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More Bad News For Vegans: B12 Deficiency Concerns

According to research studies from The Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, reported via a recent Medicalnewsdaily.com article, Vegetarians & Elderly are at risk for B12 deficiency.

FACT = The science and relationship between the ecosystem of bacteria in our intestinal tract plays a huge role in how we digest food and absorb nutrients and vitamins like B12.

Though known for years that quality sources of B12 comes from animal sources like meat, eggs, and dairy, many do not realize that humans are unable to make their own.  We are dependent on specific bacteria in our intestinal tracts to unlock B12 for usage by our bodies.

Vegans are especially vulnerable to B12 deficiency A)Because they avoid foods with high B12 density B)Because the latest research suggests plant based B12 isn’t actually highly absorbed or usable.

Clinically, I have found that vitamin deficiencies are rampant.  In fact, elderly patients with B12 levels less than 400 is hugely common.  (Below 400 patients often notice clinical symptoms of B12 deficiency) I routinely treat patients with memory problems, neuropathy, fatigue, and other vague seemingly “age” related ailments that completely resolve with B12 supplementation.

Proper diet, derived from quality grass-fed, whole food animals is the best way to “naturally” increase B12 levels in the body.  For health purposes, a whole-food, paleo style diet works best.

The “elderly” aspect of this research is interesting  and I have written extensively in the past about Dysbiosis, poly-pharmacy, and low stomach acidity which all contribute to vitamin deficiencies in the elderly.

Fascinating how dependent we are on tiny bacteria living in our gut….

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Cheryl February 14, 2015, 7:07 am

    I eat a mostly vegan diet but I have never been low in Vitamin B12. I have known meat eaters to be, however!

    • William Curtis MD February 16, 2015, 11:16 am

      Of course there are exceptions to every situation. Then again….I’m not sure what “Mostly Vegan” means? The information in the article fits my clinical experience…consistently.

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