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Inverted Rabbit Sign

The very real and potentially disastrous effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.

December 6, 2010 |
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Sources Cited



Before vegans get cocky, though… Floppy ears… are cute on a bunny. Not so cute on your spinal cord. The inverted rabbit ear sign. See how it kinda looks like an upside down bunny with floppy ears? Well, that’s not what your spinal cord’s supposed to look like. Why did this woman have spastic ataxic quadriparesis, a sensory polyneuropathy, and diffuse spinal cord swelling? Because, she was a strict vegetarian lady. I assume they mean strictly vegetarian? Then again maybe she was just quite the disciplinarian. Either way, people eating plant-based diets must take vitamin B12.
Reports continue to pour in from all over the world, whether you’re a vegetariana estricta a strehng veganeh, or eating vay-jay-tah-lee-yeh, you’d have to be crazy not getting your B12. Literally. 31 year old stock trader turned paranoid psychotic—but not because he was schizophrenic. Because he was vegan, and didn’t eat vitamin B12 fortified foods or take a B12 supplement. Suffered for 3 years before his doctors figured it out.
Kiss me I’m vegan. No thank you. 41 year old woman, vegan for two and a half years without B12. Kiss a vegetarian and taste the difference Before, And after she took her B12. Cleared up in no time. Vegans taste better, when they take their B12.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to leave any questions for me on this topic below and I'll answer them as soon as I possibly can. Also, check out the 16 other videos on B12 and feel free to explore any of the other 1,686 subjects I cover in my videos.

For some additional context, please check out my associated blog posts: Vegan B12 deficiency: putting it into perspective and Do Vegans Get More Cavities?

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • Eric Needs

    Love this.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Please feel free to leave any questions for me on this topic below and I’ll answer them as soon as I possibly can. Also, check out the 16 other videos on B12 and feel free to explore any of the other 1,449 subjects I cover in my videos.

  • Georg Fridrich

    A very well tasting Vitamin B12 resource is the old British well known Marmite. Easily taken in soups or breakfast porridge but also thinly spread on toast.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I don’t know about good tasting :) but yes indeed, a good source of vitamin B12.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Vegan B12 deficiency: putting it into perspective!

  • wchiwink

    i LOVE Marmite and eat it every morning,  - not sure i’m getting enough B12 though, starting to get worried after watching this vid…i suffer from severe back problems! (never taken supplements, but now i will!)

  • Veggie Mama

    Why don’t they add B12 to soymilk like they add Vitamin D to cow’s milk?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      They do in the U.S., but I think in the U.K. for example, vitamin fortification isn’t allowed until the organic (bio) standards. Maybe someone out there knows more?

    • Tan Truong

      Canada’s organic “So Nice” brand has B12 and D fortified among other vitamins.

  • VeganDebi

    Is it true that B12 needs to be injected to get the full benefits???

  • Sara

    How do I get B12 for children?

  • vegandon

    Barley grass is loaded with B vitamins and including B12. Live enzymes/foods are way better then dead foods, processed foods, vitamins . . . So why don’t you mention that?

  • Sebastian Tristan

    Every time I watch B-12 deficiency horror stories, I find myself going to the fridge and getting a B-12 pill. =D