The B Complex & Vitamin B12
If you suffer from depression, it could be because of your diet!
If you're fed up with your life, feeling down and out and desperate to defeat depression once and for all, I've got great news for you. A surprisingly large body of evidence indicates that many (if not most) cases of depression are directly linked to diets deficient in necessary nutrients.
Common nutrient deficiencies that are linked with depression include vitamin D and B vitamins. Another common cause is an overload of toxins. Most severe cases of depression have both of these issues present.
Dealing with depression effectively takes three steps:
- Removing as many toxins from your lifestyle as possible
- Consuming a nutrient-rich diet and getting your nutrient needs met
- Consuming an antioxidant-rich diet to "clean up" the toxins in your body
When the above three measures are taken, depression can be effectively treated through lifestyle changes without medication. Only in very rare cases are further measures (beyond positive lifestyle changes) absolutely required for effective treatment. Read on to learn more.
For most b-vitamins, raw fruits and vegetables are the best source. If you can get a person enough calcium in whole foods, then generally you've got all the b-vitamins covered as well without particularly trying. (There is a detailed example of getting two grams of calcium in a single day here, in my article on remineralizing teeth.) However, "getting enough calcium" is more complex than intake of calcium. It is important to pay attention to the calcium to phosphorus ratio you're consuming.
Most people do not eat a whole foods diet. White flour, oil, noodles, candies, and so forth, are not whole foods and do not offer any note worthy nutrition. Worse, they clog and strain the digestive system until you have difficulty extracting nutrition from any food, whole or not.
Unlike minerals, such as iron, calcium and selenium, most b-vitamins can be obtained wholly from fruit. While vegetables also contain ample b-vitamins, it can be tastier and more convenient to add fruit to the diet in the case of a b-vitamin deficiency. This, sadly, does not apply to B12 which I will get to later on in this article.
Depression is the first and most common sign of a lack of b-vitamins. There are people close to me who have developed clinical schizophrenia that went away with sufficient supply of b-vitamins.
Some ways to treat depression with whole foods:
Bananas and raw chocolate offer some brain-stimulation (anti-depression). Raw cacao powder can be mashed into a ripe banana to make a cacao pudding. Once a week this makes a great mood lifter. On occasion, soaked buckwheat groats or ground flax may be blended with banana and cacao powder in the food processor for a more hearty meal.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, chard or spinach contain a lot of b-vitamins. They also contain a lot of everything else. Protein, calcium, potassium, and so forth. Chard and kiwis are good sources of vitamin E in particular.
Dandelion leaves are a particularly good source of calcium. Romaine lettuce is even a great leafy green to be eating for nutrition. Eat as many greens as you want. Green leafy vegetables will never cause weight gain, no matter how much you eat of them.
If you have your own garden and know your soil is quality organic soil and safe, then one great source of b-vitamins (including B12 in this case) is to not thoroughly wash your vegetables before eating them. B-vitamins will be present in the soil right up against the carrots, beets, turnips, and other vegetables.
Peas are good for b-vitamins:
1 cup Raw Peas
Protien: 8 grams (17%)
These percentages are based on the USDA allowances for what is needed in a day. Get the scoop on the nutrition of 140 different foods with my latest ebook here.
Beets contain high concentrations of nitrates. Nitrates are naturally converted into small doses of natural nitrites in the mouth. Nitrites increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles and the brain. This is important for mental clarity and painless easy motion.
Nitrites should never be taken as an isolated supplement. Your body will convert what it needs. With some nutrients, such as retinol (pre-formed vitamin A), the conversion from the plant source (beta-carotene) to the active form may not be sufficient. In these cases, a whole food supplement can be added. You can learn more about that here.
Celery, cabbage, and other leafy, green vegetables like spinach also have high concentrations of nitrates.
Sea vegetables, such as algae, nori (also known as laver), dulse, kelp, arame, wakame and hijiki, all are excellent food sources for nutrition in general. They are high in trace minerals, and because of their iodine content they keep your thyroid functioning properly. Much thyroid damage comes from a lack of iodine. Iodine, chlorine and fluorine (fluoride) are just barely similar enough in their structure that the thyroid will attempt to use chlorine or fluoride when lacking in iodine. This damages the thyroid.
If you have a known deficiency in b-vitamins, then I advice checking out this inexpensive solution with whole food. (Click here.)
B-vitamin absorption is also affected by the alkaline or acid ash of the substances we consume, as well as the flora present in our bodies. (Alkaline ash and acid ash are terms used to refer to the residue left behind by foods and substances that we eat or breathe.)
Beans, nuts, candies, soda, sweetened things, alcohol, virtually anything cooked, meat, pasteurized dairy products, and almost all grains/breads/pastas leave acid ash behind. This hampers your ability to absorb b-vitamins.
Raw fruits, vegetables, undersea plants, and unpasteurized (raw) dairy products leave behind alkaline residue. Alkaline pH residue is required for a healthy immune system. (Your immune system is essentially every part of your body.)
The subject of vitamin B12 is not new to most vegans, vegetarians or raw foodists. The supplement companies have many people running to their local health (drug) stores in an effort to make themselves deficiency-free, but this is just paying to have a very brightly colored pee – or is it?
Vitamin B12 is excreted in the bile and is effectively reabsorbed in a healthy person. This is known as enterohepatic circulation. The amount of B12 excreted in the bile can vary from 1 to 10ug (micrograms) a day. People on diets low in B12 , including vegans and some vegetarians, may be obtaining more B12 from reabsorption than from dietary sources.
Re-absorption is the reason it can take over twenty years for a deficiency disease to develop. In comparison, if B12 deficiency is due to a failure in absorption, it can take only three years for a deficiency disease to occur.
Since vitamin B12 is recycled in a healthy body, in principle, internal B12 synthesis could fulfill our needs without any B12 being provided in the diet, but there are other factors to be taken into consideration such as whether there is sufficient cobalt, calcium and protein in our diet to ensure a stable vitamin B12 level and the condition of our intestines.
Many people say that the only foods which contain vitamin B12 are animal-derived foods. This is untrue. No foods naturally contain vitamin B12 – neither animal or plant foods. Vitamin B12 comes from a microbe – a bacteria – it is produced by microorganisms.
Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element – cobalt – which gives this vitamin its chemical name – cobalamin – which is at the centre of its molecular structure. Humans and all vertebrates require cobalt, although it is assimilated only in the form of vitamin B12 .
Grass-eating animals get plenty of B12 from munching on the grass. They literally have their mouths on the ground all day long. This is where the B12 in cow's milk and cow's meat comes from – the earth. However, in very unhealthy cows (which most of today's cows are, unfortunately), the amount of B12 might be much less than what the nutritional label claims.
And when you get B12 from an unhealthy cow, you're also getting toxins stores in the animal fat or trace amounts of feces in the milk that contain carcinogenic bacterial waste.
Causes of a B12 Deficiency
A B12 deficiency can be caused by antibiotics, alcohol (alcohol damages the liver, so drinkers need more B12 ) smoking and stress.
Smokers have more cyanide (and other toxins) in their blood. This is because the burning releases carbon which reacts with other compounds to create cyanide. This also happens with foods cooked at high temperatures.
Removing cyanide from the body (or any toxin) requires minerals to be excreted as well. Vitamin B12 is one of many minerals that is lost in the process of detoxification.
Another example of high temperature damage creating a toxin is in the case of acrylamide. Acrylamide is created in abundance when starchy foods are browned or burned, such as potato chips or bread. It is also mildly formed in foods that are not starchy that are browned or burned.
Depending on who you ask – Dr. Vetrano, Dr. Klaper, Dr. Ritamarie – you'll get a different answer about the causes of a B12 deficiency. They certainly do happen, to omnivores, to vegetarians, to vegans and even to raw vegans. It isn't common, but it does happen.
Many so-called studies 'showing vegans deficient' have to be carefully studied themselves; many of them do not prove vegans to be deficient. Often the summary of a study in an article doesn't line up with what the study actually said.
Another side to the equation is that low serum B12 levels do not necessarily equate to a B12 deficiency. Just because there is a low level of B12 in the bloodstream, this does not mean that there is a deficiency in the body as a whole.
This same issue occurs when trying to analyzing the alkalinity or acidity of the body based on blood or urine. While it does tell you useful information, it's still not the whole story of what is happening in the cells of your body.
Raw Food Diet vs. Conventional Diet
Dan Reeter, at Bio-Systems Laboratories in Colorado is creating one of the world's most comprehensive computer facilities for soil biology testing. He says that, from his extensive tests, plants grown in organically-managed soil contain significantly higher levels of usable vitamin B12 . It has also been reported that vitamin B12 is present in wild plants and home-grown plants. By contrast, conventional soil has little to none.
Dan Reeter contends that animal and dairy produce is a poor source of vitamin B12 since they are normally cooked and therefore the vitamin is contained in nutrient-deranged foodstuffs which will inevitably destroy the usability of the vitamin. Studies show that those following a typical animal-based diet require more vitamin B12 than those who do not. This is because the typical diet leads to digestive atrophy.
It's important to remember that animals who have been fed antibiotics will not have any of the bacteria that produces B12 present in their bodies.
How much B12 do you really need?
Another point worth considering is that vitamin B12 Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) are based on the averages found in people. They aren't exactly what is optimal. And the "average" is a person who eats a lot of bread, a lot of meat, smokes and drinks.
Commercial interests have indeed grossly exaggerated our needs for many nutrients, but unfortunately, little studies have been done on what is really optimal for people in various stages of life. Certainly an athlete will have different needs than a child or senior citizen. A smoker will have different needs than a non-smoker, and so forth.
It is very difficult to determine precise individual needs of any vitamin or nutrient. Factors such as rate of metabolism, stress, etc. can determine our differing and often changing needs.
Studies, based on healthy Indian vegetarian villagers, showed that none of them exhibited symptoms of B12 deficiency, despite levels of .3-.5 micrograms of B12 .
Annie and Dr. David Jubb argue that people have lived in such a sterile, antiseptic environment for so long that these necessary symbiotic organisms have been less than present in our diet. They argue that by ingesting soil-born organisms you can maintain an enormous reservoir of uncoded antibodies ready to transform specific pathogens, the way nature intended – by eating a little dirt!
Unfortunately, none of this is a guarantee that you'll get enough B12 without supplementation. Rather, this is just evidence of how little we know. The maxim remains true: "The more you learn, the less you know." Truly, I have found this to be the case for myself. The more I know, the more capacity I have to understand how little I know. Years upon years of research is humbling.
B12 synthesis is known to occur naturally in the human small intestine (in the ileum), which is the primary site of B12 absorption. As long as gut bacteria have cobalt and certain other nutrients, they produce vitamin B12 . And, of course, this is only true as long as you actually have the required bacteria. If you've ever taken a course of antibiotics and you live in the city, you probably do not.
Dr Michael Klaper argues that vitamin B12 is present in the mouth as well as the intestines.
Dr Virginia Vetrano states that active vitamin B12 coenzymes are found in bacteria in the mouth, around the teeth, in the nasopharynx, around the tonsils and in the tonsilar crypts, in the folds at the base of the tongue, and in the upper bronchial tree.
Absorption of the natural B12 coenzymes can take place in the mouth, throat, esophagus, bronchial tubes and even in the upper small intestines, as well as all along the intestinal tract.
This does not involve the complex enzyme mechanism for absorption (Intrinsic Factor) in the small intestine as required by cyanocobalamin. The coenzymes are absorbed by diffusion from mucous membranes.
I used to be against taking supplements, but as various problems persisted and new problems new developed I began to experiment. I have found that I thrive best taking supplements for a few key things:
- Vitamin D (daily)
- Vitamin B12 (daily)
- Probiotics (twice, daily)
- Enzymes (occasionally)
The source I buy from is Dr. Fuhrman. I chose Dr. Fuhrman's products (after much trial, error, study and so on) for a number of reasons. Dr. Fuhrman knows that things like "ascorbic acid" should not be taken in supplement form. He also knows that sugar and other additives should not be present in supplements. His supplements are vegan (the vitamin D does not come from animals, but rather from special plants). And his supplements are closer to whole foods than other supplements on the market.
If you're only buying his Gentle Care formula for B12 and vitamin D then taking one a day is plenty, meaning that one bottle is a 180 day supply. (He lists a serving as two capsules, with 90 servings per bottle, which is 180 tablets.)
Dr. Fuhrman also sells vitamin D separately, which may be advisable if you are already taking B12 shots or B12 sublinguals for a severe B12 deficiency.
Sources (for your continued research):
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