I have been very interested in finding a vegan source (or at least a vegetarian one) of vitamin B12.
I am aware of spirulina – but that B12 is not very usable by the body. It also includes many vitamin B12 analogues, which bind to the body’s vitamin B12 receptor sites, which in turn means your body does not get to make use of the real vitamin B12 present.
Another source is nutritional yeast. I love the taste of nutritional yeast. It also adds an umami effect like MSG does – though it doesn’t make me tired or give me headaches as MSG does. In fact it does the opposite – and I had some yesterday to great results against a headache I had woken up with.
Though I feel good eating nutritional yeast, I am curious about the hypotheses this ad for spirulina makes regarding nutritional yeast, which haven’t been scientifically tested yet to my knowledge.
If I can’t have B12 from spirulina or nutritional yeast, there is still one more place to go: human feces (see the bottom of that page). It is completely vegan, because one could produce the vitamin B12 and recycle it through their own system. I am not sure how one would get the vitamin B12 and not some of the harmful bacteria and viruses present in fecal matter though. Rabbits can do that (and have to in order to absorb all the nutrients in their food), but human evolution hasn’t moved in that direction to get vitamin B12.
One might point out that some organic fruits and vegetables have vitamin B12, and they would be correct. The reason is because the plants transported the vitamin B12 present in the soil to the rest of the plant. This method is not vegan because B12 in the soil usually comes from animal manure. I don’t think animals care too much if you take away their poo (except for rabbits), but some vegans are quite adamant about what is OK and what is not.
With all the work into genetic engineering, I am surprised nobody has made vitamin B12 the way the human body does it in the colon, to sell to people. Perhaps I should patent the idea. I would make a lot of money off of hardcore vegans.