Concerning a Serious B12 Deficiency from a Pure Vegan Diet
note: I've always been concerned about B12 deficiencies developing
in those who practice long-term vegan and raw food diets.
though many articles in natural health literature say one can
get sufficient B12 with a 100% plant-based diet, I've always found
the arguments less than convincing.
your information, symptoms of B12 deficiency include nervousness,
neuritis, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, poor muscular
coordination, unpleasant body odor, and menstrual disturbances.
I've seen too many vegan friends end up with neuropathy, shaking
hands, and impaired memories.
letter came in that further confirmed my skepticism, and I'd like
to share that letter with you as today's featured article.
sorry this is so long in getting to you. You had asked me for some
info on my personal B-12 story.
daughter (now almost 11 years old) was diagnosed with a B12 deficiency
when she was about l8 months old.
had been acting very lethargic, irritable, and had slowed down in
had been exclusively breast-fed since birth, had no vaccinations,
and had been born at home with no prenatal care, so I was very reluctant
to seek the help of a traditional medical doctor.
when I finally did, the B-12 deficiency was diagnosed on the basis
of the megablastic anemia she had, which is quite specific for it.
been a vegetarian for some l5 years and on raw foods pretty exclusively
for the five years preceding her birth (with occasional binges).
was my second child. The first was spared the deficiency due to
the fact that my occasional binges included cheese, I'm assuming.
the diagnosis, I started her on oral B-12 tablets even before the
doctor did. The response was amazing. She was like a different child.
she was left with some permanent neurological damage --short memory,
fine motor deficits, and she's in learning disabled classes at school.
has come a long way and most people don't even know she has any
problems at all.
all this happened, I hated myself and was sorry I had ever heard
of a vegetarian diet.
I did a lot of research on the subject and decided that it wasn't
the diet that was at fault. Rather, it was the quality of the food
that was the problem.
with a few hygienic doctors who said the commercial produce I had
been consuming was so aseptic, it was lacking the bacteria that
would normally be present in fruits and veggies in their natural
LeLeche League also had a wealth of information in their library.
I had gotten some articles on mostly macrobiotic mothers that had
also given their babies B-12 deficiencies, but usually they were
not followed up to assess the long-term effects. It was mostly in
third world nations that they found this problem.
needless to say, we supplement with B-12 now and also take blue-green
urge all pregnant and nursing mothers to do so.
not have any symptoms of a B12 deficiency personally, although I
never did have my blood level tested.
scares me that so many raw foodists do not worry about B12 levels
because I know by the time you show symptoms much damage has probably
been done to the nervous system.
no one to blame but myself (I didn't do my homework), but I hope
more people can be made aware of this potential problem.
that's my story.
here for more stories on b12 deficiencies as well as long-term
vegan diet dangers.
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