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The B12 Deficiency Boogie Man And My Blood Test

Have I developed a B12 deficiency after three and a half years on a raw food diet with no supplementation?

I certainly don't feel like it. I have more energy and health than I know what to do with these days, and  I continue to feel like my vitality is increasing.

All the same, I got tired of people pestering me over my, 'if I feel great I'm not going to worry', stance and decided to have a blood test done.

Vegans, meat eaters, and even raw foodists are B12 obsessed, and you don't have to look far on the internet for stories of woe. A google search will turn up hundreds of meat eaters, vegans and raw foodists claiming that their health is in decline because of a B12 deficiency. Some even use this as an excuse to start eating animal products, which are high in B12.

The consequences of a true deficiency are truly frightening and can be permanent, but just because you're not eating animal products or supplementing doesn't mean you're going to become B12 deficient.

B12 Deficiency? My Test Results.

B12 in the bloodAfter three and a half years with none of the obvious intakes of B12, I have a serum level of 468 pg/ml. The healthy range is considered 200 to 900 pg/ml, according to my doctor.

As I've never had the test done before, I have no way of knowing if this number is lower or higher than when I was eating cooked foods. Since the body is capable of storing several years worth of B12, it's within the realm of possibility that I'm still running off my old reserves, but I doubt it.

So if I don't have a B12 Deficiency, where am I getting the vitamin from?

That's a good question, and many researchers would question my answer.

During Connecticut's short growing season from late May to early October,  I get most of my vegetables and some of my fruit from my garden. This food is grown in organic, well-composted soils rich in the bacteria that produces B12. Studies have shown that such food contains vitamin B12, while those grown in the near-sterile soil used to produce most commercial agricultural products contain little or none.

Traditionally, plants are not considered an adequate source of B12.

Another possibility is the bacterial flora in my own intestines. We know the small and large intestines produce B12 for us, but most doctors and dietitians dismiss intestinal B12 as an adequate source, either because they believe it doesn't produce enough B12 to meet needs or because they're not convinced it can be accessed.

The intestines are below our ileum, which is considered the only reliable site where B12 absorption can occur, and so most researchers don't consider it possible for us to absorb this B12.

Could either of these turn out to be unrealistic options? Sure. Frankly, the science just isn't there to be sure one way or another. None the less, I seem to be doing just fine with no traditional sources of B12 intake.

B12 Deficiency? Intake is Small Potatoes Compared to Use.

Since they make up the vast majority of the population, there are far more B12-deficient meat eaters than vegans and raw foodists. They're eating meat and getting plenty of B12, but their body is failing to make use of it.

What does this tell us? Intake isn't even the main issue - absorption is.

It all comes down to health, and that's where I'd say I'm really on top of my game.

B12 Deficiency GardenTo be honest, I probably should have a B12 deficiency. I used to be quite overweight and unhealthy, and for years my intestines were a mess from colitis, regularly expelling blood and puss along with my stool. Since going raw they've had a chance to heal, of course, but I shudder to think of what they must look like. I'm surprised they're even capable of producing and/or absorbing B12 at all.

I've made one of the themes of my life tthe pursuit of health, and I think that's a far more important in my steady levels than the consideration of intake. 

Being a raw foodist isn't enough. Are you eating a low-fat diet? Do you wake up every morning to an alarm clock instead of waiting until you're rested enough to wake naturally? Do you take stimulants or drugs? Do you exercise? Do you sun bathe? Do you have your stress under control? The list could go on and on.

All of these elements play into your health, and as part of a holistic approach to living they will continue to be the main trust in my effort to increase my health.

Going forward.

Even with no B12 deficiency to worry about, I still have to acknowledge the seriousness of a possible deficiency.

Although I'm not concerned, I'll probably get myself retested in another three years to see how I'm doing.

At the end of the day, though, I think a worry-free mind is worth more than purity. If you're worried sick over B12, or you have any reason believe you might be deficient, simply get tested or take some methylcobalamin B12 pills. If you notice a huge improvement, maybe you're onto something. In any event, I promise I won't throw you out of the raw food club. :)

Following Up:

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