There are two vitamins not produced by plants that may require supplementation.
Broccoli sprouts are likely safer and more nutritious than alfalfa sprouts.
In terms of longevity, though, one last supplement. Vitamin D. Who votes shorter life? Who votes same life? Who votes longer life? Vitamin D seems to be the only supplement, that will actually make he average person live a longer life.
I just want to note the two vitamins that you can’t get from a healthy diet, and vitamin D is one of them. Vitamin D is made mostly by animals such as yourself when you’re exposed to sunlight.
The tiny amounts added to calf milk or soy milk is too little for optimal health. There’s only two ways to truly get enough—sun or supplements, and it depends where you live.
Don’t worry it’s all on the handout. Basically, no matter how long you sunbathe nude in December and January in most of the country the sun’s rays are at such an angle that you’ll make zero vitamin D, so the latest science supports supplemental D during the Winter above LA/Dallas/Atlanta/Cairo, or for anyone anywhere any time not getting enough sun.
All right it’s time for a lightning round question: First person to shout out the right answer wins a CD right off the bat. And before I give you the question I'm going to give you the answer. Anyone?
OK, the question is: Who can tell me the only other vitamin not made by plants? Yes, vitamin B12. It's not made by animals either, though. It's made by microbes, little bacteria that blanket the earth. These bacteria grow in the guts of some of the animals people eat, and so their bodies can be sources of B12 for those eating less than humane diets.
We used to probably get all the B12 we needed drinking out of mountain streams or well water, but now we chlorinate our water supply to kill off any bacteria. So we don't get a lot of B12 in our water anymore—we don't get a lot of cholera either. So that's a good thing.
But in our sanitized modern world, studies continue to show that vegetarians and vegans are simply not getting enough vitamin B12. What’s the big deal if we don’t get enough B12? What’s the worst that can happen? Well, let me review the medical literature in just the last year. I like to call it my B12 deficiency, House of Horrors.
So, for example, you happened to flip open last Summer’s issue of the journal Nutrition you’d see titles like this: “Irreversible subacute sclerotic combined degeneration of the spinal cord in a vegan subject.” And yes, it really is as bad as it sounds. If you look close here 57 year old man “member of a vegan cult.”
Can you blame the doctor, though? Look what nonB12 supplemented veganism did to this poor guy. Rotted his spinal cord from the inside out. They immediately started him on B12 and he got better—he’s still paralyzed and won’t walk for the rest of his life, but at least he’s not dead. No wonder nutritionists and doctors are skeptical about vegetarian diets after reading case reports like this! And it’s so easy. It’s SO easy to get your B12, either B12 fortified foods or supplements. Again it’s all on the handout.
For those of you who eat vegetarian but are not eating B12 fortified foods every day or taking a B12 supplement every day, or every week, you are certainly free to do whatever you want.
It’s not my business, if, as a young vegetarian woman, for example, your toes turn purple. Or if you develop a polymorphic maculopapular lesion--it’s a free country. If you want your nails to turn black and your hair to turn white. (They gave her some B12 and you can see her hair starting to grow back normal—B12 also evidently makes you put on lipstick)
You are certainly welcome to suffer cognitive decline, or become suicidally depressed because of your B12 deficiency, as this 23-year-old lifelong vegetarian did—it’s your body; it’s your brain; it’s your choice.
You can even, just for kicks, be like this 38 year vegan guy who got misdiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, get yourself thrown in a psych ward because of the hallucinations and psychotic delusions triggered by your B12 deficiency. All, up to you.
But , not taking B12 in pregnancy, is not OK. Infantile seizures, no fun. Vegan babies should be a lot of things, , but floppy is not one of them. It is these negligent vegans that have led this year to an official pronouncement from the European Society for Pediatric Nutrition: “Infants and young children should not be fed a vegan diet.” That’s totally ridiculous—what they should have just said take your B12.
Everyone, not just vegans. New studies on the bioavailability of B12 suggests that animal products are not great sources. Less than 4% of the B12 in scrambled eggs, for example, is absorbed, according to these new studies. And in fact, in modern society, only those eating fortified foods like breakfast cereal or supplements seems to getting enough for optimum health, so there has been a renewed call for all grain products in the U.S. to be fortified with B12 like they do over in Israel. So, by law, all bread, all pasta, would have to have B12 and then we can finally close the door on my house of horrors, and never have this problem again.
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 Dianne Moore.
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K. Aroni, K. Anagnostopoulou, E. Tsagroni, & E. Ioannidis. Skin hyperpigmentation and increased angiogenesis secondary to vitamin B12 deficiency in a younf vegetarian woman. Acta Derm Venereol, 88(2):191-192, 2008.
R. Clarke, J. Birks, E. Nexo, P.M. Ueland, J. Schneede, J. Scott, A. Molloy, & J.G. Evans. Low vitamin B-12 status and risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr, 86(5):1384-1391, 2007.
For some of the latest videos on Vitamin D:
And for some of the latest videos on Vitamin B12:
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