How To Meet Your B12 Needs
A Tablespoon a Day of Raw Sauerkraut is Vital For Our Health.
Raw kraut will colonize your colon with friendly bacteria who help to digest your food. If you suffer from any digestive problem — cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation — eat fresh home-made raw sauerkraut daily. Rhio writes in her incredible recipe book, Hooked On Raw (2000) that raw sauerkraut:
"is wonderful and strengthening for the digestion, full of lactic acid (which regenerates the bowel flora), all kinds of enzymes, live lacto-bacillus bacteria, choline, acetylcholine, Vitamin C [my note: those last three build strong brains and memory], B-complex vitamins (including B12) and other good things." Sauerkraut at supermarkets is pasteurized. Avoid it.
In Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, Paul Pitchford writes:
"It is helpful to use some enzyme-rich foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut and sprouts to maximize the spawning and uptake of B12 in the digestive tract."
Vitamin B12 in Your Colon
Have you read that friendly bacteria in your colon make Vitamin B12 to meet all your body's needs?
This is not true, say dieticians Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina in Becoming Raw - the Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Diets (2010). Yes, they do produce B12. But, they say, it does *not* travel upstream to the small intestine where B12 is absorbed. It "goes with the flow" — meaning that B12 made in your colon ends up in the toilet! Well that's their belief. Do I buy it? No. I say there's a difference between the B12 we eat and the B12 made by bacteria in our colon.
Take the B12 in your food. Because of its large size and charged nature, B12 first binds to a protein, called intrinsic factor, in the stomach and is then absorbed in the ileum (end of small intestine). But that's the B12 you EAT. What of the B12 your intestinal bacteria make? Do we honestly believe that this B12 *never* gets absorbed by diffusion through the colon walls?
"Absorption of vitamin B12 actually begins in the mouth where small amounts of unbound crystalline B12 can be absorbed through the mucosa membrane. Food protein bound vitamin B12 is digested in the stomach."
In other words, if B12 is not tied to a protein in food, then our mucus membranes can absorb it! So many nutrients are absorbed in your colon, along with water. Why not fresh unbound B12, same as in the mouth? Wikipedia claims that:
"The colon absorbs vitamins which are created by the colonic bacteria — such as vitamin K1 (especially important as the daily ingestion of vitamin K is not normally enough to maintain adequate blood coagulation), vitamin B12, thiamine, and riboflavin."
[authors note: wiki's referring to vitamin K1 here, which is a totally different molecule from vitamin K2.]
Your colon absorbs water and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate ions. Gut bacteria produce vitamin K2, and your colon may absorb it (although officially K2 is absorbed in your small intestine).
Many healing practitioners agree with Robert Gray's words in The Colon Health Handbook (1986):
"The most abundant source of vitamin B-12 is a healthy intestinal flora." Even if these friendly bacteria are not a source of B12, they still do so much other good.
Robert Gray writes:
"The digestive enzymes produced by the friendly intestinal bacteria AID the digestive efforts of the body AND act to control the activity of the putrefactive bacteria.
...An equally important function of the friendly bacteria within the intestinal tract is to provide important nutrients for building the blood. A healthy intestinal flora will produce several times as much of many B vitamins as are present in a well-balanced whole-food diet."
Why Do Beans Give You Long Life?
I guess you know you're only 10% human? Bacteria — especially gut flora — make up the other 90% of you. The favourite food of this flora is resistant starch — the kind you find in beans. Your flora ferment this starch into short chain fatty acids, which give you extra energy. One of those acids, butyrate, reduces inflammation in your colon, and hence protects you from colitis.
Studies — such as The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner — show that the longest lived peoples on earth all eat the plant-strong way. Only one food is eaten by all of them — beans!
When next you read a paleo rant against the toxins in legumes, ask this person: "Why are humans who eat beans enjoying healthy long lives? While those who eat meat are suffering an earlier, painful death?"
Do you sincerely want to know the answer? Just see my review of Don Matesz's book, Powered By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition. Don gives the science showing that "the carnivorous caveman has no clothes" (just like the little boy who saw the king has no clothes). We are, in body and soul, "frugifolivores" — a fruit & leaf eater. A frugivore has the anatomy & physiology that thrives best on botanical fruits. That includes sweet fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, with lesser amounts of fibrous plant parts (primarily leaves).
Don't believe me! Read Don's book for the science.