Sunday, June 03, 2007

Vegans and Live-Food Vegans: To B12 or not B12?

Patients that I visit with who are live-food vegans or cooked food vegans often ask me if the should supplement B12 or would like to know why I object to them not supplementing. See the discussion below regarding some of the evidence about B12. Following this discussion are some advantages of eating live food, which I believe far outweigh the need to take a daily B12 supplement.

Are vegans and live-food vegans at risk for B12 Deficiency without supplementation?

Yes, according to Gabriel Cousens in Conscious Eating (revised edition).

He says, as many of us know, that methylmalonic acid is the best way to assess B12 status. For example, he found that some patients with "normal range" serum B12 (486 pg) still had an elevated MMA, indicating that the person was indeed B12 deficient.

He says:
Consistent research over the last decade has shown that vegans and live-food practitioners of all ages have a much higher risk of becoming B12 deficient. There are more than 15 studies on vegans that have substantiated this. The most dramatic was done by Dong and Scott on 83 subjects at a National Hygiene Society conference. 92% of non-supplementing primarily live-food vegans were B12 deficient. There are no studies that show that vegans do not get B12 deficient over time.


However, in the movie "Breakthrough", the story of a family that has been on live vegan food for many years, (and all the children from birth), they claim that none of their children were found to be B12 defiicient despite the fact that they did not supplement B12.

I would like to err on the safe side, so I do recommend a daily B12 supplement to vegan and live vegan patients.

Yes, one should supplement B12. However, here are some of the substantiated information regarding eating vegan or live vegan foods.

(Also from Gabriel Cousens, in his book Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine)

Compared to meat eaters who are 45-65 years old, lactovegetarians have 3X less heart attacks, Vegans have 10X less heart attacks.

Victoras Kulvinskas, in Survival in the 21st Century, estimates that up to 80% of nutrition destroyed when cooking food.

Most research concurs that 50% of the B-Vitamins are destroyed by cooking.

B1 and B12 losses have been recorded up to 96%, folic acid losses up to 97% and biotin losses up to 72%. Vitamin C losses are approximately 70-80%.

The Max Planck Institute for Nutritional Research in Germany found only 50% bioavailability in proteins that have been overcooked. The study found that cooking changes proteins in to substances that disrupt cellular function and speeed up the aging and disease process.

Research done at Stockholm Uiversity, in cooperation with Sweden's Natural Foods association, showed that the heating of carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes, rice and cereals, creates acrylamide, a probable human carcinogen. The researchers found that a bag of potato chips may contain up to 500 to times more acrylamide than allowed in the drinking water by the World Health Organization. French fries sold at McDonald's and Burger King in Sweden showed 100 times the level permitted by WHO in the drinking water. Acrylamde has been found to cause benign and malignant stomach tumors and to also cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous system. Acrylamde occurs in baked potatoes, French Fries, biscuits, and bread, as well as other high carbohydrate foods.


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