B12 - an attempt to get to the bottom of it
September 18, 2011 1:16am CST
this discussion is mainly intended for vegetarians and vegans as B12 is a crucial issue of their alimentation. So I was out in the wilderness again and found some sea-buckthorns, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippophae_rhamnoides as I know its fruits are edible and contain a lot of Vitamin C and is even said to contain B12 which is normally only found in animals or their products (like milk and eggs but also excrement) but which is indispensable for us as well I thought I would take some berries along. Noticing the thorns on the twigs which are placed next to the berries I figured it may be advisable to use some sort of cord to obtain the berries. I ended up with a full glass and when I later inspected the content I found some insects like litte spiders, ladybirds and earwigs in it. Now, those little insects could well be overlooked when processing the berries. I wonder if it's even possible to harvest the fruits without killing at least a few insects. So here's my quesiton to you vegetarians/ vegans out there: could it be that the alleged content of B12 in sea-buckthorn is due to such 'squeezed' insects? As there seems to be only one essay/ work about the natural occurence of B12 in the plant it should at least be doubted that this is true and that the B12 can rather be explained with insects or their excrement. There are other plant fruits which are usually infested by grubs if not sprayed with pesticides, e.g. cherries or prunes. So if we eat their fruits we also eat the grubs and by that we also ingest B12. Hence my second question to you veggies: is it okay for you to eat such insects? Knowingly or not doesn't matter. Or do you always make sure that there is no insect in your fruits. Cheers
• Gold Coast, Australia
21 Sep 11
You have Sea Buckthorns growing there! Amazing! They are awesome. I wish they were native to Australia. I am not even sure if the plants are available here. I have not looked into them, but I know that there are companies juicing them and selling the product as a superfood type drink. As much as it sounds gross and disturbs me a little, eating insects is actually very good for us in my opinion. Take for instance our nearest genetic relatives, the Chimpanzee. They live on a diet of green leaves and fruits mainly with some seeds and insects thrown in there. They share 99% of their genes with us but they do not have half the diseases that we humans get. I believe that this is due to their diet, which is why I eat the way that I do. Green Smoothies daily! Now, I do not go out and eat insects, but as I eat organic foods, there are going to be insects in them. Whether they are in mature states or in larvae form, they will be there....so I eat insects. This is where I get my B12 from. We have loads of fruit flies all over our fruit. There is no doubt in my mind that they are laying eggs in my fruit and I am eating them. B12! With my leafy greens, I do not wash the dirt off unless it is really dirty, so I am getting B12 from the micro-organisms that are in the dirt. I also am likely to miss the odd tiny insect here and there. More B12! I have read that honey contains B12 also and I eat raw organic honey from a local ethical bee keeper. I have no intention to stop eating honey unless all the bees in Australia die, which could happen if GMO crops and pesticides are not completely banned worldwide. So if that makes me a vegetarian instead of a vegan, so bee (LOL) it! We also do not use chemical cleaners around the house so bacteria is probably all around us containing B12. My view is that the good bacteria that I get from eating well will outweigh any bad bacteria that may come my way. I saw in the post by Veganbliss that you were talking about me and supplementing B12. (I feel famous!) I do have some supplements here that are vegan and natural, but I have not taken them for months and rarely took them anyway when I was. Sometimes I took them daily, but other times I went for weeks forgetting about them. I am not a big fan of supplements, but this is one that I do not mind recommending people take, even if it is for peace of mind. B12 deficiency often does not show up until years down the track when it is too late, so it does not hurt to play it safe. I do not worry about my B12 levels as I feel I am getting enough from the sources I have mentioned above. The only way to know for certain is to get blood tests or hair analysis done, which I have not yet done as I feel fine. Even if I got the tests done, what average are they comparing me to? The average meat eating person who's levels of iron, B12, protein sources and other minerals and nutrients may be way more than we really need. We do not need to eat animals to get B12. :-)
• Gold Coast, Australia
21 Sep 11
There is some interesting reading for you on B12 in these links too. This first one is from a friend of mine Victoria Boutenko's site. Many of my views on B12 are ones that I formed after spending time with her a few years back. http://greensmoothiesblog.com/victoria-boutenko-vitamin-b12-vega/ This next one is quite long, but worth a read. http://www.living-foods.com/articles/b12issue.html
• Koeln, Germany
21 Sep 11
yep sea-buckthorn contains high amounts of Vitamin C for example which even exceed those of organges and lemons up to more than 10 times! A bottle costs some 10 Euros over here though, quite expensive :D I tried a few of the berries and at first they smell and taste sweet and very delicious but they are very acidly. So usually the juice is dissolved in water. Have you read my lines about sh*t where B12 is produced in (see especially last reply to veganbliss)? I really think that eating insects could also be totally avoided, just eating their sh*t may suffice :-) But of course you're right, if we don't want to spend much time to remove all animals from the fruits and vegetables it becomes unavoidable to ingest a few of those tiny critters. I'm not sure if honey contains B12 as it isn't a fermented product. The German Wiki contains a table where (an unspecified type of) honey is mentioned that does not contain any B12: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honig scroll down to 'Brennwert und Inhaltsstoffe', 'Vitamin B12' in the table. but I like honey, too of course :-) I feel a bit guilty being in an easier position as a ovo-lacto veggie in regard to B12. But may be I started this discussion to move towards a more vegan attitude, too. I've given up cheese already as you may remember! I take it from your statements above you don't use any pesticides? So far I don't use pesticides either and I don't intend to do so in the future. My sunflowers have been visited by many insects (not just the bees that are seen in the vids :D) and I think that's very good. You are an expert Bill, so you have to live with the fact that you are quoted and that people look more critical at your statements than others :D Personally I consider myself as a supplementer, too, with all the 'highly produced' stuff (as you say) that I eat. You could say that I supplement iron via sugar beet molasses for example. I know there are other, natural sources for it but I still haven't rolled up my diet in the appropiate way. Usually people go to the doctor when they feel bad or if they have some sort of symptoms. So I haven't been there for checking my blood values either. When I began having problems with my skin and hairs I increased my iron and zinc consumption and the skin is fine now, the hair loss was due to genetics I fear lol (iron and zinc shouldn't be consumed at the same time though as they inactivate each other). I will check out your links now. Thx for your response! Cheers!
• Gold Coast, Australia
28 Sep 11
I had no notification that you had replied to this and had been wondering if you had, so I came back for a look to check and saw that you did almost a week ago! The honey that we get is unfiltered so it contains 'bits' so some of these 'bits' might contain bee sh*t I guess. Some of the dirt that I leave on my greens may also be sh*t too I guess. My belief is that there may be B12 in this natural honey, but not in the more refined stuff that you buy from the supermarket. There are conflicting reports on this just like many things online. No we do not use any pesticides or herbicides at all. If the plants are healthy then they will be less likely to be eaten by insects, but we plan to grow enough to share with them. I would not call myself an expert but yes, I am aware of the fact that I am in somewhat of a leadership position in this industry where people will follow my word. So I do try to be careful what I say. I try not to give advice, but just share what I am doing and what I have found works for me.
• Boise, Idaho
18 Sep 11
I think that the buckthorns would less infested if you cultivate them earlier. Letting them ripen is letting the bugs take over. I would do it earlier and see if the bugs are infested yet. The B-12 will be just as good early as later. I would definitely try that and see if it doesn't eleviate the problem.
17 Feb 12
There's really an issue about the supply B12 in foods of vegetarians. So, that's why some vegetarian groups advocates what we call "lacto-ovo vegetarianism". In that way, by allowing someone to consume milk and eggs, although they are from animals, vegans still enjoy vegetarianism as well as adequate supply of B12.
• Adelaide, Australia
19 Feb 12
Hi! Minor correction: some vegans use supplements. I do not & have not, nor does RawBill1 currently do so. I believe all plants contain sufficient amounts of B12 in exact proportion to their protein content, as B12 is essential for protein absorbtion. I'm regularly tested for vitamin & mineral deficiencies & no supplement has been recommeded. Many vegans have been posting their blood test results on YouTube for some time now; others have blogs you can read.
• Koeln, Germany
25 Feb 12
Hi veganbliss, unfortunately I don't receive (all) additional replies in my Email. I had to check this one manually :-) the B12 issue isn't chiseled in stone my friend! You and other vegans can be just as correct as the scientists who claim that B12 is a must and can only be found in meat and excrements. I say this because I'm (currently) unable to proof neither claim. And because science isn't all about the truth, there are many black sheeps out there, mainly in the industrial area, the food industry in this case. Still I pay much attention to it because - just if - it is essential for health it's important. The problem is that proving/ disproving it means a long-term self-experiment - one which you have chosen to attempt and may have already finished. I'm not such a ''daredevil'' yet, I hope that I'm no wimp because of it lol :D