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Old 02-12-2004, 07:12 PM   #1
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Red face Whoa, this is a complicated one...

Hello

I don't eat meat or eggs and hav'nt in quite a few years. I have my own philosophical (and other reasons) for this which I'd prefer not to discuss here. I recently did a search under "metallic taste in mouth" because I've been plagued with this for several months now. No matter what I pulled up in my search, it was ALWAYS about vitamine B-12, "vegans" or some animal rights article.



I learned that the body usually stores enough vitamine B-12 to last about 2 years. It also looks like my "store" of it just recently ran out which might help explain not only the metallic taste in my mouth for the past 2-3 months but my nervous condition, minor memory problems, mouth sores and gastrointestinal problems of late (all symptoms of a vitamine B-12 deficiency).



While I don't plan to go on a bloody cattle massacre or slurp down a fresh ox liver any time soon, I DID beat a very rapid retreat to the kitchen where I proceeded to take a multi-vitamine and then fry up several eggs with buttered toast. Eggs are supposed to be as good source of vitamine B-12.



I was just curious...are there any other vegans here who have experienced some or all of these symptoms and how did you deal with it?. I happen to know that a person's beliefs can end up destroying them, for example...



A) A person who trusts his or her religion to heal their child, who ends up dying because the parents refuse to take them to see a doctor.



B) A person who's beliefs dictate that they not eat certain foods becoming sick or even dying due to a vitamine or mineral deficiency (me?).



c) An anorexic who literally starves themselves to death.



D) An OCD sufferer (I am one myself) who cuts themselves, etc.



Anyway, I don't want to die because of my beliefs so I'm looking for advice here and appreciate any I can get.

 
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:36 PM   #2
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

I've been a vegan for 6 years so far, and I've never experienced any metallic taste in my mouth. However, I do have memory problems (so maybe I don't remember the metallic taste haha... I'm kidding, I would probably remember), low energy levels, and other indicators of being iron deficient and not consistently getting enough macronutrients.

How do you normally get your required amounts of B12? I have an eating disorder and have my own food issues (making me not the best person to address your post), but I have a bottle of multi-vitamins (14 mcg of B12) and every once in a while, I get some B12 from fortified soy milk. For a vegan diet, you can also find small amounts in fortified cereals, tempeh, miso, and of course, B12 supplements or injections.

If you feel like you should be getting enough B12 from your current diet, you could have a condition which may prevent you from absorbing the vitamin (eg. you're missing the intrinsic factor protein that helps in B12 absorption, or high doses of vitamin C are destroying the B12).

I've read that long-term B12 deficiency may also be linked to depression and mood disorders, which makes sense since the vitamin helps with normal nervous system function. If you're concerned about your health and longevity, I would suggest getting a blood test done to see if you're lacking a particular nutrient.

 
Old 02-13-2004, 07:14 AM   #3
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

Do you, by chance, eat cheese?

How about fish? Is that completely out, too?

 
Old 02-13-2004, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

The problem with not eating meat is that meat does have some nutrients like B12 and carnosine. You need B12 because it is necessary for proper nervous system and brain function. Well...B12 that functions and is bioavailable within the human body is only created by bacteria. Now...sometimes, after a few years of practicing a vegan diet, vegans tend to feel unwell because what B12 does is it also helps people feel good. Humans can not absorb B12 through their GI tracts, and must eat it, and bioavilable forms are not found in plants...only in bacteria or meat. But, if you ate meat previously throughout your life, you probably have alot of B12 stored up, and it can take quite awhile for a deficiency to arise. You should consider B12 in a supplement, or in food. I myself don't eat cheese/animal products etc, but have recently started including sardines every so often into my diet. Now..not ALL vegans develop a B12 deficiency, simply because they have enough B12 stored and their body does not use it as frequently, or because they grow their plants in what is known as "night soil", or human feces (which also brings up the point of how not washing your hands after going to the bathroom can provide you with B12...but this of course is not something I recommend lol). If your experiencing symptoms of a B12 deficiency, I would suggest going to get a blood test done to check your levels. Besides, if you are practicing a vegan diet, this would definitely be beneficial to make sure your getting everything you need . Take care!

~*~ Blue eyed angel ~*~

 
Old 02-13-2004, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

Auntjudyg,
Yes...fish, cheese, meat, etc (any type of animal products) are not on the menu for vegans.

 
Old 02-14-2004, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

B12 deficiency is an interesting subject. It is actually a big problem among non-vegans and vegans alike, since it has a lot to do with absorption problems during digestion--for instance, a meat-eater might get plenty of B12 from food, but poor digestion can cause prevent most of it from ever being absorbed, resulting in an eventual deficiency. Many elderly people experience B12 deficiencies whether or not they eat animal products, because their digestion is impaired.

B12 is stored in the liver. Some people can survive off the stores for up to 10 years, and others run out of it in a matter of months... no one really has a conclusive answer why. Personally, I was vegan for a while and ended up with some deficiencies (including B12). I eat dairy and eggs now, but I also take a supplement just to make sure.

ANYWAY, since you usually don't eat animal products, you have a few options. First of all, I would go to your doctor and get a blood test (they can check pretty quickly to see what your B12 levels are). If you are indeed B12 deficient, then you can get a B12 supplement for pretty cheap. The best kind are sublingual (you put them under your tongue and let them dissolve). You can get ones to take daily, or if you prefer, ones to take just once a week. I buy a kind from Twinlab that comes in a tiny bottle with 100 "B12 dots." I take them daily, and one bottle lasts over three months.

Your other option is to continue the eggs (although I'm not sure how much B12 is really in them... you'd probably need to eat quite a few to get enough). Or, you could also find foods that are fortified with B12, like some cereals or soy milks. (I usually avoid these foods because they're so processed, but if you eat them, that might work.)

I have one more suggestion, too. Do you eat any sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables? If not, I suggest that you eat a little sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. once a day. These foods greatly enhance digestion and restore digestive flora with a bunch of "good" bacteria, like probiotics. This might help you absorb as much B12 as possible.

Whatever you do, it'd probably be a good idea to get a blood test done first, so you know for sure if you're B12 deficient, or if it's some other kind of deficiency. Good luck!

 
Old 02-14-2004, 09:58 PM   #7
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeggieGirl
B12 is stored in the liver. Some people can survive off the stores for up to 10 years, and others run out of it in a matter of months... no one really has a conclusive answer why. Personally, I was vegan for a while and ended up with some deficiencies (including B12). I eat dairy and eggs now, but I also take a supplement just to make sure.

Your other option is to continue the eggs (although I'm not sure how much B12 is really in them... you'd probably need to eat quite a few to get enough). Or, you could also find foods that are fortified with B12, like some cereals or soy milks. (I usually avoid these foods because they're so processed, but if you eat them, that might work.)

Whatever you do, it'd probably be a good idea to get a blood test done first, so you know for sure if you're B12 deficient, or if it's some other kind of deficiency. Good luck!
Eggs are a good source, gram for gram about as good as beef, but since we eat eggs in much smaller portions than meat--two eggs weigh about half as much as a usual hamburger, or are a third the size of a common steak potion==that we don't get as much from them as we could.

It's too bad you won't consider fish, since most fish are even richer sources of b-12, ounce for ounce, than red meat. And, of course, they have the wonderful omega 3's in such abundance.

I have two vegan daughters,(of seven children) and a vegan granddaughter, so I know it can be done. But it takes a great, great deal of study (and I don't mean reading internet posts only) and effort. One daughter, after going out on her own to college, wound up hospitalized with anemia. Scary, scary. She is still almost completely vegan, but she will eat fish about once a week to make sure she has "natural" sources of b-12 as well as supplements. The very high qulity protein helps build blood cells, too (yes, believe me we know all about soy in its myriad forms and gluten and so on).

the other daughter, and her girl, seem very well, but they do work at it rigorously. (her husband is a BIG meat eater. every family finds its own way).

It's worth considering some modifications in your preferred diet if it turns out your body is one that just plain needs lots of b-12. we are all different.

sean

 
Old 02-20-2004, 10:18 PM   #8
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

If you are a vegan, I am going to assume you eat alot of soy. I have read recently that soy can act to inhibit nutrient absorbtion in the body. (This is still highly debated, not necessarily fact.) If it is possible, eliminate soy for a week or two, and see if your body feels any differently.

 
Old 02-22-2004, 06:09 PM   #9
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Re: Whoa, this is a complicated one...

I too, am a vegan. (Partially because of beliefs and because I KNOW that it is better for you) One good source of B12 is Nutritional Yeast Flakes also know as Brewers Yeast. It has a slight cheesy flavor which isnt hard to incorporate into other foods. For some reason, not all brands or kinds are the same- some have more B12 than others. Try it out- it is how I get B12- fish isnt needed.

 
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