Doctor's Note

I’ve talked about this kind of reductionistic thinking before:

There may actually be benefits of patenting produce, though. See Plants as Intellectual Property – Patently Wrong?

What about the GMOs that are already on the market? See:

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  • Epikoros

    Isn’t the same true for vitamin B-12? The video is saying you’re better off getting your nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements, yet, Dr. Greger promotes a vegan diet which is devoid of vitamin B-12 thus necessitating a supplement. How do you reconcile the difference?

    • Wade Patton

      Dr. G recommends B12 supplementation, as well as D3 supplementation (despite studies showing no benefit from D supplements). The blanket recommendation for B12 supposes that there is no one in America drinking natural water, which is completely wrong. I supplement B12 because B12 deficiency is an awful thing.

      • Veganrunner

        Wade I haven’t seen those studies regarding vit D. So you are saying being low in D isn’t an issue?

        • Wade Patton

          Absolutely not. Dr. Popper cites studies where supplementation of D didn’t improve health. That supplementation was ineffective to change outcomes, NOT that being deficient in vitamin D was not an issue.

          • Veganrunner

            So someone takes D because they are deficient but it makes no difference. Their levels will improve and they will no longer be deficient but their health wouldn’t be improved? Anyhow I don’t know who Dr Popper is. And would you mind posting a study? It sounds interesting.

          • Wade Patton

            Pamela Popper, has a wellness clinic in Ohio, on the youtube twice per week. Her documentation isn’t as neatly prepared as Dr. G’s, but she reviews studies all the same. The studies (more than one) show that supplementation with pills has no real affect on bone density or fracture rates, IIRC. Also, per another comment above, John McDougall prefers sunlamps to drive the body’s own machinery to make D over pills or “fortified” foods.

          • marysaunders

            I have a friend who has been carefully prescribed use of a sunlamp on parts of her legs. I forget the timing, but it was carefully worked out. I live in Oregon. Also, you can expose certain kinds of mushrooms to light, they will make D, and then you can eat them.

          • Bone density as long as one is consuming a raw plant based diet is purely a response to repetitious loads over time. Taking pills, potions or powders or even eating a raw Fruitarian diet without regularly scheduled rigorous exercise is the path to being a pile of jello not the epitome of health and fitness.

          • Veganrunner

            Awww. Vegsource. I have never seen her name before.

          • Fred

            Check here?


            Sign up for the newsletter for studies related to vit D…..

      • Epikoros

        B-12 is only available from animal sources. In the 1980’s, there were some claims that you could get B-12 from tempeh, seaweed, algae and by not washing your organic vegetables very well. All of this was proved false. This is the first I’m hearing about “natural water”. What does that mean? I’m guessing if animals relieve themselves in water and you drink it, you might get B-12 from their poop but you’ll get giardia or worse. Is that what is meant by natural water?

        • The first time? If you look at any real info on B12 there are frequent mentions of the ancient ways people got it in their diets. These include insects, soil, and stream water. We evolved to need only the tiniest amounts of B12, but on a frequent basis.

          • Wade Patton

            Entomophagy! Ah yes, I forgot momentarily. So easy to do when we live in the most Entomophobic society on the globe. But that they make money on the fear-what would “reality tv” be without some big crunchy insect “challenges”?

            I have no problem eating bugs…well except the catching part (the supermarket is all out). Waiting for another cicada hatch!

          • Charzie

            Wade, I’m not particularly thrilled with the entomology practice, being a brainwashed American, but the concept makes total sense to me, so I found a simple way to get around it. I grow much of my own produce, and have taken to doing minimal rinsing WITHOUT my old fart reading glasses, so what I can’t see can’t bug me, har har! Nobody to complain about it either. I guess I’m supplementing my B12 supplements? I’d drink some unfiltered well water too if I could get past the intense sulfur bomb! The stuff is wicked.

          • Wade Patton

            Never had sulfur in the my house, but I’ve seen mild and extreme cases of it.

          • Thule

            You risk getting parasites among other problems. Clean food and water made wonders against dysentery and parasites, let’s not get back to those times. Dr. Greger recommend taking B12 — Not dirt (with its load of protozoa, viruses, parasitic worms, etc)

          • In a truly internally healthy body just breathing in the dust blown up from healthy soils frequently would be enough to maintain healthy b12 levels. Our needs are small but without b12 we would all cease to exist. It’s what keeps the protective fatty coating or insulation around the outside if every nerve in our body’s.

          • Brux

            >> It’s what keeps the protective fatty coating or insulation around the outside if every nerve in our body’s.

            Thought that was cholesterol/myelin?

          • B12 is the glue that holds myelin together. Without it myelin thins and cracks leaking voltage into the surrounding tissues creating localized pain.

          • Brux

            True … but it is not the B12 itself that does this … I read this on the web … obviously not written from a vegan POV though…


            Myelin is essential for the formation of the myelin sheath, a protective covering for the spinal, cranial and peripheral nerves. The main function of myelin is to provide cushioning for the nerves, which allows for proper nerve-impulse transmission. The lack of this protective covering can damage your nerves resulting in neurological problems.

            Vitamin B-12

            Vitamin B-12 plays a major role in providing cofactors that are required to form myelin. Vitamin B-12 is required for the production of methionine — a precursor for S-adenosyl methionine, which is required for methylation reactions. These reactions are essential for myelin maintenance and nerve function. Demyelination — where the myelin sheath becomes damaged causing disruption in nerve-impulse transmission — results from vitamin B-12 deficiency. Neurological problems occur in most people who are deficient in vitamin B-12.


            Vitamin B-12 deficiency is not caused by lack of dietary intake but through malabsorption of the vitamin. Any condition that interferes with the absorption of the vitamin will cause a deficiency. Intrinsic factor is a protein secreted by cells in the stomach that binds to vitamin B-12. Atrophic gastritis is a condition seen in elderly people where there is loss and inflammation of gastric cells. It results in decreased intrinsic factor, which leads to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune condition in which your stomach cells are destroyed by their own antibodies. This also increases the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency by decreasing methods of absorption of the vitamin. Vitamin B-12 shots are used to treat deficiencies because absorption is not involved.


            The best sources of vitamin B-12 are animal products — meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs. Each of these foods varies in vitamin B-12 content. For example, a 3-ounce serving of chicken has 0.6 microgram of vitamin B-12, whereas the same-sized serving of clams has far more — 84 micrograms. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms. Cereal and whole-grain breads are now fortified with B-12 to ensure that people consume their RDA of the vitamin. Vegetarians should consume these fortified foods as well as taking a vitamin supplement.

          • The sources part is complete here-say. Herbivores eat plants that have dirt on their roots and dust on their leaves that contain the microbes that turn cobalt into B12. Humans have zero need to eat the flesh of other beings to get the same benefit nor do we need to eat mouth fulls of dirt. In a healthy gut the bacteria are a natural part of our gut culture and actually produce B12 and what amounts we consume on plant foods add to the mix. The meat industry perpetuates the myth of meat being the source.

          • Brux

            When someone does not even know how to spell “hearsay” I cannot take them very seriously. And “microbes that turn cobalt into B12” is a real joke, cobalt is an inorganic metallic element that does not get turned into vitamin B12.

            Why do you people want to turn every little thing into an argument? I never said anything about eating anything, just reported what was in the cut-and-paste, and you see it as fighting words or a challenge on your life. HA! Grow the hell up.

            If you really watched these videos you would have heard that the only way we can absorb the B-12 that our gut produces is to eat our own poop … which is what I might suggest sometime when someone shows themselves to be such a pain! ;-)

            You vegan lot really are an unpleasant group sometimes. It is so sad too, this is not the place you need to fight your war anyway … most, to all the people here are here for information and already looking into WFPB … why do you always want to fight with them … it’s like there is just something wrong with this kind of micro-bitching behavior.

            I’ve gotten on these replies that include me in weeks long arguments over nothing? Is life too boring watching the kale grow or what?

          • It only appears that way because you fail to include the lives you pay others to murder so you can comfortably justify your ingestion of violence, rape, torture, Abuse, slavery and terror. They have no voice in this planetary genocide based unsustainable immoral game your point of view is stuck within. We are that voice for them until you and those who perpetuate false beliefs that will ultimate cost far more than the billions of lives monthly already. We live in a round planet. We are all connected to its web of life. No one can afford to be wreckless and negligent of the strands within it they decimate.

          • Thule

            We evolved entomophobia for a reason, guess what group of animals kills WAY more humans than all other animals combined? It is smart to stay clear of insects, they transmit many diseases, also a lot of them are poisonous, and you are still getting animal protein and all the problems, so why going that way instead of plants?

            We evolved the trait to find them repulsive for a reason. Yes, some folks don’t have it, but what is a stake is their health.

            A proud (very strongly) entomophobic here. ;)

            I not even know if I am allergic to bees or wasps bites, I never gave them the chance to get near, and you bet I wont get malaria, nor being bitten by the insects that plant eggs under your skin with the puppae eating their way out, nor I’ll get lyme disease and so on… Add to the list spiders too, even when they aren’t insects.

          • Wade Patton

            Are you considering the fact that we are a minority in the world, that most of the world has insects available to eat. There are many toxic and dangerous fishes and mammals, but we don’t shy away (as a group) from eating those. Did you notice that the Chinese Space Program is feeding their astronauts silkworms? Have you heard of the crickets used as bar snacks (without game show theatrics). And finally, are you aware that the processed foods you eat, all of them that are derived from plants and animals, have a level of tolerance for insect, insect larvae, and insect egg contents? Cicadas are credited for keeping a tribe of Northeastern Native Americans alive through a famine. Who knows what meals were made by your ancestors and mine. Evolution has nothing to do with it. Too many human beings in this world are completely nonchalant with nutritious insects as table fare. from an article in,

            Yes, I have eaten insects intentionally (as opposed to the unintentional/unknowing consumption by processed food consumers), and will do so again. I like the crunchy ones, not sure about the softies.

          • Humans are over obsessed with proteins when every cell in the body runs on glucose not protein or even amino acids. Our proteins needs can more than be met on a Fruitarian diet. If you eat enough calories from fruits each day to meet your caloric needs you will automatically consume enough aminos for your body to build quality tissues. I’m proof of this

          • Wade Patton

            Yup. I lived Fruitarian for over a year. Trained and raced too. Just had to eat constantly. Happier now with starchy veggies giving some staying power to my meals. Plus, hey–bugs!

          • Eating constantly means you were not eating enough per meal. We humans in modern society are programmed to treat fruits as snacks more than meals. I had to unlearn that and eat like any other primate in nature until actually full. I go 4-5 hrs when not running without any thought of food. When running of coarse I need to leave more room for the diaphragm to descend or expand to breath especially since I live in a mountainous region, so I eat small portions more often when running.

          • Wade Patton

            I’m not planning on re-living it, so analysis is irrelevant. Thank you for your interest, but I’m WFPB now and much more satisfied.

          • Thule

            Living in the mountains, you are so lucky. :)

          • Charzie

            Um, we have extra copies of AMYLASE because we are STARCH DIGESTING herbivores, unlike the other primates. It’s probably one of the adaptations that allowed us to move away from the fruit-rich equatorial region and plague the entire world. Outside of the equator, fruit is seasonal, a fact our indulged supermarket generation is apparently oblivious to. So go ahead and live on fruit if you enjoy that, but there are easier ways, and for some of us who aren’t affluent enough to have access to fruit superfluously shipped from all over the world, much more economical and sustainable.

          • Humans are native to the tropics not temperate regions. Just because a species migrates that doesn’t mean it now thrives on whatever grows in that region. We had to resort to technology to survive once we left the regions where our native food were plentiful year round. Starches require a fever be induced into them before they can be digested by humans. Nothing natural or innate about that. Even read about what happened to the Irish who were forced to try to live off potatoes? Or the Africans we tried to feed only cooked rice? We can thrive on most any and all fruits if eaten in quantities enough to meet our caloric needs. As far as cost – its more cost efficient to grow fruit trees, bushes, and vines than rice or potatoes or wheat and one doesn’t necessarily have to destroy ecosystems to produce an abundance of produce. Our current system of things doesnt support such, but that is about to change. It’s already been revealed that if we don’t move away from the broken foods – heated – cooked foods and animal slaughter that we humans will force the planet to eradicate itself of us. Your argument is not with me but with your lack of exploration of how human design is optimized without over reliance on technology. Question what you’ve been told and seek deeper answers and explore them personally. Get out of your car and explore the amazing capacity of your legs, lungs, heart, ability to adapt, move gracefully, – doing so will reveal insights your current behavior blinds you to…

          • Thule

            I knew about the Chinese Space Program, (they need to be crazy) but instead the one designed by NASA, is vegan.

            I stand for what I said, insects kills millions of humans annually, mainly through diseases. No other type of animals are as hazardous.

            While by law food could be contaminated at to certain degree and being tolerable, doesn’t mean it is. After all we barely eat anything processed, and the little we do, are things that are plainly visible.

            We once purchased pasta that was contaminated, and was very visible. Fist time we purchased a certain Italian brand, we contacted Aamazon here, and despite they offered more pasta as compensation of the (same brand!) of course we refused.

            I followed one of your links, and as I imagined you didn’t catch that I am really entomophobic, cannot even look at the pictures. I can look to flies and mosquitoes, big bugs no way.

            You know the phrase in psychiatry, don’t trusts people without phobias. ;)

          • Charzie

            I have seen more kids made fearful and phobic by the subtle and not so subtle reactions of those around them, and when the kid himself chose to collect and bring the bugs to the adult to share, it was obviously not an innate fear. We LEARN to be afraid at some point in time. I am not crazy about them and can’t bring myself to intentionally eat them, but what better way to keep their numbers down and supplement nutrition when food is not abundant? It still happens in many countries today, but we are looking through a biased, cultural lens. When you are wanting and hungry, anything that doesn’t eat you first is food.
            Certainly primates enjoy insects and as was mentioned, many cultures of people still do, so I am going to assume we always have. Many here (in general, not this website) joyfully eat crabs and lobsters, which look like huge bugs, so there are many contributing factors to how our perceptions are formed. Like all animals, we used to rely on fear to keep us alive, but in civilized society, where now the major imminent threat to our lives would most likely be from another human than any insect or animal, that innate fear manifests itself as phobias and other maladies. The farther we distance ourselves from nature, the more negative issues we have…we have not “evolved” beyond it.

          • Epikoros

            I don’t know what you mean by ‘real info’ but I’ve read and listened to lectures about it. What motivated me was having B-12 deficiency. I was mostly vegan for 11 years. The only times during the year I wasn’t vegan was when I went on vacation. I got tired of having oatmeal everyday so I had some vegetarian omelets and the yokes of eggs reportedly have B12. Also, at work, when the managers bought us pizza they always ordered a cheese pizza for me. Back then few ever heard of vegan so I would indulge rather than say, ‘it’s not good enough for me’; And cheese has B12.
            But I still got B12 deficiency despite having the ‘tiniest amounts’ of B12 from those sources.
            I never ate insects intentionally and they’re not part of a vegan diet. I don’t eat soil either and I already mentioned the problem with stream water.

          • Nick Presidente

            Exactly, you ate B12 rarely, once in a while.. that is not how it is absorbed, you’d be deficient. Your body can only absorb the tiny amounts every 4 hours

          • Epikoros

            Prior to becoming mostly vegan I was already “stocked up” from my conventional diet. I lasted 11 years prior to being deficient and there were probably at least two factors at play: 1) B12 stored in the liver. 2) Rare but annual consumption of animal products, eggs and dairy.
            Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to continue in perpetuity. This is from the B12 wiki page and please note the last sentence:
            “The total amount of vitamin B12 stored in body is about 2–5 mg in adults. Around 50% of this is stored in the liver.[20]
            Approximately 0.1% of this is lost per day by secretions into the gut,
            as not all these secretions are reabsorbed. Bile is the main form of B12 excretion; however, most of the B12 secreted in the bile is recycled via enterohepatic circulation. Excess B12 beyond the blood’s binding capacity is typically excreted in urine.[20] Owing to the extremely efficient enterohepatic circulation of B12, the liver can store several years’ worth of vitamin B12; therefore, nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is rare. How fast B12 levels change depends on the balance between how much B12 is obtained from the diet, how much is secreted and how much is absorbed. B12
            deficiency may arise in a year if initial stores are low and genetic
            factors unfavourable, or may not appear for decades.”

          • Read the other post that address this point of view. Eating animals does not guaranty B12 consumption. There are more meat, egg and dairy consumers that are B12 defecient than vegans by millions…

          • Epikoros

            I’ve read and responded to every post that was in reply to me. If you want me to read something else, copy and paste it. I’m not going on a wild goose chase, that would be like trying to get B12 from vegan sources.
            As I’ve stated elsewhere in this thread, there are other causes of B12 deficiency such as lack of intrinsic factor. However, as I also mentioned several times now, health agencies have different minimum requirements, that is, the WHO often has much lower requirements than the NIH. So when I hear that omnivores have B12 deficiency, I’m skeptical. Do they show the symptoms of deficiency or are they not meeting a number on a chart? I think it’s the latter. But here is the bottom line. Before I was a vegan I never had B12 deficiency and since I switched to adding dairy, eggs and fish to my diet, I haven’t been deficient and that was in 2001. But when I was diagnosed, the doctor gave me a B12 injection and put me on what he called a pharmaceutical dose for a couple of months. I took regular B12 supplements for awhile thereafter, went and had another blood test, it checked normal and I felt better, quit the supplements for the most part…and the rest is history.

        • SM

          Absolutely false that B12 is ONLY available for animal sources. Animals don’t make B12. They are made by bacteria. Most people, including omnivores are deficient in B12 and hence supplementation is advised.

          • Epikoros

            If it isn’t true that B12 is ONLY available from animal sources, why don’t you name which vegetables, fruits or mushrooms naturally contain B12??

            Animal meat naturally contains B12 regardless how it gets there.

            As to most being deficient in B12, I’m not going what the latest recommendation is which will probably change tomorrow, I’m going by the signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency. And by that measurement, most omnivores are doing just fine.

          • John

            Probably nearly all of our ancestors ate vegetables and possibly mushrooms that were not meticulously cleaned of the dirt on them, so that’s where we can get them. Grow vegies in good organic soil and be less careful to remove the dirt.

          • Epikoros

            I mentioned that much earlier. Have you ever tried it? I did once and I was sick all afternoon. And yes, it was organic. And I didn’t get any B12 out of it either. I know because I became B12 deficient.
            Are you saying that our ancestors didn’t eat meat or animal byproducts?? Because that is how I am saying they got their B12. Are you denying that?
            As to how B12 is formed: “Ultimately, animals must obtain vitamin B12 directly or indirectly from bacteria, and these bacteria may inhabit a section of the gut that is distal to the section where B12 is absorbed. Thus, herbivorous animals must either obtain B12 from bacteria in their rumens or (if fermenting plant material in the hindgut) by reingestion of cecotrope feces.”

          • John

            Yes, I eat vegetables from my yard, and when they are for me, which they usually are, I am not very careful about cleaning all of the dirt off. I never get sick from that, but I teach primary school kids, so they sneeze all over me, and yes, I get sick from that. When the vegetables are for my wife I have to be super careful. So, yes, I do that. I eat plant based, but not 100% vegan. I don’t know how to measure if I get B12, but I’ve never been deficient. My wife is vegan and takes supplements.

            I am not saying that our ancestors never ate meat or animal products, but I’m sure that they had many days, and sometimes weeks in which they couldn’t find any meat.

            Where is the quote from?

          • Epikoros

            Since you’re very susceptible to the cold virus it could be a result of not having a healthy immune system and that could be a result of an improper diet.

            Ref our early ancestors and “but I’m sure that they had many days, and sometimes weeks in which they couldn’t find any meat.”
            True but our body stores B12 for years. I used to hear it was stored for 5 years so when I was mostly vegan, after I passed the 5 year mark, I thought ‘Great, I’m getting my B12.’ Then after 10 years I started getting very weak. I went for a blood test and it showed I was B12 deficient and my homocysteine levels were very high. If you’re not familiar with that, there is a correlation between B12 deficiency and high homocysteine. When the latter is high, one is at much greater risk to a heart attack.
            Anyway, the doctor gave me an injection of B12 in my tushey, Ouch! Then he put me on a pharmaceutical dosage of it, I think it was for a month or so. Anyway, got my numbers up and changed my diet so I wouldn’t have to take B12 supplements.

            The quote is from the B12 wiki page.

          • Charzie

            “Since you’re very susceptible to the cold virus it could be a result of not having a healthy immune system and that could be a result of an improper diet.”

            Come on, stop the dramatic denigration to belittle who isn’t agreeing with you! Seriously, being sneezed on by a bunch of infected rug rats can cause illness in anyone who is human, regardless of their diet, unless they have pre-developed immunity to the specific strains. Why so confrontational?

          • Epikoros

            Me, confrontational? Au contraire. If you read this thread from the beginning, you’ll see I was attacked and insulted from every angle. All I said was that I agree with Dr. Greger, I prefer to get my nutrients from food and not pills and that includes Vitamin B12.
            The paranoids came after me. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go back to the beginning of this thread, see for yourself.

          • Brux

            >> you’ll see I was attacked and insulted from every angle.

            This guy is constantly claiming that, yet always getting mixed up in confrontational matches and being rude and nasty playing the victim. Just a troll to generate arguments and bad feelings.

          • Epikoros

            A ‘troll’? I’ve been watching Dr. Greger’s videos for at least a couple of years 3x a week. I’ve only commented on this and one other one. And that makes me a troll?? Interesting.
            As to whether or not I begin hostilities, the record speaks for itself and the answer is a resounding No. All you have to do is go to the beginning of the thread. I never attack first and I often don’t resort to the other person’s tactics at the first strike, though sometimes I do.

        • Wade Patton

          Natural water in my context above is that from the ground, filtered or not, spring or well. Rainwater would not be a source, albeit a quite valid source of natural water for home and health. Despite the preponderance of chemically “cleaned” and fortified water sources for civilized man in America, there are many folks who yet get their drinking water from the ground. I cannot see why that there would not yet be enough B12 content in such to avoid B12 deficiency (as our bodies store the substance). Wild animals and domestic stock as well as pets roam all over the acres from under which my water is drawn. Crop fields are limited, woods and pastures dominate.

          Dr. Greger makes a passing reference in a video about how we “used to get” B12 from ground water, but that I can find no evidence to support this or any evidence of any study with regard to B12 existence in ground water supplies. I also don’t have the cash to spend to hire a lab to test my water. So I supplement.

          But IF INDEED there is no B12 in ground water today, I hold that there never was any, and that Mankind evolved eating just enough meat to keep his B12 stores in check. This can be the only conclusion as I see it.

          • Epikoros

            Okay, so you acknowledge you can find no evidence of B12 in ground water so why not drop it??
            Mankind always ate as much meat as he can get his hands on because meat tastes great. I haven’t had meat or fowl for 25 years but I haven’t forgotten how good it is.

          • LAURALEAH

            Poop!!! That is how ancient people got their Vitamin B12. From lack of sanitation and from other bacteria. Our clean lives do us fewer favors than we imagine.

          • Epikoros

            So you’re saying that ‘ancient people’ didn’t eat any animals or animal byproducts? Please provide a link to some type of verifiable source.

          • Nick Presidente

            Here is the problem, it is understanding how B12 is absorbed. When you take 1000ug supplement, you don’t absorb 1000ug, you’ll get (doing this from memory) 1.5ug + (1000)*0.01 approximately, so 11.5. The 1.5ug is our active receptors, that clear after ~4 hours and then can take 1.5ug again.
            Meat doesn’t have massive amounts of B12, so you need to eat B12 sources 3x daily to get the RDA. So even if ancient humans did eat meat once in a while, they’d become deficient very fast, and before we had hunting tools, how often would that have been?
            We evolved to require tiny amounts of B12 at a time, and frequently. This has to come from contaimination, dirts, bugs, etc.

          • Epikoros

            This contradicts what I’ve read, that we store Vitamin B12 for years in the liver. Here is one site confirming this:

          • Nick Presidente

            You do store it for years, and it takes years to become deficient. But you can’t store the full amount you eat, the storage rate is what I said. Otherwise we’d have supplements of 10s of ug instead of 1000s

          • Epikoros

            I want to see if we’re understanding each other: My question was why a daily dose is recommended and is it your response to say the body can only absorb a certain amount, it won’t absorb all the B12 you consume?
            If you’re saying that, I agree.
            But let’s say someone has a ‘full gas tank’ of B12 stored in their liver. It’s my understanding that he doesn’t need a ‘daily dose’ of B12. It can be debated whether he needs it every other day, weekly, monthly, etc…depending on his genetic makeup, exercise intensity, etc…
            If you disagree with that, please explain why.

          • Nick Presidente

            Oh, no, if their storage limit of B12 is full (not sure what that limit is but it is quite high) then of course they don’t need to dose daily, but instead just be on a maintenance dosage.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Although it may take time for b12 deficiency to manifest, it is difficult to restore once you are at that point. This is why supplementation daily/weekly is highly advisable. Please view this video series on vitamin b12,

          • Brux

            >> it is difficult to restore once you are at that point.

            Hi Rami, could you please elaborate on that point, or perhaps point to a specific video that discusses this? I have no idea what my B12 level is, but I have assumed it is probably not ideal since I heard here and elsewhere that even many meat-eaters are B12 deficient. So I have been taking semi regular doses of B12 using sublingual pills, and even got some B12 spray to try try that out. I want to know what challenges I might face getting my B12 level up to the max. I beleive the Doc’s videos states that we need not worry about an overdose so I don’t worry about taking too much, but I believe we do have to worry about things like pernicious anemia where we lose our ability to absord B12 in our guts. Am I to understand that even if we cannot absorb B12 digestively we can still take it in through the thin skin and blood vessels under our tongues? Is the only other alternative B12 injections?

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Hi Brux, Dr. Greger has an entire video series discussing the ins and outs of vitamin b12 supplementation , levels and tests. I would recommend that you view the whole series starting with the video I linked below. The video is the start of the series, click “next video” to watch the 2nd video of the series, etc.

          • Brux

            Thanks Rami, that will be very helpful if I ever need a way to evade question! ;-)

            I know you are busy, but I asked what specific video discusses WHY it might be difficult to restore B12 levels once they are deficient and part 2 – if the sublingual absorption will always work?

            I have watched most of these videos and I don’t recall anything that talked about this specific point.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Sorry Brux, I do not recall the specific video which is why I gave you the whole series. Dr. Greger recommends B12 “ideally as a chewable, sublingual, or liquid supplement”.

            If you have concerns I would get a urine MMA test to see your b12 status.

          • Epikoros

            Yes, that has been discussed earlier in this thread. The heart of the discrepancy is whether or not it’s best to get our nutrients from whole foods or supplements. It’s what the video was about. To get B12 from whole foods one has to eat animal products.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Indeed, I would agree with you on everything but B12. The baggage of animal product consumption far outweighs the the desire in my opinion to consume b12 from a whole food source considering how safe, cheap and effective b12 supplementation is. Why increase IGF-1, upregulate M-TOR, increase inflammation and significantly increase the risks of developing chronic diseases merely to satisfy the desire to get b12 from a whole food source? This is a question that I ask myself with a very obvious answer.

          • Epikoros

            Ref: “…considering how
            safe, cheap and effective b12 supplementation is.” I’ve addressed this earlier in this thread. Vitamins D and E were once thought to be safe as well, now we know otherwise. Perhaps the same will be true for B12 supplements. Someone mentioned that vitamins D and E are fat soluble whereas B12 is water soluble. Okay, it’s a good distinction but veganism is still in it’s infancy. If after another hundred years, and we have large populations that adhered to a vegan diet with B12 supplementation and live to a ripe old age with no adverse reactions, well, I’ll tell my relatives to keep an ear out for those studies.
            As for me, I’ve got great genes. My father lived until he was 94 and broke all the rules. He smoked from age 11 to 67, he had bacon and eggs for breakfast and meat and potatoes for dinner, he drank plenty of booze, never exercised and he had a short fuse…none of these risk factors slowed him down. He had a lot of fun. My mom, God willing, will be 91 in May.
            So I’ll stick to whole foods as nature intended.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Regarding b12, i would recommend you view some of the videos from my initial post. Also, anecdotes can be fun to think about, but they are not what we base scientific recommendations on. You can find almost any example of something using an anecdotal source. I would encourage you to explore this site further before coming to a definitive conclusion.

            Some recommendations

          • Epikoros

            Ref videos: I’ve been watching Dr. Greger’s videos for years and in the past, I’ve searched and watched all videos related to B12.
            I agree with you that anecdotes are not scientific evidence, nor are nutritional studies. I suggest you read through all my comments related to this site. If you have anything new to add, I welcome it.
            But please don’t give me busy work, to suggest watching a half dozen videos simply means you don’t have an answer to my question, right? As a reminder, just as we once thought vitamins D and E supplements were safe, we now know they are not. Yesterday’s cure has unintended consequences and it leads to today’s illness. That is why Dr. Greger recommends getting your nutritional needs met from whole foods and I concur. The bet is nature provides nutrition in a manner that is best and safest for us. If you want to rely on mankind and the lab, you’re free to choose but remember, just as with anecdotes, you can always find a study to support your claim.
            You might as well recognize that vitamin B12 is the Achilles’ heel of the vegan and animal rights movement. I don’t celebrate it, it’s just a fact.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            I would expect a more inquisitive attitude from someone who has an interest in nutrition. Your responses to me show that you have not seen the videos I have shared, as your questions and perceptions are answered and corrected in these videos. I did not send you on a wild goose chase, I chose videos and links that were directly related to your comments. Dr. Greger comes to these conclusions based on the available evidence as you can click the sources cited section and discover why. These are not invented opinions.

            I disagree with your latter argument that nature has formulated foods that are safe and provide good nutrition. Considering that animal based foods come with a plethora of baggage, to consume them simply for b12 makes no sense. Meat, eggs, dairy and fish all promote chronic diseases. One cannot justify ones meat based diet simply because they want b12. Again I ask, why would you want to promote chronic disease just for a vitamin that poses no safety risk when supplemented? Vitamin D and E are toxic in high doses because they are fat soluble, vitamin b12 is not toxic at high doses. This is common nutrition knowledge. In addition, Vitamin d, at lower doses is not toxic and recommended for health.

          • Epikoros

            Ref “Your responses to me show that you have not seen the videos I have shared,” Well, duh, I told you I didn’t watch them, that it was a wild goose chase. But, okay, I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt. So I watched the one here saying Vitamin D is safe. But you fail to reconcile that with the video in this thread which says rely on whole foods for vitamin D. Rather than answering my question, you opened another can of worms.

            Then I thought I’d give you another chance. So I clicked on the first video of the prior message. It was on eggs and cholesterol. Even after 11 years of being mostly vegan, my cholesterol was so high my doctor said if it’s the same the following year he was going to put me on statins. That was more than 10 years ago and I haven’t gotten checked again since then.
            I’ve read that some people just naturally have high cholesterol. Anyway, I go through a dozen eggs in about two weeks then I don’t buy them again for another month, sometimes longer. In the meantime, I’m eating steel cut oatmeal and other foods purported to lower cholesterol. You have to remember that people are affected differently. That is why nutrition isn’t a science.

            The next one was a 9 minute video about eating meat or at least the first 2 minutes kept referencing steak. As I’ve said countless times in this thread, I haven’t eaten meat or fowl for 25 years. Now maybe that video discusses fish which I mentioned I sometimes eat, maybe it averages out to once a week if that much. Then you should preface it with a heads up that somewhere in the video it talks about the horrible effects of eating 3.5 oz of fish once a week so I know it really relates to my situation. So I quit watching it after 2 minutes. BTW, last night I was a party and someone brought shrimp. So I had what I think is 3 oz. That gave me 21% of my DV for B12 and it was the first time I had fish in weeks, maybe a month. Then sometimes I have it several days in a row. I just go by how I feel or the situation.

            If you can make a logical case why I should bother with the other videos go for it but so far you’re batting zero.

            Ref “Meat, eggs, dairy and fish all promote chronic diseases. One cannot justify ones meat based diet simply because they want b12” I think there are other considerations such as the amount consumed and one’s biological makeup. I remember that Dr. Klapper said Eskimos wouldn’t be well suited for a vegetarian diet as their stomach chemistry or flora, fauna, microbes, whatever…is comprised differently. Now they would probably be better off eating more vegetables and less meat but they wouldn’t fair well as vegans.

            For me, I know what beans do to my digestion. Don’t send me any videos or articles on it, I’ve read them all. I’ve tried kombu, bay leafs, soaking 24 hours with rinsing every 8 hours, fennel, baking soda…which I was then told not to do because it eliminates other nutritional benefits, I’ve tried ginger, and other spices I can’t spell or pronounce. Someone told me if the food is that much of an irritant, it’s not for you. I never have any digestive problems from eggs, cheese or fish.

            Also, there is a 45 minute youtube with McDougall interviewing Atkins….and I’m not promoting a paleo diet, not even close. But McDougall and Atkins agreed that though they are polar opposites, they’ve each enjoyed success. I know Atkins died at 73 or so, I know vegans who died in their 60’s. My point is that people vary on what works best for them.

            As I said before in this thread, I’ve read Barnard, Klapper, McDougall, Furhman, etc…I’ve attended lectures, watched videos. I’m always experimenting with my diet.

            You’re saying because B12 is water soluble it’s safe and let’s say I’ll accept that. But is it the best way to get our nutritional needs met? I have a visceral reaction to accepting that a supplement made in a lab is smarter than nature. I don’t think we are smarter than creation.

          • LAURALEAH
          • Epikoros

            As I said, and as the video concurs, there are no ancient people who were vegan. The video says that ancient people’s diet were 95% veg, fine. That means the 5% was animal and that is my point. You won’t see anywhere in this thread where I advocate a paleo diet or anything remotely similar to it. But humans have always eaten some animal products and that is where we get our vitamin B12. BTW, National Geographic reported on a paleo diet, I don’t know, at least a year ago. They studied some of the few remaining hunter/gatherer tribes still in existence. They said 30% of their diet was animal based. This has more credibility than Dr. Greger’s figures because, at least from the video, his figure of 5% was based on historical people and conjecture whereas National Geographic is reporting on the here and now reality.

          • Charzie

            Animals lick their ass to get their B12…something I don’t think we’d want consider either these days, but hey, whatever!. If meat is so yummy, how come nobody just rips the throat out of a dead animal and chomps on it’s warm bloody muscles like real meat eaters do? Food is just taste and textures, anything seasoned and cooked well is gonna taste pretty good. Personally, the smell of cooking flesh has become repulsive since I had the misfortune of accompanying a burn victim. I think you are also attributing something to meat that is symbolic and rooted in your psyche. But good for you for not eating it, whatever the case!

          • Epikoros

            Veg heads have a well earned reputation for being sarcastic, bitter and rude. Animals get their B12 in a variety of ways. Carnivores and omnivores get it from eating other animals; herbivores that ruminate get it from that process as well as inadvertently eating insects as they graze as well as occasionally eating fecal material.
            As a human, I prefer to get it from whole foods such as eggs, dairy and fish.
            As for the taste, if the majority of the planet felt as you do, then they would all be vegetarian and as you well know, it simply isn’t the case. As the third world grows wealthier, one of the first things they demand is more meat. BTW, I think that is unfortunate as it’s ruinous for the planet…and the animals. My point is simply that they prefer the taste of hamburger to tofu.

          • Charzie

            “Veg heads have a reputation for being sarcastic, bitter and rude”??? Ha ha ha, you ARE oblivious aren’t you? With all your superior and insulting commentary and confrontational posts relentlessly pushing YOUR POV, you are actually going to stoop to that old ploy?

            Or another…”I’m sorry you’re no smarter than the plants you eat.” Sound familiar? Forget vit B12, take a chill pill already. It’s fine to have and debate differences of opinion, but dominance is a personal issue you need to confront directly instead of coming here and forcing your point ad nauseum.

          • Epikoros

            Yes, I sometimes responded in kind. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. But I never started it. Others always drew first blood. The facts speak for themselves. Just start from the beginning and it’s self evident.
            BTW, regarding my remarks about veg heads being rude: I was deeply involved in the movement for 11 years. I worked with local animal rights organizations, I gave lectures and I lead protests. It was because of how my fellow activists behaved that I finally got out of the movement, that is, I no longer participated in the manner described above. Now, I send checks to organizations that behave like adults such as PCRM, Jane Goodall…oh, okay, I do give to one that is more “active”, I also support Sea Sheppard…among others.

          • Charzie

            For the record I get it, I’ve felt the same, but something I try to remember… On the internet, we are not people or personalities, we are our words. Try not to take dissent personally, because they don’t know YOU or your circumstances, just what you say. That can happen in “real” life too, but looking into human eyes makes it less likely.

          • Epikoros

            Ref “we are not people or personalities, we are our words.” What does that mean? First, our words are us, they represent who we are, what we stand for, our passions, beliefs, our essence. There is a saying, if you want to know what you’re thinking, write it down; that is, it’s how important words are to our being.
            Second, what does it mean not to take it personally? There are those in this thread that debated me in a respectful and reasonable manner, presenting studies to make their case. And you’ll see I responded in kind, with courtesy and logic. I treated them that way because I took their comments personally and one good turn deserves another.
            Additionally, everything happens on a personal level. We’re affected by everything around us, even the color of your coffee mug creates emotions.
            But I know what you’re talking about. You want me to put my feelings aside and remain professional even though I’m being treated like trash. Well, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Like I said, some people only understand verbal force.
            As for these people not knowing me: I’ve shared much about myself in this thread. But that doesn’t matter. Of course you’re familiar with the nursery rhyme, Sticks and stones…
            But a more honest version of it is: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will break my heart.

          • Charzie

            >Ref “we are not people or personalities, we are our words.” What does that mean? First, our words are us, they represent who we are, what we stand for, our passions, beliefs, our essence.<

            You left off the qualifying "on the internet", where we are all basically random noise and lack any personal identity despite what we might say, so, yes, "we" are just our words initially. And despite what you share about yourself in a single thread, if I have no connection with you to start with, there is no reason for me to connect the further dots and identify them as belonging to the same person. That isn't meant as an insult, except perhaps to me for being so inattentive.

            And no, I don't expect you to not feel hurt or insulted, but honestly, you don't gain understanding or empathy by counter-attacking, and waste a lot of precious time dwelling on the negative. I don't specifically remember anyone treating you like trash, though I understand that you may have. My best friend and I often disagree, but respect and love each other and accept our differences. If she insisted I agree with her or insulted me, it IS personal and I would feel hurt and/or angry. However the same scenarios with some random unknown would be entirely different on both counts. My ego still might initially feel the hit, but I couldn't take it personally since they don't actually know who I am! Peace.

          • Epikoros

            Ref ‘on the internet’: It has no bearing. We represent ourselves on the internet and remarks made in support or against us still affect our feelings. The internet gives us a layer of protection, that is, we are more free to be ourselves because we are anonymous. Then we drop our guard and our real selves emerge. Then we are also most vulnerable because our wall is down. So barbs aimed at us have even greater power.

            Ref that you have no connection with me; As soon as you read my comment and decided to respond, we had a connection.

            Ref ‘you don’t gain understanding or empathy by counter-attacking, and waste a lot of precious time dwelling on the negative.”: When I counterattack, I’m not seeking empathy or understanding. I’m seeking revenge and it feels great. As for me wasting time dwelling on the negative: No, not since it feels good, it’s not a waste of time. What concerns me about your messages is that you don’t take the time to look at the thread and see who drew first blood and address them. Why not spend your time converting your cohorts to behave more maturely and thoughtfully so you can catch more flies with agave (we don’t want to use honey, right?)

          • HaltheVegan

            I’ve always wondered why my cat was always doing that. I never knew … until now ;-)

          • Charzie

            Thanks for the laugh!

          • Wade Patton

            My lack of evidence to prove B12 may yet exist in ground water has nothing to do with whether or not it actually does exist. It has to do with no profits to be gained, so no lab tests performed. But since Dr. Greger himself implies that it DID EXIST in human history, I’ll continue to wonder why it would not yet persist in unadulterated water supplies.

          • Epikoros

            Because Dr. Greger says something doesn’t make it so. I’ve certainly never heard anyone else suggest it. But like I said, it’s conceivable that when an animal poops in the water among all the nasty things you can pick up, you might also get some B12 as fecal matter contains it.

        • Incorrect…b12 comes from bacteria native to organic soils and is normally consumed via the dust and dirt on plants fruits, leaves, shoots and roots. You tell yourself it comes from animals forgetting the animals you speak of eat grass and the dirt on the roots. The reality is that there are far more B12 deficient meat eaters than vegans as most meat animals don’t access to healthy soils or even their native plant foods.

          • Epikoros

            Au contraire. “Ultimately, animals must obtain vitamin B12 directly or indirectly from bacteria, and these bacteria may inhabit a section of the gut that is distal to the section where B12 is absorbed. Thus, herbivorous animals must either obtain B12 from bacteria in their rumens or (if fermenting plant material in the hindgut) by reingestion of cecotrope feces.”

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      B12 is not the same. It’s a water soluble vitamin and there does not appear to be any risk of toxicity from overuse. B12 is super important. Adults needs roughly 2.4 micrograms per day. In supplement form it comes in higher doses. Here is a video to finding the cheapest source of B12. I also have a comment on B12 that touched more on the B12 analogs (tempeh, seaweed, etc).

      • hazel-michelle

        Can B12 supplements when swallowed feed bad bacteria in gut? Apparently SIBO is starting to get blamed on B12 supplements (high dose/they all are!) that opportunistic bacteria in our microbiome are feeding off of, causing them to multiply in gut and steal our nutrients and energy. Theories, but could be why big fruit eaters, big starch eaters, who go vegan end up having it backfire. Have you looked at this?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Yes, I have researched a bit. SIBO is another bag of worms. First, I have not seen any data to suggest B12 supplements feed bad bacteria. Let me know if you come across any, I would love to know!

          There is not enough data to prove diet is responsible for SIBO. it relates to many GI diseases. Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) may be linked to a lactase deficiency. Celiac disease can make SIBO worse. Some research suggestsmalabsorbed fat may increase SIBO in subjects with tropical sprue (TS), which “is a common cause of malabsorption syndrome among adults in tropical countries including India. TS is diagnosed by specific criteria, which include biochemical tests showing malabsorption of two unrelated substances, abnormal duodenal histology, absence of other causes of malabsorption and persistent response to antibiotics and folate2,3. Pathogenesis of this disease is unknown. Bacterial infection has been proposed to cause this syndrome in view of small bowel bacterial colonization in most patients and overgrowth in a proportion, which responds to antibiotics4. In fact, frequent occurrence of small bowel bacterial colonization, overgrowth and predictable response to treatment with antibiotics might suggest that the name TS or tropical malabsorption is a misnomer4. It should rather be considered as a condition associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and colonization in the tropics in absence of an anatomical cause.” I included that explanation because of the possible link between TS and SIBO.

          Another review can be found here, Irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: meaningful association or unnecessary hype

          This study shows how gut bacteria can be manipulated to help gut-related diseases. The study is free and so it . It may be the best one I’ve seen on the topic. There is no mention of B12 supplements. Here are some more videos on related topics: Boosting Good Bacteria in the Colon Without Probiotics and The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation.

        • largelytrue

          B12 supplementation isn’t all high dose in practice. If you think you’ve reliably pinned down B12 pills as a cause of gastrointestinal distress in your own person, then you do have the potential option of a lower, steadier dosing strategy.

      • Mike Quinoa

        Hi Joseph,
        I just had a blood panel / urinalysis done and my B12 is fine, but my carotene (which I don’t remember being measured before) was way above the reference range (>7.5 umol/L). Is this because of my fruit / veg intake?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Awesome! Just make sure it’s the right kind of B12 test. And your spike in carotenoids would absolutely be due to your fruit and vegetable intake! Keep it up :-)

          • Mike Quinoa

            Thanks so much Joseph. I’ll look for the HoloTC test next time to verify my B12 status.

        • David Johnson

          What about your vitamin A (retinol, etc.) level? I have never heard of a routine blood panel measuring carotene.

          • Mike Quinoa

            I can’t find any vitamin A or retinol levels on my report. I’m not sure if the carotene measurement is a new parameter, but the lab in Toronto that did the analysis mentioned “This test was developed by LifeLabs.”

      • Epikoros

        Okay, that is the first argument I’ve seen so far that has a leg to stand on, that is, it’s water soluble and thus might be different than fat soluble supplements that might be problematic like vitamin E. Still, who knows what tomorrow’s research will bring. It’s probably safer to get our nutrients the way nature intended, from food and not supplements.
        BTW, I’m not suggesting that B12 is not important, I had B12 deficiency because I was mostly vegan for 11 years so I know its ramifications.

        • Veganrunner

          Epikoros if you go above to topics and look under B 12 you will find all the information you need. Additionally the articles Dr Greger references are listed. After that exhaustive search you may have all your questions answered. But the main point is that years ago we didn’t live in such a clean environment. (As you know)

          • Epikoros

            Nope, I listened to them a couple of years ago. I don’t recall him justifying getting B12 from supplements rather than whole foods. I’m not going on a wild goose chase. If you want to listen to them and you find one where he specifically squares the circle, give me the link and I’ll check it out.
            Ref “the clean environment” I’ve addressed that many times in this thread, that argument doesn’t hold “water”.

          • Veganrunner

            A “wild Goose Chase” oh my. That kinda says it all. You aren’t really interested in educating yourself but rather making your point about getting B12 from animal products. That fine I guess.

          • Epikoros

            As I said, I listened to all his videos on B12 a couple of years ago. He didn’t address the issue I raised. Your remark says since you don’t have an intelligent response to the issue, do what your fellow vegan cohorts do when you’re out of information, resort to insults.

          • Veganrunner

            I suppose I was addressing this issue the way I might approach it. If I have a nutrition question I go to topics above and research it. It’s a great place to start because articles are linked to read. I have access to the full articles so I always start there. But using this approach wouldn’t allow me to get into a conversation about eating animal. I believe WFPB people weigh all the info regarding the consumption of animal and decide to go without and take B 12.

            But as said above many meat eaters are deficient and need to supplement with B12.

            Dr Greger actually does talk about clean/dirty water/food in his videos.

          • Epikoros

            Ref “If I have a nutrition question I go to topics above and research it.” That is exactly what I did. I don’t see how I could have been more clear. Yet you insist on seeing only what you want to see.
            Ref ” I believe WFPB people weigh all the info regarding the consumption of animal and decide to go without and take B 12.”
            Fine, and that is part of the question I’ve been raising here since my first post to Dr. Greger. I won’t repeat it because without exaggeration I’ve already stated it at least 10x.
            I also addressed clean/dirty water/food an equal number of times.

          • Johanna Martin

            Hi, Epikoros, I just want to share that as a general “whole foods” person, when considering whether I will eat a whole food or a supplement for B12, I balance the risk of eating animal foods for B12 with the health risks of eating animal foods, and in my mind, the balance of evidence suggests a supplement is clearly the best choice for good health. That is how I reconcile the fact that I take a supplement for B12 instead of eating animal products for B12. For me, the rule is “how can I best meet the needs for good health?”

          • Epikoros

            That is fine, Johanna. The key phrase from your comment is “in my mind”. I’m going with what Dr. Greger said in this video, it’s better to get our nutrition from whole foods than supplements. It could be that one day B12 will prove to be the exception but that day is not here now, at least from a clear scientific basis.

          • herodotos

            You wrote earlier “It’s probably safer to get our nutrients the way nature intended, from food and not supplements.” and has since repeated variations of that multipe times.

            First off nature does not intend anything. Second, we should stick to the evidence available to us. AFAICT there is no evidence that B12 through supplementation is inferior. For some *other* nutrients there is evidence that intake through whole foods is better than through supplements. For those nutrients we have reason to opt for intake through whole foods.

            So from purely individual health considerations you have not made a case against B12 supplements. Now, unless one is a psychopath or otherwise and extreme egoist there is more to the moral formula than individual health. One topic is harm to animals. The facts of agribusiness and the facts of slaughter as it really is are reasons against eating animal products. The lack of evidence for any health drawbacks with B12 supplements and the abundant evidence of animal harm in animal product production together make a good case for B12 intake through supplements.

          • Epikoros

            Ref “First off nature does not intend anything.” I’m not going to get into a semantics battle with you. I’m sure you realize ‘intend’ refers to how we’re designed and adapted over time.

            Ref “we should stick to the evidence available to us.” No, we should also use common sense. Just as we recently learned that certain vitamins can be harmful, we might learn that about B12 supplements in the future. That is why I said we should stick to nature.

            Ref “unless one is a psychopath or otherwise and extreme egoist there is more to the moral formula than individual health” Take a good look at what you wrote and then in the mirror.

            Ref “harm to animals” That was the reason I was mostly vegan for 11 years until I got B12 deficiency. BTW, back in my day, there were vegan ‘authorities’ who claimed you could get B12 from tempeh, seaweed and other a couple of other vegan sources. I took their message to heart and that is why I got deficient.
            All animal products I buy are from the most pro-welfare ranchers available, at least, I pay a premium for it. Are they perfect, no. I do the best I can but, yes, I am guilty of putting my own health before the animal.

          • herodotos

            “Just as we recently learned that certain vitamins can be harmful, we might learn that about B12 supplements in the future. That is why I said we should stick to nature.”

            During our evolutionary formative periods we got B12 also from dirt on plants. There *might* be some yet undiscovered special holistic property with intake of B12 through dirty plant sources that is unavailable in animal product B12 and lack of that special property – lack of what nature intended for us – is making us modern humans sick. It might be so! You have to accept that it might be so. But then your “stick to nature” argument leads you to also start eating plants with dirt left. Will you? It might also be the case that our total B12 intake in the formative periods was, due to B12 in soil on plants we ate, very much higher than even for animal product eaters today and that the only practical way today to get to those high levels is to take a supplement. In that case taking a supplement is what we should do to reach the B12 levels nature intended for us. These “it might” scenarios can easily be multiplied and the pull in any number of directions. Which of them should you rely on?

            “Take a good look at what you wrote and then in the mirror.”
            Wait that bit wasn’t against you personally, it was only a vivid way to point out what I hope we both can agree on. I can see that it came across as an attack, i should have put it differently. What I meant to say was really only that what we should and should not eat is not to be decided on individual health considerations alone. If the sourcing of some food product would involve a direct, intentional and great harm like in the slaughterhouses then we have a pretty strong reason to stick with alternatives. If there is no clear evidence that the non-slaughter alternative is worse then we should use that alternative.

            “BTW, back in my day, there were vegan ‘authorities’ who claimed you could get B12 from tempeh, seaweed and other a couple of other vegan sources. I took their message to heart and that is why I got deficient.”
            I’m sorry you got bad information and got hurt from it. The historical prevalence of misinformation (very often claimed to be common sense!) about B12 in the vegan community is precisely why we should stick to what the available scientific evidence says and only that.

            “the most pro-welfare ranchers available …”

          • Epikoros

            Many of the points you’re making I’ve already addressed in this thread. But I’ll go over a few points again:
            Ref “During our evolutionary formative periods we got B12 also from dirt on plants.” This implies that we didn’t eat animals in our ‘formative periods’. If you have any proof of that, please post a link. Everything I’ve ever seen points to us as hunters/gatherers.
            We probably rubbed the dirt off our plants before eating them, not liking the gritty taste of dirt. I even read that some chimps in the wild were seen washing certain root vegetables before eating them. For those who ate some dirt, their stomach flora was probably different than ours, and that is true today. For example, in the 1980’s I remember a lecture by the vegan, Dr. Klapper. He acknowledged that Eskimos have adapted differently than others and probably would not do well on a vegan diet.
            But for the record, when I was vegan I did hear that we shouldn’t scrub our organic vegetables so as to get the B12. I tried it for one meal and I was sick all day. So “been there, done that” and won’t do it again.
            Ref ‘harm in slaughter houses’: I don’t eat meat or fowl so it’s not really germane but as I said, I do the best I can buying from those who claim to be most humane. Do some cheat? Of course. Are there some legitimate humane ranchers? I think so.

          • herodotos

            ” This implies that we didn’t eat animals in our ‘formative periods’. ”
            No it does not. Read that part again and not the word ALSO. Humans during evolutionary periods ate both plants and animals. That is all I need for my argument. I of course have zero evidence for the claim about a holistic property of B12 intake through plants with dirt. It is just an evidence-free “it might be so” conjecture. But that was the point! You basis for thinking supplemental B12 is unreliable is exactly on par with that. I can produce hundreds of similar conjectures. The point is: you have no way to consistently orient your behaviour if you start heeding to such might be this might be that thinking without evidence. You have simply picked one such conjecture, very likely due to psychological stress from having had B12 deficiency (due to NOT supplementing, mind you!) in the past. Understandable, since fear drives irrationality.

            “We probably rubbed the dirt off our plants before eating them”
            Do you have evidence that all dirt went off? No you don’t. Maybe the remaining dirt was enough for the special B12 property to kick in. it MIGHT BE SO, to paraphrase your way of thinking without evidence.

            “their stomach flora was probably different than ours”
            I might be like that. It might also be that our stomach flora back then was much better at absorbing B12 and that we today need much larger doses of B12, only had through supplements, to get the absorption nature intended for us. It MIGHT be like any of these claims. It is, again, extremely easy to come up with “might be” when you don’t simply stick to the evidence at hand.

            “I tried it for one meal and I was sick all day.”
            On attempt is no scientific basis for ruling that out. Maybe that particular dirt was contaminated. Maybe it was too much dirt. Maybe you haven’t gotten the dosage right. Maybe… You have to eat plants with dirt in thousands of different variations and doses and you will still not be able to rule out all the “might be” scenarios. So better get starting now! Or: drop the “might be” method and stick to the evidence. That means you have ZERO reason to bash B12 supplements.

            “I don’t eat meat or fowl”
            What animal products do you eat?

            “Are there some legitimate humane ranchers? I think so”
            See the humane myth link I gave. Can you reply to the reports there. Can you provide evidence of the absence of cruelty on the animal exploitation facilities that you support financially?

          • herodotos

            Wait, in another comment you say “so I added dairy” and you say you eat eggs. And yet you say arguments about slaughter houses isn’t “germane”? Where do you think the “spent” (that is, forced to produce until their bodies break down) cows and egg laying hens go?

          • Epikoros

            Ref “Humans during evolutionary periods ate both plants and animals.” Right, and it seemed you wanted to jump to the conclusion that we got our B12 from eating dirty plants rather than animals. It seems now you’re willing to acknowledge that there is no logic in your prior assumption.

            Ref “You basis for thinking supplemental B12 is unreliable is exactly on par with that.” I never said I had evidence that taking B12 was not reliable. I said from the very start that I agree with Dr. Greger, that we should get our nutrition from whole foods. We see that some supplements proved detrimental. Why wait for science to catch up on other supplements? Back in the 1980’s, many in the vegetarian community said you could get B12 from tempeh, seaweed, mushrooms…so far it all proved false. What will you believe next?

            Ref “psych
            stress from having had B12 deficiency (due to NOT supplementing, mind
            you!) in the past. Understandable, since fear drives irrationality.”
            You’re taking B12 because you don’t want to use any animals. Understandable, since blind passion drives irrationality.

            Ref “Do you have evidence that all dirt went off? ” As I said and you seemed to agree, we get our B12 from animals. That B12 is readily accessible, it’s not a crap shoot as is having the right type of dirt on my carrot, in the right amount, eaten without stomach upset, which if incurred, could cause vomiting and losing that precious grain of dirt with the speck of B12. I’m not going to try to eat more dirt as you recommend, in fact, I doubt that I’ll respond to additional comments from you. Your points are weak, in fact they’re rather pathetic.

            Ref “Humane Ranchers”: It’s how you want to define it. All animal rights people I’ve known, at least a couple of hundred over the decades, believe that ‘humane ranching’ or ‘humane slaughter’ is an oxymoron. I’ve seen these ranchers on PBS, even on cooking shows, heard interviews with NPR, attended lectures and debates where they discussed differences…in fact, at these debates, no one on the vegan side ever accused the humane ranchers of being deceptive.

          • herodotos

            I’m sorry you have trouble following simple sentences. I’m sorry that your fear of falling back into B12 deficiency have driven you to irrational, evidence-free behaviour that harm animals severely without benefiting you or anyone else.

          • herodotos

            “Why wait for science to catch up on other supplements? Back in the 1980’s, many in the vegetarian community said you could get B12 from tempeh, seaweed, mushrooms…so far it all proved false. What will you believe next?”

            This captures the core of your mistake. You, just like those B12-in-tempeh-believers in the 80’s, start believing claims that the available evidence does not warrant. There was no scientific evidence of human absorbable B12 in seaweed. But their “common sense” told them that there must be and they, arrogantly, thought their “common sense” was a better guide to the facts about nutrition than science. Today there is no scientific evidence that B12 absorbtion from supplements is better or worse than absorbtion from animal products. But your “common sense” (or irrational fear) tell you that B12 supplements must be worse and you, arrogantly, think your “common sense” a better guide to the facts about nutrition than science. You are perpetuating the irresponsible, harmful approach that brought you B12 deficiency in the first place.

          • Epikoros

            I’m sorry you’re no smarter than the plants you eat.

          • Brux

            > First off nature does not intend anything

            That’s a good point. But nature does put millions of animals live’s at stake every day where they can be killed and eaten or die in pretty horrible ways. The whole subject provokes extreme beliefs and arguments, and even intolerance of other people’s opinions and lifestyles.

            I think factory farming is pretty bad and it is not something I like contributing to, so I make every effort not to. But there are those who think differently, those who cannot afford to behave differently, those who do not think at all, and we all have to live together somehow.

            Gratuitous cruelty to animals is something that should be opposed anywhere. It is a sign of a sick mind as I read it is a marker of psychopathy of people who also hurt and do not care about other people. As the movie “Food Inc.” pointed out, our whole system is like this. It is really something to think about that the main purpose of our country seems to be for a small elite psychopathic minority to make a system like this that can probably be considered to be anti-life itself to feed the rest of us.

            That said though, in nature animals die in some painful and horrible ways. Farm animals can have good lives and be cared for, and not all people who eat meat do not care for animals, or not all people who care about and love animals do not eat them.

          • herodotos

            Brux, some animals die horribly in nature therefore we should accept that some harm animals in society? Some humans die horribly due to natural events like storms or droughts therefore is a bit more ok? No and no.

            “we all have to live together somehow.”
            No, we should struggle and dissent and things will change. The proper response to those who refused the vote for women wasn’t to say “well lets agree to disagree and keep the status quo where half the population is disenfranchised”. The proper response was that there will be struggle and we’re not going to stop dissenting until things change.

          • Brux

            > Brux, some animals die horribly in nature therefore …

            Therefore nothing, but think about what that means. Everything has to
            die at some point. Animals in this world serve the purpose of being
            food for something … everything has a predator … and if not a predator,
            then disease organisms of organisms that benefit from its demise.
            Spend some time trying to tell an eagle it should not swoop down
            and eat a field mouse and should instead graze on some kale! ;-)

            I have to admit, it pisses me off when instead of just saying your piece,
            whatever you want to say, which I can respect, you eke out every little
            word I’ve written like it was Mein Kampf or something, trying to twist
            it to purposes that you are not really clear about yourself.

            If you want the meaning of your life to be a struggle against all human
            beings to stop killing and eating all animals, fine, go for it. I would not
            try to humiliate or ridicule you. See that part of that is to attack me
            and other people who might not agree with you. You are attacking
            not discussing.

            The vote for women is quite a different proposition, and in fact we are
            still fighting that fight, and I don’t appreciate you trying to portray me
            as some kind of retrograde in every progressive cause because I don’t
            agree with you on this one. The problem with this kind of argument is
            that it doesn’t do a thing but generate more characters on disk somewhere.

            It is quite a philosophical question the meaning of an animal’s life, one
            that is not going to solved here, but further – even if it was, you still
            have to convince people to change their ways. What is the difference
            to an animal if it dies after having lived a safe life on a farm being taken
            care of, ideally, if it dies humanely in order to feed people who appreciate it.
            Now I know you will complain about the use of the word humane here,
            but it does have a meaning. We try to execute criminals humanely, at
            least that is the goal.

            The games played with words on this site and the emotional attacks on
            people to try to make them feel guilty for the way the world is are really
            unworthy of a real discussion.

            But, you know, you people on the other hand should think about, what
            if every animal could be tracked and harvested the moment it died of
            natural causes … you would need to admit you would still be against
            eating animals, so really your whole argument is a sham just for emotional
            affect. There is no pleasing you because I think for at least some of
            you this is about trying to control people to validate yourself.

          • herodotos

            “Therefore nothing, but think about what that means.”

            It means that you still very selectively use the irrelevant “but look at the suffering in nature” line when it comes to human against animal violence but shy away from using it when the topic is human against human violence.

            There is by now quite a lot of psychological research into the mindset you are in. You could start familiarizing yourself with it through this TED talk

          • Brux

            Just attack, don’t bother to read what I said or think
            or respond to that … your mindset is Mr. Know-it-all,
            for everyone else.

          • herodotos

            There are a lot of things I do not know. What I gave you was not an attack, it was an argument showing what is problematic with the “but look at nature” things you were saying. Do you have any reply to that argument?

            The “but look at nature” line is a common psychological defence mechanism but not a good argument. It is such a common mistake that there is a name for it: the naturalistic fallacy. There are even cartoons picking it apart. Here are two of them, enjoy!



          • Brux

            I’d say a cartoon is not a response to an argument but just
            your annoying way of running away from making one. So,
            don’t bother me with more of the same, I see you running
            around here and insulting people left and right and I have
            no time for it.

          • herodotos

            I have already given the argument. Here it is again. To say “But X happens in nature” is not a justification for any human action against another animal or human. If it were then we would, on pain of contradiction, accept that houses and electricity are wrong because unnatural. We would also have to accept that it is good and right to kill human children, because some animals kill children of their own species. But no one believes that. I don’t and you don’t. That shows that the “but X happens in nature” argument is broken. So stop using it.

            The second cartoon is, if you actually view it, is a flowchart that explains the errors with appeal to nature in other words. Do read it

          • Brux

            > To say “But X happens in nature” is not a justification for any human action against another animal or human.

            That’s an opinion, not an argument, and a negative one at that. Seriously, I see how you write, I see how you think, and if you think I am going to waste time with this, you’re mistaken. I’ve got better things to do than try to argue with the illogical or convince the unconvinceable, and I don’t don’t care what you think anyway, if that’s good enough for you fine.

          • herodotos

            “That’s an opinion, not an argument, and a negative one at that.”

            The sentence you quoted is the conclusion of the argument. The conclusion says that appeal to nature is a flawed way to argue. I argue for that conclusion in the sentences following by way of a reductio.

            Since it is a common mistake to make you shouldn’t take it personal that you happened to make it. Many people have. It is such a common mistake that there is a lot to read on it. You can, apart from the comic, also read these two pages

            Especially the second will provide you with a much more detailed explanation of the problem and more examples.

          • Brux

            You didn’t argue, and this thing that you do seems to me to be a sign of of a kind of mental illness. Thanks for your time, feel free to go on and on and on, cause I know you will!

          • Johanna Martin

            I think it’s kind of interesting that our differing viewpoints may be caused by differing experiences. I think yours comes from a B12 deficiency experience in conjunction with a vegan style of eating and mine comes from a chronic disease crisis likely brought on by meat consumption. Because meat consumption has been increasingly associated with increased cancer risk I am putting my preferred bets on a B12 pill with a vegan style of eating as opposed to risking another round of chronic disease via animal product consumption.

          • Epikoros

            Right, we’ve had different experiences and we seek solutions to solve our problems. But if you look around nature, she doesn’t allow for perfection, that is, a strict diet of anything often comes with some compromise.
            When I was new to veganism I was making the case that horses, elephants, etc…are vegan so why not us? The answer was 1) They don’t shake off the insects from the grass and leaves they eat. 2) Some, like gorillas, occasionally eat poop which provides B12 and probably other nutrients. 3) They have different digestive systems than we do. Ruminates regurgitate food which has been fermenting and creating B12.

            My point is what is the ‘balance’? The general public says eat a ‘balanced’ diet but no one really knows what that means. It used to be that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables were recommended daily. It wasn’t clear what a serving was and then overnight it went from 5 servings to 9…and I just heard the other day it’s now at 11.

            So, sure, find what works for you but please remember we’re not all the same. I’m hesitant to use this old adage because it might result in a pile on about the word ‘meat’ but “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

          • Johanna Martin

            I don’t really understand what you’re trying to conclude. Do you now think that you have to consume animal products to get B12?

          • Epikoros

            Where I’m at today is the same as expressed by Dr. Greger in the video, get your nutrition through food and not supplements; For B12 that means animal products.

          • Johanna Martin

            So you agree with Dr. Greger on this video saying you should only get things from food, but on other videos where he shows the danger of animal products, you are not alarmed by your personal willingness to consume them. (I hope I understand your point.) If you’re willing to share, I’m curious how much and what in terms of animal products you consume. Are you willing to share some of that?

          • Epikoros

            Ref “but on other videos where he shows the danger of animal products, you
            are not alarmed by your personal willingness to consume them”
            That is a very black and white perspective which I do not adhere too. I mentioned my animal consumption many times in this thread. I went back a bit and copied and pasted:

            When I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency after being mostly vegan for 11
            years, I did a lot of reading about it. That was back in 2001. At that
            time and apparently still true today, clams were rated as the #1 source
            of B12 so I immediately decided to add shellfish to my diet. Then I
            read that kefir was another great source so I added dairy. The next
            thing I knew I was eating eggs too and I thought, okay, I’m on the
            slippery slope and I better stop there before I go out and have a
            At first I was making sure I had a serving from each group,
            that is, dairy, eggs and fish, on a weekly basis. Since then, it’s
            become much more spread out. I’ll go through a dozen eggs in about two
            weeks and not purchase them again for another few months, similarly with
            dairy and fish. I do know this. When I’m feeling run down or kind of
            weak, I’ll eat those products and feel more energetic.

          • Johanna Martin

            Hi, Epikoros, it’s interesting that you choose dairy or meat to feel more energetic. If I feel a lack of energy, I eat/drink a smoothie and in fifteen minutes, I feel significantly better and even sharper mentally. We have had almost opposite experiences. My sister who was living with us and attempting the vegan route felt a need for eggs, as happened to you, but upon trying scrambled tofu with greens gave up completely on eggs as the scrambled tofu proved to be the solution to her feelings of requiring eggs.

          • Epikoros

            Hi Johanna, Just to be clear, I eat fish, dairy and eggs but no meat or fowl. When you get refreshed from a smoothie it’s probably because of the sugar spike. I don’t think it’s a healthy alternative, at least not for me. I experimented with it decades ago, I still have my Champion Juicer, it was top of the line back in the day.

            Yeah, I did the tofu thing for the first few years I was vegan. Like all bean products, it doesn’t ‘sit’ well with me. Besides, tofu is a heavily processed food. I switched to edamame which I really liked but it didn’t like me, the ‘bean’ thing again.

            Also, there is no B12 in tofu or any soybean product. They used to say it was in tempeh but it proved to be a myth.

            So yes, we have very different experiences. As they say, It’s what makes the world go around.

          • Johanna Martin

            Just for clarification, my smoothie is not “juice.” It contains a lot of greens, some flaxseeds, some amla, maybe a little bit of a beet and/or a small carrot, some water, some berries, and occasionally some Eden’s pure soymilk. All of the fiber from everything is in my smoothie. I use a Vitamix and sip it slowly so it doesn’t qualify as a sugar high.

          • Epikoros

            I had to look up amla, never heard of that before. Dr. Greger’s site says that keeping the fiber in and sipping it slowly over 17 minutes decreases the sugar spike but it’s still present. Either way, I’m more inclined to follow T. Colin Campbell, I’m guessing you’re familiar with him. Anyway he says, “But the bottom line is this: Use your mouth and your teeth the way
            nature intended and put the smoothies aside or have them just as treats.
            Compared to my medical school days, my life is now better in many ways,
            and I no longer imbibe the gross, green smoothie of old. I strive to
            eat and chew generous portions of dark green leaves every day, and thus
            hope the desperate times do not return. I recommend you do the same.” from

          • Johanna Martin

            Yes, this is a very good quote from T. Colin Campbell’s son. My smoothies contain much more in the way of greens and much less fruit than the typical one he lists. Thanks for reminding me of his thoughts. Even so, I find smoothies a great way to get greens.

          • Epikoros

            Please remember that traditional smoothies don’t contain vitamin B12 which is the heart of our discussion.

          • Johanna Martin

            Of course! I think we’ve gone off on a tangent. I’ll be sure to take my B12 today! :D

          • Epikoros

            Johanna, you’re alright. Enjoy!

          • Johanna Martin
          • Epikoros

            Fun info, thanks. It might prove useful too. It says, “Mycobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being
            investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even
            rheumatoid arthritis.”
            I am in the early stage of rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve had a lot of luck treating it by adding lots of turmeric to my food but eventually I had to take, yup, supplements, as the spice wasn’t enough. So you see, I’ll take supplements when needed.
            Anyway, if you hear where I can get this mycobacterium for arthritis, I’ll try it. I’ll check next time I’m at my health food store.

          • Johanna Martin
          • Johanna Martin

            Quote from the Discover mag: “The results so far suggest that simply inhaling M. vaccae—you get a dose just by taking a walk in the wild or rooting around in the garden—could help elicit a jolly state of mind. “You can also ingest mycobacteria either through water sources or through eating plants—lettuce that you pick from the garden, or carrots,” Lowry says.”

          • Epikoros

            I don’t doubt it. I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast my whole life and maybe that is the reason why. Too bad you can’t get B12 that way! If you could, I never would have become deficient.

    • apprin

      Neither plants nor animals produce vitamin B-12. B-12 is a product of a bacterial process. Animals must consume food sources that are literally contaminated with B-12. Thus, animals are also taking B-12 supplements.

      • Epikoros

        Very weak, not worth more of a response than that.

        • apprin

          As determined by?? Ahhh, I see by the absence of any substantive response that you are unable to deny my statement. This, you call “not worthy”, all while taking the trouble to verbally exhibit an inability to respond? Thank you for the affirmation of my posture.

          • Epikoros

            I’m doing my best to remain respectful of everyone and you present a huge challenge as I would love to be sarcastic and bitter like yourself.
            Okay, take what you said, ‘that animals are taking B12 supplements because food they eat contain the bacteria’, therefore if you extend that rational, all types of food are supplements and so is oxygen and water.
            The natural environment provides us with what we need which includes plants, vegetables, fungi, animals and friendly bacteria. It happens to be that we can’t utilize the B12 the way a cow does, through rumination; Or as other herbivores do, by eating feces.
            So if we have to resort to something made in the lab, it’s considered a dietary supplement. It’s how the word is defined.

    • Charzie

      B12 is found in soil bacteria and is not a food nutrient. It is only stored in animals, not made by them, so option A is eat soil, B, a creature that eats soil, or C take supplements.

      • Epikoros

        Okay, and since I prefer to get my nutrition from whole foods I eat creatures that contain B12 regardless of how they got it. BTW, egg yolks contain B12 as does dairy products.
        But my only point in my original comment was Dr. Greger’s video showed the pitfalls of supplements and stressed getting your nutrition from whole foods. So I asked shouldn’t that be true of B12 as well.

    • largelytrue

      I can’t speak directly from Dr. Greger, but just because one is critical of making too great of a reductionist ‘leap’ from associations drawn from a context of food consumption foods to 1 out of a multitude of nutrients that are part of that association, doesn’t mean that we can’t make reductionist steps ever. The push and pull of drilling down and backing up, the use of analysis and synthesis together to understand the whole, is very integral to the science on any worthily complex topic, and to deny it would be dogmatic and unreasonable.

      The vitamins are in fact backed by good quality research that pins down certain health outcomes to that particular nutrient. They are in effect fairly well studied as drugs, for the dosages typical of diets, at least. Getting adequate B12 from supplements at the levels known to be necessary is okay, as is getting adequate beta-carotene to prevent vitamin A deficiency (though avoiding acute deficiency is a low standard to set).

      Leaping beyond that to megadoses operating by a different mechanism, setting an entirely different standard for optimal intake, is the really risky step. The beta-carotene intakes for the new level and the different health mechanism are speculative, and require that a lot more high-quality reductionist work be done anew. This new work can turn out to favor the isolated supplement or not, according to the whims of reality.

      • Epikoros

        The gist of Dr. Greger’s video today was emphasizing getting your nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements. I agree so I rely on food sources for B12 and I asked Dr. Greger how he reconciles popping pills in light of his own video. Is he saying that it’s healthier to take a B12 supplement rather than whole foods??

        • Brux

          Why does everything have to be black or white, yes or no, love or hate with your people.
          Can’t your minds process any nuance or differentiate between different things.

          The Dr. was speaking of specific studies, vitamin A for one. Someone else piped up about vitamin D and McDougal, and then the B12 issue came up, and everyone seems to be so anxious to jump into an argument, find some hypocrisy, or demand a one-size-fits-all solution.

          Maybe each of these issues is slightly different. There is probably more to the story for most of these things, but to make the biggest difference is B12 since it is actually hard to get in nature. I don’t remember the video I saw I it is, but the claim was that actually most PEOPLE, vegans and carnivores are deficient in B12.

          it is cheap and easy to supplement, though I don’t really like that sublingual thing or putting something under my tongue, but it’s better than nothing.

          The point is that many if not most of those to comment the loudest here seem to desperately need to have a one size world that fits them that they want to demand everyone else follow, and oft times it spirals to the ridiculous.

          All vegetables, all the time, everything eaten within minutes of it being picked, and never heated about 143 degrees … yada, yada …

          It’s like there is no room for an earnest, civil discussion which collates what people have heard and think they know, because everyone claims to know it all already.

          My way of thinking is that you don’t have to look back far in history to find this has been going on since the dawn of man and womankind … that we always think we know enough to make decisions that we later find our were wildly off, or just plain bad. In terms of diet, I don’t think we know much more than we did 100 years ago, but there is a lot more data and science now. It’s just that the body is such an incredibly complicated system that evolved with hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of forces and histories shaping it, in was created in a way we cannot analyze or understand except by taking small parts of the whole system and looking at and simplifying it past the point that is valid.

          Thankfully that works sometimes, but we know even the most basic medicines work on people with large differences, the same with foods. We just don’t know, so there is not going to be that black and white line that is so comforting to some people. Live and live and live and learn.

          Just because Dr. G. might recommend B12 supplementation does not imply that he is for popping pills, or because he quoted a problem with vitamin A doesn’t mean he is against all vitamins … and he has been known to change his recommendation as well. Chill.

          • Epikoros

            It’s interesting that you point out the bad manners of people here, something I’ve commented on as well. Given that you replied directly to me I have to ask, it seems you are insinuating that I’m being rude. If you are saying that, I disagree, especially given how I’ve been treated at this site. That aside…

            Ref “There is probably more to the story for most of these things, but to
            make the biggest difference is B12 since it is actually hard to get in
            I disagree, it’s abundant in many animal foods whereas it’s impossible to get it from a whole food vegan diet.

            Ref “I don’t remember the video I saw I it is, but the claim was
            that actually most PEOPLE, vegans and carnivores are deficient in B12.” Yes, I’ve seen that claim as well but it doesn’t match reality. As you know, there are often wide discrepancies among health organizations and their nutritional recommendations. Deficiencies are based on those numbers rather than people actually exhibiting the symptoms of the deficiency. And when it comes to the latter, it’s rare to see B12 deficiency in omnivores.

            Ref “Just because Dr. G. might recommend B12 supplementation does not imply
            that he is for popping pills, or because he quoted a problem with
            vitamin A doesn’t mean he is against all vitamins … and he has been
            known to change his recommendation as well.”
            Fine, and that is all I asked in my first post. And your veg head cohorts went ballistic on me. You need to tell them to Chill.

          • Brux

            I was not saying you were rude, but the pill popping comment seems a bit provocative.

            B12 is not abundant today in nature, but even if it was, few people live in a state of nature anymore.

            Since you nor I know what the state of people’s B12 is, why disagree?

            And you are rude again to me in saying “veg head cohorts went ballistic” before you even waiting for my answer on your question … what I saying you were rude.

            People, and I can include you in this slightly but don’t take it personally please, do not seem to know now to leave out the incendiary stuff in internet posts. I have seen the most bizarre thing sometimes. Like someone who believes they have superior knowledge for on for multiple paragraphs explaining something, and then topping it all off by telling the person they are supposedly doing a favor for by taking quite a long time to inform them that they are an idiot or worse or going off on a swearing tirade.

            I mention that I still eat meat and probably will not stop, but I don’t eat much, and I want specific data on how much is problematic, and I get all meat is toxic and stuff like that, or I must want to die, or just die. Are so many people in our country really this mental, and I think that is a much more important question than whether someone eats meat or not, because diet doesn’t blow the country up socially or politically.

          • Epikoros

            Ref ” pill popping comment seems a bit provocative” Yes it is and it was my intention. After several assaults, I decided to fight fire with fire.

            Ref “And you are rude again to me in saying “veg head cohorts went ballistic” Yes, because you were rude to me, for example, by telling me to Chill.

            If you read my posts from the beginning, I think you’ll agree I was being polite and professional. I turned the other cheek a couple of times but sooner or later, you have to stand up for yourself.

            I’m hitting the hay, good night.

          • Brux

            So, someone was rude to you, and in that state of mind you decided

            I was rude to you for telling you to chill?

            Here is what I said:
            > Just because Dr. G. might recommend B12 supplementation does not
            > imply that he is for popping pills, or because he quoted a problem with
            > vitamin A doesn’t mean he is against all vitamins … and he has been
            > known to change his recommendation as well. Chill.

            Was Dr. G. rude to you? I guess my point here is that this is like an
            atomic chain reaction if one person comes into a discussion board
            with an insulting demeanor, and insults someone, then you have two
            people people primed to be insulting or short tempered.

            If they decide to take that our on anyone else, then you will have
            4, then 8, then 16 …

            Just in this thread no one seemed rude to me. I don’t really know
            if me telling you to chill would be an insult, or rude, but apparently
            it affected you that way, and I might say because of the state you
            were in where you conflate everyone with anyone who you are
            talking to.

            See, my point is that I am a programmer, and I would love to
            design some kind of discussion board where this cannot happen.
            There are some of these Discus discussions that once you make
            a comment you get weeks and weeks of notifiers of everyone
            insulting people endlessly.

            I’d really like to understand why this happens and how to avoid

          • Epikoros

            Ref “So, someone was rude to you” No, many people were rude. And what compounded it was that I was originally nice to them. I set the proper tone for the discussion but they didn’t follow suit.

            Your original post had subtle insults such as “why does everything have to be black and white…Can’t your minds process any nuance…”: It’s accusing us of being simpletons.

            Then once you started discussing the heart of the matter, you didn’t address the main concern thus it seemed you were twisting it to your own agenda and that triggers anger in me. As I said many times in my posts, the heart of the matter was Dr. Greger pointed out the danger of taking supplements and implored people to eat whole foods. My response was since Dr. Greger promotes a vegan diet and B12 is non-existent in vegan whole foods, how does he reconcile taking a B12 supplement rather than modifying his diet?

            Your response was, “it is cheap and easy to supplement”. Even if that was true, so what?? It’s not the question.

            Finally, telling someone to Chill is giving them a command. People don’t like to be told what to do. We accept the reality of it at work and other environments but we don’t have to put up with it in these comments.

            Ref “Was Dr. G. rude to you? ” Of course not and I never suggested he was. Nor I was I rude to him. But that you ask that question is rude to me. It means you picked up the conversation in the middle, you didn’t do due diligence and read the entire thread, so you raise issues already discussed and make people repeat, or at least me, repeat myself. And that is rude.

            You want to understand why people are rude: 1) People might be responding to rude behavior done to them. 2) People don’t have answers to something they are passionate about, thus they are angry and lash out with insults.

            You want to find a way to stop people being rude, great, prevent people from being human. But it could be reduced. Start with yourself. Ask yourself how do you feel when someone commands you to Chill.
            Then see how else you can express that thought without any belligerency.

          • Brux

            I see, you can dish it out, but you cannot take it, in fact you have to imagine it. Very interesting.

          • Epikoros

            Obviously, you have a selective memory or more likely, you haven’t read through the entire thread.

          • herodotos

            Everyone is prone to snark and rudeness sometimes when writing online comments. It happens. It isn’t good and we should all try to avoid it (and we’ll still fail many times, I’m ospeaking from my own experience) but what never helps is to start a “who was most rude?” subdiscussion. That never leads to anything good. Just drop it and move along. (Easy for me to say since I’m not part of your particular back and forth here, I know :-)

          • Epikoros

            Funny you should say that. I just responded in harsh terms to someone else. As I said elsewhere, I wait for the other person to draw first blood and even then I usually hold back for awhile. But eventually I fight fire with fire.
            Ref “Just drop it and move along”: If that works for you, Godspeed. For me, I believe that one is either part of the problem or part of the solution. There is no saying what the long term effects are. But ‘moving along’ sends them a message that they are right and they’ll be encouraged to do it again.

      • Leslie

        Do you take your B12 sublingually, or do you ingest it with your food? What has been your experience, as far as absorption efficiency, form of B12, and dosage amounts and frequency? Thanks.

        • largelytrue

          I bought a liquid supplement for very little money and take the equivalent of a 60ug drop at one or two meals, though it’s presently more like a drop with food and a few drops in the water pitcher. I’m maybe overdosing by a little bit according to my judgment, really, since the supplement is getting a bit old and I don’t want to wait too long before rolling into a new one. When the doses are low and steady, absorption efficiency is way higher, meaning that less needs to go into the gut.

          Any source will tell you this, really, but I think that Jack Norris in particular has written on vitamin B12 supplementation quite well for a general vegan audience.

          • Leslie

            Would you mind sharing the brand name? Most liquid B12 supplements contain massive doses even per drop, so I’d be interested in yours as I might be able to limit the amount. Also, does yours contain folic acid and or B6? Thanks for any info.

          • largelytrue

            Yeah, it’s technically a B12 complex but the other vitamins are at nutritionally insignificant levels relative to the B12 itself at low dosage. I’m reluctant to give a specific brand because the market for this type of supplement is fiercely competitive — it’s relatively easy to produce — and I would like for them to be forced to compete on price. Look for 2.0 fl oz, 1.2mg/cc, which at 20 drops per cc gives 60ug per drop.

            Spring Valley, Nature’s Bounty, and Sundown are among the most prominent brands that I know of, and looking quickly at Amazon for brands that I’m unaware of I note Puritan’s Pride and others that also appear to have the exact same product in their lineup.

          • Leslie

            Makes sense. There are plenty of options out there. I am reluctant to ingest the non-B12 synthetic B vitamins that are often placed in B12 supplements (I hope to find a liquid B12 containing just B12). It seems to me that Dr. G and much of the scientific literature suggests abstinence from other synthetic B vitamins, especially folic acid and B6.

            Thanks for your time, suggestions, and personal experience shared in your posts today.

          • largelytrue

            Synthetic and natural there refer to the origin of the chemical(s) and the exact chemical pyroxidine is ubiquitous in nature (and the plant kingdom in particular) in the case of B6, so I don’t quite understand the point there. The dose makes the poison, also, and again, part of the caution around certain B vitamins has to do with large doses, or supplementation practices that attempt to compensate for a diet that is deficient in these vitamins. The unintended intake of B6 from two drops amounts to 10% of the RDA, and there is no folic acid — though I see now that some of these supplements do like to add folic acid and other vitamins in order to give a picture of completeness. My supplement contains 5 of 8 B vitamins.

            The tolerable upper limit of B6 is also significantly higher than the RDA, by a factor of 10 or more. I don’t consider this incidental supplementation to be toxic, or even to take intake outside the bounds of normal consumption. Within the bounds of normal dietary consumption the water soluble B vitamins are generally known for being well tolerated. Fat soluble vitamins tend to have the much narrower gap between ideal and toxic levels of intake, basically because the body has a hard time rolling back uptake through that kind of pathway.

          • she veg

            Yeah, it caught me by shock to find out you take a B12 form that also includes artificial B-vitamins in its product. What, if anything, would lead you to conclude this is OK to do? Everyone (most of us) know to avoid artificial B vitamins – excepting for a bit of B12 on continual basis.

          • largelytrue

            What would lead you to conclude that incidental supplementation at ~10% of the RDA for selected B-vitamins is harmful? You know that they examine the toxicity of vitamins, and the B-vitamins in particular are well tolerated in general, with ULs tens and sometimes thousands times the RDA.

          • Leslie

            Also wondering if you have had your homocysteine and methylmalonic acid blood levels checked to accurately access whether your body is absorbing the B12 from the blood, gut, etc. My doctor pointed out to me that one could have a high and adequate serum B12 level but to no likely benefit if the person did not also have a healthy homocysteine level and MMA level. I’ve always wondered if cyanocobalamin is able to achieve this for HMCY and MMA.

          • largelytrue

            Yes, all the B12 vitamers have similar activity in the body. Your doctor is also absolutely correct that the plasma serum levels can sometimes be deceptive and that the metabolic signs of adequate use are valuable indicators as well.

            I’ve not checked serum levels yet for many reasons, but intend to check that out when convenient and in the next year or so if not earlier. I have very little doubt that I’m absorbing B12, in fact my absorption is likely a bit on the high end for my body, but checking where I am standing with respect to optimal MMA couldn’t hurt, since I tend to agree with the relatively generous idea of supplementing B12 until there is no apparent metabolic need. Since B12 is used in a variety of processes and the bodily supply is pretty carefully guarded against things like famine or disease when absorption is disrupted, it is plausible to me that deficiency will appear in layers, as the body rolls back one metabolic reaction to conserve another. Since the risk of excessive absorption appears small at the levels I’m taking, I prefer to guard against subclinical deficiency and in the same stroke to keep my liver stores topped up in case some misfortune should disrupt my intrinsic factor system without my knowing.

    • Lonestar

      It depends on what your goals are. Your #1 goal should be to get all necessary nutrition. If your secondary goal is to avoid meat (for whatever reason you choose), and your tertiary goal is to eat whole foods, then this is the logical choice.

      If however, your secondary goal is to eat whole foods, and your tertiary goal is to avoid meat, then you just do paleo. (But do paleo right–mostly wild vegetables with a little bit of wild meat, and bugs of course.)

      • Epikoros

        I’m aligned with my goals but my question was how is Dr. Greger aligned with his goals? As I said, his video stressed whole foods over supplements. He promotes a vegan diet and there are no whole food vegan sources of B12, ergo, he has to take a supplement contrary to the video. How does he square the circle?

        • Lonestar

          The approach to diet for health reasons should be pragmatic, not dogmatic. Any “rule” is secondary to the end results. The idea behind getting our nutrients from whole foods is that our knowledge of nutrients and how they work together is far from precise. We don’t really know all the complicated ways our body processes food, and so it’s often a smart choice to go with what we were evolutionarily selected for. This is NOT an absolute rule.

          Let me put your question another way: let’s say the only whole plant source of B12 is death cap mushrooms. Would you say the healthiest way to get B12 is death cap mushrooms? The evidence for that would be to the contrary.

          If you’ve watched some videos on youtube about talks Dr. Greger has given, he basically said supplementing with B12 is the price we pay for living in a society with toilets, modern waste systems, and preventing deaths due to bacterial infections. (I’m sure I’m missing something here… if you want I can try to find one.)

          • Epikoros

            It sounds like you’re saying Dr. Greger said our source of B12 was dirty water and I’ve discussed that with others above. So as I said before, if we lose one source of any nutrient, it makes perfect sense to me to find another whole foods source. Your example of poisonous mushrooms doesn’t add up because it seems you’re comparing all and any portion of animal products to poison. If so, it’s not a legitimate debate.
            If you find where Dr. Greger makes what you think is a reasonable case to take B12 supplements rather than get it from whole foods, sure, give me the link and I’ll watch or read it.

          • Lonestar

            Oh so you wanted to debate or argue? Sorry, I thought you were asking a legitimate question. Me comparing a death cap to meat is just an assumption on your part. Please refer to my first response where I said it depends on what your goals/priorities are. If your goal is to avoid meat, then using a supplement is going to be superior to eating meat. It’s pretty simple.

            I know being reasonable doesn’t always lend itself to arguments… have fun with the others.

            Don’t you know, Greger has reasons other than health to avoid eating meat.

          • Epikoros

            Ref “debate or argue”: It sounds like you want to get into semantics and it doesn’t interest me. But for whatever it’s worth, by debate I meant “…a formal discussion of subjects before a public assembly…Debate is a method of formally presenting an argument in a disciplined manner.” How does that negate my original question?

            Ref “refer to my first response where I said it depends on what your goals/priorities are”
            Yes, and I stated that my diet is aligned with my goals and I asked how does Dr. Greger reconcile taking B12 when his video makes a case against supplements in favor of whole foods.

            Ref “Me comparing a death cap to meat is just an assumption on your part.” Yes, I said exactly that, “because it seems…if so”. That terminology means I’m speculating and in normal discourse the other person understands he can clarify, refute, modify or agree.

            Ref “Don’t you know, Greger has reasons other than health to avoid eating meat.” I Assume he does but I don’t recall he ever stated it.

          • Lonestar

            Here are some video references for the logic behind using B12 from supplements:


            This is pretty much his reasoning.

            (2) I’m pretty sure the comparison he made with Gorillas eating feces and bugs to get B12 is in this video:


            But I didn’t feel like watching it all to find it. I did find a short summary at around 1:13:30 basically saying: supplement with B12 because you don’t get the disease from either poop water or from saturated animal fat.

          • Epikoros

            Okay, I watched them. In the short video he makes it sound like you have to hundreds of eggs to get B12. Years ago, I thought I read that eating about 6 eggs a week will give you your B12 requirement. So I just looked it up, here is the first hit. Eggs were #10 as the best sources of B12 and #1 are clams. See

            I also watched his segment where he refers getting B12 from water. Here is a natural spring water source that doesn’t have any chlorine or man made elements added to it and it doesn’t list B12 as a nutrient. See

            So first there is the problem of trust. Who do you go with regarding eggs as a B12 source? My first question in addressing it is does either side have a hidden agenda? Is Dr. Greger an animal rights activist and is that his motivation?

            Is the other site getting it’s info from studies funded by the egg industry? And the clam industry?

            It’s fair to look at how much fat and cholesterol you’re getting from animal sources of B12 but you also have to look at the other good things as well. For example, eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contains Vitamin D, not to mention it’s a good source of protein and Vitamin A.

            So there is much to be considered and I don’t see Dr. Greger giving this discussion a fair shake.

          • Lonestar

            According to the link you provided regarding eggs the %DV is 6 so that means eating about 17 eggs per day to get your B12. However, just doing a quick lookup at USDA ( ) I can tell the information on that page is for “small eggs”. So maybe more like 12 – 13 large eggs per day, if that makes you feel any better about it.

            (Actually if you look here: , you’ll see they accidentally put the numbers for small eggs in as large eggs, meaning the information in their database is incorrect.)

            Also note that on the top 10 list, #5 and #6 are supplements (fortified foods), and #6 is a %DV of 100 for just 1/3 cup of cereal.

            As for the spring water, I think you’re getting the wrong message. It’s not that spring water magically has B12 in it, it’s that B12 comes from bacteria, which we used to get because we ate a lot more “dirty” food and water (as well as meat). I would not count on getting B12 from spring water that’s pure enough to sell as drinking water in the US. Think more like water from 3rd world countries that you’re not supposed to drink. The B12 comes from bacteria, so you have to get it from poop water, or dirt with bacteria in it, or by grazing on grass that has dirt on it, etc. And there’s no data that I know of that would indicate how much of those things you’d need. I’ve had “bad water” once, and believe me you’ll need to live in a 3rd world country for a while trying to build up your immune system, if it doesn’t kill you first.

            Less of us die with a purified environment, but now we need another source of B12. Most people consider this a good trade-off. But please, don’t try to start drinking from rain puddles in the street to avoid eating meat or taking supplements.

            Dr. Greger certainly is an animal rights activist. He is currently the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International. He definitely has a bias toward avoiding meat. So his videos are directed toward an audience or assume some commitment to not eating animal products. And yes, the information he’s presenting is being selected, filtered, and distilled down to form essentially what is his opinion/interpretation of the science.

            “For example, eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contains
            Vitamin D, not to mention it’s a good source of protein and Vitamin A.”

            Protein is easy to get without eggs. D is a “problem” for everyone, no matter what you eat these days. (Commonly thought to be due to how much more we stay indoors now, but I don’t know–I’m a little skeptical about the numbers I’ve been prescribed to take.) The concern is with B12 and omega-3. But eggs are just a horrible example of what you’re trying to say. For the amount of cholesterol and fat you’re getting from eggs, they’re not really a good trade-off. A better case can be made for herring.

            Anyway, just watch Dr. Greger’s videos for whatever you can get out of them. If anything sounds important or interesting, just look the numbers up on the most authoritative sources you can find.

          • Epikoros

            When I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency after being mostly vegan for 11 years, I did a lot of reading about it. That was back in 2001. At that time and apparently still true today, clams were rated as the #1 source of B12 so I immediately decided to add shellfish to my diet. Then I read that kefir was another great source so I added dairy. The next thing I knew I was eating eggs too and I thought, okay, I’m on the slippery slope and I better stop there before I go out and have a steak.
            At first I was making sure I had a serving from each group, that is, dairy, eggs and fish, on a weekly basis. Since then, it’s become much more spread out. I’ll go through a dozen eggs in about two weeks and not purchase them again for another few months, similarly with dairy and fish. I do know this. When I’m feeling run down or kind of weak, I’ll eat those products and feel more energetic.

            I don’t understand the %DV regarding B12 because I’ve always read that our bodies are very good at storing it. So it seems if you are loaded up on it you should be good for a considerable period, thus I lasted for 11 years though I sometimes had eggs and cheese during that time. Do you know why they recommend a %DV given it’s stored?
            I’m not worried about getting the daily dosage, I’m more concerned with how I feel over time so I don’t have to eat 12 eggs a day but over two weeks. At least it seems to be working for me.

            Ref “Also note that on the top 10 list, #5 and #6 are supplements (fortified
            foods), and #6 is a %DV of 100 for just 1/3 cup of cereal.” Yes, I noticed that and thought it was bogus of them to include it but I guess they were looking at popular foods?

            Ref “As for the spring
            I think you’re getting the wrong message. It’s not that spring water
            magically has B12 in it, it’s that B12 comes from bacteria, which we
            used to get because we ate a lot more “dirty” food and water” I understand that and said it from the beginning of this thread. I thought it was a waste of time that so many people mentioned water, it’s an evasive argument, but I addressed it in order to respond fully.

            Ref “And yes, the information he’s presenting is being selected, filtered,
            and distilled down to form essentially what is his opinion/interpret
            ation of
            the science.” Okay, so when listening to Dr. Greger we need to ask if the info is better for the health of the animals whom Dr. Greger doesn’t want us to eat or is it better for our health? I’m guessing you’ll say it’s better for both the animal and us but my experience is different.

            Ref “Protein is easy to get without eggs.” Pretty much but you’re taking what I said out of context. I made the case that we have to look at the trade offs. Okay, I can get B12 but I’m also getting fat and cholesterol. What else am I getting that might make the trade worthwhile? So I mentioned vitamin D and protein and I think vitamin A as well. In other words, what is the big picture?

            Also, while protein might be available in a bunch of vegan sources, it’s just doesn’t seem to be the same in my experience. One anecdote: One store once had a big sale on 3.5 oz cans of salmon. I bought a month’s supply and ate one can daily. I work out pretty hard with weights and I noticed a difference in putting on muscle and slimming down. I just don’t get the same results from beans. I know there are vegan weight lifters and they take pea powder supplements, etc.. Not my thing.

            Ref “Vitamin D is a “problem” for everyone, no matter what you eat these days.” As I said earlier, it’s the big picture. Eggs have vitamin D and that is a plus.

            Ref “For the amount of cholesterol and
            fat you
            ‘re getting from eggs, they’re not really a good trade-off. A better case can be made for herring.” I take the multi-faceted approach as I described above and I think I’ve got my bases covered. Funny you should mention herring. The same store recently had the cans of herring on sale and I bought all on the shelf, about 8 cans. I already went through them.

            Ref “just watch Dr. Greger’s videos for whatever you can get out of them.” I’ve been watching his videos for years; I’m also familiar with Drs. Bernard, McDougall, Fuhrman, Klapper, Ornish, probably a few others. Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, I read their books, attended their lectures and pretty much swore by them. I guess Fuhrman wasn’t around at that time but I’ve read him recently. I like his approach and there is a very short but interesting debate between him and McDougall on youtube.

    • tbatts666

      Extrapolating from beta kerotene supplements to b12 supplements is a bit of a stretch.

      If you are looking for a mental model.

      500 years ago you might be drinking water from a stream or pond rich in b12, but also cholera, other waterborne diseases.

      B12 supplementation could the trade off of purifying our water.

      • Epikoros

        Why is it a stretch to go from one supplement to another? Dr. Greger didn’t make any exceptions in his video, thus my question.
        I mentioned the water scenario several times earlier. I don’t drink purified water. I buy spring water that is filtered but not purified. It doesn’t list B12 as one of the micronutrients.
        Either way, if we lose one source of any nutrient, why not seek another whole food source of the same nutrient? Why does it justify supplements?

    • Jim Felder

      The choice of a diet represents a balance of benefits and harms of each food individually and the diet as a whole. The science that I have seen is very clear that foods of animal origin bring with them significant risks in a dose dependent manner of developing a number chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc.) as well as a ready transmission vector for pathogenic bacteria. The benefits of animal foods (protein, some minerals, and a very few vitamins) can be also found in plant foods that do not represent the risks of promotion of chronic diseases that animal foods represent. Thus plant foods represent a much better balance of benefits/harms than animal foods. The one essential benefit of animal foods that can not be found in plant foods is as an intermediary to deliver bacterial B-12. If B-12 was unavailable from any other source (and frankly I am very dubious that “dirty” plants and water was an effective source of B-12), then we would have no option but to consume sufficient animal foods to get the necessary amounts of B-12 and accept the attendant harms. Even then, given the known risks, we would want to keep the consumption to the absolute minimum necessary to get the required levels of B-12 so as to avoid taking on any more risk of disease than necessary.

      And indeed all non-industrial/pre-industrial societies eat/ate some amount of animal foods. The healthiest societies are/were those who consumed a minimal amount of animal foods, around 10% of calories, with chronic disease increasing as the percent of calories from animal sources increases. In places and times that didn’t have our current scientific/industrial capabilities, that was just what had to be done. A 100% plant-based society would likely have failed due to rampant B-12 deficiency. Happily for us modern science and industry provides us a way to directly access B-12 without using animals as a delivery vector. With the elimination of the remaining essential benefit of animal foods not available from plant foods, there is no longer a compelling health reason to include any level of animal foods in our diet, and powerfully compelling health reasons to eliminate them.

      So you are not eating a 100% plant-based diet only because of the lack of B-12 and can’t accept taking a supplement, then I hope that you are at least eating only the miniscule amount of animal foods required to get the necessary B-12, and not using this as an excuse to justify eat larger amounts of animal foods. Do you know how much meat, dairy or eggs you would need to consume a day in order to meet your B-12 requirement?

      • Epikoros

        Ref ” I am very dubious that “dirty” plants and water was an effective source
        of B-12),” Thank you for saying that. It’s disappointing to see people making that argument.

        Ref ” then we would have no option but to consume sufficient animal
        foods to get the necessary amounts of B-12 and accept the attendant
        harms. Even then, given the known risks, we would want to keep the
        consumption to the absolute minimum necessary to get the required levels
        of B-12 so as to avoid taking on any more risk of disease than

        One thing the veg movement doesn’t seem to consider is that ethnic groups and races have different genes and biological makeup. People adapted overtime to food resources that were available in their place of origin.
        An anecdote isn’t evidence but it helps illustrate a point: My father did everything ‘wrong’. He smoked from the time he was 11 until he quit when he was 67; He had bacon and eggs for breakfast every day and meat and potatoes for dinner; He drank Scotch like there was no tomorrow; He never exercised and had a very short temper. He was never in the hospital until he was 92 when he had pneumonia. I flew out to be with him thinking it would be the last time I see him. When I walked into his hospital room he yelled, “Get me the F…out of here!” And he lived another healthy two years. At 94 he got a stroke on a Friday, I flew out immediately and I was with him for the next two days until he died. Rest in peace, Dad.
        I learned my love for animals from my father. He didn’t have the fortitude to be a veg but I did. And as I stated earlier in the thread, I don’t know what sections you read, but I was mostly vegan for 11 years. I got B12 deficiency and decided to change my diet adding eggs, dairy and fish. So it’s still been 25 years since I’ve had meat or fowl.

        And that brings me to your very important question, how much animal products does it take to meet my B12 requirement? I don’t know. Once I got my B12 levels up IAW the blood tests, I stopped having them done. I’m the kind of guy, like my father, who doesn’t go to doctors, at least, not very much. I went when I got a bad dog bite while doing volunteer work at the local animal shelter.

        So I have those animal foods ‘occasionally’. I might go through a dozen eggs in a couple of weeks and then not buy them again for months; The only dairy I eat for the most part is cheese, I might have a quarter of a pound of raw sheep cheese every few weeks. And the same for fish. I can say that whenever I feel a bit weak, I eat those products and I feel stronger. Is it all in my head? Maybe but I don’t argue with results.
        A good friend of mine was vegan for 3 years and he took a supplement. But he said he just didn’t feel right and added eggs and dairy. He says he feels the difference. I’ve heard many others with the same story.

        My point is nutritionists and studies are only guidelines but they are not the bottom line. And I think you’ll agree nutrition is not a science. People’s chemistry makeup, their gut, are different, one size doesn’t fit all.

        So that is the path I’m on. I do my best to continue learning and experimenting. I watch Dr. Greger’s videos each week for years. I remember when he had a video saying fermented vegetables were bad for you. I love that stuff, I make it myself. Because Dr. Greger said it’s a no-no doesn’t make it so. I’ve seen many lectures and read studies saying fermented veg are a God send. Who do you believe?? I eat more now than ever.

        I invite everyone to share information but to do so like yourself, in a calm and respectful manner. I welcome your feedback.

    • Joe

      Interesting discussion, and you’re right to question this. I don’t intend to give you the answers RE b12 in a vegan diet because i don’t think the facts are so clear. But i will add:

      1. B12 is made by bacteria, so any food containing the bacteria will do. B12 supplements are made from this bacteria, so i would not categorize them in the same league as the highly refined coal tar derived b vitamins, or synthetic vitamin e etc. It may be the case that they are closer to a food than we think, being basically a dried, fermented culture. (In some cases). They still don’t exist in nature however.

      2. Many meat eaters are deficient too – and often farmers must supplement livestock.

      3. There are many different forms of b12, probably many remaining undiscovered. We know that different people need different types, and some people will burn through theirs much quicker based on environmental need and genetics. Genetic and environmental factors may be the difference between someone getting enough from a vegan diet, s some people have been reported to do, and others becoming severely deficient even when consuming animal products.

      4. Absorption also varies hugely. Its is also commonly believed that internal production does not get absorbed. This may be the case, but certainly true that this would have found its way into the food supply before the invention of the toilet and soap!!

      5. Testing is still problematic. There can be false positives, especially with folic acid / folate intake.

      Persohally, i think the meat debate has obscured some of these other potentially key factors.

  • vmh

    I shied away from supplementing with pills from the AREDS formula (for macular degeneration) when I discovered the info cited here:

    Would the course of my disease have been helped if I stayed on the AREDS pills? Maybe, but the fact that this info has been out there for well over a year, and that it still seems fairly buried, indicates to me that a lot of marketing is going on that might not be in the best interest of the patient population.

    • vmh

      Actually, this is only one of the little red flags that popped up when I was researching those AREDS pills. I wish an unbiased person of a more scientific bent would weigh in after doing a little reading. I’m out on a limb here.

      • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

        One of the first studies I ran across was titled Controversies in the Use of Nutritional Supplements in Ophthalmology. They go on to say “However, there is high quality evidence to support the use of an Age-Related Eye-Disease Study (AREDS) supplement containing antioxidants (β-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E) and zinc to slow progression in those at moderate to high risk of developing advanced AMD. Recent data from the AREDS2 trial provided data to suggest that β-carotene could be replaced with lutein and zeaxanthin on the basis of improved safety without compromising efficacy. Although there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of any of the commercially available supplements in cataract and DES, given the public health importance of these conditions further research into the benefit of dietary modification or nutritional supplementation should be a priority.”

        Just like Dr. G says, researchers in this area are trying so hard to develop and patten supplements when we know lutein and zeaxanthin and carotenoids are bursting at the seams in plant foods!

        • vmh

          “AREDS scientists found that people at high risk for developing advanced AMD—those with intermediate AMD, and those with advanced AMD in one eye only—reduced their risk of developing advanced stages of AMD by about 25 percent when treated with the combination of “antioxidants plus zinc.”

          BUT I don’t think that’s 25 people out of 100 people. In the graph on page 9 of the link below, it looks like fewer than 10 people out 100 were helped by having a slower decline. Does that seem correct to you?

          I hope I’m looking at that graph right. It’s one of the things that deterred me from jumping on the pill wagon — also considering that the population studied was probably older, sicker and less well nourished than I am.

          • David Johnson

            I thought the AREDS studies did not show any benefit for prevention of AMD, as opposed to slowing it once one had it. If so, why take that supplement if one’s eyes are currently healthy, and one’s diet provides ample carotenes, zinc, E, etc?

          • vmh

            You’re right, the vitamins do not show a benefit for prevention. My eyes are NOT currently healthy. The vitamins in the pills are large doses that would be impossible to eat through diet.

        • vmh

          Even though this is an older thread, I ran across something yesterday that I thought worth coming back to add:

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Avoiding the metals in excess that you named (copper, zinc, iron) may help reduce the risk of cognitive disorders

      Some foods though act like natural mineral absorption enhancers, which can be a really good thing!

      I am not familiar with AREDS but if looking for more on macular degeneration we have a lot to offer.

      • vmh

        Thanks for that helpful absorption enhancer link. I hadn’t seen it before.

  • guest

    Dr. Mcdougall states emphatically to avoid vitamin D supplements. Maybe as a last resort, but he claims to have scene very few instances in his career where vitamin D pills were necessary. He actually suggests sun lamps to get vitamin D before resorting to a pill.

  • Brian Humphrey

    Scary!?!Thanks Dr. Greger and Staff!

  • Noe Marcial

    what do you think about Monsanto´s super broccoli …?

    “high levels of glucoraphanin, which your body turns into acancer-fighting, potentially cholesterol-lowering compound called sulforaphane. A recent study (albeit partly funded by Seminis) found that people who ate Beneforté for 12 weeks had three times as big a drop in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels as those who ate regular broccoli.”

    (this is not a a future thing, it is happening today.. and i wonder witch is the broccoli that i’m buying in the super market..)

    for me it is Scary!!

    I think it is a good idea to began to save some seeds of the natural plants and foods… transgenic diseases spread very fast over natural plants

    • vmh

      It looks like it’s specially packaged:

      But then I wonder if the genes could get loose. . . .

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      The Dietitians for Professional Integrity head honcho, Andy Bellatti MS RD, has a neat piece on this Busting Monsanto’s ‘Better’ Broccoli. The main thing is that broccoli is amazing and everyone needs to eat more of it. If you are a level 5 broccoli eater than shooting for organic (and perhaps even local) is preferred, as there is less risk of chemical exposure.

      • marysaunders

        Broccoli sprouts, which one can do at home.

    • Michael_00

      I would not want to eat anything engineered by Monsanto, you’re better off
      going organic.

  • ron

    One of the almond milks and coconut milk I buy has 50% B12. Do you need more? Seems like a good thing. Why not all milks.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      That is likely 50% of B12 per serving. So make sure to have a few! No, you should not “need” more, but I have heard some anecdotal cases of folks who were strictly plant-based and ate a ton of nutritional yeast (tends to have B12) and they became deficient over time. Now they just pop a supplement for pennies and feel amazing! B12 is super important for healthy nerves and healthy blood. Adults needs roughly 2.4 micrograms per day. In supplement form it comes in higher doses and there are ways to find very cheap sources.

      Other milks may supplement B12. Just gotta double check on the label :-)

      • guest

        What about the synthetic vitamins added to store bought almond,soy, rice, coconut milks, etc. that Dr. G states we should avoid? So yeah, the almond milk bought at whole foods has B12 added, which is fine, but it also has synthetic vitamins that Dr. Greger, Dr. Mcdougall, and other vegan doctors as well have stated under no uncertain terms that we should not ingest in synthetic form, and it is this synthetic form in which they are existing in these store bought almond, rice, soy milks. This is a big issue that I think needs to be addressed by Dr. Greger to the vegan community.

  • Panchito

    Supplements are artifacts of a business oriented society. Businesses are starting to put dried broccoli flour in a pill and call it a serving, so that they can become some sort of food intermediary that taps on the cash flow of food but without the risks of bad crops. It is legal to exploit the manipulation of scientific interpretations. It is a business model grows from ideological twisting exploiting fear to bring the most cash and profit.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Reminds me of this video where Dr. G says “Foods like flax seeds and tomatoes are healthy, associated with reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. So by making flax-y tomato burgers, they figure they can reduce saturated fat intake and maybe eat less sugar somehow? It’s like their flaxseed-fed pork idea, to produce “enriched lard.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig and eat flax seeds ourselves?

      Can you imagine a eating “enriched lard?” Ummm, no thanks. Or how about some vitamin C-enriched bacon?

      So much easier to stick to whole plant foods.

      • Brux

        >> Or how about some vitamin C-enriched bacon?

        Well …. maybe! ;-)

      • Panchito

        Supplements are the human artistic creations from businesses. They are born from a combinations of ideological topics as well as the illusion for its need. In a way, they represent a way of thinking and response to economical stimulus. Their customers don’t expect to be saved by cheap apple peels. They are looking to be saved from someone looking at an expensive computerized microscope. And the person looking at the microscope has a business agenda.

      • Michael_00

        It’s a crazy world, unfortunately there
        are people crazy enough to buy this garbage.

        • Wade Patton

          true dat, look at the garbage they’re buying now!

  • HaltheVegan

    In recent years, there has been much talk about vitamin K2, especially many companies providing K2 supplements in the form of MK-7. From what I’ve been able to find, it is another vitamin made by bacteria and it is mostly found in meat, eggs, and cheese in the American diet and then only if the animals are grass-fed. Natto is the only vegan food that I’ve found that has substantial amounts. I understand that some is made in the human intestine/colon from K1 found in greens, but not enough is converted and re-absorbed to maintain optimum health. The claims are that a deficiency affects bone health and cardiovascular calcification (hardening of the arteries). It would be great if Dr G or Joseph or some other knowledgeable person could verify if all the above statements are true and whether or not we should supplement, if we don’t care to eat Natto!

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Don’t need natto. Greens give all the vitamin K anyone needs! Dr. Greger addresses vitamin K2 in his Q & A. See if that helps? I know many many many folks here are interested and have even educated me (as everyone always does) on vitamin K2 research. Let’s see who else weighs-in today and can provide new information. Jack Norris RD recently posted about it, here: K2.

    • Tom Goff

      I posted something on vitamin k a few weeks ago on another thread. It may not be of any assistance to you since it is about vitamin k generally rather than the Mk7 type specifically, but for what it’s worth, here it is again …..

      “I’m not normally a fan of Harriet Hall but her 2014 article on the current enthusiasm for believing k2 is some kind of magical silver bullet for fighting disease, seems to contain a lot of common sense.

      There was, however, an interesting editorial article on vitamin k, and its subtypes, in the July 2015 Life Extension Foundation magazine. LEF is in many ways a supplement company so its views need to be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, the article appears well-researched and is worth reading.

      K2 is difficult to obtain from the diet for strict vegetarians. Natto is not widely available and most Westerners find it unpalatable. Traditionally fermented miso, tempeh and other tofu products can also be difficult to find. That said, the body does convert k1 – abundant in green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli etc – into k2.

      The World’s Healthiest Foods website has a good article on vitamin k that is worth reading:

  • peterpana

    how do you calculate a serving of fruit or vegetables. i.e. is a plentiful packed salad for lunch equal to 1 serving of vegetables or is that the requirement for the day???

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      You can see what counts are a serving by clicking on each foods group from USDA MyPlate They now use “cups” just to really confuse everyone. See if this help?

      Furthermore, a much better plate to utilize is the PCRM PowerPlate that Dr. Greger and I urged congress to accept back in 2005 when we still had a food pyramid. We froze our booties off that day, but for a good cause :-)

  • marysaunders

    National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) has a study called Food As Medicine Everyday (FAME), sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, who supplies a lot of the whole foods that are used by cohorts to cook together. This study is not completed yet, but the results will be interesting. Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) has had a number of studies on exercise and overcoming the adverse effects of chemo and treatment. These also track food consumption, probably to track confounding factors. At least one of these studies, the weight-training one is complete, and results are posted somewhere I believe. The exercise studies were partly sponsored by the Knight Cancer Institute (Nike). I cannot think of a way to independently fund these kinds of things that would be more transparent than just outing the sponsors who do want to know answers. Since OHSU is now a Cochrane Center, I hope most of the clinical trials will disclose All The Data to anyone who searches. Sometimes the drug companies fight this, but I believe it will get more tricky to fight open data, since that is the direction consumers want to see, and consumers will fly the coop if they do not get what they want. Industry then loses market share, and they don’t like that. Especially when they lose the upscale consumer, which is more often than not what they lose. When the U.S. has to import certain skill sets, the people with those sets go home when that is necessary for them to be treated as the general contractor and the docs treated as sub-contractors. We are possibly further away from this in the U.S. than anywhere else. We will need friendly countries to help us out.

  • Wendy

    Doctor Greger, What vitamins do you take?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Dr. Greger says the only vitamins to supplement are B12 and possibly vitamin D.

      • Sam

        …….provided that one eats a wide variety of healthful foods. In the del world, this is easier said than done. Just as one example, I’m allergic to tomatoes, so where can I get lycopene from? Red guava is not easily found in the US, and watermelon is a seasonal food. Even if it weren’t, when it 20 °F outside (like here in Salt Lake City today) who could eat watermelon? Most people have limitations like this in the real world.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          I am also in Utah and yes it has been frigid lately! What about pink grapefruit? It has more lycopene than raw tomatoes. I totally understand about limitations and doing the best we can. Dealing with food allergies can be difficult and downright frustrating, but even if someone is allergic to tomatoes taking lycopene supplements is not the answer.

        • Bruce Cropley

          Goji berries may be a reasonable source of lycopene for you:
          GL! :)

        • Lawrence

          Hi Sam. Check out this FAO/WHO report on how to feed people living in the ‘real world’ so as to meet human nutritional needs. The first two chapters are very interesting and informative; the rest is (pardon the pun) gravy. To the best of my knowledge (which may not be saying much), happily, lycopene is not an essential nutrient.

          BTW, years ago (pre-WFPB, or ‘BV’) I lived in the Ogden Holiday Inn and worked at Hill AFB. I recall that in winter the produce sections could be a bit underwhelming. However, frozen vegetables were quite happy to be living in the cold and met my needs.very well. (P.S. In this season of gratitude, everyone-next time you see a truck driver, thank them for the difficult and dangerous work they do. We all owe them a lot!)

      • BB2

        Hello Joseph, does this mean that Dr. Greger is contemplating changing his DHA recommendation? (I’m referring to: )

        Based on the video he made last month about the downsides of fish oils, I’m wondering if those downsides are due to more than just pollutants (but also to the very nature of adding omega 3s through supplementation), and thereby extend to all DHA supplements ( )

        Sorry, I may be jumping ahead a little bit but I’m very eager to hear what he has to say on this issue. Thank you so much.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          At this point I have not seen anything of concern with the algae-based DHA supplements. I wrote about it here.

          You can take DHA if you want. No, the recommendations have not changed. Some folks who are on a vegan diet choose to use it, others don’t. There is no requirement but many feel like based on the science it could be used as a “safety blanket” kind of thing.

          • BB2

            Thank you, much appreciated!

  • robert

    I frequently see turmeric and curcumin used interchangeably as if they were the same thing. Caveat emptor.

  • Joe Caner

    The bias towards reductionism has lead scientific inquire into ever tightening circles to the discovery that the mere act of observation changes a phenomenon being observed.

  • guest

    The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center has recently listed garlic as a food to be avoided by persons diagnosed with lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE).

  • apprin

    I actually stopped consuming animal products (and many plant products as well) many years ago. The craving for pizza and cheeseburgers has never subsided. I do not take this as a natural calling for beneficial nutrients. I have also done research on the addiction to narcotics. The craving for opiates and even synthetic drugs never leaves a former addict, even years after healing. I feel that humans will likely crave animal products to some extent if we have ever existed in a lifestyle of consuming them. This is not a sign that we need them. It is a sign of deep addiction on a cellular level. Personally, I advocate the consumption of mushrooms and other unconventional forms of nutrition that may or may not contain B-12. we cannot extract ourselves from a completely natural environment and expect the elements of that environment to be present in a balanced content. We MUST experience some forms of deficiency.

    • Bruce Cropley

      Interesting take on things :) I don’t crave pizza or anything else any more. This is probably because I have “terminal” brain cancer, and my survival drive is much more powerful than my tastebuds. ;)

      • Wade Patton

        I don’t crave meat/dairy/processed because I get a little on the weekend–If I chose to (like yesterday, pizza and playoffs-go team!) BUT now I crave greens and mushrooms and grains and berries. Some days I grab a bit of spinach every time I go by the refrigerator.

  • Rudy

    What does the latest research show about the effect of diet on addictions, such as smoking, alcohol and drugs?
    Below is some information from the book “Abundant Health”, by Julius Gilbert White, from chapter “The Root of Intemperance”.

    “Many writers-doctors, dietitians, and teachers-have recognized that irritating foods create a thirst for something stronger than water. Some of these writers have had many years of experience in treating alcoholic patients and have made numerous experiments with diet and have recorded their findings.
    “Perhaps the clearest statement of the kind that has come into my library from a physician was made by Daniel H. Kress, M.D., for many years connected with the Washington, D. C., Sanitarium. It is reproduced here.

    “How a Thirst Is Created
    “’From my own experience in the treatment of alcoholics, I am convinced that many may be cured if properly treated. The treatment if effective, however, must be directed toward the removal of the craving. Fruits, cereals, nuts, milk, and other products which are not irritating or stimulating will in time destroy all desire for alcoholic beverages. Again and again I have been forced to recognize that dietetic errors are in a large measure responsible for the craving which exists for alcohol. The irritation produced by irritating and stimulating foods and drinks calls for something that will afford temporary relief from the unpleasant symptoms associated with such irritation. Alcohol being a narcotic supplies this demand; and in the absence of alcohol the use of tobacco or cigarettes will afford temporary relief.
    “’The salon keepers in former days observed that certain foods create a thirst that water will not quench. They kept a lunch counter for their patrons, but not because they had compassion on the unfortunate poor. If so, they would have fed the drunkard’s wife and children. But with the saloon keeper it was a matter of business. The secret of the free lunch table could be discovered by taking an inventory of the food that was found upon it. It was not laden with juicy peaches, pears, oranges, etc. They knew that such foods would diminish their business. Upon that lunch counter were found highly seasoned foods, as sausage, pickled pigs’ feet, smoked ham, mustard, pepper, and other irritating products. Experience taught the saloon keeper that these foods created a craving which led men to the bar for drink.’”
    “’At a public gathering in England some years ago, Staff Captain Hudson, matron of the South Newington Inebriates’ Home, in relating her experience in the treatment of inebriates after the adoption of a fruit, grain, and vegetable diet, said, ‘Speaking generally, the benefits of this diet are incalculable. Lazy, vicious, bloated, gluttonous, bat-tempered women who had hitherto needed weeks and even months of nursing and watching, to my astonishment and delight, under this new treatment made rapid recovery.’
    “’For a number of years I have depended upon such foods in the treatment of inebriates, with gratifying results. From my experience over forty years in the treatment of alcoholics I am convinced that when the relation that exists between what is served on our American tables and the use of alcohol is better understood and is given the attention that it deserves by physicians, ministers of the gospel, temperance advocates, and the makers of the home, the existing desire for alcohol will disappear, and with it will disappear much of the irritability, impatience, and domestic unhappiness which are chiefly responsible for the prevalence of divorce and crime.'[1]”

    “’I have found that a diet free from unnatural irritants will always result in a decrease in the desire for both tobacco and alcohol. I have never yet discovered a drunkard or inebriate who was not passionately fond of spicy, highly seasoned foods and also of flesh foods. I have no doubt that one reason why these habits are so common is because dietetic errors are common.'[2]”

    “’The editor of the London Clarion, England, relating his own experience, said: ‘I was a heavy smoker for more than thirty years. I have often smoked as much as two ounces of tobacco in a day. I don’t suppose I have smoked less than eight ounces in a week for a quarter of a century. If there was one thing in life I feared my will was too weak to conquer, it was the habit of smoking. Well, I have been a vegetarian for eight weeks and I find that my passion for tobacco is weakening. I cannot smoke those pipes now. I have to get new pipes and milder tobacco, and am not smoking half an ounce a day. It does not taste the same.”[3]”

    “’Among the poisons which must be kept out of the body should be mentioned habit-forming drugs, such as opium, morphine, cocain, heroin, choral, acetanilid, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. The best rule for those who wish to attain the highest physical and mental efficiency is total abstinence from all substance which contain poisons, including spirits, wine, beer, tobacco, many much-advertised patent drinks served at soda-water fountains, most patent medicines, and even tea and coffee…. The natural tendency of drug craving is … from weak drugs to stronger ones.'[4]”

    [1] “Sign of the Times,” February 6, 1934.
    [2] D. H. Kress, M.D., in “Tobacco and the Cigarette Habit From the Medical Viewpoint,” a pamphlet, page 10.
    [3] D. H. Kress, M.D., in “Tobacco and the Cigarette Habit From the Medical Viewpoint,” a pamphlet, page 11.
    [4] “How to Live,” by Fisher and Fisk, pages 78, 79. 15th Ed.

    • Jason

      I don’t think this language qualifies as Politically Correct nowadays, and will probably offend many people. But it seems to me mostly true. I don’t think tea and coffee are bad if consumed moderately, or even alcohol–though it is easier to lose control there as it’s a psycho-active drug prone to abuse. Tobacco is quite addicting unless consumed infrequently in moderation, and pipes and cigars are better in this respect (less insidious) than cigarettes. Snuff is probably relatively safe, too, compared to cigs.

      Funny to read about the chap who had a 2 oz. a day pipe tobacco habit. That’s a lot! I used to do 1 oz. a day and thought I had it pretty bad. See, pipes can be addicting and detrimental,especially if we assume they’re ‘safe’–i.e., safer than cigarettes (which they are). Luckily, I was aware that cruciferous vegetables–the beta carotene containing ones–were beneficial for smokers, and so ate a lot of them. It’s odd that nobody has remarked on the first chart in Dr. Greger’s video–that showing the marked decrease in cancer incidence among smokers who wigged out on vegetables. Does this mean that smoking is ‘OK’ if we eat a ton of vegetables? Probably not, as there are other concerns, such as CVD and COPD. Not sure if beta carotene containing produce helps prevent oral cancers (head & neck). What’s bad is combining heavy smoking with a lot of drinking–that reportedly raises incidence of head & neck cancers 15 fold. Lots of smokers drink and vice-versa.

      Not sure I agree that drug taking always leads to stronger drugs; I think it depends on the individual. Notice that Marijuana wasn’t mentioned.

      I follow Benjamin Franklin’s motto: eat not to dullness nor drink to elevation…in fact, I no longer drink alcohol. Have just lost my taste for it. But I still miss smoking and have a few pipes now and then. I also invariably regret doing so, mainly because of irritation in the mouth. The only sensible way to consume tobacco is in very small doses, like a single pipe bowl every few days. Learning this kind of temperance after previously having been addicted is exceedingly hard. Much easier to be abstinent.

  • Gatherer

    I don’t see anyway to suggest a topic to Dr. Greger other than in a comment to a video, so this far off topic.

    It would be great if would comment on the role of diet to “treat” medium chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency ( Information beyond avoid fasting and medium chain fatty acids would be appreciated. For example, is there any evidence that a low SOS plant strong diet enhances the health of an individual with MCAD deficiency? Thanks.

  • joaogallas

    Hi Doctor.

    There is this study that shows no correlation between saturated fat intake and coronary artery diseases:

    What do you have to say about it?

    Thanks in advance ;)

    • Johan Wallström

      I’m sure other can give a more informed answer than my unlearned opinion, but here goes. But to me, looking at patients that are already suffering from heart disease, you are looking at people who already have been eating a high saturated fat diet for a long time, with already progressed atherosclerosis. Since they have established CVD they will be in the system, under treatment with lipid lowering drugs, partly removing the effect of their diet. There was no intervention, so people were eating their normal diet. Consider the factor that people who were eating low saturated fat but still had established heart disease might be genetically more susceptible to CVD, since that was a condition to be include in the trial, introducing a selection bias. Thus to continue to eat the same diet (whether low or high SFA) can have the same bad effect on them. Meanwhile, if this was a trial that actually reduced saturated fat for half of the participants and kept the rest as control, we might have a bigger chance to see a difference. I just don’t see how this type of trial can give a meaningful difference in the participants. But maybe I’m missing something…

    • guest

      Good catch, yeah that is another one of those bogus bought and paid for industry tainted studies like what Dr G talks about in this video.

      We need to stay vigilant to expose these types of manipulated “food questionnaires” observational studies that try to give saturated fat a free pass. They are done to peddle “doubt” about the ill effects of saturated fat and most often funded by the egg or dairy industry. Don’t buy into the “saturated fat is safe” lie. Weak observational studies like this are not being honest on several levels.

      To dig deeper into the deception issue have a look at this…

    • Tom Goff

      Your link is to an abstract. The full study is behind a paywall so it is difficult to comment in detail.

      However, it is known that trans fats, refined carbs and junk foods in general are also associated with cardiovascular disease. These, like saturated fat, are ubiquitous in Western diets. This study like many similar observational studies appears to simply confirm that saturated fat, trans fat, refined carbs etc are all bad for cardiovascular health.

      Experimental studies on the other hand show that when saturated fat is replaced by less unhealthy alternatives like polyunsaturated fat, cardiovascular events are reduced. In fact, it’s worth looking at the totality of evidence on saturated fat rather than relying on simplistic observational studies like the one you refer to. The US National Evidence Library summarises the situation like this:

      “Strong evidence indicates that dietary saturated fatty acids (SFA) are positively associated with intermediate markers and end-point health outcomes for two distinct metabolic pathways: 1) increased serum total cholesterol (TC) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 2) increased markers of insulin resistance and increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Conversely, decreased SFA intake improves measures of both CVD and T2D risk. The evidence shows that a five percent energy decrease in SFA, replaced by monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), decreases risk of CVD and T2D in healthy adults and improves insulin responsiveness in insulin resistant and T2D subjects.”

  • carolyn

    I work with patients every day relating to the MTHFR gene and I can absolutely tell you that so many of my chronically sick patients have been or are vegans/vegetarians. This discussion is really interesting, because it doesnt matter what anyone says you cannot get sufficient vitamin B12 from vegetables. You need to supplement if you are either of those. If B12 is not sufficient you cannot use your methylfolate which is crucial for energy, DNA synthesis, liver function, detoxification, neurotransmitters and the list goes on. Reference ranges are really low and I would suggest that most people that say their B12 is fine , really need to look closely at those ranges. As Dr F says here there is no toxicity and I would absolutely agree with him. So please check and dont be flippent about B12. Some of the neurological issues are irreversible. You can see more information or view my video on B12 if you want more info. .

  • Matthew Smith

    The FDA has several times tried to pass legislation that would regulate vitamins as drugs and several times these bills received more public criticism than any other legislation. They were literally the least popular bills ever proposed. They were more unpopular than the Endangered Species Act was popular. There is not even one death from vitamins a year. Vitamins are very popular. Would anything sway your mind that supplements are not good for you? I am begging you, vitamins are one of the most popular concepts in science and could be in health.

    Supplements, supplements harmful, harmful food, food
    supplements harmful food
    supplements harmful food
    supplements harmful food
    supplements harmful food

    There is no relationship between these concepts.

    There is no way to distinguish nutrition received from plants than from atoms which are mined from the Earth. There is even the possibility that mined atoms are more usable than those from older animals or plants, which is why sprouts are so healthy.

    A man very much like you patented a way to make vitamin D. He made the University of Wisconsin very wealthy. Many hundreds of millions of dollars went to that school. This was just for one Vitamin. I think there is very strong evidence, even evidence in the form of ninety year olds, that some vitamins can add to you as much to your life as would a vegan diet. Vitamin C and Niacin in particular in large doses can add many years to your life.

    There is absolutely no evidence that vitamins shorten your life. Synthetic vitamins are always made to match the real vitamin exactly. Molecules are not different if they are man made or natural. The Finnish study was re-examined and a modern analysis disagrees with the findings.

    • Wade Patton

      I’m way healthier now than when I was taking supplements. Hey look up Hammer Nutrtion. They’ve got a line of 100 supplements and every single one is the greatest thing, every single one is a “must have” according to their extensive literature.

      I don’t need or want those any more. Popularity rarely has anything to do with efficacy in this world. Sounds like you have a lot of stock in supplement companies.

      • Matthew Smith

        No, I have no stock at all in supplement companies. They are the exact same companies as big pharma. I do not have stock in pharmaceutical companies. The expense of drugs and lack of efficacy is ruining our world. I wish I was a pharma company. I also do not have stock in food processing, milling for example, but I know that food processing destroys nutrition. Cooking alone destroys Nitrogen content of food. Almost all foods are cooked before they are sold. That I think I could say I have some stock in. Food processing is horrible. Plants are less processed. I bet the happiest day in my life is the day I had only food that was unprocessed. Green beans for example. Beets as another. Mandarin oranges. These might be less processed. I don’t know. I love supplements as a source of free nutrition. The nutrition literature is slanted. They do not publish the right benefit of food, nor do they explain its fundamental component of benefit (brazil nuts, selenium, cure anxiety), nor do they publish the side benefits, (better athletic performance for selenium or brazil nuts). This is worse in the vitamin literature. There is nothing wrong with supplementation. In some cases, I think Dr. Greger is arguing for some supplementation.

        • Wade Patton

          Sure, B12 for vegetarians who don’t eat animal products and vegans. There’s no doubt that B12 supplementation works to avoid deficiencies. But that’s all supplementation can really do, correct deficiencies. More is better rarely works, isolated components rarely work as they do with their natural host of counterparts, and efficacy of so many supplements is highly suspect. Remember back in the mega-dosing Vitamin C days? Everybody was pushing it…

          The fact that we evolved as far as we did before modern foods started making us sick fat and completely dead, tells me that supplements were not necessary for tens of thousands of years. A wide range of foods from many areas of the planet are generally available for most to eat these days, and expanding the horizons of one’s palette can be a delicious and rewarding experience. Pills aren’t.

          B12 is the supplement that I “agree” with, even though no one has yet brought forward any evidence that the B12 may have existed in water from wells is no longer present. Everyone makes the assumption that we all drink from municipal sources or bottled water. That isn’t the case AT ALL. But I eat enough animal crap contaminated sources to get my B12.

          • Matthew Smith

            Thank you. End product Nutrition, the things absorbed at the end of your colon, are a challenge to get from modern food. I believe that we are meant to be healthy as you assert. Who is sickening us? Is it our separation from evolution?

      • Matthew Smith

        Are you saying vitamins are popular? Vitamins are effective. If popularity has nothing to do with effectiveness in this world, than vitamins are an exception. I think effective things are popular. Vitamins are both. Are you personally trying to convince me vitamins are unpopular? Do you work for a food processing company? The world would be healthier if people were on vitamins. To get people the right ones that would be great medicine. Sharing the health, that would be exception medicine!

      • Matthew Smith

        Dr, Pauling said all disease was based on a mineral deficiency. To know the right mineral with the right disease is a goal of mine. Vitamins or supplements might be one way to get the right mineral to the right disease. We have a long future to agree. Hope be with us!

  • William Dwyer

    Okay, beta carotene increases the risk of lung cancer IN SMOKERS! We’ve proved that, whereas carotenes from plant based sources reduces it IN SMOKERS!

    How about in NON-SMOKERS? Well, there is good evidence that beta-carotene by itself — isolated beta-carotene — REDUCES the risk of lung cancer in NON-SMOKERS!

    We have to be careful to draw only the conclusions that are warranted by the studies. The fact that isolated beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers does not mean that it increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers.

    • Matthew Smith

      What follows is my opinion. Every time somebody does a vitamin study, they find that the find can add many years to life. Any vitamin has this effect. Many happy extra years. Vitamin K2 added seven years for example. Every time someone launches a vitamin study the participants outlive the placebo group, sometimes even the researchers. After that, the shell company decides to research how to get a trust from the U.S. Government. The only way is to have pancreatic cancer for which the U.S. Government will pay an unlimited amount from the Medicare trust. Pancreatic cancer is not caused by a single vitamin. This is a form of hostage taking to say a vitamin causes pancreatic cancer when they cure so many diseases. Almost all vitamins seem to add seven or even many more years than that.

  • Tatti Dorjan

    There’s a documentary about 30 days on nothing but soylent.

    I know it’s not the first of it’s kind (there’s slimfast and others) but soylent is supposed to be a full diet and is technically vegan.

    Apart from missing fibre, what else is wrong with soylent? All I know is that it’s a cocktail of supplements created by a lay person but is a booming industry because of busy professionals who don’t want to cook. What do studies say about liquid diets like these?

    • Joe Caner

      Being fiber deficient no small thing, but what is truly wrong with a product like Soylent is that it’s a reductionist collection chemical ingredients and not food.
      Food is more than just fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. There are a myriad of micronutrients found in foods that work in unidentified synergistic ways that researchers are only just beginning to appreciate.
      Long term exclusive usage of a product like Soylent will not lead to optimal health. It will eventually lead to some dietary deficiency disease.

  • Joe Caner

    FRONTLINE’s Supplements and Safety is a must see for anyone who is taking or considering taking dietary supplements.

  • Matthew Smith

    This study is flawed. Among 35 year smokers, there was a 2-3 percent incidence of lung cancer. The dose was low, 20 mg. The Vitamin E was synthetic and also low. The beta carotene group had smoked for a year longer. In the control group, those with the highest incidence of these vitamins had the lowest instance of cancer. Among this study of smokers, three in one hundred got cancer. The placebo bias might have prevented cancer. This study, used to demonstrate that vitamins can cause cancer, was flawed, and perhaps more appropriately would suggest if smokers were on vitamins there risk of lung cancer is greatly reduced.

  • Judy Davis

    Thanks so much