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Respecting All Animals
B12 in chia seeds 
15th-Sep-2009 11:39 am
Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering what the deal is with chia seeds. They are advertised as containing B12, but everywhere I've read has always said B12 doesn't naturally occur in plant foods. I know it is contained in spirulina and sometimes seaweed, which I assumed was due to the water environment containing it, but if these chia seeds do contain B12, why has it so often been said (in many sources) that you can't get it from plants?
To add to this, here in Australia, the brown mushroom bags provided in supermarkets say that mushrooms are a good source of B12. I find this bizarre and potentially quite misleading. I would think the only source of potential B12 in mushrooms would be the dirt on them.
Apologies if this has already been discussed - I couldn't find it in memories.
15th-Sep-2009 02:02 am (UTC)
i haven't heard b12; they do have a complete amino acid profile, and they are also rich in omega-3 and don't go rancid like flax seeds.
15th-Sep-2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Spirulina, nori etc are not sources of B12.

Claimed sources of B12 that have been shown through direct studies of vegans to be inadequate include human gut bacteria, spirulina, dried nori, barley grass and most other seaweeds. Several studies of raw food vegans have shown that raw food offers no special protection.
Reports that B12 has been measured in a food are not enough to qualify that food as a reliable B12 source. It is difficult to distinguish true B12 from analogues that can disrupt B12 metabolism. Even if true B12 is present in a food, it may be rendered ineffective if analogues are present in comparable amounts to the true B12. There is only one reliable test for a B12 source - does it consistently prevent and correct deficiency? Anyone proposing a particular food as a B12 source should be challenged to present such evidence.


there have been claims that the algae spirulina and the seaweed nori contain significant amounts of B12. However, the current consensus now is that they contain compounds structurally similar to B12, known as B12 analogues, which may disrupt normal B12 metabolism by competing with B12 for absorption. It is wise to assume that no plant foods can be relied on as an adequate source of vitamin B12.

15th-Sep-2009 04:23 am (UTC)
This is great, thank you.
15th-Sep-2009 02:09 am (UTC)
I don't know anything about chia seeds, but mushrooms aren't plants, they are fungi, so it could be true that they contain B12.
15th-Sep-2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Okay, so I looked it up, and here's the abstract from a recent study:

Analysis of vitamin B(12) in freshly harvested white button mushrooms ( Agaricus bisporus ) from five farms was performed by affinity chromatography and HPLC-ESI-MS techniques. The vitamin B(12) concentrations obtained varied from farm to farm, with higher concentrations of vitamin B(12) detected in outer peel than in cap, stalk, or flesh, suggesting that the vitamin B(12) is probably bacteria-derived. High concentrations of vitamin B(12) were also detected in the flush mushrooms including cups and flats. HPLC and mass spectrometry showed vitamin B(12) retention time and mass spectra identical to those of the standard vitamin B(12) and those of food products including beef, beef liver, salmon, egg, and milk but not of the pseudovitamin B(12), an inactive corrinoid in humans. The results suggest that the consumer may benefit from the consumption of mushroom to increase intake of this vitamin in the diet.

Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Cho KY & Pang G, 2009, 'Vitamin B12 is the active corrinoid produced in cultivated white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)', Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
15th-Sep-2009 02:32 am (UTC)
I've never heard of chia seeds but they sound cute
15th-Sep-2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I think it's probably better to take your b vitamins and folic acid in a vegan pill form so you know you're getting what you need. While it's good to get your nutrients from the source, b vitamin deficiencies are something you don't want to fuck around with.
19th-Sep-2009 05:13 am (UTC)
I consume chia daily and I'm not aware of any b12 content. Drink kombucha, it contains a good b vitamin profile including b12, is completely vegan and an amazing healing beverage. Chia is known for it's calcium, protein, and extremely high omega 3 content.
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