What is Vitamin B12, really? Book Excerpt of the Week

For last week’s book excerpt from the Energy Drink Guide, we talked about what vitamin B6 does. This week, we move into the Vitamin B12 chapter. Before we can talk about what B12 does, we have to talk about where it comes from…bacteria!

Did you know ALL B12 comes from bacterial fermentation?

Vitamin B12 can be found in food sources like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy because the animals are the vessel for this bacterial fermentation. Plants don’t make B12, and they only provide B12 if they’ve been contaminated with soil that contains it (e.g. from the animal gut to the poop to the soil to the plant).

Certain natural vitamins are superior to their synthetic counterparts, and vice versa — remember when we talked about synthetic vs natural folate and the bling rings? But with vitamin B12, all B12 compounds are made through fermentation of bacteria, fungi, or algae.

Whether this fermentation occurs in the stomach of a cow or in a lab doesn’t affect the active structure or function of the vitamin.

 

Okay, phew – so B12 comes from bacteria…and that’s fine…

…But we’re not done with the fear-mongering.

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DO NOT PANIC if you come across a website that suggests synthetic B12 is poison because it’s cyanide. The association is irrelevant, just like the association between Chloride and SODIUM Chloride. The context makes all the difference. Furthermore, the dosage makes the difference between a poison and a cure (paraphrasing the Father of Toxicology, Paracelsus).

To learn more about B12 and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide (now on Audible!!!).

Let’s connect!

 

Bai Sparkling, Cocaine Energy, and Monster Ultra Violet: July Recap of Quick Reviews – Science of Energy Drinks

Here’s a recap of the quick reviews posted this month for the “Science of Energy Drinks” series on the GreenEyedGuide Instagram and Facebook pages: Bai Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion, Cocaine Energy, and Monster Ultra Violet.

Read more

Energy Drinks and Hepatitis – What You Should Know

You’ve probably seen this story on CNN and other outlets. There are some additional details I want to add based on the 10 years I put into researching energy drinks and their ingredients. In the CNN article, I do understand why it’s mentioned this man had excessive folate and vitamin B12 levels, and yet the blame for the liver problems went not to B12 nor folate, but exclusively to niacin. Excessive folate masks B12 deficiency; excessive B12 doesn’t have documented symptoms, and excessive niacin HAS in fact caused liver damage. Liver damage may occur at 1.5 GRAMS (1500 mg). However, the man in this story reportedly only consumed 5 cans with 40 mg niacin each, or 200 mg niacin total. That doesn’t seem like enough to hit toxicity levels. Another thing to consider is how Niacin Flush occurs at 30 mg; if someone was consuming an excess of niacin, usually they’d feel it.

I’m always aggravated when “energy drinks” are treated all the same. Have you see the “energy drinks in disguise” I’ve been talking about here on this blog? Do you even realize how different the New Age of energy drinks more closely resembles “functional beverages” than the energy drink stereotype. But I get it — some stereotypes are just too persistent.

these-are-energy-drinks-too

In that case, what aggravates me most of all in this particular story is how the caffeine content is curiously missing from the details collected or any of the blame assigned/implicated in this piece. It’s aggrivating to me when a news story casually implies energy drinks have caused a medical condition, and yet the details of that energy drink are missing. What OTHER ingredients were in there? Any EGCG? How much caffeine? How much sugar?

This is important because there are some really critical details missing from the news stories, and yet they’re not wrong. It’s TRUE that TOO MUCH Niacin can hurt your liver. But HOW MUCH is TOO MUCH? (1.5 GRAMS) That’s what is missing from these news stories. That’s what I want to share with all of you. There’s no need for panic, but there IS a need to be more informed.

Reference used for the vitamin information – Are You A Monster Or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks http://amzn.to/2bjHRbk

CNN article – http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/02/health/energy-drinks-hepatitis/index.html

Related content: Niacin Sample Chapter from my book “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

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Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon…)

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Do You Diet Out of Fear — Green-Eyed Guide on Health Blog

Have you ever changed your eating habits based on alarming headlines or infographics? In this Green-Eyed Guide guest blog, we examine the three outcomes that may occur when fear is used to shape food choices.

Source: http://www.ahealthblog.com/do-you-diet-out-of-fear.html
Source: http://www.ahealthblog.com/do-you-diet-out-of-fear.html

 

Why I’m Carrageenan Girl for Halloween

This year I’m dressed up as the food additive, carrageenan, for Halloween. This unusual (and extremely nerdy food scientist) decision is my response to the rampant use of fear in food marketing and reformulations.

Carrageenan Girl
Have you recently been told to be afraid of a certain food additive?

Related Posts:

Food Additive Deep Dive (pun intended) for Carrageenan 

Excerpt:

“Like rumors in high school, ingredient stigmas make me wonder, how did this claim get started? Is it personal or just a misunderstanding? How did this rumor spread so fast? Is there a grain of truth behind it, and how can the subject of the rumor possibly clarify or dispel the rumor?”

Fooducate Caught being Anti-chemical AND Anti-chemophobia – A Plea from a Food Scientist

 Excerpt: “I’m tired of being told to be afraid of chemicals…

This week alone, I have been told by a fast-casual burrito company to be afraid of Silicon Dioxide; I’ve been told by a face wash company not to put “chemicals” on my face (unless those “chemicals” are vitamins, natural sugars, and/or plant extracts); and I’ve had to ask my former-favorite juice company in the world to PLEASE use some alternative sweeteners instead of my whole day’s allowance of sugar in one bottle.”

Do You Diet out of Fear?
Excerpt:

“Fear can be a powerful motivator. If you were afraid your poor health would prevent you from walking your daughter down the aisle, you’d probably be more motivated to eat healthy and workout. Sometimes fear seems like the only way to get a message through to your teenager, but as most parents can testify, fear doesn’t always work. When fear is used to motivate diet decisions there are three major outcomes to consider.”