Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Vitamin B12 Myth

I thought I should expand on my statement last time that B12 isn't that big an issue for those eating plant-based.

I do recognize the problem of some plant-based eaters in not getting enough B12 is a concern. Such a deficiency is problematic when it does happen. Most plant-based advocates recommend taking a B12 supplement or eating grains fortified with B12 to compensate.

However, it is a myth that only "vegans" and vegetarians should be concerned with this problem. It is noted that that the feed that livestock and chickens are fed get "90% of the B12 supplement" in the world today, because the conditions of livestock kills off the B12 the cows get naturally from their feed, due to the amount of antibiotics they inject into each cow.

What? You mean you thought B12 originated and was only found in livestock like cows, pigs, chickens and other forms of meat? Guess what, it doesn't. Cows cannot make B12 anymore than humans can. All B12 comes from microbes in the ground. Animals eat it by ingesting dirty plants and drinking dirty water, just like our ancestors did. Yep, that's right. Our "cavemen" got their B12 from eating fruit, vegetables, and other plants that were not as washed and treated as our produce today. So much for the "how could they have been vegans" myth based on the B12 being sourced only from meat.

Another issue with meat-based B12 is the bio-availability of B12 to the body. This such a problem that there is recognition by authorities that there is more B12 deficiency among meat eaters than there are among plant-based eaters. This is due to the lower amounts of B12 in meat now days, and its absorption into the body by the small intestines.

So once someone has come to the conclusion that meat and dairy products are the primary drivers of the Western world's heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, just to list the top three, why on earth would you want to risk eating meat to avoid B12 deficiency when 1. there is no evidence that one will avoid it by eating meat, and 2. subject yourself to a heart-stopping, cancer causing, diabetes double-downing rates of risk in order to avoid the very slight risk of B12 deficiency? How many people do you know who have had Vit. B12 deficiency compared to heart disease and cancer? I know of no one who has suffered from the former, but I need at least two hands or more to count the number of people I know who have suffered a heart attack or cancer, even in my own family alone! Not to mention friends and more distant relatives. You might as well suggest that I avoid Parkinson's Disease by smoking cigarettes all my life. Yeah, it might help me avoid Parkinson's (if I didn't already have it), but at what cost to my health?

Not when there is a safer, more humane way to obtain B12 through supplements or food fortified with it. After all, all one really needs is around 5 mcg per day according to authorities. That's not much. Especially when one considers that it is estimated that it would take more than 6 years for a person to run out of it who was chronically deficient, because excess is stored in the body.

So no, there is nothing one can get from meat and dairy which cannot be derived by safer means, including B12.

"So Rick, what is your source for this information?" Good question. I'm using a complied source which has all the information I've shared here and links to studies to check it out:

Now, one can clearly see that the myth of the B12 problem for plant-based eaters does not prove that cavemen were primarily meat eaters. Sure, they ate some. But was it the bulk of their food? Couldn't be. That's because meat doesn't have the vitamins needed to sustain life. Plants, on the other hand do. Just look at the nutritional information to see what I'm talking about:

(These are taken from Google searches.)

For 3 oz of beef:
Calories 213
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13 g20%
Saturated fat 5 g25%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated fat 6 g
Trans fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 77 mg25%
Sodium 61 mg2%
Potassium 270 mg7%
Total Carbohydrate 0 g0%
Dietary fiber 0 g0%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 22 g44%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D1%Vitamin B-615%

Notice the lack of Vitamin C, calcium, and vit D (which really only comes from getting enough sunshine, not through your food. Notice too the lack of any carbs, you know, the stuff your body runs on and naturally burns? Yeah, that stuff. Meat provides one no energy to operate at all. Only if you go into starvation mode would your body start to burn fat or protein. And that fat primarily saturated fat, is the guilty party in causing heart attacks and cancer in people.

Now let's look at a potato:
Calories 163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g0%
Saturated fat 0.1 g0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0%
Sodium 13 mg0%
Potassium 897 mg25%
Total Carbohydrate 37 g12%
Dietary fiber 4.7 g18%
Sugar 1.7 g
Protein 4.3 g8%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C70%
Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-630%

Notice this one medium potato has zero cholesterol, another major heart attack ingredient only found in meat, has practically no fat to speak of, plenty of Vitamins C, B6, Iron, and Magnesium. And even a percentage more calcium than meat, though neither has a lot of it. If you want some Vitamin A, throw in some broccoli or kale. I'm not even sure why Vitamin D is listed since there is no food source for it, it will always be zero. Cobalamin is B12, which you see is zero here, but is at 36% in meat, generally speaking.

But the big thing to notice is all the carbs a potato has. 37% Wow! Meat had zero. That was the one issue I had with the keto diet, but I'll touch upon that more next time. Here, I only wanted to point out that one could live on potatoes. People during history have indeed done just that, for years at a time. However, no one can live on meat. Not without going into starvation mode and burning fat and then muscle to survive. And they would have no way to avoid diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies like scurvy. Meanwhile, the lowly potato is packed with vitamin C. Surprise!

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