Vitamin B12 Recommendations

Vitamin B12 Recommendations on a Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet has been shown time and time again to be the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, and nutrient-dense way of eating possible. Emphasizing a wide range of vegetables (especially leafy green varieties), fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices makes it simple to achieve nutrient needs while avoiding chronic overnutrition. Guides such as the Plant-Based Food Guide Pyramid and Plate, 6 Daily 3’s, and Notable Nutrient Chart help with the high level view of what exactly a day-in-the-plant-based-life may look like. As does this post of Everything You Need to Know About A Plant-Based Diet in Less Than 500 Words and Sample Meal Plans Made Simple + Hundreds of Recipes.

One nutrient that likely will fall short on a plant-based diet is cobalamin, commonly referred to as vitamin B12. B12 is produced by microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, and algae, but not by animals or plants. B12 is found in animal products because they concentrate the nutrient after ingesting these microorganisms along with their food in their flesh, organs, and byproducts (e.g. eggs and dairy). Also, ruminant animals (such as cows, sheep, and goats) have bacteria in their rumen that produce vitamin B12.

In a vegan diet, vitamin B12 may be found in fortified plant milks, cereals, and other foods, such as nutritional yeast. However, if vegans are not conscientious about taking in the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), there could be harmful health consequences. Deficiency can result in potentially irreversible neurological disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and megaloblastic anemia. B12 deficiency is not unique to vegans who do not supplement. Deficiency is also a concern with aging, medication use, and gastrointestinal issues. So much so that it has been recommended that all adults over the age of 60 years supplement to avoid deficiency.

Interestingly, the body is able to store B12 for upwards of even ten years. To further complicate this, signs and symptoms for deficiency are either not noticeable or simply very subtle. So, if B12 is not being taken in at adequate levels or if there are absorption problems, deficiency will eventually ensue. Because blood tests for B12 levels can be skewed by other variables, irreversible damage may occur before a deficiency is detected.

RDA’s for vitamin B12 across the lifespan can be found in detail here. For non-pregnant adults, aged 14 and above, the RDA is 2.4 micrograms per day. To ensure this is absorbed (in a healthy individual, barring any possible inhibitors), higher doses are recommended.

B12

 

The bottom line is that it seems the best way to supplement to maximize absorption and maintain optimal blood levels of B12 is for vegan adults (as well as non-vegan adults over the age of 60) should consider supplementing with these doses of vitamin B12:

  • 50 µg twice a day OR
  • 150 µg once a day OR
  • 2,500 µg once a week

High doses of B12 are safe and there isn’t a tolerable upper limit that has been established. It is best to undergo testing regularly and adjust the dose as necessary.

 

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Goldmine! Plant-Based Diet Gets An Entire Special Issue in a Medical Journal

Plant-Based Nutrition for Healthcare Professionals

goldmineDouble celebration as my new article, Plant-Based Nutrition for Healthcare Professionals: Implementing Diet as a Primary Modality in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease, with Ray Cronise just published in The Journal of Geriatric Cardiology.

You can view it here: bit.ly/GeriatricPBN

This is the full-text: bit.ly/GeriatricPBN-pdf

Further, this issue of the journal is a (very) special issue as it is the first one ever to be completely dedicated to plant-based diets!

Here is the table of contents for the entire journal issue, which as you may notice, is a goldmine of information that can be shared with your physicians, dietitians, colleagues, friends, family, and anyone else who is seeking to dig deeper into this most health-promoting way of eating.

 

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Six Simple Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holiday Season

Don’t Just Survive the Holidays. Thrive Through Them…

Still battling a post-Thanksgiving Tofurky trance? A mashed potato murk?  A pumpkin pie high? Instead of waiting for January to climb back up on the healthy wagon and out of the food fog, why not start now? Mitigate the mayhem of the season and bump up the body love fest with these 6 simple tips:

  1. Persist with fitness. It is all too easy to let your routine slip to the sidelines with traveling, festivities, and busier schedules that are typical this time of year. But that is why it is even more important to stay the course and squeeze it in. However you can, make it happen. Turn social gatherings into bonding fit fests by going for a walk or taking an exercise class together, or doing yoga in the living room before a meal or first thing in the morning. Social support is superb in stick-to-it-ness. Try literally entering your workout onto your calendar weeks (or at least days) ahead of time to ensure it happens.
  2. Start with fruits or veggies at every meal. Since fruits and veggies both offer the fewest calories per gram than any other foods and are high in satiating fiber, these are the ideal items to preferentiate at every meal. Studies have found that starting your meal with a piece of fruit, salad, or soup decreases overall caloric intake at a meal.
  3. Prioritize the 6 daily 3’s:
      • 3 servings of leafy green vegetables (1 serving equals 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked and include options such as asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, dandelion greens, green beans, kale, any type of lettuce, sea vegetables, etc.)
      • 3 servings of legumes (1 serving equals 1/2 cup of any bean, lentil, pea, or soy foods)
      • 3 servings of fruits (1 serving equals 1 medium piece or 1 cup)
      • 3 servings nuts and seeds (1 servings equals 1/2 ounce or 30 grams)
      • 3 servings other colored vegetables (1 serving equals 1/2 cup)
      • 3 servings exercise (1 serving equals 20 minutes of activity)

     

  4. Predict, plan, and prepare. Know where your next meal will be and make arrangements to have healthy options wherever that may be. Traveling? Here are some Healthy Travel Tips. Dining out? Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dining Out. Visiting friends or family? Ask to bring a wholesome dish or two for yourself and to share.
  5. Opt out instead of pushing portion control. Sometimes just saying “no” is so much easier. Otherwise, that first bite of hyperpalatable food stimulates the hormonal cascade that kicks in and seduces you into “just one more bite”…and “one last one”…and on and on down that rabbit hole.
  6. Discover and experiment with healthier indulgences. Swap date paste or pure maple syrup for sugar in recipes, try aquafaba instead of egg whites in meringue-like dishes or other egg substitutes in any type of recipe, and use fruit and vegetable purées instead of oil.

Most importantly, embrace this special time of year and savor the love that comes from taking care of yourself psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually as well as physically…

Wishing you a very healthy, happy holiday season!

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Two New Papers Putting the Power of Plant-Based Diets in the Spotlight

The Power of Plant-Based Diets Validated Once Again in Recent Research

According to abundant scientific support, plant-based diets have consistently been associated with not only significant health advantages, but also nutrient adequacy. Despite headlines blaring out messages of deficiency and danger, the evidence continues to show otherwise.

Two brand new compelling papers were published expressing the safety, adequacy, and powerful health benefits of eating plants…

First, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading organization for nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians, updated their Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets. Here is the abstract:

papers

 

Here is the link for the position paper to share with your physicians and other healthcare practitioners, friends or family, or anyone concerned about a plant-based diet, which is actually the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, sustainable, nutrient-dense way of eating possible.

Secondly, this revolutionary new paper authored by Ray Cronise, BS, Andrew Bremer, MD, Ph.D., and David Sinclair, Ph.D. shows why plant-based diets are optimal for health and weight management.

papers

 

This Food Triangle is a tool to understand the energy density of different diet schemes:

  • Western diets are “bottom feeders,” consuming combinations of the most energy-dense foods: meat and potatoes, fish and chips, pasta and meat sauce, burger and fries.
  • Paleo diets, on the left side of the triangle minimize energy from starch, which is why they may lose weight initially (while still missing out on critical nutrients found in plant foods such as beans and whole grains).
  • Vegan diets, on the right side of the triangle, omit the energy-dense animal products and focus on nutrient-dense, disease-fighting whole plant foods. When leaving out oils, sugars, salts, and flours, this offers the most nutritional bang for the caloric buck with all the ingredients for easy weight management and long-term health.

This paper is disruptive as the authors debunk deeply ingrained myths, clarifying that:

  • Nutrition is not an emergency.
  • Our metabolisms are not broken.
  • Using the terms “carbs, fats, and proteins” is confusing.
  • Our obesity epidemic is due to chronic overnutrition.
  • You simply cannot out-exercise your diet.

Both of these articles validate all we know about the benefits of eating plants. It is simply the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, nutrient-dense diet and it is ideal for people across the lifespan.
Here is more information on how to implement a plant-based diet, The Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets for healthcare practitioners, and sample meal plans with hundreds of recipes.

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A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets

I am thrilled to announce that my article, A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets, was just published in Kaiser Permanente’s summer issue of their medical journal, The Permanente Journal.

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Kaiser is leading the way in preventive medicine, increasingly incorporating plant-based nutrition on the front lines with their patients and employees. This guide was designed as a way to provide healthcare practitioners with the information about the benefits of eating plant-based diets, the details of the nutrition, and methods of implementing these ideas into their patient care plan. Please feel free to print this out as material to offer your own healthcare providers, friends, family, and colleagues if they have questions about your diet. Or use it as a reference for yourself. My goal is to make plant-based nutrition as accessible and easy as possible for everyone, which is why I am excited to offer this necessary new tool.

Here is the link to the online version: http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/…/2016/s…/6192-diet.html Print versions are also available for purchase here.

 

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Plant-Based Kid Nutrition Plus a Book Giveaway

Eating plants is not only incredibly beneficial for adults, it is also perfectly safe and advantageous for kids, too. In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain dis- eases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

Ruby BookTragically, it is well known that children do not tend to eat the healthiest diets, with one in three kids eating fast food each day, overweight and obesity on the rise, and increasing pediatric diabetes rates. However, there is ample hope in the air for our future generations with the growing revolution of plant-based eaters, an abundance of healthy initiatives in certain trailblazing schools such as this one, and creative tools and resources such as Ruby Roth’s brand new gorgeously inspiring The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids

 

Here are 6 helpful nutrition facts for kids, made beautiful by Ruby Roth (plus see below for details on how you can win a FREE copy of her magnificent new book): 

Ruby Kids Nutrition

Note: Because exact nutrient requirements change according to age, it is always recommended that you ask your registered dietitian for details on how best to feed your child(ren) a well-balanced diet.

One of the best gifts you can give to your child(ren) is to encourage them to eat and live healthfully. Research shows that the most effective ways to teach your little one(s) is by role modeling healthy behaviors and also empowering them by inspiring their involvement in the process. Ruby Roth’s super fun and kid-friendly cookbook is a perfect place to start.

For more information on vegan nutrition for children, here is an excellent article by Physicians Guide To Responsible Medicine and another one by The Vegetarian Resource Group. For even more information, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition has a chapter on Phyto Kids and The Vegiterranean Diet elaborates on the details as well.

Enter HERE to win a FREE copy of Ruby Roth’s The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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