Sproutarians

Introduction - the raw food vegan diet is hard to do for most people and is full of nutritional pitfalls

There is a good reason why no culture has ever been vegan throughout known recorded history, it’s because cultures have learned over time that the vegan diet is full of nutritional pitfalls, and you will find that most vegan people will fail in the long term, and with a raw vegan diet it is especially troublesome. I think ancient cultures knew about the pitfalls of a pure vegan diet, and that is why they were always recorded to have some dairy product and cooked in their diet such as the Essenes and the Hunzas. But in my opinion,  it does not have to be this way anymore. We now have much greater access to knowledge and foods than ever before, and we can use this to our advantage and make the raw vegan diet work if we are diligent and become  knowledgeable.

Some of the biggest nutritional pitfalls in the vegan diet are:

·         Omega 3 fatty acids – getting a healthy balance with the omega 6’s

·         EPA/DHA fatty acids (a major problem making these when zinc levels are low)

·         Zinc (a major problem)

          Iron (can be a major problem)

          Iodine 

·         Protein (can be a problem with various vegan diets)

·         Calcium (often low in vegans...need good levels to counteract high phosporous levels)

          B vitamins (various deficiencies such as B2 and B6 can occur if we are not diligent) 

·         B12 (a major problem)

·         Vitamin D3 (can be a major problem)

·         Vitamin A (required diligence to get good levels)

·         Hormones

·         Phyto-nutrients (play a key role in fighting disease in the modern world, so levels need to be high)

          Enzymes (chelate minerals and plays many important roles, best to keep levels high via sprouting)

          Homocystine (elevated levels)

          Copper (elevated levels due to almost all plant foods having excess copper)

          Taurine (not essential, but most people do not make enough of this amino acid. No land sources from plants)

·         (oxygen levels) - need fresh foods home grown, can oxygenate the body cells better than deep breathing, especially important for those people with poor lung functioning   

Other factors that can contribute to nutritional deficiencies in the diet are the high levels of tannins, oxalic acid, uric acid and phytic acid and many other anti nutrients in various plant foods...in particular greens, nuts, grains and seeds. The high protein, complex polysaccharide/disaccharide, starch, and fat content of nuts and seeds can also cause problems in the diet. The good news is the sprouting partially solves all these problems, but food processing needs to be taken much further than sprouting despite what all sprouting books and websites like to make you believe. The key for the average person maximising success on a vegan diet is to ensure the diet is fresh via sprouting and to ferment, but preferrably to use probiotics and digestive enzymes to greatly reduce or remove many of the anti nutrients to ensure maximum bioavailability of nutrients. Yes, there is now mainstream science published in the medical literiture showing that enzyme and probiotic supplementation DOES work, and future discussions and evidence challenging the traditional views will be discussed extensively, and already it has been touched upon in the forums recently at this site. Fermenting also greatly improves the taste of the sprouted foods, softens the fibers and makes the food easier and to eat, but we must still use it sparingly due to aldehyde issues. We will talk about fermentation in great detail in a section specicially devoted to the subject because it is incredible how it transforms foods, and it has a great reputation around the world for it's contribution to health. 

Further, l will be talking about these four nutrient inhibitors in much detail and will present the science so one is left in no doubt that it is a significant problem. I am working hard behind the scenes to prepare this information, but the wait will be worth it. 

Vegans are clean on the inside, but it doesn’t mean many are going to live longer than the average meat eater because they open themselves up to a host of different diseases resulting from nutritional deficiencies  from the diet. The average vegan diet practiced by most people doesn’t provide enough bioavailable nutrients for this day and age, and most blood tests are misleading because they don’t indicate how much a person is absorbing, they usually measure how much nutrients are in one’s blood.

I will talk extensively in this section about the potential nutritional pitfalls of the raw vegan diet and provide some good solutions. One of the keys to being successful on the diet is to eat at least 75% raw and include the majority of foods as fresh fermented sprouts, sea vegetables and fermented algae.  Sprouts should be at least 50% of the diet, but going as high as 90% is highly recommended. The type of diet l recommend is the diet for the 21st century and by far the best type of diet for the average person.

The type of diets most vegans practice is the diet of the 1800’s – it has not moved with the times and is lacking in pretty much of everything and has it's basis is in very crude eating because it is full of harsh fibers and anti nutrients which makes the diet poorly digested, it is also a diet that most people don't consume fresh so it opens people up to nutritional losses through post harvest handling through a mass food supply and nutrient losses through eating non fresh foods. It does not matter if people are eating all the superfoods from the health stores, those things won’t make most people successful. After reading hundreds of science studies on the problems associated with raw vegan foods l am left in no doubt that average raw vegans MUST be processing their foods via sprouting and fermenting in order to be successful.

Omega 3 and EPA/DHA fatty acids

One thing vegans fail to do according to good science is get enough omega 3 in a good ratio to omega 6’s, this means that conversion of omega 3’s to EPA and DHA is almost non existent in most vegan diets, and with this comes a whole host of health problems reported with vegans after years on their diet.

For much of this discussion we will be referring to a gold standard science study in the highly respected peer reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) so there is some substance to the viewpoints l put forward in this section.

Here is the first of various studies l will present:

Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians (vegans): current  knowledge and practical implications

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/640S.full.pdf+html

 

Lets begin by quoting some important information from the above study and then follow with some commentary on the study.

General information - defining the fatty acids needed by the body

“There are 2 EFAs, both polyunsaturated fats: LA (the parent  n_6 fatty acid) and ALA (the parent n_3 fatty acid). Humans are  able to convert LA and ALA to more physiologically active fatty  acids through a series of elongation and desaturation reactions  [LA to arachidonic acid (AA) and ALA to EPA and DHA]. The  resulting highly unsaturated fatty acids are necessary for cell  membrane function, the proper development and functioning of  the brain and nervous system, and the production of eicosanoids  (thromboxanes, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and prostacyclins).  While conversion of LA to AA is typically very efficient, conversion  of ALA to EPA and DHA is much less so. In healthy individuals,  _5–10% of ALA is converted to EPA, and _2–5% to  DHA (8–10)”.

 

Not possible to get recommended intake of EPA

“While there are no official recommendations  for vegetarians and vegans, it is not possible for

 this population to achieve the NIHWorking Group’s proposed AIs  for EPA and DHA. Even with the use of DHA-enriched eggs, some  seaweed, and/or DHA supplements, the best vegetarians could do  is to meet the recommended intakes for DHA. Some experts suggest  that vegetarians (and others receiving no direct sources of EPA  and DHA) at least double the recommended intakes for ALA  (S Innis, A Simopoulos, and B Holub, personal communication,  2002). This would suggest an intake ofALA in the range of 1–2%”.

 

The really important part1 - The solution - the ratio needed of omega 3's - 6's

“The ratio of n_6 to n_3 fatty acids is often used to assess the  balance between EFA in the diet, although there is some controversy  as to its practical significance. For vegetarians and others  who consume little, if any, EPA and DHA, the n_6-to-n_3 ratio  is of greater relevance than for individuals who consume significant  daily sources of EPA and DHA. On the basis of the proposed AIs, the NIH suggests a ratio of 2:1–3:1. One study found that a ratio of 4:1 allows for  adequate conversion to DHA in healthy vegetarians.  Another research group suggested that the optimal ratio to maximize  the conversion of ALA to DHA is 2.3:1. Given the  rate of conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA, it has been suggested  that a safe and adequate ratio for the vegetarian and vegan  populations would be in the range of 2:1–4:1. This can best  be achieved by increasing ALA in the diet and decreasing LA.

 

While The World Health Organisation and Food & Agriculture Organisation suggests a ratio ranging from 5:1 (five parts omega 6’s – one part omega 3’s) to 10:1, other countries like Sweden recommend  a ratio of 5:1, Canada recommends 4:1 – 10:1, and Japan recently changed it’s recommendation from 4:1 to 2:1. I think it is probably best to exercise caution and use the NIH recommendation to maximize the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA by trying to consuming a ratio of 2:1 (two parts omega 3’s to one part omega 3’s). Of course l am not saying to get all scientific and measure our foods each day in precise amounts, but it is best to be conscious to consume more foods higher and with a more favourable balance of omega 3’s.

 

Foods we can consume to put the omega 3’s in good balance to maximize body production of DHA/EPA

 

Foods which can greatly help increase the 2:1 ratio would be:

·          * sprouted and fermented flax seeds (sprouting/fermenting greatly helps remove anti             nutrients and greatly increases bioavailability of fatty acids and various nutrients in the foods – the science will be presented on this in other sections to come).  

·         * sprouted and fermented chia seeds

·         * sprouted flax seed grass

·         * sprouted chia seed grass

·         * FRESH green juices with carefully fermented wheat/barley/rye sprout water added to reduce anti nutrient factors in the juices

·         * FRESH fermented green vegetables (fermentation to help break down the harsh fibers in these foods and to reduce anti nutrient factors)

·         * fermented sprouted greens like alfalfa, fenugreek, broccoli, clover, radish etc

·         * FRESH fruits

 

All these foods provide high ratio’s of omega 3’s – 6’s, and in many cases far in excess of the recommended 2:1 ratio. This means we can still eat a wide varied diet and foods with poor 3’s – 6’s ratios and still be in good balance if we make up for it by regularly consuming foods from the above group. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3’s, but we must not rely soley on these foods because the ratio is 4:1 and hence getting on the low side and may mean a lower conversion rate of EPA/DHA for the body. Another thing to be aware of is that walnuts are extremely high in anti nutrients like tannins and phytic acids so we need to at least ferment these to maximize bioavailability of nutrients and digestion of the food. Soaking nuts is not necessarily enough to ensure adequate reduction of anti nutrients (the science will be provided on this at a later stage in another section).

 

Relying on avocado for omega 3’s is a bad idea because the ratio of 3’s – 6’s is way off the recommendations of what many scientists are recommending. Another problem with this food is that they are never picked ripe so they are never fresh, the fats  are prone to oxidization, and the fruits can be damaged via post harvest handling in a system that provides food for the masses, and with post harvest handling damage can occur massive losses of nutrients from the foods in a very short period of time, and with this comes the problem of a loss of nutrient synergy in the foods because people are relying on an un-natural food system to provide their food. MASS FOOD DELIVERY SYSTEMS DON’T WORK!!! FOOD MUST BE EATEN FRESH!!! We will discuss this in much greater detail on other sections.

 

In addition to bringing the ratio down to 2:1 for ideal conversion, another thing the study in AJCN does highly recommend is to get good levels of amino acids, pyridoxine (vitamin b6), biotin (vitamin b7), calcium,copper, magnesium, and zinc to allow various enzymes to do their work effectively in converting fatty acids to EPA and DHA. But here lies another problem…vegans are often deficient in B6, zinc and possibly other of these nutrients because they eat unfresh foods and foods usually high in anti nutrients which are notorious for blocking zinc. This is why a fermented sproutarian diet will work better than any other diet for the average person…it ensures food is fresh and ensures maximum break down of anti nutrient factors in the diet (there will be lots of good science to back this up shorty). Another thing we need to do is not consume cold pressed oils high in omega 6’s (nearly all of them).

 

Below is a study showing that taking 25 grams of ground up chia each day does significantly increase ALA and EPA levels, so yes, it shows that regular consumption of omega 3 rich foods with good ratios of 3’s – 6’s does help with EPA levels that so many people struggle to get. And according to good science done, sprouting and fermenting these seeds would be even more beneficial in terms of overall health because digestion of the food would be better.

 

Supplementation of Milled Chia Seeds Increases Plasma ALA and EPA in Postmenopausal Women

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-012-0286-0#page-1

 

Lets get back to the original link in AJCN and quote the most crucial parts of the study.

 

The really important part 2 - Maximizing conversion of n_3 fatty acids

“While conversion of EFAs to longer-chain fatty acids is, at least  in part, dependent on genetics, age, and overall health, several  dietary factors also have a significant impact on the conversion  process. First, it is important to ensure that the diet is nutritionally  adequate, as poorly designed diets can impair the conversion  process. Insufficient energy or protein decreases the activity of conversion  enzymes, as can deficiencies of pyridoxine, biotin, calcium,  copper, magnesium, and zinc (56, 57). Excessive intakes of trans  fatty acids can also depress conversion enzymes. In addition, alcohol  inhibits the activity of ?-5 and ?-6 desaturase and depletes tissues  of long-chain n_3 fatty acids (58). High n_6 fatty acid content

 can have a profound effect on n_3 fatty acid conversion,  reducing it as much as 40% (59). To achieve

 reduced n_6 intakes, oils rich in n_6 fatty acids should not be used  as primary cooking oils. Cooking oils with the greatest n_6 fatty  acid content include safflower oil (75% n_6), grapeseed oil (70%

 n_6), sunflower oil (65% n_6), corn oil (57% n_6), cottonseed oil  (52% n_6), and soybean oil (51% n_6). Processed foods, convenience  foods, and snack foods also are significant contributors to n_6  intake; thus, their use should be moderate. n_6-Rich whole foods  such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts,  wheat germ, and soy foods need not be avoided, as they tend to be  relatively minor contributors to overall n_6 intake. These foods also  provide a myriad of beneficial dietary components, including phytochemicals,  fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and trace minerals.

 Finally, it is important to ensure that there are sufficient  amounts of ALA, which is necessary for the production of  EPA and DHA. Most healthy vegetarians would be well  advised to double their intake of ALA, providing ??1% of  energy from n_3 fatty acids or 1.1 g/1000 cal. For those with  increased needs or decreased capacity to convert, an intake  of 2% of energy or 2.2 g/1000 cal may be necessary”. 

 

Plant sources of DHA/EPA long chain fatty acids (none are reliable sources)

“The only plant sources of long-chain n_3 fatty acids are plants  of the sea—microalgae and seaweed. There is a great deal of confusion  about the EFA content of plants. While they are the original  sources of EPA and DHA (fish do not produce long-chain  n_3 fatty acids), most are not concentrated sources because of  their extremely low total fat content. An important exception is a  DHA-rich microalgae that provides 10–40% DHA by dry weight  and is currently available in supplement form. When supplementing

 with a direct DHA source, 100–300 mg/d is recommended.

 

 Blue-green algae (spirulina and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) are  low in long-chain n_3 fatty acids. Spirulina is rich in  _-linolenic acid (GLA, n_6), while A. flos-aquae is more concentrated  in ALA. Though blue-green algae is not a significant  source of EPA or DHA, some research indicates that it has a very

 high conversion rate in comparison to other plants (R Kushak et  al, unpublished observations, 1999). Macroalgae, otherwise  known as seaweed, is even lower in fat than most vegetables  (< 1–14% of calories from fat), although it does contain small  amounts of long-chain fatty acids. A 100-g serving provides, on  average, _100 mg EPA but little DHA. Seaweeds do not contribute  significantly to EPA intakes in the Western world but are  important sources where people use large quantities of seaweed

 on a daily basis (eg, Japan and other parts of Asia). Thus, while  vegetarians can rely on eggs and/or microalgae supplements for  DHA, most consume little if any EPA. However, < 10–11% of  DHA is retroconverted to EPA; thus, if sufficient ALA and DHA  are consumed, total EPA production would be expected to be  adequate”. 

 

One thing the study didn’t include was using Purslane weeds to help the body manufacture EPA. Purslane is the highest discovered source of fatty acids of any green and is extremely high in omega 3’s. It is also rumoured to contain EPA and l recall a science study reporting Purslane containing EPA, however an Australian study (Fatty acids and beta carotene in Australian Purslane varieties - Lixia Lui, Peter Howe, 2000) found no traces of EPA, DHA or DPA long chain fatty acids, so this tells us we can't rely on Purslane for direct sources, but it is very high in ALA and beta  carotene.

http://www.paper.edu.cn/scholar/downpaper/liulixia375096-200812-4

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants in Edible Wild Plants 

http://www.scielo.cl/pdf/bres/v37n2/art13.pdf 

One of the crucial things to be aware of with Purslane and many wild greens is that they often have high levels of oxalic acid in them. This is not such a problem with lower levels, but with higher levels the calcium in the plants will be almost completely unusable. Below is a link comparing the high oxalic acid levels in spinach to a low oxalic acid kale. Both were cooked and some oxalic acid was destroyed in both plants, none-the-less it can be reasonably concluded that there is enough oxalic acid left in the spinach to almost completely block calcium absorption from this food, where-as the calcium in kale was not negatively effected by the oxalic acid. See, we must be careful not to view vegan foods so narrowly...we need to take into account many factors so we can work out which foods to eat for balanced nutrition and how to process them if neccessary. Most raw food vegan sites only talk about the nutrient levels in a plant and many people rely on the cronometer, but they rarely talk about bioavailability of nutrients/anti nutrients because it often exposes many flaws in the raw vegan diet, but as l have said, we can do many things to overcome the difficulties of the raw diet if we do some important things.

Calcium Absorption from Kale 

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/51/4/656.full.pdf+html

Calcium absorption from Spinach

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/47/4/707.full.pdf+html

 

 

 

 

Below is another study which measured the potential for various processed flax for increasing ALA, DHA and EPA. 

Bioavailability of alpha-linolenic acid in subjects after ingestion of three different forms of flaxseed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18689552

 

This study brings up more questions than answers, but there are some interesting issues that arise from this important study. 

1). The group receiving the baked flax seed did not have much increase in ALA levels where-as the groups receiving flax oil or milled flax did receive significant increases in ALA. Did cooking largely destroy the ALA,  or did it make it unusable in the people?  

2). No significant changes in plasma DHA/EPA levels was detected from the ingestion of milled flax, flax oil or baked flax. This tells us that high omega 3 foods are not enough to ensure that we are able to convert ALA to EPA/DHA. So why is this the case? Could it be that the people’s diets didn’t contain good levels of amino acids, pyridoxine (vitamin b6), biotin (vitamin b7), calcium,copper, magnesium, and zinc to allow various enzymes to do their work effectively in converting fatty acids to EPA and DHA? Could it be the lack of nutrient synergy in the foods caused by anti nutrient factors still left if the milled flax and baked flax? Could the lack of nutrient synergy in the concentrated flax oil also be a factor?

 

See…there are many things we probably should be doing better in our diets like l previously discussed. For example:

 

·         Sprout and ferment raw foods when possible to ensure freshness and to remove anti nutritional factors so we can maximize nutrition levels to ensure we get good level of the amino acids, pyridoxine (vitamin b6), biotin (vitamin b7), calcium,copper, magnesium, and zinc to allow various enzymes to do their work effectively in converting fatty acids to EPA and DHA like AJCN suggests.

·         Eat food in synergy by avoiding cooking, concentrated oils, post harvest handling in mass food delivery systems.

·         Eating an overall diet with a higher ratio of omega 3’s – 6’s so we can reach the recommended 1:2.

·         Sprout and/or ferment to break down fats into fatty acids, proteins into amino acids and starches and sugars into simplier forms that require less energy by the body to break down. Eating this way will prevent possible problems of high fat, high starch, high fat and high polysaccharide/disaccharide sugar diets.

 

Vegans can be doing so many things to help be successful long term in the diet, but very few are doing any of these things. Many consume oils, packaged foods, shop bought fruits and vegetables, packaged superfoods high in anti nutrients and quite likely irradiated, non organic produce lower in nutrition and higher in anti nutrients and many other things, and they are way off the mark and it is no surprise that so many vegans fail on the diet…they are failing out of ignorance. You can’t expect the vegan lifestyle to be convenient, because it is not! The vegan lifestyle involves complete dedication because it IS a lifestyle!!! It involves growing most of the food yourself, it involves adequate food processing to remove anti nutrients and it involves vast education on the subject. And please don’t make the common mistake that animals who eat raw vegan are eating the perfect food, because many don’t…many animals eating grains, legumes and greens also suffer from anti nutrient problems like all vegans do, but when the animals are put on sprouted and/or fermented diets their health improves (I’ll provide the science of this in another discussion).

 

Eating naturally doesn’t work for most people! Foods are full of anti nutrients so they must be processed out. Eating high levels of harsh fiber foods is also a potential problem for people, so we must also process this if one consume large amounts of high fiber foods.

 

Many in the natural hygiene movement scoff at such suggestions, but these are the same people buying their foods from shops and farmers markets in their post harvest state and all the problems that come along with it. These are the same people eating foods high in anti nutrients – it might be natural, but are the poor health problems and poor assimilation of nutritional factors associated with natural eating good??? And is the food really natural if it isn't fresh? See, natural hygiene may have worked better in the old days when people grew their own food, had less stress and lived in a much less polluted environment, but times have changed and our demands for nutrition are probably more than ever before, so things like sea weeds are a great addition to the diet.

 

It really time vegans started to wake up and ditch the nonsense so many raw food leaders talk about because very little of it makes any sense. We need to find a much better balanced explanation of the vegan diet than what we have been getting – there are some good points to what raw food leaders discuss, but most have more bad points than good points. The key is to maximize the strong points of a diet and reduce the negative points, and by far the very best diet that stands up to scrutiny better than any other diet for the average person is the fermented sproutarian diet – the diet isn’t perfect, but if carefully done it will far exceed any vegan diet promoted by vegans for the average person, and l will go into why in great detail as l write this website. Much of the things l will say will be based on science, lots of common sense, and some aspects will be based on testimonials.

 

Problems with consuming raw soaked chia 

The way nearly all vegans consume chia seed is a disaster. Vegans tend to soak chia or cook it to get the omega 3's, but this isn't the answer either. The science below provides some reasons (poor digestion), but a whole lot more science comes into explaining why this is so disasterous, namely, the potential of various higher level IP5 and IP6 phytic acids not broken down by short term soaking, and the potential for irradiated chia. I am unable to find the science on oxalic acid and tannins, but l feel there are potential problems there too, and also with the gell on flax/chia. It is essential we sprout the chia to test for irradiation and to help reduce anti nutrients like various phytic acids, it is also important we dry it to the best of our ability (to remove the gel as best as we can), and then crush it and ferment it (the crushing will hopefully allow the fermentation to get into the seed better if any gell is left after drying). Chia and flax are potentially very troublesome seeds to get maximum benefits from so extra measures should be taken when processing them as a precaution.

Yes, not all phytic acids are nutrient inhibitors. Out of the IP1 - 6 phytic acids, it looks like the IP5 and IP6 phytic acid forms are the ones we need to convert to the lower forms according to the prestigious ACJN.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/68/2/484S.full.pdf+html

 

PROTEIN DIGESTIBILITY OF CHIA SEED Salvia hispanica L

http://www.respyn.uanl.mx/ix/1/articulos/protein_didestibity.htm

 

Here is a picture of sprouted fermented chia seed soaked in high phytase fermented rye sprout water to reduce the higher level phytic acid anti nutrients that have scientically been shown to dramatically reduce the ability of the body to use iron and zinc from the seeds and have also been reported to cause the body to inefficiently utilize manganese and calcium and a variety of other things.

 (picture unable to be uploaded at the moment)

Further reading on fatty acids and the omega 3 contents in vegan and non vegan foods. 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/1/179S.full.pdf

Symposium on ‘Plant foods and public health’

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=814540

 

Vitamin D

Note: anything referencing Project Camelot and Mercola will soon be removed as they both have little credibility.  The vitamin D info below was based on a floored study done decades ago. 

 

Getting enough vitamin D is a really hard task for people living in the modern world, and even getting out in the sunlight each day doesn't necessarily guarantee  enough for people. Science is now showing that it takes the body up to 48 hours to absorb vitamin D from the sun, but the problem is that people who shower each day might not be absorbing enough vitamin D and can risk being deficient. A bigger problem arises for people who don't get out in the sun enough for full body exposure. 

Here is some introductory information on vitamin D so people understand much more about this highly important subject. These are some notes l took from Gabriele Stähler’s youtube talk. l am well aware of the misinformation sources that Project Camelot use, but as with all misinformation sites, some of the stuff they put out is definitely worth considering, and one such area is vitamin D

Gabriele Stähler on vitamin D

Benefits of vitamin D

·         Bone health

·         Helps prevent 16 forms of cancer up to 83% by getting vitamin D

·         Helps reduce infections and inflammations

·         Helps reduce depression and neurological disorders

·         Helps protect from colds and flu

·         Strenghtns the immune system

·         Helps protect from Tuberculosis

·         Helps protect from Periodontitis

·         Helps prevent Diabetes

·         Helps prevent Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamin D is extremely important because there are vitamin D receptors everywhere in the body, that is why vitamin D effects so many parts of the body such as the: intestines, lung, liver, heart, kidneys, brain, pancreas, adrenal & reproductive tissue, pituitary - , thyroid-, haematopoetic tissue, our immune system (lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages), bones, muscles, cartilage.

 

Different forms of vitamin D

CHOLECALCIFEROL  D3

CALCIDIOL  25(OH)D3 (second most active form, but needs further processing into  1,25(OH)2D3

CALCITRIOL  1,25(OH)2D3   (most active form, made from 25(OH)D3 above))

ERGOCAL  CIFEROL  D2 (Extracted from plants) 

The Calcitriol form of vitamin D3 is the most active form that the body can use because it is  a hormone that can work with the genes by turning them on and off and regulating body processes such as lowering blood pressure. 

 

The proper vitamin D test to have done

The only vitamin D test you need is the CALCIDIOL  25(OH)D3

Or

25-hydroxy-D3

It is not necessary to do a test on the CALCITRIOL  1,25(OH)2D3

CHOLECALCIFEROL  D3 is made in your skin or in animals fur/feathers. We need to get out in the sun to get this. This is just a precursor to the active form of CALCIDIOL  25(OH)D3 which is made in your liver. Then the 25(OH)D3 gets transported to your bloodstream, and this is what is measured in the blood test. After the 25(OH)D3 is transported to the blood, it then goes to the kidneys where it is metabolized into CALCITRIOL  1,25(OH)2D3 which can be measured in the blood also.

Nearly D3 is from living creatures and gets stored in the fatty tissue of the body after ingesting a certain amount.

D2 are from plants and doesn’t stay in the body for very long. 

Vitamin D is also good for mood and can prevent various viruses.

 

Vitamin D dosage 

Food and nutrition board say that:

0 – 50 years of age = 200 I.U per day

51 – 70 years = 400 I.U per day

71 + years  = 600 I.U per day

 

But …the scientific proven doses to really make a difference are much higher. 400 I.U per day are no way near effective enough to stop disease and health problems.

15 – 20 minutes in the sun in bathers means you will make 10,000 I.U – 20,000 I.U of vitamin D3. So yes, the 200 or 400 I.U in pill form is very very small

 

Sunlight and sunscreen

With ultra violet light we have three different rays: they all have different wave lengths so they penetrate our bodies in different ways.

·         UVC  (100 – 280 nm)

·         UVB  (280 – 320 nm) – the good one

·         UVA  (320 – 400 nm)

The UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer, so we don’t have to worry about that.

The UVA is a very dangerous wave length because it wrinkles and makes our skin old. It goes deep into the skin and changes the cells. We want to avoid this.

What we need is UVB. We need it because it uses a form of cholesterol that is sitting in the skin to use as a precursor for the vitamin D3 that we need.

Windows filter out UVB but it lets through the UVA, so we are cooking our skin with the wrong wave length. 

Scientists are now even showing that people are getting melanomas from not going out in the sun because people aren’t getting enough D3, so they open themselves up to more cancer. This might be a reason why sunscreen isn’t so good either (my opinion).

A tan is protection against the harsh waves of the sun, but do the tan slowly.

 

4 sources of vitamin D

·         Sunlight

·         Supplements

·         Tanning beds

·         Food

 

Vitamin D doses and toxicity (it’s all proportional to body weight)

40,000 I.U to kill a rat. So that is equivalent to 7,000,000 – 10,000,000 I.U to kill a 75kg man.

There is no toxicity from up to 30,000 I.U (depending on body weight) . The only risk with extremely high doses (much higher) may be hypercalcemia.

If you are 0 – 1 year old and live at 30 degree latitude or higher, take 500 – 1,000 I.U  D3 daily

If you are a teenager and live at 30 degree latitude or higher, take 4,000 – 5,000 I.U  D3 daily

If you are an adult and live at 30 degree latitude or higher, take 5,000 – 6,000 I.U  D3 daily

Pregnant women need 6,000 – 10,000 I.U per day

(the higher latitudes get less sunlight)

People in Australia are about 40 degree latitude [or less], so they don’t get enough sun during cooler months.

Only 30% of the vitamin D in the mother goes into the baby.

Dark skinned people are the most deficient people in vitamin D because their skin is tougher and keeps the sun out.

Note: vitamin D absorption depends on skin colour, lifestyle, tanning studios, seasons, blood level and individual health, full time outdoor workers, old or fat people who stay inside and are sensitive to upper limits…+ fat people get more vitamin D3 stuck in the fat so it doesn’t go into the blood after being stored, so they get more deficient. 

Rats that were fed vitamin D3 during pregnancy had babies that never developed diabetes, but the rats that were never fed D3 had babies that developed diabetes later on in their lives. So…adult illnesses can develop by not giving babies nutrients in the womb.

 

Things that block sun

·         Chem. Trails

·         Clouds

·         Pollution

·         Sun screen (Poison and blocks out UVB {the beneficial wave length} and lets in the bad ones. As soon as they introduced sunscreen to the market, the melanoma rate dramatically rose..studies have proven this)  see 41:50 – 42:04 of youtube video below

·         Indoors

Things that stop vitamin D3 absorption

·         Poor kidney and liver function (D3 goes to the skin to the liver to the kidneys)

·         Unhealthy colon

·         Medications, especially anti seizure medications

·         Chemo therapy

These notes were taken from the video called, Gabriele Stähler on Vitamin D3, with Bill Ryan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH1rB-Ya2UQ

 

Mercola.com on vitamin D 

It is not just Gabriele Stähler talking about this, it is also mercola.com and various scientists who have recently written extensively on vitamin D for the Hippocrates Health Institute magazine called Healing Our World (Volume 33, issue 2).

Here is what mercola.com has to say on Vitamin D:

For anyone that has a shower every half a day, you are not doing yourself a favour. 

Number one, ........ you are washing the vitamin D three off your skin.(it can take up to 48 hours for the vitamin D 3 to go from your skin to your bloodstream). 

Number two.......... your skin is the largest organ of your body,  when you have a shower with water that has chlorine and fluoride in it , the pores of your skin open right up and let the deadly toxins in .

So summing it up, when you have a shower on a regular basis that is every half a day, your washing the Vit D3 of your body and pumping your body full of toxins, such as chlorine and fluoride. 

You might smell pretty, but you are doing yourself a lot of damage. 

So here we are in Australia with heaps of sunshine and yet most people who go to the doctor for a blood test have a lack of vitamin D three in the bloodstream, is there a message there. 

In England where they have very little sunshine and they are only have a bath once a month, they are properly receiving more vitamin D three than us. 

They may smell a little but they maintain better health.

 

When NOT to Tan

 From a health perspective it doesn't make much sense to expose your skin to the sun when it is lower than 50 degrees above the horizon because you will not receive any valuable UVB rays, but you will expose yourself to the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays. UVA's have a longer wavelength than UVB and can more easily penetrate the ozone layer and other obstacles (like clouds and pollution) on their way from the sun to the earth. UVA is what radically increases your risk of skin cancer and photoaging of your skin. So while it will give you a tan, unless the companion UVB rays are available you're likely doing more harm than good and should probably stay out of the sun to protect your skin.

 

During the times of the year when UVB rays are not present where you live you essentially have two options: You can use a safe tanning bed or you can swallow oral vitamin D3.

 

After Sun Exposure, Be Careful about Showering! 

It's important to understand that vitamin D3 is an oil soluble steroid hormone. It's formed when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun (or a safe tanning bed). When UVB strikes the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative in your skin into vitamin D3. 

However, the vitamin D3 that is formed is on the surface of your skin does not immediately penetrate into your bloodstream. It actually needs to be absorbed from the surface of your skin into your bloodstream. The critical question then is: how long does it take the vitamin D3 to penetrate your skin and reach your bloodstream? If you're thinking about an hour or two, like I did until recently, you're wrong. Because new evidence shows it takes up to 48 hours before you absorb the majority of the vitamin D that was generated by exposing your skin to the sun! 

Therefore, if you shower with soap, you will simply wash away much of the vitamin D3 your skin generated, and decrease the benefits of your sun exposure. So to optimize your vitamin D level, you need to delay washing your body with soap for about two full days after sun exposure. Now, few are not going to bathe for two full days. However you really only need to use soap underneath your arms and your groin area, so this is not a major hygiene issue. You'll just want to avoid soaping up the larger areas of your body that were exposed to the sun. 

Many will dispute this recommendation as "conventional" thinking teaches that vitamin D is formed in the skin, but this research is based on Dr. Michael Hollick's work, which is over 25 years old. New evidence suggests the current view on how vitamin D is formed is inaccurate. At this time no one has ever tested whether vitamin D is formed in human sebum, the fat that your skin produces. The only study that supports that vitamin D3 is formed in the dermal epidermal junction was done in humans where the sebum was removed from the skin. 

However, this has been extensively tested in animals and that is precisely where the vitamin D3 is formed. In fact that is where most of the oral vitamin D3 in supplements comes from—the  lanolin and the sebum-like material in the skin of sheep and cows. 

Additionally, you can rub vitamin D3 on your skin and it easily penetrates into your bloodstream (assuming you don't wash it off for 48 hours). This is also likely the reason why surfers in Hawaii who are in the sun and water continuously don't have vitamin D levels comparable to lifeguards that don't go in the water. The surfers typically have levels in the 70s while the lifeguards and others who are in the sun as much without going into the water will have vitamin D levels around 100. The bottom line is that washing the sebum off of your skin is NOT ideal and should be avoided when possible. You were NOT designed to use soap on your entire body. It is fine to wash areas that are prone to bacterial overgrowth such as your axilla (armpits) and groin, but it is in your best interest to leave the sebum that was designed to be on your skin, on your skin. 

Obviously you can do as you wish, but it is my STRONG recommendation to avoid soap on most of your skin.

How Do You Know if You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D? 

The key point to understand is that sunlight is composed of about 1500 wavelengths, but the only wavelength that will have your body make vitamin D are UVB-rays when they shine on unexposed skin. The key is that the UVB-rays from the sun actually have to pass through the atmosphere and reach where you are on the earth. This obviously does not occur in the winter for most of us, but the sun's rays are also impeded during a fair amount of the year for people living in temperate climates. 

So how do you know if you have entered into the summer season and into the time of year, for your location, where enough UVB is actually able to penetrate the atmosphere to allow for vitamin D production in your skin? 

It should be noted that this represents a very small portion of the total radiation from the sun that reaches the earth's surface. Much is filtered out by our atmosphere. So due to the physics and wavelength of UVB rays it will only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of about 50° from the horizon. When the sun is lower than 50°, the ozone layer reflects the UVB-rays but let thr The first step is to determine the latitude and longitude of your location. You can easily do this on Google Earth, or if you are in the U.S. you can use the TravelMath Latitude Longitude Calculator to find your latitude and longitude i. Once you have obtained that you can go to the U.S. Navy site to calculate a table to determine the times and days of the year that the sun is above 50 degrees from the horizon ii.  Please view the video at the top of this page. The URL for the US Naval Observatory Azimuth table is http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php 

For a more detailed understanding of this you can visit the University of Colorado State's page iii that discusses this in more detail. If you read the paper you will see that there are other factors, such as ozone concentration, altitude, air pollution, ground covered by snow or ice, and cloud cover that also contribute to the amount of UVB that is ultimately reaching your skin. 

Translated to the date and time of some places on the globe, it means for example: In my hometown of Chicago, the UVB rays are not potentially present until March 25, and by September 16th it is not possible to produce any vitamin D from the sun in Chicago. Please understand it is only theoretically possible to get UVB rays during those times. If it happens to be cloudy or raining, the clouds will also block the UVB rays. 

This is one of the reasons I now spend most of my winters in the sunshine state of Florida because in the center of the state there are more than two extra months of UVB as the sun doesn't disappear for winter until October 23 and comes back again much earlier, around February.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/26/maximizing-vitamin-d-exposure.aspx

 

The vegan diet and vitamin D2 foods

Vitamin D foods

·         pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

·         sunflower  greens = 92   I.U per 100 grams

·         flax seed sprouts

·         alfalfa sprouts

·         skitake mushrooms (100 I.U per 100 grams for fresh and 1,600 I.U per 100 gram sun dried for D2).

·          seaweed

·          Kelp

·         Wheatgrass

·         Arame sea weed

·         Mushrooms

·         Olives

·         Blue green algae

·         Onion sprouts

·         Buckwheat greens

·         Fenugreek sprouts

These foods won’t contain enough vitamin D2, and besides, scientists say absorption of D2 is between 10 – 30%. The best thing most people should be doing is to supplement with a high quality vegan form of D3 (yes, there is a plant based form of D3).

http://www.hippocratesstore.org/root/supplements/lifegive/lifegive-sun-d.htm

I have no association with Hippocrates Health Institute, but l fully support what they do, the healthy  vegan diet they promote and the various high quality lifegive supplements that they produce..

 

Iodine

Iodine deficiency is a big problem for much of the world. "It is the single greatest cause of preventable brain damage and mental retardation in the world. More than 2 billion people in the world live in iodine-deficient environments. Deficiencies in iodine that occur in late infancy and childhood have been shown to cause mental retardation, delayed motor development, growth failure and stunting, neuromuscular disorders and speech and hearing defects. Even mild iodine deficiency has been reported to reduce intelligence "[1].

 

Not only are the soils in many parts of the world iodine deficient [22], but anti nutritional factors such as goitrogens can be major factors contributing to the blocking of iodine uptake which leads one into iodine deficiency and goiter if a person become seriously deficient in this mineral [2][3][4][5]

 

Other factors that can lead to iodine deficiency is the water supply [6][7]

 

Another factor which can lead to iodine deficiency is the consumption of raw brassica/cruciferous plant foods [8], soy [9] and various other foods commonly eaten foods such as almonds and apricots etc [10] and less common foods [3][5] . Juicing raw goitrogenic green plants will make it easier to consume more of these various goitrogens, but some of the other common foods like almonds and apricots don’t appear to be a problem in the average diet.

 

Some notorious brassica/curuciferous foods with high goitrogenic potential are: cress, radish, mustard, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, bok choy, komatsuna, mizuna, turnips, rutabaga, canola/rapeseed, tatsoi, arugula. There are also many other foods from different families [17].  

 

So what are goitrogens? They can be various substances which are goitrogenic/anti-thyroid constituents of cyanogenic plants that are often used as food by men and animals. Such substances are cyanogenic glucosides, glucosinolates (thioglucosides) and thiocyanate [5].

 

Sometimes fermentation can reduce various goitrogens significantly in foods [11][12], but in other cases fermentation looks like it can increase goitrogenic activity[13].  Sprouting does seem to significantly increase goitrogens because studies clearly show members of the brassica family like oilseed rape increasing in glucosinolates during the initial sprouting stage, but as the sprouts grow into mature plants the glucosinolate comncenbtrations  decline [15][16]. We also know broccoli sprouts are a very rich source of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates [14]. This is not a bad thing because these goitrogens have very high anti cancer properties, something of which l will talk about in great detail in future writings at this site. In fact, some of these goitrogens have the most potent anti cancer properties discovered by mankind, and a fully referenced section will be devoted to this subject. 

 

So what is the solution, what do we do, are we doomed? The answer is no, we can do much to stop iodine deficiency and the negative effects of goitrogens in foods.

 

The solutions

 

We can do simple and effective things in many cases to overcome the negative thyroid suppressing effects of goitrogens such as supplement with iodine rich foods such as kelp and other sea vegetables [18] or take some form of iodine supplement [2][3][19].  In my opinion  this seems the most effective way for people who consume these high goitrogenic foods in their raw state. The iodine will not destroy the goitrogenic substances, but it will reduce anti-thyroid activity [5]. Another solution could be to cook various vegetables [20][21].  Milling foods can also reduce goitrogens [3], but this is not ideal because milling has been shown to destroy minerals (ref needed).

 

In regards to the water supply, the best thing we can probably do is to filter our water to remove these contaminants and bacteria which can contribute to goiter [6], and if that doesn't work (filtering water doesn't always remove all bacterial contaminants and can be a breeding ground for such organisms [21]) then it is best to try R.O water, and if that doesn't work (R.O doesn't always remove all bacteria and it can multiply bacteria in storage containers [21]) then we go straight to distilled water to remove any chance of bacteria and contamination in the water. There is some controversy over distilled water, but this controversy will be largely counteracted in future writings on this website.

 

References

[1] Howard E Bouis - Plant breeding:  A New Tool for Fighting Micronutrient Malnutrition

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/3/491S.full.pdf+html

[2] Jerome M Hershmen, Dang Tran Due, Burt Sharp et al – Endemic Goiter in Veitnam

http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/57/2/243.short

[3] Mlingi ML, Bokanga M, Kavishe FP et al – Milling reduces the goitrogenic potential of cassava

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8933198 

[4] A.M.Konijn, B.Gershon, K.Guggenheim – Further Purification and Mode of Action of a Goitrogenic Material from Soybean Flour

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/103/3/378.full.pdf

[5] Amar K Chandra, Sanjukya Mukhopadhyay et all – Goitrogenic content of Indian cyanogenic plant foods & their in vitro anti-thyroidal activity

http://icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2004/0502.pdf

[6] Gaitan E – Goitrogens in food and water

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1696490

[7] Gaitan E, Cooksey R.C, Matthews D et al – In vitro measurement of antithyroid compounds and environmental goitrogens

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6187759

[8] C.H VanEtten, M.E Daxenbichler et all – Natural Glucosinolates (Thioglucosides) in Foods and Feeds

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf60163a013

[9] Doerge D.R, Sheehan D.M – Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of soy isoflavones

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12060828

[10] Adam Drewnowski, Carmen Gomez-Carneros – Bitter taste, phytonutrients, and the consumer: a review

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/72/6/1424.full

[11] R.Zvauya, M.I.Muzondo – Reduction of cyanide levels in cassava during sequencial sundrying and solid state fermentation

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637489509003380

[12] S.Anil, H.Dayanidhi Singh et al – Comparative Study of Chemical Properties of Soibum – A Traditional Fermented Bamboo Shoot Product and Its Biological Investigation

http://www.ijbbb.org/papers/21-B014.pdf

[13] Elnour A, Lieden S et all – Traditional fermentation increases goitrogenic activity in pearl millet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9895422

[14] Theresa A, Shapiro, Jed W . Fahey et all - Chemoprotective Glucosinolates and Isothiocynanates of Broccili Sprouts

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/501.long

[15] Elaine J Booth, Kerr C Walker et al – A time course study of the effect of sulpur on glucosinolates in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) from the vegetative stage to maturity

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.2740560408/abstract

[16] P.E.Bilsborrow, E.J.Evans et al - Glucosinolate changes in developing pods of single and double low varieties of autumn=sown oilseed rape (B.napus)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-7348.1993.tb04021.x/abstract

[17] Wikipedia - Cruciferous vegetables

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruciferous_vegetables

[18] Theodore T.Zava, David T.Zava – Assessment of Japanese iodine intake based on seaweed consumption in Kapan

http://www.thyroidresearchjournal.com/content/4/1/14

[19]  K.O.Soetan, O.E Oyewole – The need for adequate processing to reduce the anti-nutritional factors in plants used as human foods and animals feeds: A review

http://academicjournals.org/article/article1380638739_Soetan%20and%20Oyewole.pdf

[20] F.O.Abeke, S.O.Oqundipe et al – Effect of Duration of cooking of Lablab purpureus Beans on the Performance Organ Weight and Haematological Parameters of Shika-brown Pullet Chicks

http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=jbs.2007.562.565

[21] Allen E Banick – Water the choice is clear (book) 

[22]Dreosti IE - Trace elements in nutrition

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7421677

Vitamin B12 (B12 - part 1)

Vitamin B12 deficiency has a higher prevalence in plant eating communities [1][13][14][15], and many vegan’s do regularly report B12 deficiency on the internet. “Vitamin B-12 deficiency can produce abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms that include ataxia, psychoses, paresthesia, disorientation, dementia, mood and motor disturbances, and difficulty with concentration. In addition, children may experience apathy and failure to thrive, and macrocytic anemia is a common feature at all ages” [1]. There was a landmark study done on nutrient intakes of meat eaters and non-meat eaters with over 65,000 people in total, and almost 2,600 vegans, and they found vegans had the highest intakes of fibre, vitamin B1, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and iron, and the lowest intakes of retinol, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and zinc [6]. B12 is not actually a vitamin and is technically not in any plant food, the way in which it can be in various foods is by various strains of bacteria entering the food[20][21].

There is lots of talk about human beings being able to produce B12 naturally, but such talk will not be spoken about here because we want to speak about solutions for everyday people prone to B12 deficiency. There are two ways for vegans to get B12, one is from bacteria on or sometimes in food (less reliable) and the other is from a high quality soil based bacterial supplement of B12. Injections can also be had to effect, but much better to get it from your food if you are confident you are getting adequate amounts, but if you aren’t sure, l would be supplementing with soil based B12. Too many vegan people run out of energy and go down hill due to B12 deficiency, so it’s best to have a mind set that is prepared to supplement.

Even well minded people who do choose to eat B12 foods such as various sea weeds, algaes and ferments [2], they can still come up deficient. Here is a study of the long lived people of Korea, they ate many plant foods high in B12 and also had animal products, but they still came up low in B12 [2]. Another study clearly demonstrates B12 deficiency with the high raw vegan diet called `Hallelujah diet’ [11], actually there were various deficiencies with that diet. However, plant foods can help with vitamin B12, especially things like Chlorella and Nori. Here is a small study which shows users of Nori and Chlorella having twice the B12 levels over vegans who didn't have these water foods, the highlight of the study was this: "The vegans consuming Nori and/or Chlorella seaweeds (n = 16) had serum vitamin B-12 concentrations twice as high as those not using these seaweeds. On the basis of these results we conclude that some seaweeds consumed in large amounts can supply adequate amounts of bioavailable vitamin B-12"[16].

Lots of talk is on the internet about vegan foods and B12, so lets present some facts discovered so far so we can get a realistic picture of our risk of deficiency. Also note that many papers that report about B12 in foods are false because as much as 80% of the activity by this method is due to inactive analogues of vitamin B-12 [21]

Relying on spirulina for B12 is not going to work because most of that is Pseudovitamin B(12)  which is chemically identical to usable B12 (real B12) [3]. In actual fact, Pseudovitamin B(12) will increase your needs for the real B12 [21]. But getting B12 from various chlorella [4] [9] and Nori [5][10]look very promising, actually, Nori has substancial amounts of the right type of B12 and one of the few studies to prove Nori’s effectiveness  was done on rats[7]. But here lies another problem, drying of water based foods can turn usuable B12 into Pseudovitamin B(12) , such as with Nori [8]. This tells us that we shouldn’t be relying on food for a 100% source of B12 until you are 100% sure you are getting enough. 

Six ways B12 deficiency can occur

1). Inadequate digestion. 2). Inadequate absorption. 3). Inadequate utilisation (defects in vitamin B12 enzymes and other proteins). 4). Increased requirement (ie, pregnancy, hyperthyroidism). 5). Increased excretion (as in alcoholism). 6). Increased destruction (mega doses of vitamin C - this converts B12 to analogue forms that are worthless to human beings). [22]

The best B12 testing methods 

A urine test is said to be the most accurate measure for B12, but there are now much more accurate measures for B12 according to science. No-one really knows what a good recommended amount of B12 is, and this is a problem because people considered to have enough B12 may still have problems associated with B12 deficiency. One of the best measures of B12 levels is to test for homocysteine,  2-methylcitric acid, and Methylmalonic acid levels (MMA) [19][20][23], if these levels are low the B12 is said to be at good levels, but if these levels are high it is said that B12 levels are too low[17]. However great care must be done when interpreting vitamin B12 levels when using this method because symptoms of other problems can also cause low levels of MMA and homocysteine such as renal insufficiency. It’s best to supplement with B12 and try to make sure the MMA,  2-methylcitric acid and homocysteine levels are low because science shows this does have a positive effect, however  it is also ackowledged that various unknown dietary factors also play a role in lowering homocysteine levels[18], and other non diet factors may also play a role that will be discussed in the homocysteine (B12 - part 2) section. Testing for MMA levels is very important because it "is a sensitive but specific marker of cobalamin function, because—apart from cobalamin deficiency—renal impairment and rare inborn errors affecting methylmalonate-CoA mutase activity are the only known conditions causing markedly elevated concentrations of MMA. In contrast, tHcy is elevated in both folate and cobalamin deficiencies and also in pathologic states such as renal failure, thyroid dysfunction, heart transplantation, and the acute phase after a cardiovascular event"[23]. So when you test for all three substances you get a much more accurate idea if you are getting enough B12 providing other B vitamins are at good levels.

Dr Brian Clement makes the claim that only 30% of his patients are able to produce enough B12 to survive, but 70% can’t and need a plant source or to supplement. Brian explains in the following link why he thinks it is becoming much more rare for a human being to be able to produce enough vitamin B12 (very interesting link). http://www.aliveraw.com/Articles/B-12-Deficiencies/ItemId/21.aspx

“"The dried lavers (Nori) contained lesser amounts of dietary iodine ( approximately 4-6 mg/100 g of dry weight) relative to other seaweeds, suggesting that excessive intake of the dried lavers is unlikely to result in harmful intake of dietary iodine. These results indicate that the dried lavers are the most excellent source of vitamin B(12) among edible seaweeds, especially for strict vegetarians" [5]. Relying on ferments for B12 will likely not provide enough B12 either [12] and should be eaten sparingly due to aldehyde issues (more will be spoken about this in another section).

If you want to get good B12 you might look to foods like various  chlorella, nori or ferments, but l still wouldn’t be relying on those foods to provide enough. I get my B12 from here http://hippocratesinst.org/ (I have no association with this organisation, but l believe they have some of the best supplements).

Much more will be said on the importance of vitamin B12 in the homocysteine section (coming soon) because B12 cannot be considered adequate until through testing for Methylmalonic acid,  2-methylcitric acid and homocysteine levels has been done.

This study linked directly below is a highly recommended read. Victor Herbert's explanation of B12 and how it works is unsurpassed in my opinion. It talks about why some vegans may not ever require B12 for years, why children won't get B12 from synthetics, and how we need normal gastric/pancreatic/intestinal secretions and functions to be able to absorb the bacteria. It also looks like digestive enzyme supplements might be able to help some people with B12 absorption by providing proteases which digest the R binder which will release the B12 (the mainstream scientific case for digestive enzymes will be discussed on this site in the near future, but has been touched upon in the forum).

 

Vitamin B12: plant sources, requirements and assay

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/3/852.full.pdf+html

 

References

[1] Winston J Craig -  Health effects of vegan diets

 http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full

[2] Chung Shil Kwak, Mee Sook Lee et al - Discovery of Novel Sources of Vitamin B12 in Traditional Korean Foods from Nutritional Surveys of Centenarians

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/cggr/2010/374897/

[3] Watanabe F, Katsura H, Takenaka S et al -  Pseudovitamin B(12) is the predominant cobamide of an algal health food, spirulina tablets

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10552882?dopt=Abstract

[4] Watanabe F, Takenaka S et al -  Characterization and bioavailability of vitamin B12-compounds from edible algae

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12656203?dopt=Abstract

[5] Watanabe F, Takenaka S, Katsura H et al - Dried green and purple lavers (Nori) contain substantial amounts of biologically active vitamin B(12) but less of dietary iodine relative to other edible seaweeds

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10794633

[6] Davey GK, Spencer EA et al – EPIC-Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 883 meat-eaters and 31 546 non meat-eaters in the UK

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12740075?dopt=Abstract

[7] Takenaka S, Sugiyama S et al - Feeding dried purple laver (nori) to vitamin B12-deficient rats significantly improves vitamin B12 status

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11430774?dopt=Abstract

[8] Yamada K, Yamada Y et al - Bioavailability of dried asakusanori (porphyra tenera) as a source of Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10642899?dopt=Abstract

[9] Nakano S, Takekoshi H et al - Chlorella pyrenoidosa supplementation reduces the risk of anemia, proteinuria and edema in pregnant women

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20013055?dopt=Abstract

[10] Croft MT, Lawrence AD et al - Algae acquire vitamin B12 through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16267554?dopt=Abstract

[11] Donaldson MS - Metabolic vitamin B12 status on a mostly raw vegan diet with follow-up using tablets, nutritional yeast, or probiotic supplements

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11146329

[12] Filipe Santos, Arno Wegkamp et al - High-Level Folate Production in Fermented Foods by the B12 Producer Lactobacillus reuteri JCM1112

http://aem.asm.org/content/74/10/3291.full

[13]Timothy J. Keya, Paul N. Appleby et al- Symposium on ‘Plant foods and public health’

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=814540

[14]Winston J Craig - Health effects of vegan diets

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full.pdf+html

[15]Corinna Koebnick, Ada L. Garcia et al - Long-Term Consumption of a Raw Food Diet Is Associated with Favorable Serum LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides but Also with Elevated Plasma Homocysteine and Low Serum HDL Cholesterol in Humans

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/10/2372.full

 [16]Rauma AL, Törrönen R, Hänninen O, Mykkänen H - Vitamin B-12 status of long-term adherents of a strict uncooked vegan diet ("living food diet" is compromised)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7562085

[17]Wolfgang Herrmann, Heike Schorr et al - Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/1/131.full.pdf+html

 [18]Chien-Jung Hung, Po-Chao Huang et al - Plasma Homocysteine Levels in Taiwanese Vegetarians Are Higher than Those of Omnivores

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/2/152.full.pdf+html

 [19]Allen RH, Stabler SP et al - Elevation of 2-methylcitric acid I and II levels in serum, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with cobalamin deficiency

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8345822

[20]Ella H Haddad, Lee S Berk et al - Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/586s.full.pdf+html

[21]Victor Herbert, MD, JD - Vitamin B-i 2: plant sources, requirements, and assay  ( a fascinating study)

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/3/852.full.pdf+html

 [22]Victor Herbert - Staging vitamin B12 (cobalamin) status in vegetarians

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/59/5/1213S.full.pdf+html 

 [23]Anne Lise Bjørke Monsen, Per Magne Ueland - Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid in diagnosis and risk assessment from infancy to adolescence

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/1/7.full

   

TAURINE

Taurine (2-Acyloxyethylphosphonate) is an amino acid that is made from the amino acids cysteine and methionine. The problem is that this is the main deficient amino acid in populations across the world and it leads to multiple health problems according to the website of the highly respected Dr Lawence Wilson M.D [1]. Vegans are very prone to deficiency in this "conditionally essential amino acid" because  there are no known sources from plants growing on the land, and we require nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, D3 and B6 to manufacture it effectively [1]. But here lies a major problem for vegans. It is known that zinc deficiency is a major problem in the vegan diet, especially a raw vegan diet because of the presence of anti- nutrients like tannins and phytic acid IP5 - 6's which is shown to greatly lower bioavailability  [13][14][15][16], and because plant foods are much lower in zinc than animals sources (I’ll go into great detail about this and reference everything when l create a thread on Zinc lower down the page). Getting enough B6 can also a problem in plant based diets if one is not diligent, but it is much easier to get  than zinc. Vitamin A can also be a problem if raw vegans are not diligent, and many natural hygienists have been reported vitamin A deficient according to Dr Clement [2]. And vitamin D3 is another really big problem for vegans because there are no plant sources of D3, and it is not always possible for some people to get enough D3 from the sun (see prior topic on vitamin D above).

 

People often claim they have good nutrient levels of all these things, but many of these claims are wrong because they use a public blood testing system which is well known to give higher nutrient readings than the reality because the doctors will measure what’s in the blood instead of measuring what one is absorbing. This gives people a false sense of security because they think their blood work is perfect, but that is often not the case.

 

Solutions

So what do we do, are we doomed? The answer is NO!  We can do many things to get good taurine levels if we are diligent with our vegan diet. So if we can't get it from plant foods on the land, where do we get it? The answer is, from blue-green and green algae like Chlorella [3] and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae [4], but we can’t rely on those sources because we can’t be sure how much taurine is in those foods, therefore we must make sure we get good nutrition levels to ensure we manufacture enough taurine ourselves.  

We must bring zinc levels up and bring it into balance with copper levels if we have any chance of long term success on the vegan diet, but to do this we must be reducing anti-nutrients to dramatically raise zinc bioavailability (very very important) [21] and to eat good food sources of zinc to ensure we get enough so we are able to efficiently manufacture taurine (assuming we have adequate vitamin B6, D3, and A), and we must sometimes eat foods which are higher in zinc than copper to address the imbalance in most of the plant foods, but a recent discovery shows that sprouting might greatly increase zinc levels over copper levels (need to vereify various studies on this). The best ways to get good amounts of highly bioavailable zinc is to consume sprouted chia seeds, sea vegetables, lentil sprouts, chlorella and blue-green algae, but the really potent weapon for increasing zinc is chlorella, and when this is combined with sprouted poppy seeds we can greatly increase the zinc ratio so copper and zinc become more balanced. I don’t recommend regularly eating other high zinc sources such as pumpkin seeds for a very important reason. 1.The phosphorous levels are much higher than the calcium levels in these foods, so this means bioavailability of calcium will drop because it competes with phosphorous for absorption, as as studies show, the vegan diet is well known to be low in calcium, but if we are having things like sprouted poppt, sesame and chia we can afford the occasional luxury of eating things like pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts. People may wonder whether the large amount of tannins in chlorella and spirulina are a problem because of the tannin action on heavily blocking zinc absorption?? It could be a possible problem, but we can’t be too sure. It looks like drying of plant foods reduces the solubility of tannins, and hence, reduces their ability to complex proteins (tannins become more polimerized, resulting in a lower number of free hydroxyls available for binding the proteins)[10 ], but we can’t be sure whether this applies to algaes and seaweeds.  Since we can’t rely on dried algaes and seaweeds to reduce tannins, we must take probiotics to break them down [17][22]. The bacteria in the fermented foods break down tannins, so l am hoping these identical bacteria in the probiotics will do the same thing, and it looks like they do. Another way to increase zinc bioavailability is to reduce phytic acid IP5  and IP 6 significantly (reference needed), even an 80% reduction or more. The best way to do this is to sprout the seeds, soak/sprout the nuts/legumes and then consume with  a digestive enzyme containing roughly 50 mg of phytase (reference needed), or to occasionally ferment these foods – high phytase fermentation works brilliantly. Other saftey guards we can use to keep excessive copper levels from limiting zinc abosorption is to eat fresh foods high in vitamin C [23] and to eat foods high in bioavailable iron [24].

 

We can  get vitamin D3 from the sun, or usually by supplementing (crucial for most vegans). We can get vitamin A from the various green juices and algaes, and we can get B6 from chia sprouts, sesame seeds sprouts, sunflower seed sprouts and various other sources. Sprouted seeds, algae, green juices and seaweeds are very for a vegan diet so we can balance it out effectively. When you do things well your body will tell you year after year because you will be on a natural high and have good energy, and YOUR MIND WILL SOAR and become very powerful.

 

I’ll talk much more about the zinc/copper ratio problem in great detail in another section in this topic because it is one of the biggest problems with the vegan diet, but we can solve it if we are diligent. Very few vegans are getting the taurine and zinc levels right [1][19].

 

Another major problem vegans face with making taurine is getting enough of the amino acid which helps make it, methionine [1].Methionine is low in most raw vegan diets because only a few plant foods have adequate amounts [5][6][7]. This causes another problem because low methionine availability could increase the toxicity of cyanogenic glycosides, because methionine is involved in the detoxification of cyanide via methylation to thiocyanate [1][8]. Cyanogenic glycoside poisoning can lead to many symptoms like include rapid respiration, drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea, mental confusion, stupor, lowered  oxygen levels, twitching and convulsions [9]. It might explain why raw lima beans are so poisoness, they are extremely high in cyanogenic glycosides. However, this is not such a problem if you consume various nuts and seeds, especially properly processed sesame seeds [6][7], but most food sources are off limits to raw vegans and they risk low Methionine levels which will lead to low Taurine levels and increased cyanogenic glycosides.

 

There could be another slight problem,  tannins. It looks like they might bind more with the amino acids methionine and lysine therefore making them less bioavailable [10], therefore that can be another factor leading to low taurine levels. But as has been said, using probiotics and a high phytase digestive enzyme can solve these problems.  

 

Sometimes  we can fix tannin binding and increase methione levels without probiotic  supplements? Just sprout sesame seeds or soak them for 2 days and have them regularly. Soaking will get rid of almost all tannins [11], and sprouting will probably would remove many tannins in sesame also. Nuts are a harder fix, but tannins can be broken down by the Lactobacillus family of bacteria in probiotics [12][18], so probiotics would be essential for nuts because the binding on zinc is very strong with almonds, and iron-tannin  binding is strong with many nuts[20].So, if we do sprouted or 2 day soaked sesame regularly we can easily get methionine levels up without having to worry about supplement s or fermentation to break down tannins (l will speak about fermentation in detail in another section).  But we also must be sure to balance out the excessive copper and omega 6’s in sesame with things like chia seed sprouts, algaes and seaweeds.

 

The natural hygiene diet doesn’t address any of these things, that’s why most are having problems sticking to it. The best way to make a vegan diet work well is to have things like sprouted seeds, algaes, sea weeds, probiotics, digestive enzymes, green juices and other various sprouts…but it needs to be done carefully.

 

In summery

When we reduce anti-nutrients like tannins and phytic acids, eat high level zinc foods with a higher balance of zinc – copper (we need to do this so we can balance the copper – zinc ratio properly), consume good methionine levels and get optimal vitamin A, B6 and D3 levels and take various algaes, take digestive enzymes and probiotics, we should be able to get good levels of taurine. 

 (With some new discoveries made this section will require some sections to be re-written and simplified, and some of the material will need to be transferred to a new section where l discuss the copper/zinc inbalance in the vegan diet)

 

References

[1] Dr. Leonard Smith -  Are You Dangerously Deficient in Taurine?

http://drlwilson.com/Articles/TAURINE.HTM

[2]Dr. Brian Clement at Exotic Superfoods in Queens NY Part 6 – youtube video at 4:51 – 5:48

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0fL7MQON5A

[3] Kunimitsu Kaya, Louise F. Morrison, Geoffrey A. Codd, et al - A Novel Biosurfactant, 2-Acyloxyethylphosphonate, Isolated from Waterblooms of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/11/7/539 

[4] Susanne Biedlingmaier, Ahlert Schmid  - Uptake and metabolism of taurine in the green alga Chlorella fusca

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1399-3054.1987.tb04325.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false 

[5] McCarty MF, Barroso-Aranda J, Contreras F - The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18789600 

[6]Wikipedia -  Methionine

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methionine  

 [7] Agricultural Research Service United States Department of Agriculture -  National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26 

Vegetable sources

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report/nutrientsfrm?max=25&offset=0&totCount=0&nutrient1=73&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=0&fg=11&sort=f&measureby=m 

Nut/seed sources

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report/nutrientsfrm?max=25&offset=0&totCount=0&nutrient1=73&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=0&fg=12&sort=f&measureby=m 

Fruit sources

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report/nutrientsfrm?max=25&offset=0&totCount=0&nutrient1=73&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=0&fg=9&sort=f&measureby=m 

[8]Yessoufou A, Ategbo JM, Girard A et al - Cassava-enriched diet is not diabetogenic rather it aggravates diabetes in rats

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17109651 

[9]New Zealand Food Safety Authority - CYANOGENIC GLYCOSIDES

http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/Cyanogenic_Glycosides-Toxin_Which.pdf 

[10] Antonello Cannas, Ph.D. Cornell University - Tannins: fascinating but sometimes dangerous molecules

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/tannin.html#Feed_digestibility 

[11] Momoh, A.O *, Adebolu, T.T and Ogundare A.O - The effects of different treatments on the phytochemicals, proximate, and mineral contents of beniseeds (sesamum indicum linn) 

http://garj.org/garjb/pdf/2012/August/Momoh%20et%20al.pdf 

[12]Probi  

http://probi.se/en/researchandhealth/our-research/bacterial-strains/ 

[13] Janet R Hunt - Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets  

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/633S.full.pdf+html 

[14] Ann-Sofie Sandberg - Bioavailability of minerals in legumes 

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=909168 

[15] Nävert Barbroa, Sandström Brittmariea and Cederblad ÅKE - Reduction of the phytate content of bran by leavening in bread and its effect on zinc absorption in man 

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1805940 

[16] Richard F. Hurrell - Influence of Vegetable Protein Sources on Trace Element and Mineral Bioavailability 

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/9/2973S.full.pdf+html 

[17] S.R.A. Adewusi, O.S. Falade - The effects of cooking on extractable tannin, phytate, sugars and mineral solubility in some improved Nigerian legume seeds/Efectos de la cocción sobre los taninos, fitato, azúcares y solubilidad mineral de algunas legumbres nigerianas 

http://fst.sagepub.com/content/2/4/231.short 

[18] Osawa R, Kuroiso K et all - Isolation of tannin-degrading lactobacilli from humans and fermented foods 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC92117/ 

[19]Dr Lawrence Wilson, MD - COPPER TOXICITY SYNDROME 

http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm 

[20] Magdalena Karamać -  Chelation of Cu(II), Zn(II), and Fe(II) by Tannin Constituents of Selected Edible Nuts 

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/12/5485/pdf

[21]Winston J Craig - Health effects of vegan diets

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full

[22]Turpin W, Humblot C - Lactobacilli as multifaceted probiotics with poorly disclosed molecular mechanisms

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20801536

[23]Kies C, Harms JM - Copper absorption as affected by supplemental calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and potassium

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2697140

[24]O'Dell BL - Mineral interactions relevant to nutrient requirements

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2693644

 

 

 

High homocysteine levels in vegetarians and vegans - the importance of B vitamins (B12 part 2)

While some of the references may appear overdone in this topic, l am doing it this way because many of the studies l refer to are very good studies for people to read if they want more information on the topic. I also provide many references to studies so people are aware that it is many studies which show B vitamin deficiency is the main dietary factor responsible for elevated homocysteine (tHcy) levels. There are many studies l have not included in this research paper, however there are enough to show that elevated tHcy levels are a major problem for vegans and vegetarians and how we can overcome this problem by diet and lifestyle factors. In this paper l will combine quotations from various research papers and my own writing.

 

“Homocysteine is a chemical in the blood that is produced when an amino acid (a building block of protein) called methionine is broken down in the body. We all have some tHcy in our blood. Elevated tHcy levels (also called hyperhomocysteinemia) may cause irritation of the blood vessels. Elevated levels of tHcy show an increased risk for (1) hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which could eventually result in a heart attack and/or stroke, and (2) blood clots in the veins, referred to as venous thrombosis” [1][14][15][19], and (3) osteoporotic bone fractures [2] . “Generally, it seems that people with an elevated tHcy level may have about twice the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD),  compared with those without a high tHcy level”[1], and  a higher mortality from coronary heart disease was observed in vegans than in ovo-lacto-vegetarians [5][6].  “Certain studies have suggested that elevated tHcy levels roughly double the risk of developing venous thrombosis. It has been recognized that elevated tHcy is associated with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. How homocysteine is related to dementia is not yet fully understood” [1][14]. “Compared with lactoovovegetarians and omnivores, vegans typically have lower plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations, higher prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency [2][3], and higher concentrations of plasma tHcy. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can produce abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms that include ataxia, psychoses, paresthesia, disorientation, dementia, mood and motor disturbances, and difficulty with concentration”[2].

 

tHcy is not proven to be the thing which directly leads to heart attacks and thrombosis in people who avoid animal products in their diet, but it is the things which lead to elevated tHcy levels that is considered the real cause. A study has shown that elevated tHcy levels may account for 10% of cardiovascular disease risk[24].  Meta-analysis of several retrospective and prospective studies suggests that every 5 _mol/L increment in fasting or nonfasting tHcy above 10 _mol/L is associated with a 60–80% or 20–30% increase in cardiovascular risk [19], so this 10% risk can’t be dismissed so easily  as something minor.

 

 “Recent studies show that lowering tHcy levels does not decrease the risk for atherosclerosis or thrombosis; this supports the theory that homocysteine may just be an `innocent bystander’ and not the cause of these conditions” [1]. tHcy is only an indicator of other things going on in the body which contributes to the various CADs.

 

In this section we will concentrate on why vegans and vegetarians have greatly elevated tHcy  levels compared to meat eaters and how we can fix the problem.

 

It is well known the vegans typically have the highest levels of tHcy largely due to having the lowest B12 concentrations [5][10][14][15][16], but it is also known that folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 bacteria are all involved in breaking down tHcy in the blood [1][11][13][17][19], but it is also known that some people can decrease levels by increasing vitamin B2, therefore vegans and vegetarians need to make sure they have good levels of B vitamins to greatly decrease the chance of elevated tHcy  levels[3][4][13][15].   And it has been clearly shown that increasing these nutrients do bring down tHcy  levels in individuals, however if a vegan is not diligent with their diet they can be low in B2, B6 and B12 [19][3], but we will talk briefly about B2 and B6 in another research essay.  

 

Raw plant foods don’t necessarily help lower homocysteine levels

Eventhough high consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, the results of several studies suggest that strict vegetarians have a high prevalence of elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy), which is considered to be an independent risk factor for CVD [5][7][8][9].

 

Scientists investigated the effects of an extremely high dietary intake of raw vegetables and fruits (70–100% raw food) on serum lipids and plasma vitamin B-12, folate, and total homocysteine (tHcy). In a cross-sectional study, the lipid, folate, vitamin B-12, and tHcy status of 201 adherents to a raw food diet (94 men and 107 women) were examined. Of raw food consumers, 38% were vitamin B-12 deficient. Plasma tHcy concentrations were correlated with plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations, but not with plasma folate [5], and studies do show this is likely the case because raw food plant diets contain plenty of folate but low levels of B12. Plasma tHcy concentrations were higher in those in the lowest quintile of consumption of food of animal origin. This study indicates that consumption of a strict raw food diet lowers plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, but also lowers serum HDL cholesterol and increases tHcy concentrations due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. “Plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations were low in 41%, marginal in 38%, and adequate in 21% of the participants. Plasma tHcy concentrations were elevated in 51% of the participants. Vitamin B-12 deficiency, defined as low plasma vitamin B-12 and elevated plasma tHcy, occurred in 38% and MCV > 96 fl in 12% of participants. None of the participants had low plasma folate concentrations. Vitamin B-12 supplements were used on a regular basis by 12 participants. Plasma vitamin B-12 was higher and plasma tHcy was lower in subjects taking vitamin B-12 supplements than in participants not taking supplements. The main predictor of plasma tHcy was the dietary intake of vitamin B-12. No correlation was observed between plasma tHcy and folate intake”. “Nearly half of all raw food diet followers had a functional vitamin B-12 deficiency defined as low plasma vitamin B-12 in combination with elevated plasma tHcy. This observation was accompanied by elevated mean corpuscular volume  (MCV) in vegan raw food diet adherents. Although elevated MCV and tHcy concentrations can be due to vitamin B-12, folate, or vitamin B-6 deficiency, the folate and vitamin B-6 intake of the raw food diet adherents in our study (532 μg/d folate and 3.3 mg/d vitamin B-6) by far exceeded the recommended dietary reference intakes for folate of 400 μg/d and for vitamin B-6 of 1.6 mg/d, indicating that the increased MCV and tHcy concentrations were due exclusively to vitamin B-12 deficiency” [5]. “Achieving an adequate folate intake with conventional diets or even in well-balanced plant food diets may be difficult, but as observed in our study, strict raw food diets contain adequate amounts of dietary folate due to an exceptional high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, the present study suggests that a strict raw food diet is accompanied by a high risk of elevated tHcy due to functional vitamin B-12 deficiency. Recent studies suggest that even a mild elevation of plasma tHcy to concentrations between 10 and 15 μmol/L is associated with an increased risk of CVD and stroke [5][12]. In conclusion, the present study indicates that a strict raw food diet may result in remarkably low serum total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. However, the elevated tHcy as well as the low HDL cholesterol concentrations in participants in this study could provide a mechanistic explanation of the higher mortality from coronary heart disease in vegans compared with ovo-lacto-vegetarians, which was reported in a recent meta-analysis of prospective studies [5][6].

Despite B12 being shown to lower tHcy levels [18],  a higher dietary folate intake is associated with a lower tHcy level in adults, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors. The fact that folate is the most important dietary determinant of tHcy concentrations is in line with its metabolic role. Folate is used as a substrate; it donates the methyl group for the conversion of tHcy to methionine. On the contrary, vitamins B2, B6, and B12 are not utilized when tHcy is metabolized; they function as cofactors of enzymes involved in tHcy metabolism [13]. Despite this, vegans with high levels of folate have still been shown to have high tHcy levels when B12 is low, and once again, this is likely because folate levels are usually adequate in vegans and not a factor when contributing to increased tHcy in a large number of people[8][17].

B vitamin supplementation usually do lower tHcy concentrations in vegans, but not as much as sometimes expected[17]. I think this could be due to the absorption of the particular type of vitamin supplemented. For example, synthetics will be less absorbable  than vitamins from a meal because the supplements are  missing the co-factors and synergy used to optimal absorption.

It is also important to note that “The circulating level of total tHcy is tightly regulated by the enzymes and B-vitamins involved in methionine metabolism. Genetic or nutritional disorders of methionine metabolism may result in abnormal tHcy levels” [19][13][22]. And we also know that many vegan foods are low in the amino acid methionine that’s why l often suggest we have things like sprouted sesame, sprouted poppy, sprouted sunflower, along with the occasional pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts[20][21].  Despite saying this, the Taiwanese Vegetarian study said  “Although dietary methionine is the precursor of tHcy and is more abundant in the omnivore diet, there was no difference in serum methionine concentrations between the vegetarian and the omnivore groups. Furthermore, neither group demonstrated a correlation between serum methionine and plasma tHcy. These results support the previous suggestions that serum methionine and plasma tHcy are normally maintained at a relatively constant level” [19].

 

Other factors influencing Homocysteine levels 

Other factors that influence an increase in tHcy is caffeine. Drinking large quantities of coffee (1 L/d) has been shown to increase fasting plasma tHcy in healthy subjects [19]. Even more interesting was a study reported by DeRose et al. It recently reported that self-selected subjects participating in a vegan diet–based lifestyle program, which included moderate physical exercise, stress management, spirituality enhancement sessions, group support and abstention from caffeine, tobacco or alcohol, had significantly reduced plasma tHcy levels from 8.66 _ 2.7 to 7.53 _ 2.1 _mol/L in 1 wk. The authors suggested that multiple factors could have contributed to the tHcy- lowering effects observed in their study [13], but what made this study really fascinating was that “B vitamin supplements known to reduce blood tHcy levels were not provided” [23], and with further study we now have found that exercise does reduce tHcy levels independent of B vitamin supplementation[25][26] , but what about stress management and spiritual sessions ??

 

Other factors have been  shown to affect plasma tHcy levels, including age( young age  tends to make tHcy levels lower), physical determinants, genetic defects, certain disease status, medication[19], premenopausal state, pregnancy (both tend to lower levels), sex status and race.  With babies and young children the testing needs to be different yet again because various indications can have the opposite meaning than with adults [27], but it is beyond the scope of this research to be discussing these things.  

 

The Solutions 

Ensure high B vitamin levels by sprouting seeds (very important), juicing green sprouts and consuming a variety of sprouted foods. Also supplement with B12, preferably a soil based bacterial supplement. You may also want to take chlorella and nori because these foods have been shown to increase B12 levels due to the bacterial in the foods, none-the-less, supplementation of B12 is highly recommended along with regular exercise and an avoidance of tobacco and large amounts of coffee .

 

Below is a video on the subject presented by Dr Micheal Gregor. He doesn’t bring up various issues that were very important to make, but he does provide a strong basic message to warn people that eating plant based diets needs diligent attention and careful planning.

 

40 Year Vegan Dies of a Heart Attack! Why? The Omega-3 and B12 Myth with Dr. Michael Greger (video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7KeRwdIH04

 

References  

[1] Elizabeth A. Varga, MS; Amy C. Sturm, MS et al - Homocysteine and MTHFR Mutations

Relation to Thrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/111/19/e289.full

[2] Winston J Craig – Health effects of vegan diets

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full

[3] Majchrzak D, Singer I et al - B-vitamin status and concentrations of homocysteine in Austrian omnivores, vegetarians and vegans

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988496?dopt=Abstract

[4] McNulty H, Pentieva K et al - Homocysteine, B-vitamins and CVD

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18412997?dopt=Abstract

[5] Corinna Koebnick2, Ada L. Garcia et al - Long-Term Consumption of a Raw Food Diet Is Associated with Favorable Serum LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides but Also with Elevated Plasma Homocysteine and Low Serum HDL Cholesterol in Humans

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/10/2372.full

[6] Timothy J Key, Gary E Fraser et al - Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/516s.abstract?ijkey=fe8c7290947fa7528971803281ebe89526156239&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

[7] Bissoli L, Di Francesco V et al - Effect of vegetarian diet on homocysteine levels

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12011576?dopt=Abstract

[8] Wolfgang Herrmann1,a, Heike Schorr - Total Homocysteine, Vitamin B12, and Total Antioxidant Status in Vegetarians

http://www.clinchem.org/content/47/6/1094.full

[9] Chien-Jung Hung, Po-Chao Huang et al - Plasma Homocysteine Levels in Taiwanese Vegetarians Are Higher than Those of Omnivores

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/2/152.full.pdf+html

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