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There is a growing consensus among plant-based nutritionists and dietary experts that vegans should supplement their diets - certainly with B12 (the pain-in-the-arse vitamin!).

I raised this issue - and the prospect of a generation gap about the subject - with my sister Lynne in THIS ARZone Podcast who has never supplemented and has been a vegan since 1978.

How should Vegan Buddies approach the issue of supplementation, especially since that is often the excuse people put forward for not being vegan? In other words, is there a danger of putting people off veganism by stressing it too much?

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This is a realy interesting question ,particularly sinse there is so much controversy among AR activists about how best to inspire others to join the boycott of exploitation , and if "mainstreaming " the movement in order to sell our ideals more easily to the outside world is a good tactic or a betrayal of our own values .

    i think it seems oddly hypocritical to claim in one breath that veganism is the healthiest diet you can have ,then in the next warn listeners to take evry conseivable vitamin supplement ! especially when this is obviously not necesary . why sabotage our own case for no good reason ? consuming the flesh or breast milk of other species may more than double ur bodies' B12 intake , as does the consumption of stimulants such as coffee, tobacco an alcohol . the consumption of egg white has been proven to impair the absorbtion of B12 - a disadvantage shared with refined sugar . so the only motivation behind taking vitamin supplements seems to be that we want to continue to poison ourselves with these destructive and in any case highly unethical substanses ,while being reassured by the label on a bottle of tablets that it isnt doing us any harm . before dosing ourselves with artificial remedies to problems we hav ourselves created,shouldnt we simply examine our livestyles ? shouldnt we stop putting rubbish into our bodies that harms ourselves as well as others ,before we complain about being unable to live without added vitamins ??

        its true that b12 deficiensy horror stories often form the basis for the arguments of those who refuse to educate themselves about vegan diets .but ther is no need to hand another flimsy excuse to those determined to continue finansing slavery and mass murder and feel good about it while they do so. i see no reason to give new vegans a dire warning .if you are short of b12 you need to reexamine your diet ,this applies whether or not your vegan . after all , we managed perfectly well before the cult of vitamin tablets .

  

If you eat well you can get what you need from everyday foods. B12 is found in fortified foods such as soya milk. I have never supplemented vitamins. I take hemp and chia seeds, wheat grass and barley grass in smoothies (not daily) but don't see those as a supplement. I can do without them. If you don't eat well and live as a junk food vegan then you aren't going to see a notable difference in your health (if that is the main or only reason they have become vegan) just as living from abused and dead animals' is bad for your health.
I am probably not the best person to answer this question as I would still be vegan even if it shortened my life.

I think it's important to be honest with people. They'll find out anyway, and then wonder if you'd hidden other things from them as well. For me the point is that yes, it's probabaly not a bad idea to take B12 supplements since as a vegan you run the risk of becoming deficient if you're not extremely diligent about your diet. I would add though, that non-vegans are often also deficient in certain nutrients, as they too, tend not to be careful enough about following  balanced diet.

Tina, can you support your statements? Where are you getting your information?

Tina Cubberley said:

This is a realy interesting question ,particularly sinse there is so much controversy among AR activists about how best to inspire others to join the boycott of exploitation , and if "mainstreaming " the movement in order to sell our ideals more easily to the outside world is a good tactic or a betrayal of our own values .

    i think it seems oddly hypocritical to claim in one breath that veganism is the healthiest diet you can have ,then in the next warn listeners to take evry conseivable vitamin supplement ! especially when this is obviously not necesary . why sabotage our own case for no good reason ? consuming the flesh or breast milk of other species may more than double ur bodies' B12 intake , as does the consumption of stimulants such as coffee, tobacco an alcohol . the consumption of egg white has been proven to impair the absorbtion of B12 - a disadvantage shared with refined sugar . so the only motivation behind taking vitamin supplements seems to be that we want to continue to poison ourselves with these destructive and in any case highly unethical substanses ,while being reassured by the label on a bottle of tablets that it isnt doing us any harm . before dosing ourselves with artificial remedies to problems we hav ourselves created,shouldnt we simply examine our livestyles ? shouldnt we stop putting rubbish into our bodies that harms ourselves as well as others ,before we complain about being unable to live without added vitamins ??

        its true that b12 deficiensy horror stories often form the basis for the arguments of those who refuse to educate themselves about vegan diets .but ther is no need to hand another flimsy excuse to those determined to continue finansing slavery and mass murder and feel good about it while they do so. i see no reason to give new vegans a dire warning .if you are short of b12 you need to reexamine your diet ,this applies whether or not your vegan . after all , we managed perfectly well before the cult of vitamin tablets .

  

If by "honest" you mean referring people to the most reliable sources of information available, I agree 100 percent. I cringe when I see misinformation and questionable claims associated with vegan nutrition. And that's a really important point you make about deficiencies among nonvegans ... nowadays dietitians recommend B-12 supplements for everyone over 50 regardless of what they eat. I've been lazy for years at a time when it comes to B-12 and I don't think it did any harm, but knowing what I know now I make a point of taking it regularly. I think it's also important to point out that access to fortified foods differs from country to country, and not everyone eats fortified foods even in countries where it is available. I'm glad to hear (from the podcast) that Lynne Yates is healthy without B-12 supplements but that doesn't make it good advice for the majority of people.


Kit Kat said:

I think it's important to be honest with people. They'll find out anyway, and then wonder if you'd hidden other things from them as well. For me the point is that yes, it's probabaly not a bad idea to take B12 supplements since as a vegan you run the risk of becoming deficient if you're not extremely diligent about your diet. I would add though, that non-vegans are often also deficient in certain nutrients, as they too, tend not to be careful enough about following  balanced diet.

I agree, it's better to take the supplements. Not not I ever have, and I'm not deficient, but since I'm turning 50 this year I guess it's time.
 
red dog said:

If by "honest" you mean referring people to the most reliable sources of information available, I agree 100 percent. I cringe when I see misinformation and questionable claims associated with vegan nutrition. And that's a really important point you make about deficiencies among nonvegans ... nowadays dietitians recommend B-12 supplements for everyone over 50 regardless of what they eat. I've been lazy for years at a time when it comes to B-12 and I don't think it did any harm, but knowing what I know now I make a point of taking it regularly. I think it's also important to point out that access to fortified foods differs from country to country, and not everyone eats fortified foods even in countries where it is available. I'm glad to hear (from the podcast) that Lynne Yates is healthy without B-12 supplements but that doesn't make it good advice for the majority of people.


Kit Kat said:

I think it's important to be honest with people. They'll find out anyway, and then wonder if you'd hidden other things from them as well. For me the point is that yes, it's probabaly not a bad idea to take B12 supplements since as a vegan you run the risk of becoming deficient if you're not extremely diligent about your diet. I would add though, that non-vegans are often also deficient in certain nutrients, as they too, tend not to be careful enough about following  balanced diet.

I think this is a good article to read: http://veganhealth.org/b12/natural

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