A comment by JD Mumma (I’ve saved this so long I can’t figure out if the whole thing is) :
A) the omnivore diet shows a 39% deficiency in B12 (http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2000/000802.htm), their diet is massively supplemented with vitamins, including B12 (a simply scan of most food labels verifies this fact), and
B) most farmed animals are often supplemented with B12 or cobalt (a nutrient that is essential for cattle to create B12 from bacteria in their rumen), primarily diet to a grain based diet and reduction of cobalt in the soil from over grazing and lack of soil enrichment.
The below quotes and link are offered as my ‘burden-of-proof’ that farmed animals are given supplements:
“The lack of a trace mineral, cobalt, can result in a vitamin B12 deficiency in cattle. This is because cobalt is a part of the vitamin B12 compound and is essential for rumen bacteria to manufacture this vitamin.” http://www.cattletoday.com/archive/2008/October/CT1772.shtml
Ruminants: Vitamin B12 http://www.dsm.com/en_US/html/dnpna/anh_rumi_vit_b12_def.htm
Poultry: Vitamin B12 http://www.dsm.com/en_US/html/dnpna/anh_poul_vit_b12_req.htm
B12 Energy Boost Paste – (Sullivan Supply) Sullivan’s B12 Energy Boost Paste is a balance of Vitamin B12, plus other essential vitamins and live, naturally occurring microorganisms to boost energy levels and fight fatigue in livestock during times of stress. Will help livestock that get run down while on the road, after travel, or weigh in. Give show cattle 15 cc prior to leaving for show and 10 cc each day at show. Give pigs, sheep and goats 5 cc prior to and at show.” http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=464a6b12-76d0-4401-99a7-63f128c054a7
“Vitamin A-D-E-B12 Gel – (Kaeco) For use as a vitamin supplement containing Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B12. Administer orally on back of tongue. Dosage for dairy and beef cattle is 10 ml. Dosage for sheep, goats and newborn calves is 5 ml.” http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=30e07915-7b6a-11d5-a192-00b0d0204ae5
“Catosal Injectable – (Bayer Animal Health) Catosal Injectable Solution is a source of vitamin B12 and phosphorus for prevention or treatment of deficiencies of these nutrients in cattle, swine, horses and poultry. Catosal Injectable Solution is 10% Butaphosphan+Cyanocobalamin. Each ml of Catosal contains 100 mg Butaphosphan and 0.5 mg Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12). Butaphosphan provides 17.3 mg of phosphorus in 1 ml solution. Catosal Injectable Solution is recommended for SQ, IM or IV administration in cattle, calves, horses, swine and piglets” http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=951cb392-74d4-4e59-a2b9-04db59f92e87&gas=b12
“Joel Salatin, in his recent book “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer” tells of some of his chickens that were not pastured that developed a crippling problem called ‘curly toe”, caused by vitamin B deficiency. He initially solved by feeding the chickens liver. Subsequently he used vitamin fortified chicken feed in lieu of liver.” http://freetheanimal.com/2010/09/dr-seale-any-b12-present-in-animal-foods-is-only-because-of-bacterial-contamination.html
“Vitamin B12 is manufactured by rumen bacteria. It contains a trace mineral, cobalt, which must be provided in the diet. Cobalt concentrations in feeds are not well known and therefore ruminant diets are supplemented with cobalt at approximately 0.1 ppm to ensure adequate production of vitamin B12, which is too costly to add directly to feedlot diets. Vitamin B12 is the only B-vitamin stored in substantial amounts in the liver. When animals are transported or stressed, the break down of body tissue, including liver, increases blood concentrations of vitamin B12. Ruminal production of vitamin B12 is lowest, and production of B12 analogs is highest, on grain diets compared to forage diets. Vitamin B12 deficiency is unlikely unless diets are deficient in cobalt for a prolonged period. The symptoms can include poor appetite, retarded growth, and poor condition.”
“Once the rumen becomes functional, bacterial synthesis is considered to supply the normal requirement of cattle for B-vitamins. Milk is a source of B-vitamins for the calf. But while the rumen provides for much of the cows B vitamin requirements, many circumstances indicate a need for supplementation. …
“The lack of a trace mineral, cobalt, can result in a vitamin B12 deficiency in cattle. This is because cobalt is a part of the vitamin B12 compound and is essential for rumen bacteria to manufacture this vitamin…” http://www.cattletoday.com
A B12 blood test is common but not deemed as very accurate. More accurate is to test for MMA (an amino acid) in urine. MMA is elevated when usable B12 is low.
There are several ways to get B12 for vegans (in no specific orer)
1. Skin patch
2. Intramuscular injection
3. Sublingual pill (sub-lip is more even more effective)
4. Oral spray
5. Swallowing a pill (LEAST absorption) especially noneffective if people have existing low intrinsic factor
Direct Testing of B12 levels:
1) B12 levels in serum – Blood test for B12 levels is not the most accurate way to test for B12 levels.
One of the main reasons this test method is unreliable (false positives and false-negatives) is that it cannot distinguish B12 from B12 analogues – of particular importance since many vegans consume foods/products with B12 and B12 analogues* (e.g. spirulina, seaweed…).
2) Holotranscobalamin – This is considered the most accurate test because it measure ‘active B12’
Indirect Testing of B12 levels:
3) MMA levels is considered by many the best – uMMA (Urinary methyl malonic acid) found to be more sensitive/accurate than sMMA (serum methyl malonic acid)
Two additional great features of uMMA testing is low cost (I have seen prices as low as $40 and as high as $200) and ease (just pee a sample cup and send to the lab!)
4) Homocysteine in serum – homocysteine levels elevate for many reasons and one is when B12 levels are low.
I have found the vegan community fraught with: myths, misinformation, mis-interpretations, guessing, half-truths, ignorance, fallacies, poor science, propaganda… My hundreds of hours of study and research indicated that this is a MAJOR topic that needs to clarified and addressed, and for many corrected.