Daily Raw Inspiration – B12 Sources for Raw Vegans

I wanted to share this important information about B12 that I received in a newsletter from Dr. Charles Partito, creator of The Ejuva Cleanse:

Greetings!

Thanks for taking the time to check out our newsletter! One of the biggest arguments against the raw food diet, according to experts, is that it contains no vitamin B12. This argument is both unfounded and inaccurate. Today we will be de-bunking some of the myths surrounding vitamin B12.

Enjoy!

Discovery

Vitamin B12 was not identified until 1955. However, long before, in the early 1920′s certain foods (such as liver) were used to cure pernicious anemia. This disease was once thought to be strictly caused by B12 deficiency.

To be absorbed into the blood stream vitamin B12 must combine with an organic substance secreted by the stomach called intrinsic factor (a protein). The resultant complex can then be absorbed at the far end of the small intestine called the terminal ileum.

Diseases of the stomach often result in a deficiency of intrinsic factor. This condition, not the dietary deficiency of B12, is often the cause of pernicious anemia. This misunderstanding led to the “everyone must eat meat” syndrome that continues to this day. As with meds, there are huge profits associated with the sad and disgusting consumption of animal flesh. This profit keeps meat at the forefront of conventional wisdom regarding nutrition. Also, unlike most vitamins, B12 is not destroyed by heat.

Functions

All cells in the body require B12 to function normally, but certain tissues need more of this vitamin than others. These include gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, and bone marrow (where blood cells are produced).

Effects of Deficiency

Lack of B12 will result in pernicious anemia. Also, fewer red blood cells will be produced. In severe cases, nervous system diseases that includes a “pins and needles” sensation in the hands and/or feet, poor equilibrium (balance), and mental depression (can be severe) can occur.

Sources

Standard nutrition teaches that B12 is only present in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. That none is found in veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, sprouted legumes, or sprouted wheat.

Yet B12 is produced by bacteria that are SO widely prevalent in nature that many, or most, edible plants contain small amounts of B12. More importantly scientific evidence has proven our main source of B12 comes from our own bacteria called probiotics, or flora.

While it is true that animal products, especially beef liver, are great sources of vitamin B12, it is also true that fruits and veggies contain the vitamin. Some of the plants that B12 has been isolated in include:

* Bananas
* Greens
* Sunflower seeds
* Leeks
* Dates
* Sprouts
* Beets
* Green Beans
* Carrots
* Peas
* soybeans
* oats

Requirements

Scientists counter by saying this is true, but plants contain only small amounts of B12. Yes, very true, there’s a reason for that! The reason is is our daily requirement is VERY minute.

Logic would tell us if nature placed small amounts in our food then our need would be minimal. In fact, we need less than one micro-gram. A micro-gram is one millionth of a gram per day. Not only that but we recycle vitamin B12 over and over before our body discards the vitamin.

It would not be surprising if one day when science becomes sophisticated enough it was proved that all plant foods containing any of the B vitamins also contained B12. The reason is B’s are NEVER found alone in foods. They are always found in a complex of all or most of the B’s. Many believe that all B’s are always together. It’s just that some plant nutrients, like B12, are in such minute amounts, our current methods of detection cannot isolate them.

Even if this theory was not true, it really wouldn’t matter as we all have in our intestinal tract a B12 factory. Vitamin B12 is manufactured by micro organisms called flora (our friendly bacteria) found in the small intestine. This friendly flora is composed of non-pathogenic bacteria and yeast colonies, some 126 different strains that we know of. One of the most renown is known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

Let me ask you this, if cows which are loaded with B12 don’t eat meat where do they get their B12? It is well documented their friendly flora manufactures the vitamin as does ours. Also our livers store it for rainy days. Recently a raw food leader wrote that it is necessary for vitamin B12 to be consumed in liquid form. Not true, it is not in liquid form in nature and we successfully filled in the deficiency on thousands of occasions without the aid of liquids.

Most with the deficiency are meat eaters. It is the noxious habit of overloading the digestive system on a regular basis, resulting in the food being broken down via putrefaction instead of digestion, that destroys the friendly flora. This of course leads to a B12 deficiency and its resultant health issues.

Other killers of flora include all meds especially antibiotics, excess concentrated protein foods, foods high in fat, tobacco, chemical additives, emotional stress and poor food combining.

Dr. Charles Partito N.D./ Raw Nutritionist
Counselor of Natural Health
Ejuva

Ever since I first saw an even smaller list of plants containing B12 some years ago, I suspected what Dr. Partito suggests – that most plants probably contain it, but just hadn’t been tested for it. However, after reading this article it makes sense that they just aren’t showing the B12 because it is in such trace amounts. Also, since hearing that Bee Pollen has B12, I also wonder if honey may have B12. They say seaweed has B12 too, but the argument is that it isn’t absorbed properly because it is analog B12…Would love to know about that. It is an important concern as B12 deficiency can be really serious. However, out of our whole family none of us are B12 deficient. This article finally explains why that could be so!

In Joy!
Jinjee

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36 Responses to Daily Raw Inspiration – B12 Sources for Raw Vegans

  1. Scott Walker says:

    I do not believe this article at all. What are your sources? I don’t believe that foods like Bananas, dates, carrots, peas, and beets contain vitamin B-12.

    I have some friends who used to eat strict 80-10-10 raw vegan, and they ate tons of bananas, dates, carrots, peas, & beets. After two years, they ended up in the hospital unable to walk. Turns out they had severe B-12 deficiency and it caused nerve damage.

    If the foods in the list above contained B-12, then my friends would not have ended up in the hospital with B-12 Nerve Damage. It is dangerous & irresponsible to tell Raw Vegans that those foods contain Vitamin B-12.

    > Vitamin B12 is manufactured by micro organisms called flora.

    The average person kills off their Flora by eating foods like antibiotics, alcohol, coffee, and vinegar. Raw Vegans eating 80-10-10 believe that probiotic supplements are ‘snake oil’, and they believe probiotic foods like raw sauerkraut are toxic. How are the 80-10-10 fruitarians going to replenish their flora?

    Eating 30 Banana’s a Day will NOT prevent B-12 deficiency. LOL!!

    Eat a B-12 Supplement! It won’t hurt you! There is nothing to fear, EAT THE DAMN B-12 PILL and stop complaining!!!!

    • Jinjee says:

      Could it be that these people aren’t getting enough fats which help in the absorption of nutrients.

      • Scott Walker says:

        Hi Jinjee,

        It is not a problem of dietary fats. My friends, a married couple, ended up in the hospital with irreversible nerve damage.

        They got to the point where they could barely get out of bed and walk. The nerve damage was caused by B-12 deficiency, from two years on a strict 80-10-10 diet with no supplements. They have now quit the raw foods diet and are back on meat.

        Telling raw vegans to avoid B-12 supplementation is a disservice to the community.

        Cooked vegans get B-12 in foods like boxed soy / rice / almond / hemp milks, breakfast cereals, and other fortified packaged foods. Raw vegans avoid these packaged fortified foods.

        For example, I used to go through two boxes a week of Rice Dream Enriched Original, and Living Harvest Temp Hemp Milk. Both brands contain 25% B-12 per serving.

        • Jinjee says:

          Sorry to hear about your friends! B12 deficiency is a very real thing, and I have heard of a few other cases like this and it isn’t limited to the vegan communities. If you feel tingling in your extremities, you can up your use of B12-rich raw foods like kim-chi, sauerkraut, and bee-pollen. Not washing your greens from a trusted organic source like your garden is helpful. I know people who actually take dirt pills for B12. But I’ve heard you can absorb B12 from the soil through your skin under your fingernails while gardening. Of course, by having a clean, mineral-rich diet, your absorption of nutrients is improved.

    • Pat says:

      RAW Apple Cider Vinegar is fermented and excellent addition to a meal, please don’t think it is like Coffee and other products that cancel out fermented foods one is eating to get the B12 into the body. Also, there is Vegan Culture starters, so no worry about animal products!

  2. Concerned Vegan says:

    Please see:
    http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/int
    http://veganhealth.org/b12/raw

    and all the peer reviewed studies in the footnotes…

    Sorry, this is bunk. It is possible that some vegans can ward of overt vitamin B12 deficiency, and even mild B12 deficiency, through B12 production by bacteria in the small intestine. However, this is an EXTREMELY usual condition, especially in Western countries, and should not be relied upon, including by raw foodists.

    B-12 deficiency is actually a big problem in the vegan/raw community and shouldn’t be treated with misinformation. No one should rely on their gut flora or bananas to provide adequate B-12. Proper supplementation of B-12 is recommended by every vegan expert, nutritionist and doctor worth their salt.

    People have varying and individual needs for B-12, and other nutrients. They also have varying and individual ability to properly absorb it. An amount that might work for one person would be woefully inadequate for another. For example, people with digestive issues like Crohn’s, etc. as well as many older people, simply don’t have enough Intrinsic Factor in their stomachs to absorb enough B-12, no matter what their diet.

    B-12 deficiency can take at least 5 years to develop in most people because we do indeed need very little, and store it and recycle it well. But if you are not supplementing or eating B-12-fortified foods, as a vegan you will likely experience a deficiency of some degree within 10 years.

    This is one of the number one reasons why people leave the vegan diet. And it continues because of misinformation like this.

    • Jinjee says:

      Thank you for sharing this information. I would like to suggest another possibility; that a lot of these studies are based on expected results. Cattle-industry funded research and lobbyist propaganda has made it so accepted that vegetarians can’t get B12, that this is the first thing doctors test for once they find out you don’t eat meat. However studies show that 40% of Americans are B12 deficient, so I suspect it may be that the clogging effects of a wheat-predominant diet are to blame for B12 deficiency. Cooked vegans often eat more of these clogging foods, including the TVP’s and fake meats and cheeses that seem to be made of something like plastic, which might explain a poor absorption of B12.

    • Lulu says:

      Hmm, I wonder how much orthodox medical advice has persuaded your information. As a health practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in both orthodoxy and complimentary medicines, it’s pretty easy to detect medical research-based bias. Sorry, sad but true. I’ve just come out of 3 years spent in medical research and believe me, a tiny twist of truth or fact can result in catastophic bias and misinformation.

      I have been a vegan for most of my life (49 years) and I know many, many lifelong vegans. None of us have suffered from B12 deficiency. On the other hand, those hospital patients I have worked with, all have a number of reasons for the cause of Crohns, P anaemia, various diseases of the nervous system, cancers etc. And each of them are meat eaters.

      In my own case, having been seen as an outcast in family, friend and professional circles due to my dietary bent, it’s only now, in our mid-life years that our choices have proven just who is right. I remain the only one who is free of the myriad health issues they all face. Not one of them has the fitness, excellent health or more youthful appearance that I do. And no, I am not ‘lucky’ – as they all love to say. My genetics have rendered my family riddled with chronic health issues, which I also faced in my younger years.

      Saying that the deficiency is the ‘number 1′ reason people leave a vegan lifestyle is pure conjecture – the number 1 reason is a combination of difficulty, geography, lifestyle and peer pressure. Simply put, it’s easier to be a meat eater. Having travelled across the poorest parts of 3rd world nations, it was some days impossible to eat – unless your resolve was tough. Mine was and thankfully I can go days without food if necessary.

      On the other hand, in places so poor that the inhabitants have no choice but to eat meat or die for sheer lack of plant food, then that would pose a bigger issue. Interestingly, P anaemia is more common in such countries (research PA in 3rd world nations whose diets are high in meat).

      Sorry, but I get more than a little upset to hear anger and even arrogance in dismissing articles such as this. It seems you are not quite getting it – by your own admission, it takes 5 to 10 years to develop a deficiency but by your own admission, we need small stores – so that in a diet where we can only ingest small amounts, our livers are such that we can store and build it. Just like the cows, gorillas and other fantastically strong vegans in the animal kingdom.

      Take away industry bias and ‘advice’ given by those with little education in the field (most doctors and nutritionists, not to mention companies and even home ec teachers) and the truth is pretty easy to determine. It’s so frustrating that angered bloggers demand proof and evidence. Just backs this direction that medicine is steering the blind – evidence based medicine was invented purely to keep complimentary medicines in the dark ages. We came close in 2000, with the WHO’s plans to register it all on a par with orthodoxy – many of us even threw out our medical degrees in anticipation. Just as we were about to touch the finish line, this whole evidence based rubbish was dumped right in front of us. And now it gives nay sayers and those who stand to lose once truths come out, sufficient ammunition to stop such truths from reaching those who depend on it most.

      Very well written article.

      • Rebecca says:

        Ok, but gorillas eat their own poop to be able to get the B12 that produces in the colon since the colon isn’t able to extract it but the stomach can. That’s atleast what I have heard and learnd.
        Still I think this article is truly interesting and that we might be on to something (hopfully), I would love to be able to live on a raw vegan diet, Im just to scared for a B12 compication since i have seen it in other people whit my own eyes.
        My grandfather got an inficency and got nerv damage that caused him problems with walking, he was a meat eater but i feel that i proabably shold not “push it”.
        (Parden my english spelling and grammar)

        • Mary J says:

          Good reading your emails, Jinjee and Lulu. Like many things we do, we can go over the top with our diets and I imagine being vegan could be one of those things where we say ‘ I’m Vegan ‘ and then just gobble up food that would fit the vegan label without it being balanced in anyway except that it fills our tummies and keeps us happy until something goes wrong – like becoming deficient in vit B12. Education and balance in a vegan lifestyle is crucial to a healthy outcome. Thanks for keeping us informed :)

      • gloria giappi says:

        Nice to hear here and there from intelligent people!

  3. Maria Jose says:

    Thank you for shining more light on this controversial issue! When transitioning to a new diet it is completely normal that you learn and experiment and it is also normal that you make mistakes. Until you find your own balance I highly recommend that you get tested for B12 once a year, I had B12 deficiency while learning to eat differently and it is really serious (loss of coordination, loss of memory, severe tiredness, headaches, bruises…), as they are generic symptons and they appear gradually, it is easy not to realise until they become serious, ask specifically for a B12 test (not a general blood test) and have it done once a year, then you will know if you need to correct your diet and also be able to choose how.

  4. Derek says:

    I understand that the only true way to measure B12 is via a lumbar puncture, so which specific B12 test do you refer to Maria Rose above?

    • Concerned Vegan says:

      You test for MMA reduction. MMA can only be reduced by B-12. That’s how they know if a food or supplement has bioavailable B-12: testing MMA. This is also how they know for sure that you simply cannot and should not count on vegetables and fruits (or your gut flora) to give you enough B-12.

      Raw foodists (who do not eat wheat, TVP, etc.) are at the same risk, and have the same incidence of B-12 deficiency as cooked-food vegans. All you have to do is look at the history of the Hallelujah Acres Diet community to see the effects of not supplementing on a raw vegan diet. Many of them became gravely ill and they have since changed their diet to include B supplements. http://veganhealth.org/b12/raw

      Smart raw food vegans supplement with nutritional yeast or something KNOWN and PROVEN to have AMPLE B-12 just to make sure. B-12 deficiency is no laughing matter, and can create permanent damage to the body and brain. It’s so easy to supplement and it’s simply just not worth the risk.

    • Concerned Vegan says:

      You test for MMA reduction. MMA can only be reduced by B-12. That’s how they know if a food or supplement has bioavailable B-12: testing MMA. This is also how they know for sure that you simply cannot and should not count on vegetables and fruits (or your gut flora) to give you enough B-12. http://veganhealth.org/b12/meas

      Raw foodists (who do not eat wheat, TVP, etc.) are at the same risk, and have the same incidence of B-12 deficiency as cooked-food vegans. All you have to do is look at the history of the Hallelujah Acres Diet community to see the effects of not supplementing on a raw vegan diet. Many of them became gravely ill and they have since changed their diet to include B supplements. http://veganhealth.org/b12/raw

      Smart raw food vegans supplement with nutritional yeast or something KNOWN and PROVEN to have AMPLE B-12 just to make sure. B-12 deficiency is no laughing matter, and can create permanent damage to the body and brain. It’s so easy to supplement and it’s simply just not worth the risk.

      • Jinjee says:

        Reading your recommended website, it says: “Although it is not known for sure, it is likely that this biochemical pathway is an integral part of B12′s nerve tissue function(s)”….I don’t see this as any more scientifically viable than Dr. Partito’s arguments.

  5. jerome says:

    Thank you very mmch for this informationm!

  6. Raw nori seaweed (not the raw nori sheets) has been shown to contain B12. The earlier in the season the nori is harvested, the more B12 it contains. You can purchase Mendocino nori at http://www.seaweedmermaid.com It is quite tasty as well!

  7. Theresa Bailey says:

    Awesome information! Thanks so much! :)

  8. Mary rhim says:

    awesome..thanks so much. To good health

  9. Pingback: Vitamin 12 myths debunked | Health For a Lifetime

  10. Daphne says:

    There is raw B complex in case a raw foodist needs! And of course it contains more than enough B12.

    • Jinjee says:

      One concern over supplements is that it inhibits the intake of the vitamin from natural sources, as only a small amount is needed.

  11. ka says:

    I recommend healthy habit patches for B12. Google it!

  12. Michele says:

    I hate the fear-mongering. Do those writers of the above posts work for supplement companies? dr. Graham explains the b-12 issue very well in the 80-10-10 diet book. The foods in the above example have a glaring omission of greens, so they may have not really been following 80-10-10. Greens from the garden not only contain small amounts of b-12, but the minerals we need to balance out the fruit our body requires for energy. Anytime I read something like the above post, I know it’s written by someone bad-mouthing a helpful diet who hasn’t even read the book.

    • Jinjee says:

      Well, there seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and mis-interpretations about the 80/10/10 book as I’m hearing all kinds of different things!

  13. Traci says:

    Jinjee- you’re family has been raw for years, especially Storm. He’s never had a B-12 deficiency has he? Dr. Robert Morse ND author of “The Detox Miracle Sourcebook” would blame the symptoms of B-12 deficiency on adrenal weakness which would need to be regenerated with herbs. This would explain why some raw foodists would have have this issue. Inherent adrenal weakness would not necessarily be regenerated on raw foods alone. Herbs are needed for the regeneration of this gland.

  14. liz says:

    haha, i was going to repeat the above, being a little, ok more than a little skeptical about the vested interests of the passionate writers who knock this article…. its like read all the science you want, “attempt” to prove what you want, have all the “friends” and “examples of those you know somehow” as proof all you want, etc etc, how about you come from a position of PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, huh???
    jinjee and storm would be in the best situation to write about this not those morons. i have been vegan most of my life, raw 2 years, – get medical tests, including blood, eveyr fricken year through work for my own personal interest, never ever had any problems with vit b12, or anything else,,,, and NO i dont use synthetic pills or b12 or any other “vitamin deficiency” supplement, never have! (whole superfoods are different)
    i hate the arguments these people try… you cant pull the wool over those who do it every single day, end of story. these people are nothing but trouble starters and want to put their two cents in for a subject that doesnt concern them other than possibly coverting others to supplments that are synthetic, unnatural to the way the body digests, absorbs and assimilates, and useless other than lining the pockets of corporations! why take a pill when its easier to eat some food?? mr “30 bananas a day” hahah, who does that, hahahahahahahaha shows their lack of objectivity

    anyone who argues against things like this, the most natural way of eating, either doesnt want to change, in which bugger off from the article that doesnt concern you, or will lose money in some way if their “plastic lifestyle” and financial interests in a business is somehow exposed….
    haha, you can’t censor personal CHOICE! CEST LA VIE!

    i dont listen to these mugs, i just live my life and listen to those who speak the truth. how is it, you think, we survived trillions of years without supplementation, plastic, meat, dairy, coal, etc etc… in the end, it doesnt take a 3 year old to figure that out…. COMMON SENSE rules.

    • B12 supplements are not synthetic, they are synthesized by bacteria, the same B12 you would get from organic unwashed raw vegetables and fruits. But since most of the fruits and vegetables are not organic and are washed with chlorinated water there is no B12 on them.

      Realistically speaking the majority of people trying a vegan diet in a City will not get sufficient B12 if they don’t supplement.

      Who survived for trillions of years?
      The age of universe from what scientists currently know, is about 14 billion years.

  15. Claudia says:

    Vegan for over 9 years. Have dabbled with 30 BAD and 80-10-10 and the Garden Diet and the McDougall and Fit for Life cooked vegan diet. I’ve felt best on what I call the modified Garden Diet… because I take a methylcobalamin (sublingual B-12) once a day…just to be safe.

  16. mno-hime says:

    Jinjee, while reading this article and comments I realised there are two recipes on thegardendiet.com which mention nutritional yeast (Red Star and Brags) as an ingredience. So I was wondering how often do you use nutritional yeast? Because B12 is added to it (usually in post-processing). Thanks!

    • Jinjee says:

      I’ll use it once in a while for the B12 and as a treat. But I’m actually re-thinking that. I believe fermented foods are a better source of B12 anyway.

  17. mark says:

    My wife has been a strict vegetarian for over 30 years, nothing fortified or processed just organic veg, fruit and occasionally some milk and eggs she is normally very, very fit and into weight lifting, sport etc. for the past few years she has been experiencing what we now know to be a B12 deficiency, her symptom became worse over the past few months, she now has burning feet, tingling hands nausea, disorientation, low energy and so on, recent blood work found low B12 the doc said it was pernicious anaemia and gave her a few weeks to try to get it back up on her own or face injections for life, we have just ordered high strength B12 (methylcobalamin 5000mcg sublingual) she will go back in few weeks for re testing, fingers crossed as she needs things to improve, she is in a pretty poor way, hopefully no major or permanent damage has occurred from this condition
    Now, Please tell me why would a perfectly healthy body stop absorbing b12 as the doc says she has ? – it probably hasn’t – she simply does not eat enough to meet her daily needs, we recently calculated all her possible intake over a few months and just realised it has been virtually nothing for years her stores have been depleted with so little going in, yes it takes a long time but it will happen eventually.
    B12 deficiency is no joke be careful and don’t take it for granted that you are getting enough, if in doubt top up with a supplement every now and then otherwise you may well regret it later.

  18. Pingback: Healthy sources of vitamin B-12 for vegans » SuperiorB12

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