Disease Proof

Brain-Shrinking and Veggie Diets

That’s how I ensure I get Vitamin B12. That nutritional yeast—in my pantry right now—is 133% Vitamin B12 per serving; serving size is 1 1/2  tablespoons and I eat that much AT LEAST once a day. I put it in my chocolate pudding.

I mention this, because this LOOPY report just came out, suggesting that eating an animal product-free diet shrinks people’s brains. Dr. Fuhrman had this to say about it, “Duh, they are telling people NOW that B12 deficiency damages the nervous system and brain. What a revelation! The headline that a veggie diet shrinks the brain is simply a distortion.”

The research appears in the journal Neurology. The Courier Mail reports:

Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system.

Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman recommends taking a multi-vitamin to get B12. Actually, he sells his own multi, called Gentle Care. So you don’t HAVE to eat animal products if you don’t want to, but if you eat a vegetable-based diet with SOME animal products, consider these diet tips from Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:

  • Get enough daily sunshine in a southern climate to obtain vitamin D needs.
  • Consume a small amount of kelp regularly to ensure sufficient iodine intake.
  • Consume some animal products such as nonfat dairy or fish at least every other day to assure B12 needs are met.
  • Eat flaxseed or walnuts every day to potentially meet omega-3 fatty acid needs.
  • Eat enough fresh green vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), and beans to ensure adequate intake of zinc and other minerals.

Works for me! I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat fish. So I know, given the hefty amount of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds I eat—plus the yeast and occasional seafood—I’m getting all the nutrients I need. However, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, Dr. Fuhrman insists there is legitimate concern for vitamin-deficiency—be mindful of it.

But don’t get confused. Fruits and vegetables ARE nutritional superstars! In fact, some vegetables—like kale, spinach and broccoli—have MORE protein than steak.

Oh, and don’t call me stupid because I don’t eat meat!

UPDATE: The yeast might be tasty, but Dr. Fuhrman STILL recommends taking a B12 supplement. So, I've got some Gentle Care to buy!

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
essie - September 17, 2008 1:31 PM

Hi Gerald,

A great book about vegan nutrition is Becoming Vegan by Malina Vesanto and Brenda Davis. They address the B12 issue, as well as others that apply to a totally animal-free diet. Personally, I also use nutritional yeast and take a B supplement, but B12 is also found in fortified foods like most soy milks. It's really not hard to get enough.

Thanks for taking a look at this misleading article. I saw it the other day in the Times of India--it's very badly edited. The Oxford site has a much clearer synopsis.

essie - September 17, 2008 2:16 PM

oops, i reversed the names in my hasty post b4: Vesanto Melina

Sara - September 17, 2008 10:43 PM

I prefer to take a B12 supplement. I use Intrinsi B by Metagenics which Dr. Fuhrman makes available. I heard somewhere that yeast is not always a reliable source of B12- at least the usuable kind.

simeons protocol hcg diet - September 14, 2012 10:24 AM

My brother recommended I may like this blog. He was once totally right.

This submit truly made my day. You can not consider just how much time I had spent for this
info! Thank you!

Dr. Fuhrman's Executive Offices
4 Walter E. Foran Blvd.
Suite 408
Flemington, NJ 08822