. I decided not to get those! I was also prescribed 6 injections of artificially created vitamin B12 over 2 weeks, which seems a bit extreme and also decided against that suggestion! What a strange health system...

I am looking for alternatives and did find some supplements in the local health food shop that feel much kinder. They are developed from bacteria rather than artificially created. One is in a spray form so it can enter the bloodstream more efficiently. I am aware that B12 can be an issue for vegans and particularly those following a mainly raw diet. I have previously not taken yeast to avoid candida, though I might try adding some yeast to my morning smoothie. I know that Open recommends not overly washing organic veg as some of the vitamin may remain in the soil.

I wonder if anyone has any further thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks, Fiona

PS. I also acknowledge the opportunity to explore what might be causing an imbalance in the first place!

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Comments

Hi Fiona,

This is an excellent question. Thank you for sharing.

It's a bit of a complex issue but the first thing that comes to mind is that our ability to absorb nutrients makes a huge difference to what we nutrients we actually assimilate within. So, even if a person gets lots of iron or B12 in their diet (whether from meat or plant sources), it doesn't mean that they will actually absorb it.

Vitamin C is said to help absorb iron, whereas phytates (found in dairy & some grains) and tannic acid (found in tea & almond skins) are supposed to inhibit iron absorbtion. So, people who eat all sorts of diets end up deficient in nutrients of all sorts.

When I was pregnant (as a vegan), my iron levels were really high. I made sure I ate lots of iron rich plant foods and naturally consumed a lot of vitamin C, which seemed to help. Many years later, when I first moved to Glastonbury, I overdosed on iron when I drank too much iron-rich water from the Chalice Well!

Getting B12
I would recommend taking a high quality B12 supplement to anyone on a vegan diet anyway, since our foods are often far too clean and removed from nature to rely on getting it from soil organisms. You have to be really committed to eating naturally from the earth to do this. Perhaps, if we were still natural foragers, we'd take in the microscopic insects whilst foraging our fruits and plant foods - yet that way of living isn't really happening for most people, so it's best to supplement B12. It feels to me as if humans have been seriously de-natured a long the way, so we need to take steps to re-balance things as naturally as we can. We don't need a lot of B12, but no B12 at all is not good news.

You can read more about B12 here: http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/b12.aspx

Why are you thinking about adding yeast to your diet? I know sometimes nutritional yeast is fortified with B12, but I think you'd be better off taking a good quality supplement to be honest. If you are sensitive to yeast it might not do your absorption ability much good.

Not sure if I've quite answered your question, but perhaps opened up the space for further discussion.

with love
Trinity

Thanks for the useful reply Trinity.

That's a very informative article, I had briefly read it previously, it was good to look back on it again more thoroughly. This statement particularly caught my attention - "If for any reason you choose not to use fortified foods or supplements you should recognise that you are carrying out a dangerous experiment." and "B12 need never be a problem for well informed vegans"

You are right about absorption playing such an important role and I have been paying more attention as I eat recently. As well as vitamin c and other nutrients, I think that non-physical factors may have a role to play. I am aware that I sometimes over eat or eat too quickly or pay too little attention while eating and suspect that this may have a negative impact on how effective my digestion might be.

I had overlooked that the B12 in yeast was fortified, that's useful to be reminded of - thanks. I think I will find other sources.

Interestingly when I went to the herbal shop, the guy I spoke too had recently completed a paper on B12 (I love the synchronicity). He was able to tell me that there were two main types of b12 and that methylcobalamin is the one that is far more beneficial for us. He suggested a spray form for higher absorption rates and also informed me that you could wear a patch on your arm as a method of intake.

He also spoke about absorption and vitamin C. He suggested the use of lemon with food, I'm now curious if this has to do with the vitamin c or acid or something else.

It's been really helpful to explore here, hoepfully it will be useful for others too, thanks, love Fiona

It's a really important subject Fiona so I am glad you raised it.
Please do let me know how you get on. Insight and experience can be invaluable for people. It's prompted me to make more of a point of it too.
Love
Trinity
x

Thanks Trinity,

I can't believe I have overlooked the B12 issue for so long! It is my desire to live as pure a life as I can and in our modern society it feels like I make many compromises (or conscious choices). I guess taking supplements feels like another compromise though sometimes necessary, since as you say most of us are "de-natured" nowadays and don't get our B12 like our ancestors would have.

Luckily unlike iron you can't overdose on vitamin B12 as one of the supplements has 48,000% of the daily EC recommended daily allowance :) That should be plenty - lol :)

Love, Fiona

Im dealing with this topic at the moment too

I couldn't find much on the b12 shot a Dr prescribed me recently, but feeling i really needed to do something and being exhausted, i just went ahead and got the first shot done last week.

Driving to the appointment to get the injection, i was thinking how unnatural it was that my "natural" diet required I need a doctor to inject fluid into my muscle for it to keep me healthy .... when the alternative was to you know, just eat an egg, or cheese, or something..

And then I started thinking about the embodied energy and unnaturalness involved in making those iron fortified foods and vitamins etc, versus a visit the local biodynamic farm up the road and getting some of their natural cheeses from their super loved happy cows..

this is a tricky one ..

Hi Amber,

Your post makes me ask 'what exactly is a happy cow?'. There is a human presumption that cows are designed for us to use (even if they seem happy).

Here's another perspective as I empathise with cows...

Let's role reverse a minute to empathise with the situation. So you are born into captivity on a 'happy' farm. You spend your young life picking cotton as a happy slave, yet your role later on will change. Your owners are kind. They feed you nice food and aren't cruel. As soon as you are old enough you have a baby. You start lactating... just enough for your own baby at first. Yet, your owner wants milk for themselves too, so that they can sell on... so every day they start milking your breasts. You produce more milk than you naturally would and your breast swell to an uncomfortable size - but that's fine, because they are relieved and milked daily.

How would that make you feel?

If it's not right for women, then how can it be right for female cows? Cows are living sentient beings too. I have communicated and connected with them and felt their pain. Even on a happy farm, then are still beholden to the will of human beings. They still have their babies and children taken from them. They are still slaughtered. They are still milked. We are the only species on the whole planet who takes milk from another species. Nature designed milk for babies and infants of the same species.

I wonder how this is any more natural than B12 created synthetically? To me, taking B12 is mimicing a process that was stolen and lost from human beings when we started eating meat. When we defied nature. Sentient life sort of adapts to change, but it doesn't necessarily mean evolution - sometimes it means devolution. It is thought that since humans started eating animals the body adapted and no longer needed to produce it's own B12 (like all other vegan animals do). I am not convinced that the modern human is natural. We appear to have been hybridised and dumbed down.

I feels so unfortunate that we struggle to find our way back to what is natural and right. Perhaps it is so challenging because we are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole; maybe because humans were never really meant to be here.

Yes indeed, a tricky one.

with love
Trinity

I found a interesting article on B12 on Happycow.net here with interesting food for thought:

B12 is an essential water soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Basically, not getting enough B12 can get you into some deep doo doo (literally, you’ll understand later). However, B12 is absorbed in extremely minuscule amounts with required daily rations of less than one ounce. Also, the body holds reserves that can supply itself with enough B12 for years depending on the amount normally consumed.

B12 is found naturally in manure fertilized soil and synthesized via bacteria which are present in the intestines of animals- yummy ay? However, animals themselves are not capable of synthesizing the vitamin, only the bacteria contain the enzymes capable of breaking it down. Meaning that in order for humans to properly acquire an adequate amount of B12 they must either obtain it from animal sources, fortified foods or multi-vitamins.

While B12 is found in some plant sources including soy, it is highly debated whether or not a reliable source of B12 can be obtained directly through these plants as the traces of it are said to not be effectively absorbed directly due to a lack of the bacterial synthesization process (found in humans). Some alternative sources for Vegans include: Nutritional yeast, flax seed and other fortified foods or multi-vitamins. Basically, animal eats plant and absorbs and breaks down B12 via bacteria which is found in the soil, fertilized by animal manure and (some) people eat animal and absorb already synthesized B12.

Often the above conclusions lead some to a single one: That eating animal products is “natural” to the human diet. However, the evidence surrounding this statement is equally as conflicting as the nature of the absorption of vitamin B12 and the unique progression of the human digestive system as it has evolved over time . So where does this leave those who choose to abstain from the consumption of animal products due to ethics, health, sustainability or any other reason? And is B12 an adequate “proof qualifier” that humans are designed to eat meat? Let's explore some options.

B12 in the ground

Vitamin B12 was originally absorbed directly through plant sources and for some reason human digestive tracts developed the inability to do this and instead the absorption only became possible via the bacteria found in animals. This means that at some point, our bodies either ceased to carry this bacterium, we never carried it at all and had a method of synthesizing B12 on our own or animals themselves developed this process. Perhaps this strange inconsistency (being that animals only carry the bacteria to synthesize B12) could be due to the introduction of meat into the diet seeing as humans were said to most likely originally be futilitarians and scavengers (consuming “left over” animal parts when they could). Often, as is evident in the obsolete nature of certain dormant organs such as the appendix, the body will intelligently re-design some of its mechanisms in order to adapt and refine itself for efficiency. If it was no longer or never necessary to carry a bacterium in order to synthesize B12 due to the consumption of animals, it is logical to assume that this could be a potential reason why we no longer or never carried it.

Although B12 is indeed absorbed through animal sources, it must be stressed that natural sources of B12 are found in soil fertilized by animals, animals that were here on Earth fertilizing soil long before us. Thus, giving them ample time to perfect the craft of B12 synthesization and leading to a common sense line of reasoning that animals were probably not the original source of the bacteria or B12, they instead became one over time which goes in accordance with the laws of evolution.

So how does this change the idea that eating animals is “natural” to the human diet and body? Currently there exists hardly enough evidence to support this claim, rather a large body of research that tells us a familiar story about human biology and our relationship to the environment. The fact that B12 is only synthesized through bacteria found in animals when taken apart and examined piece by piece seems irrelevant in the face of the true matter: There is no predetermined “natural order” of the Earth, some animals eat other animals, some don’t, some people eat other people, some just don’t eat at all. If we are to solely use nature as a guide for how we live our lives in the modern human world then it will not only leave us confused but also allow for unending contradictions as there are exist multiple natural occurrences in the animal kingdom which our human morality and consciousness may find abhorrent: Such as rape, murder, cannibalism and incest. This is a fact that has been stressed in a multitude of ways, however, it is important to highlight when such examples ( as the natural consumption processes of B12) are used normally just to suit one facet of an opinion or claim.

If there is a way to absorb B12 without eating animals and if B12 and said animals ancestors populated the Earth before we could even sprout a word, it seems illogical to automatically lead to the simple conclusion that animals are natural for us to consume . More likely so, soil is natural for us to eat as we have been ingesting its products on a more consistent basis before we could develop the tools to hunt. We have been ingesting the fruits of the soil long before we started eating the animals which we now eat at a vast percentage more. Today, we justify justifying this mass consumption by using a vitamin as a main point of argument.

While we may have scavenged and stumbled upon the occasional animal carcass in our early evolution, the point is that B12 is in the soil of which the carcass and all carcasses, even ours eventually become a part of. Meaning that when we process B12 we are getting it from the soil of which not only the animals we eat have discentigrated but also other animals which we would never eat such as dogs and even dinosaurs. Therefore, we can conclude that if eating animals is natural because we absorb B12 only from their manure, we must also adhere to the claim that it is natural to eat all of those other animals as well, even including HUMANS since our own manure will produce B12. Obviously, the nature of well-NATURE is that it is dynamic and often void of one dimensional explanations.

Historically and for most animals on Earth they have eaten what they could find and hunt. For humans, unfortunately, the Earth is our buffet which can lend itself to many hardened responses concerning vegan or vegetarianism. While we may have an overage in choices today, that was not the case for most of our past, we may not have had a choice but to eat animals in order to gain access to B12 in the past. Lacking a choice at one point may explain why we started eating meat in the first place but it does not entirely explain the intrinsic laws of nature as being set in stone. We have a hard enough time doing that with a meteorologist and high definition television.
Original article source:
http://www.happycow.net/health-vitamins-B12.html

That's a very interesting article Trinity. How ironic is the suggestion that the reason we no longer produce our own source of B12 is due to the introduction of meat into the diet!

Hi Amber, a tricky one indeed, thanks for sharing. For me the bacteria based supplements from the herbalist/health food store felt like a better option than the artificially produced B12 they put in the injections. On the positive side the only other ingredients in the injection were salt and water (compared to the extra ingredients in some of the other more medical supplements I explored!) The injection is usually hydroxocobalamin (if you are in the UK at least), from what I understand this is a combination of cyanocobalamin (not so easily absorbed and less beneficial for humans) and methylcobalamin (best type). You can request an injection of the latter if you feel inclined. Best wishes with the exploration.

Love, Fiona

thanks Trinity for the info, i will read it thoroughly tomorrow as its time for sleep but my immediate response to what exactly is a happy Cow was

"The ones I met on the farm". These cows were like love in the form of cow, i live surrounded by cows in neighbouring farms but these cows I met are like a completely different creature. It was like they glowed with the love they received from their people, i was struck by them. They seemed pretty darn happy to me and my friend. There's only three of them if I could remember. And no they don't sell the cheese to make a profit, just for home use..

those cows, plus the b12 issue have got me considering that maybe some animals actually do want to be in relationship with humans in this way. I will continue to look into it..

Im also wondering now if domesticating a pet is much different, where it is not able to self actualise because we have interfered, sterilising them, removing them from their natural environments and then holding them in captivity etc... At least a cow has a new role and isn't just left dependent and in limbo, like many pets are.

Will mull it over tomorrow :)

heya fiona

Thanks for the info, the injection i had was hydroxocobalamin chloride, i will look into simple methylcobalamin injections also.

Kind Regards

:) amber

Hi Amber,

I think you raise an interesting point about domesticated animals. I sometimes contemplate the rightness of this too, particularly when I see dogs being led on leads or owners trying to get them to behave in a particular way, sometimes shouting at them. I do acknowledge that pets such as cats and dogs can bring much love and healing to people too.

I know of a dog whose first litter of puppies were taken away once they were old enough. When the dog had her second litter, she more-or-less abandoned them and seemed to me to be depressed. Such heart-breaking examples do make me question the keeping of pets.

I'd be interested in hearing the views of others.

Love, Fiona

Hi Fiona,

'Pets'.... interesting one ay!

When our dear rabbit friend bounced into our life off the streets, we offered him a space as a 'friend'. We never felt as we 'owned' him. He knew his stuff... he free run all over the house (and clearly was afraid of being outside) until he passed away. Then I felt a calling to offer a loving home to little Ilana, our little kitten friend. Not as a pet, but just to share our space with a fellow sentient being who needed a home. She's very self-determining and knows what works for her. I don't always get everything right, but I can't see her as a pet. She's a fellow walking along the path with me. I am aware that my approach is rather different to a lot of people though...

Love
Trinity

Hi Trinity,

I know how much Bree and Ilana are loved and respected and how they feel like part of the family and share much joy. I am aware of times when animals have helped to heal. The examples I referred to previously where at the other end of the spectrum, where there didn't seem to be much respect or awareness for the animals. "Pets" seems to be another example of feeling what is right in each situation, living with awareness and making conscious choices.

Love, Fiona

I was led to look at Ayurvedic practice some time ago. It makes sense to me. I daily use a sludgy-looking stuff called Amrit, suggested to me by an Ayurvedic alternative health store. Amazing stuff! I order it on-line. Also Ambertose, put out by Mannatech Company. It is also amazing and works at the cellular level. Also order on-line. I take no other supplements and attribute a vegan diet plus these two products as the reason I no longer suffer from migraines (2+ years migraine-free), no longer need the one medication I have taken for decades, and never get sick, not even a cold. Ayurvedic and ambertose work for me and for my family. Ascension seems to have led the way...I attribute all of this to this amazing time we are in. We cannot do much about the terrible state of the planet, but it seems that as we continue to ascend, the physical body does as well.

Dont know if it was mentioned already...

Spirulina, chlorella but I would suggest blue green algae more specificly tachyonized blue green but I will let you be the judge of that... do a google search or if anyone is interested I can post some links...

Ahhh - you should have said. I am a fan of Gabriel Cousins and agree with a lot of what he brings forwards. I went to a seminar he did once on Maui too.
This is the B12 thread, so I'd presumed you were saying that it is a source of B12... oooops.
I used to take something like this years ago for a while in smoothies. Amazing stuff. Now I prefer to include stuff like nettles fresh in my cuisine instead.

Thats wonderful, I really think he is doing brilliant work! I cant wait to visit the tree of life one of these days... :)

I was implying that blue green algae is a source of B12...

"KLA has about seven times more human active B12 per gram compared to spirulina. The KLA human active B12 amount in one gram equals the daily B12 needed for people. Spirulina is the second most concentrated vegetarian B12 source on the planet and has 250% more than an equal weight of liver and has 14 times the daily B12 needed in 100 grams. No vegetarian has to ever worry about not getting enough B12 in their diet if they are taking KLA."

http://www.planet-tachyon.com/en-us/library/tachyonarticles/superbrainr…

Nice, also wanted to let you know we are very much enjoying your cookbook as well! : )