To my surprise after becoming raw vegan I came across a question an interested friend that threw me for a loop. The question raised was about B12 deficiency. Astonished to be asked the question, I was dumbfounded and couldn’t come up with one good answer.
Like a good health freak that I am, I took to the internet and library to seek answers. Even though I took numerous animal science classes it had never been brought up that humans could have a deficiency with B12 just by not eating meat. For those of you whom are not familiar with Vitamin B12, it is basically what gives the body energy and keeps the brain and nervous system working correctly.
Without the proper B12 supplement levels, a person will feel lethargic, depressed, loss of feeling in fingers, loss of feeling in spine, poor sense of balance, and decreased reflexes. B12 is available through bacterial production only; this is the point my friend brought up since I wasn’t eating meat.
My research found that many people have the wrong opinion about how and where B12 is created and entered into the body. Apparently the human body creates Vitamin B12 by itself. In fact, every human body contains B12 producing bacteria throughout the body. This is good bacteria, so for bacterophobic people do not worry it is safe.
One interesting fact that I found in most of my research materials was where the body creates B12. Apparently microorganisms between the teeth and gums, around the tonsils and around the nasopharyngeal passage actually produce .5 micrograms of B12 per day. Then absorption begins in the stomach and diffused throughout the body.
So, with this in mind along with my raw vegan diet; I should not be worried. Since our bodies naturally produce .5 micrograms per day our bacteria produces enough to supply a daily amount. In fact, a B12 producing bacterium was found to be produced in larger amounts than in meat-eaters. This is mainly because a lot of B12 bacteria are found in water and on the outside of uncooked vegetables.
It is important to mention that raw vegans have higher B12 than vegetarians. A large part of the deficiency is due to vegetarians cooking the essential nutrients out of the vegetables. In fact scientists suggest for meat-eaters and vegetarians to get their B12 levels tested every few years to assure enough B12 is in the body. Raw vegans are usually at no harm of low levels.
Although there are natural supplements that can be purchased from the health food store, there are foods that help out too. Some of these foods are mung beans, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts, peas, dulse, kelp, whole wheat and fermented soybeans. Each harvest contains various amounts of B12 however these foods will always contains some amount.
My research lead me to why people have deficiencies. There were many reasons however the most popular causes were: an increase of consuming fat or protein, cooking foods instead of eating raw, drug intake (includes antibiotics, birth control pills, colchicine and illegal drugs), too much Vitamin C intake, low iron, consumption of raw soy products and et cetera.
The answer to my friends question was simply – nope, I have no issues with B12 deficiency however does she since she’s a meat-eater?