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B12 - raw achilles heel?

MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

My energy was dropping by the minute and I felt like I was heading back to the general unspecified malaise feeling of pre raw days. It wasn’t a good feeling. Then finally went to a nutritional specialist doctor. The blood test showed B12 in the low normal range but she gave me a shot anyhow.
The difference was almost immediately incredible. Exactly the same change that took a few weeks or maybe months to come on when I started with raw has happened in hours and a day and I am back to feeling wonderful.
Now I am not a 100% raw foodist – I even eat fish sometimes, and eggs rarely. And the B12 wasn’t even sub normal.
This really leads me to wonder about diet and I am wondering how vegan raw foodists maintain their glow without this essential (cobalt-based) vitamin?

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Comments

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    My own feelings are that they are not washing and scrubbing their foods to death. I image while ancient hominids were hopping around eating fruit, they were chowing down on grasshoppers, too.

    What kind of test were you given? There’s a lot of controversy on B12, it’s need and the types of tests and interpretation.

  • koolieaidedkoolieaided Raw Newbie

    I heard you can get b-12 be most seaweeds with the exception of nori and you can take b-12 vegetarian suppliments. Chef de Mocha has a great article on this very thing http://chefdemocha.blogspot.com/ ...

    He says
    Supplementation: The least recommended, but the most reliable. Over time, supplementation will be taxing on the bank account and may be analog (bad) B12 anyway – If it wasn’t properly maintained. Fermented Products: Homemade fermented items are cheap, practical, and delicious. Kombucha, which is a strong source of B-12 (2C has 40-60% daily recommended dosage), can also be used to ferment other products, such as Raw Vegan Cheeses and Yogurts, as-well-as be consumed as a delicious beverage by its-self! *Vegetables & Seaweeds: Properly grown Vegetables and Seaweeds (except Nori) are the most practical and nutritious way to intake the adequate amount of Human Viable B12. Seaweeds, with the exception of Nori – and the inclusion of Spirulina, Chlorella, & Blue-Green Algae, have exceptionally high amount of B12 and all of the Trace minerals of the ocean that surrounds them!”

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    Alix1962 I don’t know if there has ever been a traditional society of genuine vegan raw foodists. the ability to be one today seems to be concurrent with being a member of a privileged Western World society with access to clean water and a great variety of foods…....so yes I am right with you on the grasshoppers (apparently a great delicacy in Thailand!).
    My tests were blood tests. The thing that is making me ponder is that, as I said before, I occasionally eat fish, have an egg once in a blue moon (though now I am wondering if I should occasionally add one to a green smoothie :( ) and also use dulse flakes…and have even nibbled the fresh seaweed that comes up on the beach.
    The ‘low normal’ result didn’t surprise me. What has genuinely astonished me is the way the injection has lifted my energy – even the colour in my face is better and the wrinkles look less!.

    koolieaided thanks for this posting!
    I will have to get some kombucha and boost my intake of algae…....... think I will wait on eating raw eggs till after I see how all this settles…

  • I just posted this on another thread, but cultured foods really do help increase the beneficial bacterial in our intestines, and thus our absorption of B12. I think that if we all grew up in a pristine environment and never ate cooked food in our life we’d not have problems with B12 deficiency. However, much of us have candida overgrowth, or have destroyed much of our internal environment with poor food, poor food combinations, stress, and antibiotics. I make coconut kefir and will soon start making cultured veggies to help with reestablishing beneficial bacteria. As for non vegan foods, I do also eat milk kefir (it’s the best form to take milk as much of it is already predigested). Mopoke, the most long lived traditional societies usually have a form of cultured food in their diet, so this may be the missing key.

  • smoothielovesmoothielove Raw Newbie

    You seem to be eating a good amount of B12 foods maybe your body is just having trouble absorbing it.

  • bee pollen also has it, if you eat bee products (like i do!)

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    Thank you to everyone who is posting.. I used to have real problems absorbing food so I have the feeling u could might be right Raw Chocoholic and smoothielove…...just because I am currently digesting about 100 times better than I used to doesn’t mean it’s optimal I guess :(.
    You have reminded me that Ann Wigmore swore by rejuvelac… will have to find out if it has B12.
    Mandelicious I am not averse to pollen but haven’t tried it….
    One thing I have noticed about being a raw foodist is that when you slide you slide fast..the body tries to immediately tell you when something isn’t right.

  • Mopoke, I’ve also noticed a huge dip in my energy levels and started taking sublingual B12 about once a week. I’ve not seen a change. Maybe I should take it more often, I’m just not sure its doing me any good or is even the problem. I miss the initial energy rush from eating raw and am tired of feeling tired.

    Raw_ Chocoholic, your mention of coconut kefir is synchronistic since just yesterday I came across the BED site in my search for a cheese substitute without nuts. What can you tell me about coconut kefir and the starter? Is it easy to make?

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    Raw Chocoholic – when you say cultured vegetables do you mean like sauerkraut? (you;ve intrigued me too)
    Yammygirl…that’s exactly how I was feeling. Can’t believe it was only a day or so back. I feel so alive now I even woke up this morning hungry! (discovering hunger had been one of the best things about being raw for me).
    Before when I felt so rotten I remembered I stopped taking a bunch of supplements a really good local naturopath had put me on and re-booked with her. Whilst there we opened an old set of blood tests that I hadn’t seen she recommended I take the sublingual B12 but if I didn’t notice a real spike in my energy between one and two hours later I might need a shot.
    I never took the sublingual one because I had also booked a doctor (I had freaked out because the blood tests showed way too many thyroid antibodies). She was reassuring about the thyroid but instantly sent me next door for the B12 shot..
    I am amazed at the way the shot has worked. It was the best $20 I have spent in years! I think that I must not have been digesting it properly and I think I had probably got more deficient since the blood tests had been taken.
    Meanwhile I still have a few of these sublingual pills left and the naturopath said take one a day until they are gone…....that’s despite the shot and despite the fact I presumably don’t need them now.
    I

  • smoothielovesmoothielove Raw Newbie

    I would think that the sublingual ones are not working as well because the B12 still has to be absorbed into the body. So if the problem is in the body absorbing the B12 an oral medication isnt much help, im sure it would help some just not as efficient as the shot. There is a B12 patch I dont know much about it but i guess its supposed to be as effective as the shot.

  • B12 patch? – Where can i get that???

  • I tried the B12 patch and it would not stay on my skin. I am not the one with oily skin either. I find if I eat enough green foods it really helps.(for me)

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    There are societies in INdia that are strickly vegan and don’t take shots and vitamins, don’t sneak in eggs or fish, yet don’t suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. However, they probably do ingest quite a lot of very small insect life because they dont’ wash their foods like maniacs. I just pop a B12 pill once in a while, ha-ha, you need precious little B12 and you won’t become deficiant for a very long time when you go without. Storm, from the Garden Diet, has been raw vegan for many years and never takes a suppliment but again, he’s so into nature, I doubt they sterilize their foods either. I am glad you’re feeling better.

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    That’s sweet of you Alix1962..I am glad that I am too :)... Interesting about those societies in Indai (do you mean the Jains?) I wonder if they use dairy, especially cultured dairy which Raw chocoholic said was B12 rich? (yummm lassi drinks…...wonder if macadamia yoghurt could be turned into one?)

  • I have been craving eggs in the last few weeks and thought that was strange as I am allergic to them. I have been eating sauerkraut and other fermented products in an attempt to address this malaise I feel. I guess I need to check this out further.
    I am also glad that you got relief so quickly. When I was pregnant my midwife/doctor gave me a B12 shot and I remember how good it made me feel, but that was many years ago. If I may ask, what type of doctor gave you the shot. My HMO is extremely difficult and won’t do things requested by the patient.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    Rejuvelac and raw sauerkraut (Rejuvenative Foods is the brand I have used) have cultures that help us absorb it. One reason it takes a while to feel deficient after the initial “raw food rush” is simply that it can take as long as 10 years before you feel the effects, even if you haven’t been getting enough for that long. That is why nutritionists recommend B12 supplementation for vegetarians/vegans/raw foodists. I like to use bee pollen, raw sauerkraut & occasionally a supplement. I use B-Complex from Nature’s Sunshine; I don’t know what other brands really have a good quality supplement – suggestions, anyone? What works for you?

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    Yammygirl here in Western Autralia there are a few of a new breed of doctors treating from a nutritional perspective….they send you off for blood tests, hair analysis and saliva analysis and then look at prescribing optimum nutrition as well as any necessary medications. The one I went to is a lovely young woman who was right into the idea of me being a raw foodsist (and very interested in the liver cleanses too!) – despite the fact I was presenting so pallid and listless…..I think a lot of GPs would have blamed the raw diet!
    I was craving eggs too, a few weeks back.
    Even if you are low in energy because of deficiencies in other areas the B12 shot would probaby be worth trying – especially – if you know it worked for you before….. it sounds as if it would be stored till you did need it. Can you go back to the midwife or find out from her where to get one?

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    Yammygirl, a friend of mine goes to a clinic where she can just request and pay for the B12 shot – less than $20 – and they can give one as often as every 2 weeks. If your HMO isn’t cooperative, it might be worth trying to find a clinic that will do that even if insurance doesn’t pay for it. Good luck! Also, I read something that said Bladderwrack is the best sea vegetable source of B12. I don’t know where to get it or how it comes, though. Anyone know?

  • I have been vegetarian for about 3 years now before looking into Raw and every few weeks I find myself having a low day when I am pale and tired, I put this down to low B12 and Iron. I take multivitamins now to combat this. It is amazing how low and grumpy you can feel when you are running low on a vitamin or mineral!

  • Thanks Mopoke for all your good insight.Unfortunately, my midwife passed away, but I will check out getting a shot and perhaps a work up from someone else.

    Angie, thanks for the info. I’ll try a clinic and look into bladderack. Hopefully I’ll feel better soon.

  • flybabyflybaby Raw Newbie

    As I know sprouts, especially mung bean,wheat and alfa-alfa are high in B12. Nutritional yeast also has it.

  • MopokeMopoke Raw Newbie

    Flybaby you are right!
    I just found this online “Alfalfa Sprouts contain every essential amino acid. They also provide a good source of vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, D, E, F, K and U and have high anti-oxidant properties. They are low in calories, fat and salt; and are high in fibre.

    Alfalfa Sprouts are a good source of minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc and contain other trace elements. They also boast carotenes, chlorophyll, folic acid and phytoestrogens.

    Alfalfa Sprouts have been known to be useful in the treatment of urinary tract infection, kidney, bladder and prostate disorders. They are a natural diuretic. Alfalfa alkalises and detoxifies the body, especially the liver. These health helpers also promote pituitary gland function and contain an anti-fungus agent.”

    And that’s the clincher to prove, that according to my oral intake of food I should have bucketloads of B12 zooming around in my system and enough stashed away to last me for decades – I eat HEAPS of alfalfa and take wheatgrass shots whenever I go by a juice bar!.

  • Mopoke, try culturing the macadamia yogurt. It will probably taste great and it’s so simple to make cultured foods once you get the hang of it. I love lassi drinks also :-D. I really do think it’s more of an absorbtion problem than anything. My father used to take quite a lot of medications and antibiotics, he also ate meat with every meal, yet he had to take a weekly B12 shot. My theory here is that if we don’t have the proper beneficial bacteria then we’re going to have problems absorbing our B12, no matter what source we get it from. Yes, sauerkraut would work, but I’m not too fond of it myself. Any vegetables can be fermented. I really like coconut kefir with some berries and stevia (don’t blend for more than 30seconds because it isn’t good for the bacteria).

    Here’s where I learnt how to make cultured foods:
    http://www.bodyecology.com/coconutkefir.php
    http://www.bodyecology.com/cveggies.php

    Yammygirl,
    I haven’t tried fermenting the coconut meat, but I think you could make a yummy cheesecake out of it. You don’t have to use their starter, but if you do buy another Kefir starter make sure it is a true kefir (not a yogurt starter) with yeast.

    I also read that the beneficial bacteria will help quite a bit in dissolving any mucoid plaque on the intestinal wall. This, of course, would also help with absorbing B12.

    flybaby, thanks for the info about alfalfa. I never knew it was high in B12.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    There is a lot of mis information about B12.
    There is no viable vegan source of B12.
    Eating sea vegetables can make your ability to absord B12 lessen, it does not conatin the right kind of B12 to help, so in fact it may hinder our B12 resources.

    Please read this article,for correct, accurate, up to date info on B12:

    http://www.living-foods.com/articles/b12article

  • modhinamodhina Raw Newbie

    Hello, I love this site, and this topic is one that I keep struggling with, as I am mostly raw and vegetarian, and the longer I am the easier it gets, however, everyone is a different genetic makeup and is inclined towards different amounts and types of foods/minerals/vitamins etc.

    I sometimes crave something…......? Especially when I do a lot of exercise over long periods of time. It’s like I get this wiggly feeling in my spine, and I was wondering if that is a lack of b-12. Also when pre menstrual I feel edgy.

    As far as I know, and I have been looking for this answer for about 20 years, there is no sure source of b-12 that is not animal protein. I have been wondering if there is some combination of foods that are vegetarian and cooked that makeup for the lack in a raw diet. I think I read that Gabriel Cousins said that some vegetables are better lightly steamed, maybe it activates the vitamins.

    I feel good vegetarian and about 90% raw maybe less. Also, now I don’t need to eat as much as I first did, when I became raw about 5 years ago and have been mostly but sometimes on and off.

    I also read that lack of b-12 for long periods of times can cause mental problems, which kind of worried me.

  • flybabyflybaby Raw Newbie

    There are the links I found:

    http://www.naturalherbsguide.com/comfrey.html

    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/7303771-descr… Details from the page:

    The present invention is also a pharmaceutical composition comprising of alfalfa sprout powder and folic acid with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In a preferred embodiment, the composition comprises 550 mg of alfalfa sprout powder per capsule or tablet. In another preferred embodiment, the composition comprises of alfalfa sprout powder and at least one additional ingredient. In a most preferred embodiment, this ingredient is folic acid, B-12 and B-6.

  • Hi all! Modhina, I think you;re right to be concerned about B12 deficiency because it’s extremely serious, and in people who eat a lot of folic acid in leafy greens, it can be masked for many years until irreversible neurological damage has been done – for example, here are some consequences from 2 websites it sounds as if the Schilling test would be an excellent idea, to check if it’s absorption that’s the problem rather than intake (maybe that;s a partial cause of my own neuropathy problems!).

    http://au.health.yahoo.com/041101/25/1us6.html
    Vitamin B12 deficiency also causes irreversible damage to the nervous system. A thick, protective sheath surrounds the nerves in the brain and body that helps the nerves to conduct messages. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes damage to this thick sheath as well as the death of nerve cells. This results in numbness and loss of feeling in the hands and feet, unsteadiness and uncoordination, confusion, moodiness, loss of memory and even loss of central vision. Vitamin B12 deficiencies in pregnant women increases the risks of their developing child having a malformations called neural tube defect. The neural tube is a foetal structure that develops into the spine and spinal cord. One type of neural tube defect is spina bifida.

    http://www.vitamin-update.com/definition.cfm/id…
    Absorption and metabolism
    A compound known as intrinsic factor which is secreted by the cells lining the stomach is necessary for absorption of vitamin B12 from the small intestine. Those with malabsorption problems; such as celiac disease, low stomach acid, or who have had stomach or intestinal surgery; may have problems absorbing vitamin B12. Calcium and iron assist with vitamin B12 absorption.

    Vitamin B12 is bound to proteins known as transcobalamins in the blood. It is excreted in the bile and re-absorbed. Those on diets which are low in vitamin B12 may obtain more from re-absorption than from food. Because of this re-absorption, vitamin B12 deficiency can take many years to become apparent.

    The Schilling test, which uses a small dose of radioactive vitamin B12 and then a larger dose of normal B12 to flush this out, is used to measure the ability of a person to absorb vitamin B12.

    Deficiencies
    As the body stores vitamin B12, symptoms of deficiency can take up to four to five years of poor dietary intake or lack of intrinsic factor production to appear. Deficiency is more commonly linked to the inability to absorb the vitamin due to lack of intrinsic factor than to insufficient dietary intake.

    Blood
    Vitamin B12 deficiency causes pernicious anemia with symptoms of tiredness, pallor, lightheadedness, breathlessness, headache and irritability. Red blood cells become abnormally enlarged and reduced blood platelet formation causes poor clotting and bruising. A high intake of folic acid can prevent the red blood cell changes caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. It does not, however, prevent the nerve damage which may only become apparent in later stages and which may not be reversible. Strict vegetarians, whose folic acid intakes are high while their vitamin B12 intakes are low, may be at particular risk of nerve damage.

    Immune system
    Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to reduced numbers of white blood cells which causes increased susceptibility to infection. Recent research has shown that elderly patients with low vitamin B12 levels have impaired antibody response to bacterial vaccine, even when there are no clinical signs of deficiency.2

    Brain and nervous system
    Vitamin B12 deficiency eventually leads to a deterioration in mental functioning, to neurological damage and to a number of psychological disturbances including memory loss, disorientation, dementia, moodiness, confusion and delusions. Alzheimer’s disease sufferers are often found to have low vitamin B12 levels, although it is unclear whether these are a contributing factor or a result of the disease.

    Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to a loss of nerve-insulating myelin which begins at the peripheral nerves and eventually moves up to the spine causing decreased reflexes, abnormal gait, weakness, fatigue, poor vision and impaired touch or pain sensation. Other signs include tingling or loss of sensation and weakness in hands and feet, and diminished sensitivity to vibration and position sense.

    Gastrointestinal system
    Vitamin B12 deficiency causes poor cell formation in the digestive tract and leads to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, poor absorption of food, soreness of the mouth and tongue, and diarrhea.

    Heart disease
    Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to increased levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.3

    Other symptoms
    Vitamin B12 is involved in production of the genetic material of the cell and deficiency may cause defective production which could lead to cancer. A 1997 Australian study found that low levels of vitamin B12 could contribute to chromosome damage in white blood cells.4 Low levels of Vitamin B12 may also contribute to diabetic neuropathy, poor vision, recurrent yeast infections and infertility. Vitamin B12 affects bone cells, and deficiency may be risk factor for osteoporosis.5

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    I don’t think people should be hysterical at the idea of being deficiant, since almost all cases of deficiancy are because they have an inability to absorb it, not because of diet. I mean, if you really need a suppliment, take it. But watch out for the “medical professionals” that prey on people, selling shots and pills and injections and telling them that their lifestyle is unhealthy. They see us coming from a long way off.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    I checked my source again and it said that rejuvelac has lots of B vitamins, but it didn’t say specifically B12, so I don’t know if it really does or not – Sorry!

  • flybabyflybaby Raw Newbie

    angie I think it should has B12 too, because of the fermentetion process, as well as kombucha http://www.blogtoplist.com/rss/kombucha.html

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