http://vegetarianandveganrecipe.com/ Vitamin B12 With many people switching to a vegetarian diet, the question sometimes arises: “Where does one get vitamin B12 if he takes no animal products?” A few laboratory animals deprived of vitamin B12 may develop serious neurological disorders. Since this vitamin in the human dietary has been said to be limited to foods of animal origin it is assumed by some that it would be hazardous for human beings to live on a strictly vegetarian diet.
At this point, science and revelation seem to be in opposition. Man was given a strictly vegetarian diet in the Garden of Eden. It was intended to supply his food needs forever. Were Jesus to appear in His humanity today, He might say, “Ye do err, not knowing the testimonies. It is written, the grains, the fruits, nuts, and vegetables contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood” (CD 313). We conclude, therefore, that we are not dependent on animal products to supply the nutrients the body needs.
On the other hand, if vitamin B12 is actually required for the making of good blood, we can accept the fact that vitamin B12 is obtainable in the diet recommended above. In CH 63, we are told, “You should use the most simple food prepared in the most simple manner, that the fine nerves of the brain be not weakened, benumbed, or paralyzed.” It seems reasonable, therefore, that any neurological problems experienced by vegetarians might be the result of a wrong lifestyle that we have not yet fully determined, instead of a diet deficient in vitamin B12. For this reason, we institute a very simple diet plan consistent with inspired counsel, even for those who have no medical problems. Some of the special advantages of a simple diet, particularly for the young, are presented in CH 63-65. The simplest diet should not be denied to those who need or want its benefits.
The Model for Vegetarian Diets
Many have observed that after adopting a very simple diet, food is enjoyed with greater relish than formerly when a more complex diet was taken. There are others besides certain Seventh-day Adventists who use a completely vegetarian diet. One group of these, the Vegans, who for religious or moral reasons take no animal products of any kind, have been used as a prototype for all strict vegetarians. However, there are often marked differences in the health habits of Seventh-day Adventists and Vegans. Seventh-day Adventists believe that humans were created in the image of God, and that a total program of good health is needed to protect the human mechanism. Vegans, on the other hand, have simply dropped the use of animal products because they believe in a humane philosophy toward all animals. They may, if they choose to do so, adopt a lifestyle which allows them to smoke, eat between meals, drink alcohol or caffeine beverages, use rich foods, spices, and other stomach irritants, and otherwise live unhealthfully. They cannot, as a group, be considered a proper example of vitamin B12 metabolism because of the habits of life which bring on a greater need for vitamin B12 or cause the body to be unable to hold onto its vitamin B12.
In defense of vegans, however, the following can be presented: “Vegans in the United Kingdom who for ethical reasons eat no foods of animal origin have pursued their dietary practices out of choice and not economic necessity for years and even lifetimes. While the few clinical studies made so far in Britain and the United States have not been able to identify any real differences in the health of Vegans, compared with omnivores, a study group at the University of Surrey, England has been studying Vegans and omnivores with an eye to the effects of these widely differing diets in the treatment of heart disease. They suggest, tentatively, that a vegan-type diet plus vitamins B12 and D, may be the one of choice for victims of ischemic heart disease, angina pectoris, and certain hyperlipidemias.” (T. A. B. Sanders et al. “Studies of Vegans, Etc.,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 31:805-813, May, 1978; Nutrition Notes 76, Summer, 1978, p. 8).
It is encouraging to see a physician who, I assume, is a vegetarian himself, and who works or worked at the Lifestyle Center of America, an institution in which a vegan or vegetarian diet is used therapeutically, acknowledging that vegans and vegetarians have a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, even though he hesitated to actually mention it and eventually did so very timidly. The mentioning of bacteria in the mouth as a way of getting B12 was very unfortunate since this, in reality, even those who never brush their teeth will virtually have no use of these bacteria in terms of supplying adequate B12. The idea that vegetarians in India don't develop B12 deficiency shows a gross lack of awareness of the problem of B12 deficiency in India. India is the world's epicenter of B12 deficiency and I tend to think that some of the best research on B12 comes from scientists from that country. Consuming foods fortified in B12 will unlikely prevent B12 deficiency among older adults and elderly. Vegetarians and especially vegans should be using B12 supplement with much higher doses that one can ingest from fortified in B12 foods. For more information on B12, get my book: "Vitamin B12. Combating the epidemic of deficiency." from the Orion Publication.