Raw Vegans and Supplements

When I started eating the raw food/raw vegan way, I felt like I was invincible. I was going to eat 100% raw the rest of my life and I would live a long, long time with no health problems. I still hope to live a long, long time with less health problems than if I were eating cooked but my way of thinking has changed.

From the outset, Roger advised regular supplementation with B-12 and later added D3 to the mix. Well, I didn’t need that. I was eating all raw and mostly optimal raw. That’s all I needed. I felt fine. Why mess with it when I was feeling wonderful?

It took several years to show me why. There was little to no B-12 in the foods I was eating. Three and a half years down the raw food road saw my B-12 level dangerously low. It had come on so gradually I didn’t realize I wasn’t feeling as good as I should. It took blood work and some research to wake me up.

Now to go off on a tangent…I was going into the produce place yesterday to get my week’s supply of tomatoes when I met a woman I’ve known for many years. I met her when DS1 & 2 were very young children. I knew much of her history so it didn’t surprise me when we started talking and she told me there was depression and suicide in her family. What was surprising was she said she had gone to a doctor who practices both conventional and alternative medicine and, in learning her history, the doctor ordered some unconventional testing.

When the test results came back, they showed she has a defective gene which prevents her from absorbing folate. She was telling me she is taking a supplement that supplies what she’s missing. Low levels of folate can cause depression, among other things. I’d never heard of the supplement and I wish I’d asked her what it was because I’d like to research it.

Research is fascinating to me, anyway, so I started Googling defective gene folate. THAT’S when I found some information that is applicable to me. My folate levels are off the chart so there’s no deficiency there. Maybe that’s why I’m somewhat of a Pollyanna, too. However, what I found out was that folate must be balanced with adequate B-12. Eating foods high in folic acid/folate and not B-12 can actually lower the B-12 level. Seems there is some overlap in the metabolism of the two.

There can be multiple reasons for taking supplements. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s said that if a line is drawn from Atlanta to Los Angeles, anyone living north of the line will receive inadequate sun during the winter months to manufacture vitamin D. Vegans, both raw and cooked, don’t have a good source of B-12. To depend on the critters in the gut making it could be courting disaster. If a person has a defective gene…well, you get my drift.

I’ve taken Roger’s advice—finally—and am regularly taking B-12 and D3. Amazon doesn’t have D3 from lanolin which is a pity since I prefer ordering from them. Vitamin D2 is the vegan D but it doesn’t freely supply what the body needs. Taking it can be a little tricky. The D3 I take is from lanolin and is a minute amount. It is a non-fish liver source which is important to me. If that means I’m not vegan, so be it. Personally, I don’t believe that should make any difference in my status.

My friend with the defective gene can’t get folate the usual way with spinach and fresh-squeezed OJ (she’s a cooked vegan so the chicken liver and braised beef liver wouldn’t be an option for her) so supplementation is the only route.

Now, I don’t think I’ll ever need any supplementation other than the two I’m taking. I know the food I eat supplies more nutrition than the so-called “superfoods” and wheatgrass juice. Sorry. If you want to spend your money on them, have at it but I’ll keep eating my yummy food and let others have my part.

6 Responses to Raw Vegans and Supplements

  1. Heide May 14, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    Hi, I have heard that Kombucha has B12 – might be even better than supplementing?

    • Tommie May 14, 2009 at 6:53 am #

      I didn’t know that! Wonder how much you’d have to drink to get the amount you’d need? It also has alcohol so I think I’ll stick with the supplements. I need all my brain cells… 😀

  2. erik May 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    I recently started drinking Kefir and it really helped me with my weight loss goals. I lost 37 lbs. and am still losing weight. My friend turned me onto Kefir after she lost a significant amount of weight, I ordered mine at Royal Kefir
    the team helped me with my brew from start to finish
    i was a little shy because it was my first time making kefir but it was easy
    next is kombucha

    • Tommie May 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      I’ve heard some good things about kefir, Eric, and I used to drink milk kefir. However, I lost all of my weight with raw food and without kefir. I do want to try making water kefir but the kit on the site you mentioned seems a little pricey.

  3. Kerto February 22, 2015 at 4:10 am #

    Great idea to go with supplements. There are definitely vegan sources of all essential vitamins. Deva nutrition multivitamins are the easiest because they provide everything you need and they are a company accredited by the vegan society so there is no animal product in there.

    • Tommie February 22, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks, Kerto. I currently take Deva.

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