Friday, January 28, 2011

The critical veg issue of Vitamin B12 (3)

mushroom contains fluctuative
amount of B12  because of the
carry over of soil bacteria
Fortified manufactured foods and supplements
didn't sound appealing to me neither
when I first learnt about B12 issues.

I spent quite a few years searching high and low
for non-animal source of B12,
combing through vegetarian websites online,
talking to veg nutritionist/doc/professionals,
flipping through a few thick "nutritional bibles" at my teacher's cafe...
in the end
the result is still the same
-- there is no reliable plant source B12.

During the course of learning,
like many veg friends,
I got a lot of false hopes:

First,  it was seeweed and algae.
I thought they had a lot of B12 as I learnt from some seminars/mis-informing articles,
even some commercial algae products "confidently" label that they contain B12.
But only to find out in the end, those are B12-like compound
also called B12 homologue
which are not human active!
In other words, they look like B12, and share some properties with B12,
but doesn't help in nervous system repair and blood building.

Later, I was told tempeh has natural B12.
I was very very happy, especially it came from a long time veg friend
who spoke very confidently about it.
The theory sounded very credible:
because it's a naturally fermented products.
After referring to my teacher's nutritional bibles,
then only I dissapointedly accept the fact that
tempeh's B12 was due to cross contamination during the making;
not produced by the fermenting fungus :-(
Now that tempeh is produced hygienically, B12 is almost not detectable.

Next, it was mushroom.
I learnt to be skeptical now.
When I heard that mushroom contains B12,
I dig low and high for opposing remarks,
before I get "cheated" again.
I even went into a nutritional database
(that list out all nutrients content for large array of foods)
to see if B12 is ever detected in mushroom.
Guess what, B12 was detected, but it was again, due to bacteria in
the contaminating soil.
The was this scientific article that I came across demonstrated that
after washing the mushroom thoroughly,
the B12 in mushroom drop drastically
to the extent that is not significant for consumption.
-- so does it mean it's good to eat soiled mushroom to get B12?
too risky.. as B12 level fluctuates from batch to batch
(depending on the extent of soil carry over)
[I know it's gross :P]

Studying B12 sources for veg is very interesting.
Along the journey discovering so many false hopes,
it only reflects how veg (including myself) are desperate to
find a veg-proud source of B12.

My desperation doesn't get dampened by just a few
algae, tempeh and mushroom.
The quest for alternative B12 sources continue in the next blog.
(in fact they are even more argumentative!)

Well regards,
Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

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