Myths and Facts about Vitamin B-12
by Valerie Copeland, TVS
Most of us know that vegetarians live longer, and have less cancer, heart disease, and risk of stroke. Vegetarian (including vegan) meals supply adequate amounts of all the nutrients that we need – with the possible exception of Vitamin B-12, which is important for making red blood cells and maintaining the nervous system.
Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin that is only produced by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae; animals and plants cannot synthesize B-12 (animals are B-12 sources to non-vegetarians because animals ingest microorganisms). Unwashed vegetables may also contain significant sources if they are contaminated with B-12 containing bacteria. However, in developed countries where vegetables are washed during harvest, these bacteria are easily lost. Continue reading