Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Veganism

Hi

I developed b12 deficiency (I believe) as I had been a vegetarian leaning towards being a vegan for over 20 years coupled with the fact that my doctor put me on omaprezole on a recurring six month prescription for many years.

Does anyone share my concern about the promotion of veganism as highlighted by veganuary - Waitrose magazine was all about a vegan diet as were many newspaper articles. I have not seen b12 deficiency mentioned once as a consequence of a vegan diet and it seems irresponsible to publish this as a health warning for a diet that is being promoted as healthy.

I am still a vegetarian leaning towards vegan but I make sure that I eat and drink foods fortified with b12 and takes b12 as a supplement but it took becoming seriously ill to discover the unhealthy aspects of a vegan diet.

Good health

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I agree Alfabeta ignorance of the risk and effects of a B12 deficiency for Vegans/vegetarians is not bliss.

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Include milk in your daily diet.

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I do not drink milk or eat cheese - the consequences to the animals that produce it are too cruel to contemplate for my conscience. I use soya milk reinforced with b12 and soya products.

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I understand your feelings and always respect your emotions.I'm also a vegan from childhood. We have our own cows,,, they are like our family members.

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If you consume dairy products you are a lactose vegetarian not a vegan! I’m reading ‘The Secret Life of Cows’ by Rosamund Young at the moment - she talks about her cows as if they are extensions of her family. Nevertheless, she has a dairy herd and uses their milk which means that they have calves - what happens to them? Are they killed soon after birth? Do they join the herd Is, what happens to bull calves? Or are they reared for veal?

A funny way to treat family members

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On one hand, any vegan diet is at great risk of causing a B12 deficiency so information regarding this should be widespread. However it would be unwieldy and annoying if it was mentioned every time veganism was. I agree it should be mentioned if the article was trying to convince someone to convert.

I'm one of these people who like to research stuff, so if I were going to convert I would go to vegan websites to see what they say. I notice the Vegan Society website does mention B12 and a number of other nutrients. Most people are probably not like me!

It doesn't help that there is confusion and misinformation regarding sources of B12. A number of studies has detected B12 in some plants and fungi while others do not find B12 in the same foods, or an inactive form.

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Thanks for your response- I agree with most of what you say. I however, became a vegetarian based on being informed constantly that it was healthier than eating meat. In fact, the NHS website advises restricting meat consumption especially beef in favour of vegetables but in b12 and folic acid terms they are being over simplistic in their advice in my opinion.

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A vegan diet can be incredibly healthy, but there used to be little or no info out there reminding people to top up their B12. I've had periods of veganism (currently veggie) and 20 years ago the concern was about iron, never B12.

It seems my personal low B12 is down to poor absorption, not diet, but my whole family supplements vitamins and drinks soya milk, just to make sure!

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I see more and more information about B12, it was far worse 20/30 years ago: people were talking about iron or calcium but never B12.

I have been a vegetarian since I was born (31 years ago), super healthy until my first pregnancy (I had nausea for 3 months and could not any eat milk and eggs + the baby probably took all available B12). GP did not know it was possible to have B12D without anemia (which is common amongst vegetarians as we eat plenty of folates).

B12 deficiency looks quite unreal until it happens to you.

What were your symptoms?

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Hi Mary

Sorry for the late reply.

I was diagnosed around three years ago. For several years I noticed my ability to articulate becoming very bad - not being able to find words to complete sentences. I also developed terrible memory problems - names of places and things escaped me and my short term memory was almost non existent at times. I also developed exhaustion sometimes having to keep going back to bed during the day.

Then, out of the blue, I began to get blurred vision lasting about ten seconds then tinnitus - the sound of terrible radio reception - ending in a feeling of euphoria and audible hallucinations- like the mumbo jumbo one hears in dreams and makes no sense when the dream is over.

I was diagnosed with very low b12 - don’t know the score - and had the loading doses plus 12 weekly injections (my doctor refuses to give them eight weekly). Most of the symptoms ended very quickly but I have been left with the tinnitus and audible hallucinations but in the last six months the tinnitus has ceased and I now get the beginning of the former symptom then it fades out before it begins.

I then to get through the twelve weeks mostly unaffected then at about week four to six the symptoms occur. I get up six events in a day then they decrease and I might get one or two.

I assume I’m getting better?

My doctor does not accept that these latter symptoms are b12 deficiency related - yet he provides no answer except to have my b12 levels checked which always come back as normal.

I don’t tell him or the nurses about my symptoms anymore as there is no point.

B12 deficiency is, I feel, not as fully understood as PA which, of course, all the correspondents on here suffer from. Hardly anyone recognises my recurring symptom but on the B12 forum it is fully understood.

Thank you for your interest I hope my response fulfils your request

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Hey Folkestone,

Thanks for your answer!

You have been having injections for 3 years?

Do you use injections because you have absorption problems? Why not only oral supplements?

I had the same symptoms (tinnitus, blurred vision, tiredness) and joint pain, back pain, neck pain, insomnia, visual frightening hallucinations by night, strong anxiety (never been anxious before) and derealization, depression.

After 4 months of supplementation, I was getting better, I started to work again 3 weeks ago and anxiety came back. So I might have a combined B12D and burnout.

Good luck!

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The injections are doctors orders! I take one mg b12 every day .4 mg folic acid and a multi vitamin with iron. I also use a b12 sub lingual spray. I put so much b12 into my system that I am considering leaving my body to the b12 industry to mine the mineral from my remains.

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Ahah!

And you can stand taking so much? I took 2mg a day for 3 weeks, then 1 mg, then 500 mcg, then 250, now I take 50 mcg a day.

Now if I take more than 250 mcg/day I have surprisingly more B12 symptoms (pins and needles for instance), headache, nausea and acne.

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Thanks for that. I’ll check it out - I did request advice and was told it would be all right. I have been getting mild headaches. I think I’ll stop for a couple of weeks

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The Times too had a spread on veganism with no reference to deficiency in that diet, and I thought of people jumping on the latest 'trendy' fad with no knowledge of the consequences and ending up with B12 deficiency.

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I'm a vegetarian - more because I don't like meat and fish than moral concerns - just can't digest the stuff - but that didn't stop me going absolutely ballistic a few years ago when a labour shadow minister started saying that everyone should become vegan and animal husbandry should be banned

:)

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I’m a vegetarian for the same reason - what labour mp was it? Jeremy Corbin is a vegetarian/vegan but I don’t think he said it.

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a woman so definitely wasn't Jeremy.

Find politicians even more indigestible than meat :)

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