'Real Talk' on Surge Radio - Veganism, Health, the Environment, and B12
Hey all! If you watch my Instagram stories then you’ll know that on Thursday, I featured on Surge Radio’s Real Talk show to speak about veganism.
I had the chance to share my thoughts on the impact that veganism has on health and on the environment, and a little about my own journey into veganism too. I can now share the link to the recording of the show with you all for anyone who missed it! Scroll down to the bottom of this blog post for the link.
Thank you so much to Jenny for inviting me to to speak on the show, it was a brilliant opportunity and a good chance to address key subjects within veganism. I was joined by two others, Aaryaman Banerji who isn’t vegan and was arguing against veganism, and Polly Marquis who is vegetarian and was in between being for and against veganism. A good spread of views!
There were some key subjects that came up during the show, including B12. I’d like to go into more detail about that now as I didn’t have the chance to go fully into it on Thursday (it would have taken a while to explain everything in enough detail!).
About vitamin B12: does it prove that veganism is wrong?
“Humans historically got B12 from eating vegetables, fruits and drinking fresh water from springs and streams, or by farming and then eating without washing their hands. Since we no longer do these things, “natural” plant based sources of Vitamin B-12 have dropped out of modern life. In the modern day, our produce is heavily sanitized and chemically cleaned to meet retail standards, and subsequently the B12 (bacteria) removed. Meat eaters get B12 from eating meat, because the bacteria is formed through the digestion of plant matter and is then present in meat. However, even meat is fortified with B12 these days, as it is unnaturally raised and animals become deficient. That said, cows and pigs tend to eat their own poop (accidentally mostly,) so they tend to always retain some B12.” Source: https://www.veganmotivation.com/vegan-b12-truth/
“Vitamin B12 is essential for the maintenance and support of most of the vital processes that keep our body vibrant and healthy every day. Perhaps most importantly of all, it plays a vital part in the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to every part of the body. If sufficient B12 is not absorbed in the digestive system, it can sometimes lead to a condition called “pernicious anaemia”, which can affect the quality of red blood cells being produced, leading to reduced overall function. If B12 deficiency (or pernicious anaemia) occurs, it can begin a whole cascade of health problems, due to B12’s many functions in the body. One of which, energy metabolism, is reliant on red blood cells successfully delivering oxygen to every cell in the body. Another of its main roles is the regulation of the nervous system, where it plays a part in the production of a material called “myelin sheath”. This material acts as an insulating cover for nerve cells, and allows for signals to be sent from the brain and spinal chord to the rest of the body. Production of neurotransmitters in the body that are essential for the regulation of mood, pain reception, and sleep also rely on adequate amounts of B12 for them to be synthesised effectively. Without successful neurotransmitter production, neurological decline may occur, possibly leading to imbalances such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and poor concentration.” Source: https://www.veganlifemag.com/debunking-myth-vegans-vitamin-b12/
“Many people believe that B12 only comes from animal flesh and animal secretions (i.e. cow’s milk, chicken eggs…) when in fact it is solely bacteria-based. Fungi, animals and plants are incapable of producing B12 on their own and must obtain it from outside sources. B12 is synthesized by bacteria and is therefore found in areas of bacterial growth, namely dirt and soil. But most factory-farmed animals are kept indoors and never even see soil during their lifetimes, so would certainly be deficient without supplementation. These horrible artificial conditions make the “vegan diet is unnatural” argument seem somewhat ironic. In fact, around 95% of all B12 supplements manufactured are actually given to farmed animals.” Source: https://inourishgently.com/the-truth-about-b-12/
So, in conclusion, B12 occurs naturally in things like dirt, soil, natural (unprocessed) water or rain, and unwashed vegetables. However due to the fact that we now process a lot of our food and clean it - which is great because otherwise we’d most likely pick up illnesses and diseases - we now must be taking a B12 supplement, especially so if you’re vegan or vegetarian. If you think that veganism is wrong because of the B12 issue, just remember that you too are supplementing B12 but without realising it. It is added to the food given to animals, and you then eat those animals. Why not cut out the middle ‘man’ (whilst reducing your risk of heart disease and much more at the same time)?
If you’re looking to buy a B12 supplement (which you need to if you don’t have one yet), I’d recommend these two (below). If you’re searching for one on your own instead, make sure to buy Methylcobalamin instead of Cyanocobalamin. The liver does not need to convert Methylcobalamin to absorb it and it’s the active form of B12 - i.e. the one you want. Both of the below are Methylcobalamin and you only need to take one tiny capsule two times a week (2000 micrograms per week in total). I’ve only ever bought one pot of B12 supplements and it should last me another two years on top of the one year I’ve already been taking them for! So don’t worry about the cost, as it is extremely cheap overall.