The meat manufacturing, production, processing and industry is now clutching at straws following the UK Government's announcement that we should eat no more than the equivalent of a small lamb chop and restrict our meat consumption to the bare minimum to avoid increased risks of cancer.
Once again ignoring the facts that there are safer plant based sources of all of the handful of nutrients that are found in meat, and that meat is not only missing most anti-oxidants, fibre and many other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals but is also implicated in thwarting our ability to attain a healthy synergistic balance of these nutrients.
Once again it's the essential vitamin B12 that meat industry lobbyists have got their blood stained mitts on.
A new study (reference) has shown a link between the level of vitamin B12 in the mother and excessive infant crying (more than 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks). The reasons for this are not fully understood but it could be due to the fact that a lack of vitamin B12 and folic acid hinder the foetal development of the nervous system before birth and also that in the first 6 months after birth lack of these vitamins can affect the development of the protective myelin which surrounds the nerve cells and helps them communicate.
Excessive infant crying is also called infant colic and may also be due to B12 deficiency. Excessive infant crying was found to be stronger when the mother experienced high levels of psychological problems so could affect the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm of the body controls the sleep/wake cycle, the development of which starts in the womb.It also takes about 3 months after birth to settle into a rhythm. As lack of B12 has been seen in people with sleep disorders it is suggested that lack of B12 may the infant circadian rhythm interfere with serotonin melatonin and trigger gut cramps and crying.
The developing baby relies on the mother to provide B12 and if it is deficient in her diet and her stores are too low the baby is likely to be deficient too. B12 is made by bacteria in the gut and meat, fish and eggs the usual source recommended by NHS dietitians.
Plantarians and Vegans maintain there are healthier, safer, more sustainable sources of vitamin B12 that come without the extra calories and detrimental effects of saturated animal fat and natural hormones but with essential fats and a range of useful vitamins, minerals, anti oxidants and fibre.
Yvonne seems to agree;
I would be cautious in recommending women eat more animal foods as meat and dairy comes along with saturated fats which can hinder the body's use of essential fats which are needed for the baby's brain and nervous system development. Due to the potential levels of toxicity in fish no more than 2 portions a week should be eaten in pregnancy and egg consumption tends to be lower in pregnancy as they can only be eaten fully cooked. If anything this study is a strong argument for basic nutrient testing at the start of women's pregnancies and addressing any deficiencies as well as of course more promotion of either better, more nutritious diets or the need for effective, easily absorbable prenatal supplements.
Vitamin B12 is made by mimicing the human digestive system's ability to produce B12 from yeasts and bacteria in the gut and is then added to a number of foods from breafast cereals and plant milks to fruit juice.
Unfortunately, most natural plant sources of vitamin B12 have been proven to contain biologically inactive vitamin B12 analogues (non absorbable pseudo-vitamin B12) , inadequate for human supplementation.
Algae seems to be the most reliable plant based source of true Vitamin B12 so far. Following a research study in France in 1978 ( Greiko et al ) scientists in Finland ( Rauma et al ) and Japan ( Watanabe et al ) have found true vitamin B12 in Nori and Chlorella (but only non-absorbable pseudo-vitamin B12 in Spirulina) whilst Italian researchers say a strain of Klamath blue green algae appears to be, in a preliminary study, an adequate and reliable source of vitamin B12 in humans ( L Baroni et al , published in The International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 2009)