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 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!

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Pete
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PostSubject: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:22 am

That's a massive amount! That was the findings of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study.

As we keep on saying TAKE YOUR B12!!!

I'll put the abstract below:

Quote :
http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/20648045

Serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in British male omnivores, vegetarians and vegans: results from a cross-sectional analysis of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study.

Gilsing AM, Crowe FL, Lloyd-Wright Z, Sanders TA, Appleby PN, Allen NE, Key TJ

Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Find all citations in this journal (default).
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European Journal of Clinical Nutrition [2010, 64(9):933-9]

Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Vegans, and to a lesser extent vegetarians, have low average circulating concentrations of vitamin B12; however, the relation between factors such as age or time on these diets and vitamin B12 concentrations is not clear. The objectives of this study were to investigate differences in serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations between omnivores, vegetarians and vegans and to ascertain whether vitamin B12 concentrations differed by age and time on the diet. SUBJECTS/METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis involving 689 men (226 omnivores, 231 vegetarians and 232 vegans) from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Oxford cohort. RESULTS: Mean serum vitamin B12 was highest among omnivores (281, 95% CI: 270-292 pmol/l), intermediate among vegetarians (182, 95% CI: 175-189 pmol/l) and lowest among vegans (122, 95% CI: 117-127 pmol/l). In all, 52% of vegans, 7% of vegetarians and one omnivore were classified as vitamin B12 deficient (defined as serum vitamin B12 <118 pmol/l). There was no significant association between age or duration of adherence to a vegetarian or a vegan diet and serum vitamin B12. In contrast, folate concentrations were highest among vegans, intermediate among vegetarians and lowest among omnivores, but only two men (both omnivores) were categorized as folate deficient (defined as serum folate <6.3 nmol/l).

CONCLUSION: Vegans have lower vitamin B12 concentrations, but higher folate concentrations, than vegetarians and omnivores. Half of the vegans were categorized as vitamin B12 deficient and would be expected to have a higher risk of developing clinical symptoms related to vitamin B12 deficiency.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:28 pm

That I'm aware, studies have generally shown no increased life expectancy for vegans compared to the general population probably for this reason while vegetarians do seem to have a greater life expectancy.

I think a big problem though is simply that B12 in pill form doesn't absorb well and other forms aren't so readily available outside of the internet. At least not in my area. Health food stores here, etc generally don't have liquid B12, etc. And fortified foods are probably not enough.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:03 am

Opening capsules & swilling the mouth tends to increase assimilation of B12 by quite a bit (I haven't got the studies to hand to back that up - if you need them I can try & dig them up later in the week as it was while ago I saw those-so the references were on an older computer that died).
I take Viridian high 12 which has two forms of B12, daily in a drink. Well over your daily requirement. Personally I get everyone to take B12 when they train with me, vegans, veggies, meat eaters, everyone. It's cheap, you can't overdose (taking rational amounts) & it can only really benefit you.

The major theory about increased life expectancy in vegans is thought to be omega 3 to omega 6 ratios in the vegan diet - basically it's wrong. Too much omega 6, not enough omega 3. That's why you need to cut down on omega 6 & increase omega 3 fatty acids. If you want more fat, then you can add monounsaturated fat like olive, avocado or similar oils (even a little saturated fat from tropical plants if you have no cholesterol or heart issues) - that's what quite a few of the leading dietary types in the vegan movement have speculated anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:41 pm

No need to get the articles, makes good sense about opened capsules absorbing better.

I probably need to do better on both. The liquid B12 I'm using is pretty old and wonder if it's gone bad. It still taste OK... I need to buy more online. Also I've been eating walnuts instead of flax. That's really not good enough.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:19 am

I take DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) as well for omega 3 as well as flax, walnut & hemp foods. I doubt you'd really need it assuming you haven't got an issue, as I doubt people had access to a DHA source as we evolved....but just to insure optimum level I take it - the DHA to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) conversion has no real limiting factor, so having plenty of one mean having enough of the other. So I take it more to achieve the best levels that I can, not that I think it's vital to have any omega 3 other than ALA (α-linolenic acid) &/or SDA (stearidonic acid).
As it thought both B12 & EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) ratio are the 2 main problems that most often occur in a vegan diet having those 2 covered means you are likely to be healthy (& maybe even live a lot longer?), assuming you eat sensibly that is.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:24 am

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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:14 am

Methylcobalamin is considered by some a better option than Cyanocobalamin, there is 'some' research in that area & some studies pointing out that cyanocobalamin may not have such an across the board positive effect (it's still at the 'may' stage from what I've read). There is nothing negative with cyanocobalamin as such, rather that other versions may offer additional benefits. It is something to keep an eye on as the research comes out. I personally take viridian High 12 which has 2 types of B12 in it & that's what I recommend personally for those in the UK, I would prefer any B12 to none, but methylcobalamin could offer more benefits if given the choice (NOTE: Be aware that during manufacture any contamination from heavy metals will cause the creation of VERY toxic chemicals that are highly absorbed, so be very sure of your supplement producer!)
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat May 14, 2011 8:18 am

Pete wrote:
That's a massive amount! That was the findings of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study.

As we keep on saying TAKE YOUR B12!!!

Type:
CONCLUSION: Vegans have lower vitamin B12 concentrations, but higher folate concentrations, than vegetarians and omnivores. Half of the vegans were categorized as vitamin B12 deficient and would be expected to have a higher risk of developing clinical symptoms related to vitamin B12 deficiency.
[/quote]
Tufts University study said 39% of all americans are B12 deficient. This is really not a vegan thing. This is more a product of digestive assimilation issues. B12 injections may be the quickest and foolproof method. I have also "heard" B12 is the last thing to worry about compared to all the other deficiencies one may have.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sat May 14, 2011 5:01 pm

B12 issues are so easy to avoid why not just cover the bases. We are lifting as much to maximise health as to look better or get stronger. Covering your B12 & Essential Fatty Acids are brought up so often as so many of us will have the issues if we don't take care of them (every study points it out). It's also suggested that vegans may well live longer with those 2 issues alone covered (at least that is current thinking). So, as it is very common you'll see these issues come up a lot I suspect.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Tue May 17, 2011 9:09 am

Quote :
I have also "heard" B12 is the last thing to worry about compared to all the other deficiencies one may have.

For a nonvegan this may be close to true, but for a vegan, B12 really is an important concern.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:08 pm

I add milled flax seed to our diet*, usually in the content of fruit smoothies in the morning, and we snack on walnuts and pecans. Do you suppose that's enough B12 to cover the bases?
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* Along with wheat germ and wheat bran.
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:49 am

Quote :
I add milled flax seed to our diet*, usually in the content of fruit smoothies in the morning, and we snack on walnuts and pecans. Do you suppose that's enough B12 to cover the bases?
___________________
* Along with wheat germ and wheat bran.

I think you're getting confused between B12 & EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids). That's sounds like a good way to get your EFA's (pecans do not have very much omega 3 fatty acid in them, while walnuts do). I think as you age though you may want to think about taking some DHA pills in the evening. The fat in walnuts, flax etc are ALA, in the body this is converted into DHA. I think most people will be fine with doing the converting themselves, but as you age you may become less efficient, so as a precaution it might be wise to consider finding an algae source (I do recommend all athletes take DHA for it's anti-inflammatory effects & to maximise availability).

On to B12 - if you're taking any sort of reasonable multi vit there should be enough B12 in there to cover all the bases. If not, change your multi to one that does contain it.
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PostSubject: thinking about vegan   Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:23 am

I recently watched a documentary called Forks over Knives and since I have high cholesterol I have been thinking about doing what they suggested, which is switch to a whole food plant based diet. But looking at the title of this thread kind of worries me. If there is a B12 deficiency, what other nutrients or vitamins might a vegan be lacking? Just a thought.

Quick note: Shakeology is coming out with a vegan version in 2012.


Last edited by sammysosa on Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 52% of vegans are B12 deficient!!!    Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:53 am

If you look at this the other way around you'll see that ALL diets have some issues. If you look at the traditional western diet it fails with around a quarter of all users (that is a quarter of the adult population in the US & UK are obese), that is a pretty worrying figure, also that is not counting the heart issues, diabetes, & other conditions that the diet creates.
So, vegan diets basically have 3 areas that need to be looked into, assuming you cover these, you will more than likely have zero issues.

1/ B12 Assuming you take a daily multi (& you should) then you will get all the B12 you need. B12 is also found in fortified foods, but why bother taking any chances when a quick pill sorts this out.

2/ EFAs (Essential fatty acids). Vegans can eat a lot of the omega 6 type fatty acids (in many oils), but have to make sure they get enough omega 3 fatty acid, 'enough' is a tablespoon or 2 of either ground flax seed, walnuts or hemp seeds, that's it! Add to your breakfast & you'll be ok, if yuo are an athlete or older you might want to add DHA/EPA from algae as well, but so far the evidence seems to say that the seeds alone are enough (as a side note I recommend anyone taking DHA/EPA get it from algae, not fish oil. Fish eat fish, that eat fish, that eat fish, that eat algae..all the 'fish oil' is really algae oil, but as algae is at the bottom of the food chain it will have less possible contamination than any fish oil that has a chance to build up contaminants - fat stores toxins so fish fat could contain those).

3/ This is one not just for vegans, but for everyone. Take vitamin D. These days you can get vitamin D2 & D3 for vegans, the choice is yours. I've been experimenting with the newer D3 for vegans (D3 is identical to the stuff your body produces in sunlight, D2 is very close). If you do go for vitamin D3 check that it is for example this one

That's it. The only other issue is that vegan diets are less calorifically dense than the average meat eaters diet, so you may need to eat more in volume to maintain weight if that is your goal.

I've seen forks over knives. It's got some decent research to back it up. I tend to eat a little more fat than they recommend & I put athletes on a slightly higher fat intake, but that's for a specific goal.
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