Home ยป Andreas Moritz on Vitamin B12 – Digestion, Absorption, and Herbivores
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Andreas Moritz on Vitamin B12 – Digestion, Absorption, and Herbivores

This text relies on a video by Andreas Moritz, referred to as Debunking Vitamin B12, which I discovered attention-grabbing and fairly informative, so I assumed, I wish to know extra. I used to be notably all in favour of vitamin B-12 for my very own well being causes, since discovering my vitality higher after chopping again on meat, fish and high-fat dairy in my weight loss program.

Vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin, is required for each perform within the physique, and each single cell wants it to work. A deficiency may cause anaemia, mind and nervous system issues, and extreme gastro-intestinal issues.

The principle theme of the video is that we’re poor in B12, not because of not consuming sufficient B12 meals, however because of not absorbing sufficient B12 from our meals.

He’s in favour of vegetarianism usually, however not as staunch as some, a bit extra balanced than most, which I appreciated.

What’s his personal weight loss program like, I questioned? So I regarded it up and could not discover something. And sadly he has died, apparently underneath mysterious circumstances, as he gave the impression to be match, wholesome and robust beforehand, however he was researching areas delicate to Huge Pharma/Meals trade – that is the impression I acquired.

Anyway, he talks about intrinsic issue within the abdomen. To be able to digest, take up, assimilate B12, we’d like intrinsic think about bigger amount than we usually have it.

What’s intrinsic issue, I questioned? So I regarded it up.

Intrinsic issue

Intrinsic issue is produced by the cells lining the abdomen and combines with vitamin B12, and so it’s crucial for absorption of vitamin B12 in a while within the small gut. It’s a glycoprotein. (The “glyco” simply means there’s a carbohydrate group connected to the protein half.)

The abdomen acids launch vitamin B12 from meals through the digestion course of, however vitamin B12 is delicate to acids and so it must be protected. Subsequently the method begins a lot earlier within the mouth with the salivary glands, the place vitamin B12 is mixed with one other glycoprotein referred to as haptocorrin, which safely transports it by way of the abdomen, defending it from the acids, and on in to the intestines, the place there’s a extra alkaline setting, and it may be safely launched and absorbed.

The identical cells within the abdomen that produce the gastric hydrochloric acid additionally produce the intrinsic issue (IF), which rebinds the B12 after its launch from haptocorrin by digestion. So within the duodenum, a vitamin B12-IF complicated is created, which then travels on by way of the small intestines. Attention-grabbing stuff – superb physique, eh?

The place we discover it and why we’d like it

It’s now well-known, particularly among the many vegan/vegetarian neighborhood, that we’d like to ensure we get ample vitamin B12 in our diets. Because it’s largely present in recent animal merchandise, like liver, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese, you possibly can’t simply eat a wholesome plant-based weight loss program and hope you get sufficient. It a vital vitamin, and might trigger irreversible and fairly extreme issues if there’s a deficiency.

It was once thought, nonetheless, that individuals might get it from non-animal sources, like spirulina, and fermented and cultured meals like tempeh, or not cleansing the soil utterly off meals taken from the bottom. However the Vegan Society now states that fortified meals and supplementation are the one dependable sources of B12, and that consuming solely a uncooked (fairly than cooked) plant-based weight loss program affords no particular safety.

What it is good for

We want it for the mind and nervous system (so suppose stability of temper, reminiscence, eyesight), vitality metabolism (manufacturing of ATP, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism) and development (blood formation, protein and tissue synthesis) – fairly essential then I would say!

The principle signs of a deficiency, as acknowledged, are anaemia and neurological issues, so the aged want it to guard in opposition to mind atrophy and issues like Alzheimer’s illness, and a scarcity of B12 can break down the myelin sheath defending the nerves, inflicting a number of sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

A deficiency may trigger thickening of the arteries, due elevated circulating homocysteine, a digestion byproduct that may trigger injury all through your complete physique, which B12 usually acts to interrupt down.

So a deficiency can begin with unclear signs, like lack of vitality, a sore tongue, tingling within the arms, gentle confusion, but when left untreated can result in severe issues: nerve injury (even the spinal wire can breakdown), low bone mineral density, and eyesight deterioration, plus psychological well being issues, despair.

So being discovered largely present in animal merchandise and dairy, that is why vegans want to ensure they get an alternate supply of their weight loss program.

Finest sources of B12


The one vegan sources are fortified cereals, milks, juices, soy and different merchandise, and yeast-containing merchandise like Marmite (UK identify, or Vegemite within the US, and it goes underneath different names too, principally yeast extract – that black gooey, salty stuff you unfold in your toast), however these are comparatively minor quantities.

For instance, Marmite accommodates 0.5 mcg per 100 g, however we solely have a tendency to make use of a teaspoon or two on our toast as a result of it is such sturdy tasting stuff, in order that solely accommodates 0.025 mcg. Whereas a cup of fortified soy milk will include Three mcg, which is 50% of the DV (every day worth – see beneath).

And there may be one other difficulty right here if you are going to add fortified merchandise to your weight loss program, within the UK at the least, the soy, almond and rice milks that include added nutritional vitamins additionally include gums (gelan gum and/or carrageenan often), that are recognized to trigger digestive points – extra beneath.


Clearly the scenario is best in case you are vegetarian as a result of you possibly can have eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. Additionally whey powder, as 100 g of that’s mentioned to include 42% DV.

And with milk and yogurt, you are extra more likely to eat a complete cup of that, which accommodates 0.9 mcg (15% DV) for non-fat yogurt, and 1.14 mcg (19% DV) for lowered fats milk. So a bit extra however nonetheless not good although.

Even with eggs, sadly, 1 giant boiled egg solely accommodates 0.6 mcg, simply 10% of the DV, though different kinds of eggs include extra, e.g. duck eggs include 3.eight mcg (uncooked, unsure about cooked), which is 63% DV, and goose eggs, that are fairly giant, include 7.Three mcg, which is 122% DV. However then I personally discover duck eggs too fatty – you simply cannot win, are you able to?

Day by day allowance

The beneficial quantity you want varies between international locations (in keeping with sources on the Web): the UK RDA (beneficial every day quantity) is 1.5 mcg/day (from the Nationwide Well being Service web site, so must be correct and up-to-date).

Google (no supply given, however which turned out to be the US RDA – beneficial dietary quantity) says: 2.Four mcg every day for ages 14 years and older, 2.6 mcg every day for pregnant females, and a pair of.eight mcg every day for breastfeeding females. For the over 50s, they need to eat meals fortified with B12 or take a vitamin B12 complement.

So these over 50, and pregnant and breast-feeding girls, want extra because of lowered absorption in older folks of naturally occurring B12, and higher calls for for B12 while pregnant and for nursing moms.

Observe that the DVs quoted above are based mostly on 6 mcg every day (fairly confusingly), fairly than the US RDA of two.4. (It is to do with the worth within the meals apparently, fairly than the every day quantity you want). In order that applies to studying the diet labels for fortified meals, which is why for egg, quoted above, it is 0.6 mcg, which is 10% DV, not 25% (which might be the relative quantity for the RDA of two.Four mcg).


A Dutch examine (from 2005) checked out how a lot oral B12 must be prescribed for sufferers with a confirmed deficiency of this vitamin – NB the inhabitants studied had been aged (folks with what was termed a light B12 deficiency), with a mean age of 80. This was usefully identified by Hyla Cass M.D., in “Vitamin B12 – How a lot is sufficient?” (1)

They got B12 (cyanocobalamin kind) in a variety of doses: 2.5, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 mcg every day (administered for 16 weeks).

No hostile occasions had been reported with any dosage, however the principal outcome was that the 500-mcg dose was the bottom dose required for an oral dose, for sufferers with a confirmed deficiency of this vitamin (measured by an estimated 80% to 90% discount in plasma methylmalonic acid).

So this examine was for dietary supplements, and the worth discovered is kind of excessive in contrast with the every day values wanted, which is the quantity beneficial that we get from meals.

As additional affirmation, a complement from a trusted supply I do know of supplies 1,000 mcg/capsule, which additionally accommodates 400 mcg of folate. And most dietary supplements include 500 mcg or 1,000 mcg (which is perhaps the distinction between the therapeutic dose and a upkeep dose).

Simpler to soak up

The benefit of dietary supplements is that in some folks, the B12 is simpler to soak up than that present in naturally occurring meals, the place it’s sure to protein. Discount in abdomen acid and digestive enzymes with growing age, and issues like irritation of the abdomen lining because of allergy symptoms, meals intolerances, alcohol consumption, circumstances like celiac illness and Crohn’s illness, all cut back physique’s means to cleave the required nutrient from the meals and to soak up it.

Full checklist of B12 containing meals

Here’s a checklist of the highest meals sources of B12 (from Nutritiondata.self.com):

  • Shellfish – clams, oysters, whelk, crab (crab: Alaska, King cooked, Dungeness and Queen, cooked)
  • Liver – from lamb, beef, veal, moose, turkey, duck, goose, pork, hen (pan-fried, then tinned)
  • Fish eggs, particularly of whitefish, caviar (black and pink, granular), blended fish roe (cooked, dry warmth)
  • Organ meats and giblets: turkey giblets, beef kidney, pancreas (from varied animals), beef mind, veal coronary heart, hen giblets, lamb coronary heart, beef coronary heart, turkey gizzards (cooked)
  • Fish and sea mammals – octopus, salmon (dried chum), trout (dried, then Rainbow trout, cooked), mackerel (Atlantic cooked, dry warmth), kippered herring (Atlantic), dried whitefish, pink salmon (smoked sockeye), King mackerel (cooked), herring (cooked dry warmth), mackerel (salted), tuna (recent Bluefin, cooked dry warmth), cod (dried, Atlantic, salted), sardine (Pacific, canned in tomato sauce and canned in oil, with bone), trout (cooked), whale (dried Beluga meat), seal (dried), pink salmon (canned), bass (striped, cooked), walleye pollock (cooked), snapper, (cooked), seatrout (cooked)…
  • Fortified breakfast cereals – excessive fibre Bran Flakes, Kellogg’s All bran Full wheat flakes, Multi-Grain Cheerio’s
  • Full Oat Bran Flakes, All Bran Buds, Particular Okay, Common Mills cereals, All Bran Authentic, Kellogg’s low fats granola
  • All Bran yogurt bites, Nature’s Path Optimum, Able to eat muesli (with dried fruit and nuts)…
  • Pates/liver sausage: Braunschweiger (pork liver), liverwurst and liverwurst unfold, foie de gras (goose liver, smoked)
  • Wild recreation: caribou (dried shoulder meat), emu (fan fillet cooked), beaver and muskrat, rabbit (roasted), deer, moose, ostrich
  • Margarine-like (vegetable oil) spreads
  • Complete dried egg, dried egg yolk, goose egg (complete, recent, uncooked is highest)
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Soup (clam chowder, New England, tinned, condensed)
  • Meatless hen, breaded fried
  • Child meals (some)
  • Milk (dry, non-fat, with added vitamin A and with out), Prompt Milk (dry, non-fat, with added vitamin A and with out),
  • Meat – roasted mutton, some lamb cuts, and different meats… (vitamin B12 content material goes down from there)…

Not included above, there are additionally decrease quantities in B12 in:

  • Mussels and different shellfish, haddock
  • Beef
  • Low fats yogurt
  • Fortified tofus
  • Swiss cheese, cut back fats mozzarella, parmesan, feta cheese
  • Ham
  • Duck eggs (being a lot larger than hen eggs), hen eggs
  • Rooster meat

That is to present an thought of the highest B12-containing meals, partly grouped by sort of meals, partly by highest to lowest, however word cooking strategies additionally alter the quantity considerably. Uncooked organ meats, for instance, include way more than cooked. And even dry warmth versus steaming and braising makes a distinction.

And I used to be shocked to see roast hen has half the quantity of low fats cottage cheese for instance, and that low fats variations of dairy usually include extra B12 than the total fats varieties. In order that’s helpful to know.

Fortified meals and gums

I personally have averted the fortified milks as a result of, as I say, they have an inclination to include gums which, I’ve learn, cease your digestion. In response to Dr P D’Adamo, they include a lectin or different agglutinin (principally inflicting cells to stay and clump collectively, not least your pink blood cells – eeek), and it’s a metabolic inhibitor – that was for guar gum and carrageenan. Additionally for acacia (gum arabic): it flocculates serum or precipitates serum proteins, it accommodates lectin or different agglutinin, and is a metabolic inhibitor, and it will increase lectin exercise and binding – blimey, the entire caboodle! So that you merely can not break them down, and so they can wreak havoc in your complete system by the sound of it.

Additionally see Dr Michael Greger’s video: “Is Carrageenan Secure?” (2)

Which is a disgrace, as a result of it means I miss out on these fortified meals. And I do not eat another sort of fortified meals both, just like the cereals, due to the sugar and different components they have an inclination to include, or bread and different wheat-based merchandise they make with fortified flour, or use the fortified spreads (I solely use olive oil and ghee usually on rye bread), and I do not drink common cow’s milk both, or the fortified drinks of any variety due to mentioned gums and sugar, and I do not use faux meat soy merchandise, textured vegetable protein/mycoprotein – that and people smoke flavourings are undoubtedly finest averted – and eventually, I do not eat child meals… hmm, I at all times appreciated the look of that stuff, possibly I ought to attempt it.

The rationale I ponder if gums may cease the physique breaking down different meals correctly is due to what I learnt concerning the impact of, for instance, including milk to a smoothie or your morning tea or espresso. Milk truly stops you absorbing the antioxidants (the great things like polyphenols and catechins) within the tea and the espresso – similar goes for chocolate – and even with fruits and berries you may need in your morning smoothie or breakfast bowl, including milk truly stops the absorption of the nice vitamins in it, as measured by blood ranges of sure useful compounds after consuming it.

The scientific analysis completed on that is handily summarised by Dr Michael Greger, an MD (medical physician) who trawls the scientific literature for such helpful info, and is introduced briefly, info-bitesize movies, making it extra accessible for us.

And shockingly, it isn’t simply cow’s milk that does this, it is soy milk as nicely – at the least in tea – as a result of sadly the one examine they examined soy milk in was the one with tea. They did not check soy milk within the different (separate) research on the chocolate/espresso and berries. So how about that then? That actually shocked me, because it did Michael Greger, and little doubt the researchers as nicely. To search out that including even soy milk to wholesome drinks/smoothies is perhaps negating the useful results of the antioxidant compounds in them. That was an actual eye-opener.

I assume that is a part of the rationale why darkish chocolate is a lot more healthy than milk.

And so if the milk itself blocks absorption, I clearly questioned what the added gums in milk can do. So I would fairly simply keep away from them altogether, if I can.

B12 absorption – anatomy and controversy

Again to the video:

Andreas Moritz says undigested meat and protein in our guts upsets the probiotic micro organism, and that these micro organism are the precept supply of vitamin B12 – did not know that – which is usually absorbed on the finish of the small gut within the terminal ileum.

(As an apart, I questioned whether or not the “terminal ileum” was the Appendix, as I had mine out after I was aged about eight and I’ve have at all times been super-sensitive to meals, though not formally allergic to any). Anyway, it is not the appendix, as a result of I regarded it up.

Terminal ileum

The terminal ileum happens between the big and small intestines and connects to the caecum (the primary a part of the big intestines) by way of the ileocecal valve. So it isn’t fairly the appendix however shut, anatomically talking, because the appendix is linked to the caecum.

Here’s a 3-D image (http://www.innerbody.com/image_dige03/dige10.html) displaying the precise location of the terminal ileum throughout the stomach, with a navigation grid to the left which, in case you hover the little hand over it, highlights in inexperienced no matter a part of the digestive system you wish to have a look at. There’s additionally a brief description with every space. 

Storage of B12

The terminal ileum is the place B12 will get absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the liver. The liver shops it there till required, and it’s then recycled usually. The recycled B12 is used for as much as 6 or 7 years.

The quantity we’d like in a whole lifetime is as a lot as you possibly can match on the top of your little finger – attention-grabbing! Very small quantity.

So it is fairly troublesome to get a B12 deficiency, and as already acknowledged, it isn’t a lot the meals we eat, because the absorption of it that’s the reason for the issue. Our personal intestine well being is the issue.

He goes on: Junk meals and drugs, notably antibiotics, destroy the probiotic micro organism in our intestine. Plus consuming quite a lot of meat which, though it accommodates B12, can not actually be absorbed correctly if the digestion isn’t working very nicely, notably when intrinsic issue is diminished, which does occur if you eat an excessive amount of protein meals, he says.

He says the misunderstandings about B12 come from how we produce our personal B12. Like cows, for instance, do not must eat meat or drink different species’ milk with a purpose to get B12, and that it’s offered from the plant meals, and so they do not have a deficiency.

And, Andreas makes the purpose: People consuming pure meals may even not develop B12 deficiency.

(It is a hotly debated matter, as as to whether we will produced our personal B12 from the micro organism within the intestine, coming down now on the aspect of we won’t, or a few of us could do however it’s not absorbable by us, however learn on.)

So how do herbivores get their B12 then? I used to be curious and had a glance:

Herbivores and B12

Ruminants, similar to cows, buffalo, goats, sheep, these guys get their vitamin B12 from these micro organism which synthesise it of their voluminous four-chamber guts. Some herbivores (horses, elephants, zebras, rabbits, hares, and lots of rodents) have giant caecums of their digestive tracts, which is between the small and huge gut, the place bacterial fermentation takes place.

Primates eat eggs and bugs within the soil. Gorillas (additionally hares, rabbits, and a few rodents) eat faeces as nicely. And many animals usually ingest soil, so that they have many extra sources/methods of getting B12 than us.

As an apart, there’s a suggestion that each one animals want supplementation of B12 of their feed, however one supply says that micro organism in a horse’s digestive tract are capable of produce sufficient B12 if there may be sufficient cobalt within the weight loss program. Resulting in the suggestion that always our soil is depleted of those important minerals lately.

There are numerous different references about micro organism and vitamin B12 manufacturing, in case you are , on-line (3).

Rising the absorption

Different nutritional vitamins are crucial for good absorption of vitamin B12 dietary supplements. For instance, it’s endorsed you embrace meals wealthy in vitamin B6 in your weight loss program, as vitamin B6 is critical for the right absorption and storage of vitamin B12.

Meals similar to spinach, poultry, brown rice, avocados, walnuts and bananas. Poultry contains: hen, quail, turkey, duck, goose and pigeon.

Folate can also be crucial for good absorption: from darkish leafy greens, parsley, romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and beets, fruit, and beans, peas and lentils.

Together with ample consumption of calcium. One examine in 2000 discovered that sufferers with diabetes had been capable of reverse low vitamin B12 ranges by growing their calcium consumption(4).

Some calcium wealthy meals are: collard greens, broccoli and kale; sardines and salmon; ricotta, mozzarella and cheddar cheese; low fats yogurt, Greek yogurt and skimmed milk; fortified: milks, cereals and tofu; beans, sesame seeds, dried figs, and molasses.

Importantly, abdomen acid ranges and pepsin (protein digesting enzyme) are key to extracting the B12 from our meals. You probably have low abdomen acid, taking betaine hydrochloride dietary supplements might help to cleave the B12 from the protein meals.

It’s famous by Sandi Busch on livestrong.com (5) and Dr J E Williams (integrative medication practitioner for 25 years), that use of antacids reduces abdomen acid, and heavy consuming causes the abdomen lining to turn into infected, thereby lowering the digestive enzymes. Some integrative medication practitioners advocate cranberry juice and utilizing spices in meals, which assist with the absorption of B nutritional vitamins usually, and a few even say take into account caffeine, as this will increase abdomen acid manufacturing.

Additionally consuming smaller, common quantities of B12-containing meals, fairly than all at one meal, can enhance the quantity you take up total as nicely, as a result of there’s a restrict to the quantity that may be absorbed at anybody time, because of the availability of the intrinsic issue.

Different issues

Andreas is an advocate of vegetarianism however says B12 deficiency has nothing to do with vegetarianism, and that meat eaters are simply as poor, if no more so (which has been confirmed by research within the literature). However vegetarians can undergo too in the event that they take medicine, for instance, or have used antibiotics previously. Apparently the probiotic micro organism inhabitants in your intestine could be disturbed for a few years after.

To enhance digestion, he says to scrub out the liver and bile ducts, to eliminate gall and hepatic stones. They inhibit the physique’s means to digest meals correctly. As already acknowledged, this interferes with good micro organism inhabitants. And so putrefying meals, whether or not greens or meat, will result in diminished absorption of B12 due to lack of probiotic micro organism, he says, which is the key supply of B12.

NB: I think about that partly explains why undereating is best for you than overeating. With undereating, you don’t have any rotting meals in your intestine.

He says lastly, B12 absorption additionally depends upon how a lot vitamin D you may have obtainable to maintain your digestive system sturdy and very important. So exposing the entire physique to the solar frequently will enhance the wholesome micro organism populations within the intestine, and result in stronger absorption of vitamins usually. (Perhaps he is an advocate of naturism too! He lived in a heat local weather little doubt… ah, his Ener-Chi Centre is in North Carolina… reasonable local weather then! )

Different sources of vitamin D – (some overlap with the checklist for vitamin B12 I discover):

  • Fatty fish and tuna
  • Mushrooms (which can be grown within the gentle – though ones that are not can nonetheless have some vitamin D and could be put within the solar which is able to enhance the degrees apparently)
  • Good previous fortified milks, orange juice and cereal
  • Egg yolks
  • Beef liver
  • Cod liver oil
  • Vitamin D dietary supplements

Vitamin B12 in nature

Andreas did not imagine we’d essentially take up B12 that nicely from a complement, as a result of in nature, it by no means comes alone, at all times mixed with different B-vitamins, different nutritional vitamins and minerals, and much more substances that enable B12 to be absorbed and utilised, so consuming a balanced, nutritious diet is vital to absorbing this very important nutrient.

Andreas Moritz was very ailing when rising up, he says from consuming too many dairy merchandise and animal proteins, and that when he stopped consuming them, he acquired the color again in his face, whereas earlier than he was as white as snow. And due to his personal diseases in childhood, he devoted his life to finding out the foundation causes of illness.

Described as a medical intuitive and author, he spent his adolescence finding out diet, and by age 20 had skilled as an iridologist. He then studied Ayurveda in India, adopted by shiatsu and varied different types of vitality medication.

Though I did not handle to search out particulars of his every day weight loss program, he does have extra common weight loss program recommendation on-line at his Ener-Chi Centre.


1. Vitamin B12-How A lot Is Sufficient? by Hyla Cass, M.D. Life-enhancement.com.

2. Dr Michael Greger (2013): Is Carrageenan Secure? Nutritionfacts.org.

3. MIT biologists clear up vitamin puzzle. MIT information. http://news.mit.edu/2007/b12

4. Elevated consumption of calcium reverses vitamin B12 malabsorption induced by metformin. Diabetes Care. 2000 Sep;23(9):1227-31.

5. The Finest Option to Take up B12 by Sandi Busch. Livestrong.com.