Vitamin B-12, Poop and Soil
Why do vegans (and most vegetarians) need to take a Vitamin B-12 supplement, if it is as they say,
“Eating plants, gives humans everything needed, in order to survive and thrive!”?
I asked myself this very question for many years. Vitamin B-12 comes from bacteria, not animals;
so actually, being “vegan” is not the source of the problem!
As a “veggie”, most of us believe we can get vitamin B-12 from plants and yeast;
we can sprinkle nutritional yeast on food (and it does taste great by the way) and get some
through eating fermented foods and algae. There is not enough conclusive evidence to support
any of these options as being reliable enough, to take this big risk. Even if we can obtain some
vitamin B-12 this way, we probably won’t get enough B-12,to be enough B-12!
Why so much debate?!
- Vitamin B-12 is the most complex vitamin. Chemists, biochemists and crystallographers
have contributed much effort into gaining simple understanding over its basic properties.
- Being wrong or misinformed can have serious consequences, so the debates are heated.
Even a slight deficiency can lead to many health concerns including depression and anemia
and a long term deficiency can cause serious permanent damage to nervous system and brain.
- Many people have of the idea, that Vitamin B-12 only comes from animal flesh, milk and eggs.
Did you know that “Meat Eaters” nowadays, also get their vitamin B-12, from B-12 supplements?
Today, the “B-12” that is absorbed, by eating animals, is usually coming from the “B-12” supplements,
that the animals are fed!
Yes, most of the vitamin B-12 manufactured for supplements, is given to livestock.
The reason is because factory farmed animals, don’t get enough vitamin B-12 either.
Most animals that are bread and manufactured by the meat industry, cannot graze.
Most are locked and caged inside of warehouses; and therefore, do not ingest soil.
Even if the captive animals are able to graze, farmers are concerned about the soil
they ingest: it may not make it possible for B-12 to be synthesized.
When farmed animals ingest vitamin B-12 supplement, the vitamin B-12 ends in their muscles, milk and eggs. When humans eat the meat, milk or eggs, of these animals, they then can absorb
the vitamin B-12.
So this is where vitamin B-12 has to do with with poop and soil: The bacteria that produce vitamin B-12
are present in soil and other places where bacteria proliferate; like the guts of animals, including us.
In order for the bacteria to produce Vitamin B-12, they must have cobalt present. Our soil has
rapidly declined in quality, due to over-farming and other industrial hazards (this soil depletion issue,
is one of the biggest environmental threats of our day): so cobalt, and other compounds and elements,
are often missing from soil.
This is yet another consequence of us humans, being further removed from nature.
We used to “live closer to dirt” and get enough vitamin B-12 from the good mineral rich soil
on our vegetables and from drinking “natural” water, which still had “dirt’’ in it. Though we also have
the bacteria capable of producing vitamin B-12, living in our guts, the bacteria lives too far down our
digestive tracts to be absorbed. We poop it out. We could absorb vitamin B-12 from eating our own poop
but not many vegans would be that extreme.
It is good we wash our vegetables better then we use to, and pooping outdoors and in rivers just
isn’t acceptable, or convenient. Eating dirt isn’t very tasty and we’d have to make sure to buy a
high quality brand of edible soil or go through the trouble to make our own.
- Though Vitamin B-12 is the most complex vitamin that we know of, we need the least amount of this
vitamin, than any other.
- A recent study revealed that vitamin B12 may protect against the actual shrinkage of the brain as we age.
- B-12 supplements are inexpensive and not-toxic, (when you take too much, as the dose is so small).
- Since vitamin B-12 is from bacterial fermentation, supplements can be produced in the same way!
- Vitamin B-12 will be stored in body and used later when needed. This is why most people who become a “veggie”, do not quickly show signs of B-12 deficiency, because it is stored, mainly in the liver for about 3- 5 years.
So, taking a vitamin B-12 supplement is simpler and far more ecological, than eating animals, poop and soil!
–Chandra Lee Krohn
Personal Trainer and Vitality Coach