Quotes & links to reports on Deficiency of Vitamin B12 in Farm Animals, Cobalt-depleted Soils & of Supplements given to boost B12 in meat, dairy & related food products made from animals; plus reports that even with this supplementation meat, dairy, poultry & fish are not optimum sources for B12.
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According to Dr Jennifer Rooke: “IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN MEAT (AS) A SOURCE OF B12 THE MEAT INDUSTRY NOW ADDS IT TO ANIMAL FEED, 90% OF B12 SUPPLEMENTS PRODUCED IN THE WORLD ARE FED TO LIVESTOCK… cattle no longer feed on grass and chickens do not peck in the dirt on factory farms. Even if they did, pesticides often kill B12 producing bacteria and insects in soil. Heavy antibiotic use kills B12 producing bacteria in the guts of farm animals…
The Framingham Offspring study found that 39 percent of the general population may be in the low normal and deficient B12 blood level range, and it was not just vegetarians or older people. This study showed no difference in the B12 blood levels of younger and older adults. Most interestingly there was no difference between those who ate meat, poultry, or fish and those who did not eat those foods. The people with the highest B12 blood levels were those who were taking B12 supplements and eating B12 fortified cereals…
Even if you only eat grass-fed organic meat you may not be able to absorb the B12 attached to animal protein. It may be more efficient to just skip the animals and get B12 directly from supplements…” (Capitalised emphasis added)
From her article titled “Do carnivores need Vitamin B12 supplements?” at http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/carnivores-need-vitamin-b12-supplements/2013/10/30
Also at this page on her site under the title “Do you need a B12 supplement if you eat meat?” – http://advancedlifestylemedicine.com/?p=1168
Dr Rooke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine.
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Recommendations that a Large Proportion of Farm Animals be Administered with B12 Supplements:
The following excerpts are from the website of DSM – “Koninklijke DSM N.V. (Royal DSM, commonly known as DSM)… a Dutch multinational active in the fields of health, nutrition and materials…” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM_(company)
Regards B12 supplementation for livestock Pigs (aka. “Swine”) – “Vitamin B12 is normally added to diets of all swine. Swine raised in confinement or in management systems in which there is limited access to feces should have a greater dietary requirement for the vitamin. Vitamin B12 supplementation may be warranted under certain conditions where stress, disease or parasites lower feed intake and (or) reduce intestinal absorption. In practice, vitamin B12 fortification of the ration should be adjusted to ensure the margin of safety important to prevent deficiency and allow optimal performance of swine…”
Regards B12 supplements for livestock Chickens (aka “Poultry”) – “Vitamin B12 is normally added to diets of all poultry species. Poultry raised in confinement, in management systems where there is limited access to feces for coprophagy, should have a greater dietary requirement for the vitamin…
In a survey of 16 commercial egg layer and breeding flocks, Naber and Squires (1993a) reported considerable variation in vitamin B12…
Poultry species requirements vary from 3 to 10 µg per kg (1.4 to 4.5 µg per lb) of feed (NRC, 1994)…”
Regards supplementing livestock Ruminants (eg. Cows, Sheep, Goats etc.) with B12 – “Although dietary supplementation of cobalt is the normal means of meeting the vitamin B12 requirement of ruminants, parenteral administration is used to treat animals with apparent deficiency symptoms or the general appearance of malnutrition or poor health. Vitamin B12 is sometimes administered parenterally to incoming feedlot cattle as a prophylactic measure…
Weekly intramuscular injections of vitamin B12 and folic acid increased milk concentration of vitamin B12 by 68% in commercial dairy herds…
Young ruminants require supplemental vitamin B12 prior to full rumen development…
Many forages and concentrate feeds do not supply adequate (0.10-0.20 ppm) cobalt, and thus supplementation is required…
Lassiter et al. (1953) demonstrated vitamin B12 deficiency in calves less than six weeks old that received no dietary animal protein…
Young lambs (up to two months of age), require vitamin B12 supplementation, especially with early-weaning programs…
For treatment of cobalt deficiency in cattle, intramuscular administration of vitamin B12 at 500 to 3,000 µg per head is recommended, which may be repeated weekly…”
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A Merial (company) article for the product “Extender SeCo” states that product benefits include “Treatment and prevention of cobalt (vitamin B12) deficiency in sheep for 100 days” and that it apparently “Increases the vitamin B12 concentration in milk of treated ewes“…
The product PDF is at http://www.merial.com.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/extender_seco_tech_sheet.pdf
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From an earlier Ancare (Merial) company product flyer for B12 supplements for farm animal livestock – excerpts: “In areas where the Vitamin B12 deficiency is marginal, treatment of the susceptible classes of animals (i.e. lambs, calves and pregnant animals) may be sufficient to prevent problems and minimise production losses. In areas with severe deficiency problems, treatment of all animals may be required on an ongoing basis. It is good practice to provide all animals entering a feedlot with a B12 supplement as part of their induction programme. In cases of even marginal deficiency, the B12 will enhance the animals’ appetite, getting them onto feed quicker and providing better feed efficiency and improved weight gains…
Vitamin B12 deficiency in animals is the end result of insufficient Cobalt intake. Cobalt is acquired from the pasture and soil as animals feed and is used to make Vitamin B12 by micro-organisms within the rumen (2nd stomach). Vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the small intestine and transported throughout the body by the blood, with excess being stored in the liver. A female animal will provide B12 to a growing foetus, but will not supply any of the vitamin in its milk.
The amount of Cobalt available to animals varies as a result of several different factors. The amount of Cobalt occurring naturally in the soil varies according to the type of rock from which the soil is derived. The amount then available for uptake by the pasture is influenced by the presence of other minerals (e.g. Manganese) and supplements (e.g. lime), which can bind the Cobalt in the soil and prevent its absorption by plants.
Rainfall can also play a major role, with high rainfall leading to leaching of Cobalt from the topsoil into the lower soil layers… The type and condition of the pasture can also play a major role. In general, grasses take up less Cobalt than legumes and lush, fast-growing pastures absorb Cobalt at a lower rate than slower growing pastures.
These factors mean that coastal areas are particularly prone to Cobalt deficiency and the deficiency has been well documented in coastal southern Australia. Cobalt deficiency has, however, also been identified in many inland parts of Australia…”
From PDF hosted at http://eerainuh.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/vitamin_b12_deficiency.pdf
“Merial Ancare is New Zealand’s leading animal health company” – http://www.merial.co.nz/Aboutus/Pages/default.aspx
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Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Farm Livestock Animals can be due to Soil that is Deficient in Cobalt:
On the website of the Western Australian state government, an article titled “Cobalt deficiency in sheep and cattle” states that: “All ruminants (including sheep, cattle and goats) require cobalt in their diet for the synthesis of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells. Cobalt deficiency in soils can cause vitamin B12 deficiency in livestock… Where pastures are likely to be low in cobalt, young animals should be treated at 6-8 weeks of age with injectable vitamin B12… A single injection of vitamin B12 will prevent the development of deficiency for 6–8 weeks…”
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From a product flyer of VIRBAC Animal Health titled “TECHTALK: Vaccination is an ideal time to supplement with Vitamin B12” …
Excerpts: “Where does Vitamin B12 (cobalt) deficiency occur in Australia? Vitamin B12 levels are related to the intake of cobalt from the pasture, which in turn is influenced by several factors including soil type, pasture species, rainfall and seasonal conditions. Cobalt deficiency is well documented throughout coastal areas of Australia, including southern Australia and has also been found to occur in many inland regions as well. Known deficient areas include coastal sandy soils, high rainfall granite soils and krasnozem soils, which may be exacerbated by application of lime and superphosphates. Intensive cropping, leaching and weathering can also decrease the amount of cobalt in the soil…
Feedlots: Boosting vitamin B12 levels is of tremendous value in stimulating the appetite of incoming stock, stressed by travelling long distances. As stock are sourced from wide areas, including those with cobalt deficiency, supplementing the vitamin B12 levels of all new stock is sound practice…”
Source: https://au.virbac.com/files/live/sites/au-public/files/pdf/livestock/TechTalk-Websters-5in1-B12.pdf via
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Similarly “Many New Zealand soils are naturally deficient in cobalt and/or selenium and/or copper… Livestock grazing pasture grown on such soils may be deficient in one or more of these trace elements… A range of supplementation procedures has been devised, from topdressing or spraying pasture to direct animal supplementation, to suit the range of livestock management systems found in New Zealand…”
Reference: “Major trace elements limiting livestock performance in New Zealand”, New Zealand Veterinary Journal; 2002;50(3 Suppl):35-40; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16032234
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Some of the Problems Associated with Seeking Vitamin B12 from Meat, Dairy & Other Animal Food Sources:
“Safest Source of B12” is a 2012 video clip report by Dr Michael Greger at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA3XjalOkXM
Excerpts: “What’s the best way to get vitamin B12? Well, B12 is not made by plants; it’s not made by animals either. It’s made by certain bacteria…
Just like we can’t get the iron in beef without the saturated fat, the protein in pork without lard, the calcium in dairy without hormones; we can’t get the B12 in animals without also consuming stuff we don’t want – like cholesterol. For example, to get 47 micrograms of B12 from eggs, because the absorption is so low, we’d have to literally eat hundreds of scrambled eggs a day. 200 to 400 eggs a day! Do you know how much cholesterol that would be? If you got all your B12 from scrambled eggs, you’d consume 69,000 milligrams of cholesterol—practically your entire year’s worth every day…
There has to be a better way!
And thankfully, there is: fortified foods and supplements. Not only the safest, but also the most effective. In the U.S. Framingham Offspring Study, one in six meat-eaters between ages 26 to 83 were B12-deficient. The folks with the highest B12 levels weren’t the ones eating the most animal products, but the ones taking supplements, and eating the most fortified breakfast cereal.”
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The Nutrients science journal states: “The Vitamin B12 content is NOT high in whole eggs (approximately 0.9–1.4 μg/100 g), most of which is located in the egg yolk . The average bioavailability of Vitamin B12 from cooked eggs is 3.7%–9.2%. Thus, the Vitamin B12 in eggs is generally poorly absorbed…
The Vitamin B12 content of various types of milk is very low (approximately 0.3–0.4 μg/100 g), and appreciable losses of Vitamin B12 occur during the processing of milk… The Vitamin B12 content in the whey is considerably reduced during lactic acid fermentation…” (emphasis added)
Reference: “Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians”, Nutrients, 2014 May; 6(5): 1861–1873; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/
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Dr Michael Greger MD states: “Yes, eating a healthy plant-based diet may make us “heart attack proof” but, some ask, what about vitamin B12?
So on one hand, there’s the possibility of eliminating the greatest killer in our country [heart disease], which decimates the lives and families of more than 100,000 Americans every year, at an annual cost in the hundreds of billions.
But, on the other hand, we risk vitamin what deficiency? Are the defenders of the status quo seriously trying to stack a documented cure for heart disease (not to mention the reversal of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension) against some obscure B vitamin?…
B12 is made by microbes that blanket the earth… But now we chlorinate our water supply to kill off any bugs… Make no mistake: vitamin B12 is important. But so is keeping our perspective, given the millions who are crippled and die from the onslaught of chronic disease that could be prevented, stopped, and reversed with a B12-fortified, plant-based diet.”
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From the European Journal of Nutrition a 2017 study reports: “Despite negligible dietary vitamin B12 intake in the vegan group, deficiency of this particular vitamin was low in all groups thanks to widespread use of supplements.”
Source: “Micronutrient status and intake in omnivores, vegetarians and vegans in Switzerland” at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26502280
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Registered Dietitian Jack Norris states: “There is nothing natural about the abomination of modern factory farming and its attempt to reduce living, feeling beings to machines. In choosing to use fortified foods or B12 supplements, vegans are taking their B12 from the same source as every other animal on the planet – micro-organisms – without causing suffering to any sentient being or causing environmental damage. Vegans using adequate amounts of fortified foods or B12 supplements are much less likely to suffer from B12 deficiency than the typical meat eater…”
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This site contains pages with hundreds of science reports on the higher rates of disease & death associated with eating red meat, dairy, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish/seafood & of the lower rates associated with eating healthy plant-based diets high in fruits & vegetables & nuts.
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For More Reports about Preventing & Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Humans:
See this page for excerpts & links to reports about preventing & addressing vitamin b12 deficiency including bio-available vegan food sources and advice on choosing supplements.
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This set of articles were compiled for
Pages on this Site:
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Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.
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A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”
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