Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vitamin B12

[NOTE: This information comes from VegFamily a very good source of reliable information for the wiser of us (i.e. veg*ans) and was orginally written by Dina Aronson, M.S. R.D.]

Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria, fungi, and algae. Neither plants nor animals can synthesize the vitamin. Thus, it is not found in plant products naturally (there might be trace amounts in plant foods contaminated with B12-producing microorganisms, but we should not depend on contaminated food). Animal foods are reliable sources of B12 because large amounts of bacteria live inside animals, and vitamin B12 remains in flesh, milk, and eggs.

We vegans need to get B12 from supplements and/or fortified foods. The B12 added to foods and supplements are synthetically produced in a laboratory from bacteria, not animal sources. Here are some other foods that typically are B12-fortified. Make sure you read the food label! B12 is also called cobalamin.
  • Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula Nutritional Yeast*
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified soy milk
  • Fortified vegetarian meat analogs
  • Fortified energy or snack bars, such as Luna Bars
  • Fortified soy powders or other beverage mixes
*Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to foods; my favorite way to use it is in tofu scrambles.

By the way, the lack of vitamin B12 in plant foods has led many to question how "natural" a vegan diet is. After all, if an essential nutrient is lacking from a 100% plant-based diet, how can such a diet be good for you? This is a very good question. Remember, B12 is produced only by microorganisms. Consider the sanitary modern world: only in the last several decades have we had the luxury of treated water, power-washed produce, and machine-sanitized packaged foods. Before these conveniences, people (vegans and non-vegans) ate locally-grown fruits and vegetables and drank water from the well or public water supply, all of which were rich in vitamin B12 due to bacterial contamination. In those times, vitamin B12-producing microorganisms contaminated the entire food supply, not just animal products. The need of a modern-day vegan to supplement the diet with B12 is not because the vegan diet is inferior to a diet with animal products; it is the result of modern sanitary conditions

1 comment:

Allvira said...

Very Informative post, I liked the points that you discovered here about the children issues. The main concern for every parents would be by your words...“I hope that things are okay with your child."
Every one should follow the "It’s time to cut the technological umbilical cord and let your child live her own life. "
Vegan Vitamins