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Group Organizer
Oak Brook, IL
Post #: 312
While I am a big proponent of eating naturally balanced food as opposed to use of any kind of supplements I am not an expert in this area. So, when I recently had a conversation with one of our members after Nature Walk at Busse Woods (­) regarding the topic, I felt that I'd like to share it with other members. This is what I was told:

The b12 tests are not that accurate. People with normal or sub-normal values can be very low. As people age, they become less able to absorb it as well. The more accurate shillings test isn't used anymore. In health issues, life rewards people who address them immediately. Low values are about 400 low-1200 high (old values that are still used are 200-900 picograms/mL). At 500 most people show symptoms like brain fog, or stumbling on simple problems, premature whitening of hair.
B12 lozenges cost almost nothing. They are produced from a natural process of fermented bacteria, not from chemicals or pharmaceuticals. Make sure to take them. Good doctors are informed on this, but most don't take it seriously or spent very little time in med school, and therefore overlook potential problems. Before western medicine discovered and manufactured the vitamin, hundreds of thousands of people died all over the world because they weren't able to get enough from food.

I invite everyone to input or comment on this topic.

Oak Park, IL
Post #: 167
oh darn - Meetup ate my reply to this. :) Boo meetup! I'll try to rephrase it.

I haven't heard of those deficiencies symptoms for B12 before. B12 "deficiency" can mimic anemia in a way which us vegs are more prone to have iron deficiencies.

About a year ago, I read that it actually takes 20 years for a veg to develop a B12 deficiency (if they get one at all) - BUT this means being a vegan as if you are a dairy eating veg than you are still getting B12 from dairy products. I can't remember where I read this (I have too many bookmarks to find it!lol) but this article I just found also goes into depth on B12 - including some stuff I did not know. The lady who wrote it has been a vegetarian for 20 years and a vegan for 10 and hasn't had any B12 symptoms - I found this personally interesting because I have been a vegetarian for 21 years but only a vegan for 6 - I haven't had any of the B12 "symptoms" listed by the friend you talked to or any of the other ones can you often find online.

I will say that I personally think that many deficiencies overlap each other and one can be in connection with the other. For example, your friend listed premature whitening of hair - well, that is a copper deficiency (this can also go along with iron deficiency which we vegs are more likely to get) very often (unless you are genetic predisposed to it than there isn't too much you can do about it if you are getting sufficient copper and iron). I would check my copper levels first personally and iron (fyi, vegs need more iron than than the RDA gives - which is based on meat eaters. here is one article on that - I personally changed my iron intake after reading this and the iron deficiencies "symptoms" I had prior actually finally corrected themself - plant iron isn't absorbed into the body as well as meat iron which is why we need more than the rda) Some raw foodists swear by wheatgrass for turning hair back to the original color btw! :)

I will agree with your friend that I do not think many tests are that accurate. I personally haven't had my B12 tested before but I had the problem with iron tests before - which I normally test borderline anemic since becoming veg 21 years ago - but recently tested fine on one test but I honestly didn't believe the test - this was right before I read the article on iron I posted above and just went did my own "experiment" on myself and changed my iron and levels and I was right! I also think that some of the tests we get do not take into account the stored levels we do or do not have in our bodies. Also many tests do not take our diets into account (ie with the iron - we need different levels).

True B12 supplementation is cheap (I would take the sublingual one - they are tiny and often come in yummy flavors - put it under your tongue). As far as I know, you can not get too much B12 so could not hurt to try it. I think it would help with energy levels more than any thing else - you can get a massive B12 shot from drs if you want - some people said it helps with energy levels for them. I tried the 2500 mg one for quite a long period of time but didn't notice any difference in my energy levels so I stopped taking it. I get extra through a multi-vitamin.

The best natural sources of B12 are hemp and coconut milk (some of these are sometimes fortified with it) and nutritional yeast is supposed to be good source (but I have read some arguments on where or not the B12 in that is readily absorbed by the body). There are lots of other sources that have "trace" amounts too.
Group Organizer
Oak Brook, IL
Post #: 313
Thank you, Kimberly, for your very helpful response!
Anyone else has any input?
user 4974895
Kenosha, WI
Post #: 62
A heart burning ethical question for Vegans -> If vitamin B12 can not be obatined for plant based diets, then are we actually "meant by Nature" to consume at least some animal products like milk if not animals?

Any thoughts on that?
user 8855234
Chicago, IL
Post #: 31
B12 can be obtained through non-animal sources.

Here is a piece of interest to the discussion:­. When he refers to "the McDougall Diet", he is referring to a low-fat whole-food plant-based diet. Every meal. McDougall is representative of the mindset of those in the film "Forks Over Knives" and the books "The China Study" and "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease".

A point that McDougall makes is that it is because our food is so clean that the bacteria that makes B12 is washed off our food. And that in a natural environment we would get all the B12 we need from our imperfectly washed plant foods. And that there are B12 supplements that are not animal based.

If you want to be informed, dig into those resources I mention here. If you are vegan, it is not a huge leap to go to a healthy vegan diet. And if we care as much about our health as we do about animals, it is a no-brainer.
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