30 Bananas a Day!

30BaD FADs: Vitamins and B12 Demystified

30BaD FADs:  Frequently Added Discussions

Will I get enough vitamins eating fruits and greens?  

Do I need to take a vitamin  supplement?  

What about vitamin b12?

  1. Vitamins Defined
  2. Vitamin Functions
  3. Food Sources
  4. Side Effects
  5. Vitamin B12 Demystified
  6. Recommendations of Vitamins
  7. Tracking Nutrients
  8. Summary 


Vitamins Defined

There are 13 essential vitamins, meaning they are needed for the body to function. They are:

Vitamins are grouped into two categories:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • There are nine water-soluble vitamins. The body must use water-soluble vitamins right away. Any left over water-soluble vitamins leave the body through the urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.


Vitamin Functions

Each of the vitamins listed below has an important job in the body. A vitamin deficiency occurs when you do not get enough of a certain vitamin. Vitamin deficiency can cause health problems.

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables  may increase your risk for health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and poor bone health (osteoporosis).

  • Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
  • Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. Eating larger amounts of protein may reduce vitamin B6 levels in the body.
  • Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
  • Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It also promotes wound healing. A shortage of vitamin C in the diet can cause scurvy. It causes general weakness, anemia, gum disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis, and skin hemorrhages.
  • Vitamin D is also known as the "sunshine vitamin," since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which you need for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It plays a role in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K is not listed among the essential vitamins, but without it blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for promoting bone health.
  • Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Niacin is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It is also has cholesterol-lowering effects.
  • Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid.
  • Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food. It is also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting plenty of carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.

Food Sources

Within each serving, most fruits and lettuce greens contain most of the vitamins listed here, and many nuts and seeds are also high some vitamins.  This list is just a sampling of fruits and greens that may have a higher content of these vitamins, but is not all inclusive.   Exact amounts per serving can be looked up here:



Vitamin A concerns:

Retinol is an active form of vitamin A and is found in animal products and some fortified foods.  Taking too much active vitamin A can cause sickness and Hypervitaminosis A with symptoms that can include pain, vision problems, digestive problems, skin problems, and damage to the liver.  

However, the pure active vitamin is not found in  plant foods.  In plant foods, there are carotenoids are dark-colored dyes (pigments) can turn into a form of vitamin A. There are more than 500 known carotenoids. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene. Large amounts of beta-carotene will not make one sick.  (1)

Vitamin A Food Sources:

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Dark-colored fruit

Vitamin D:

  • Sunshine 
  • Mushrooms (5)

Vitamin E:

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Avocado
  • Papaya and mango
  • Seeds and nuts

Vitamin K:

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Many fruits
  • Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract. (3)



  • Raspberries
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Nuts


  • Lettuce Greens
  • Oranges and Citrus
  • Bananas
  • Peaches

Niacin (vitamin B3):

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes

Pantothenic acid:

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Rasberries

Thiamine (vitamin B1): (9)

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Nuts and seeds

Pyroxidine (vitamin B6):

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Nuts

Vitamin B12:

  • Can be manufactured by gut bacteria, can be absorbed in intestines. (10)
  • Some plant sources Yes, contrary to popular belief, some plants can uptake b12 from the soil and or fertilizers.  (11) (12) (13)
  • Vitamin Supplements
  • Injections

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):

  • Lettuce Greens
  • Citrus fruits
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Lettuce greens like romaine lettuce could be viewed as nature's multivitamin supplement in a leaf and they contain small to large amounts of almost every vitamin, are high in cobalt the element needed from b12, and may contain small amounts of b12.  (12) (14) (15) 


Side Effects

Many people think that if some is good, a lot is better. This is not always the case. High doses of certain vitamins can be poisonous. Therefore, supplementing with vitamin supplements is not recommended.


Vitamin B12 Demystified

Sources of b12 include some plants which absorb b12 directly from the soil, gut bacteria, vitamins, and injections.  Some plants absorb cobalt from the soil, and human beings can use the cobalt directly.  Some cobalt is consumed by gut bacteria and converted to b12 and absorbed in the intestines. Good sources of cobalt rich foods are lettuce greens and nuts. (12)(10) (14) (15)

When the study of vitamin b12 was in its infancy, there was a group of vegetarian natural hygienists who alleviated their b12 deficiency symptoms by eating two pounds of lettuce greens a day and a handful of nuts.  Their positive results may have been a combination of the greens actually having some b12 content of their own, and being high in cobalt of which can be used directly by the body and or converted to vitamin b12 by gut bacteria and absorbed in the intestine. (16)

Not all vegans are b12 deficient and not all individuals who are b12 deficient are vegan.  B12 deficiency runs at about a steady 40% across all dietary habits. Reasons for b12 deficiency may be more related to an individuals health and or the health of their digestive system, and their ability to absorb and assimilate b12.  Other reasons could be eating foods grown on nutrient deficient soils. (17)

Cobalt is the component of b12 needed by the body.  In nature, animals like cows get their cobalt from eating plants grown on cobalt enriched soils.  Some of the cobalt can be used directly by the body, and some cobalt is turned into b12 when consumed by gut bacteria.  These gut bacteria provide a source of human b12.  Some of this b12 can be absorbed in the lower intestine along with vitamin K and water.  Some might argue that b12 can only be absorbed in the upper intestine and that intrinsic factor is needed.  But in individuals with genetic intrinsic factor issues and or damage, this is bypassed by giving b12 injections anyways.  

When in doubt about a b12 deficiency, get a physical done by a regular doctor, and have a CBC blood test done, and also check for b12 and vitamin D deficiency.  Many diseases and conditions mimic each other's symptoms, and b12 symptoms may mimic those of other conditions such as iron deficiency anemia.  

If there is a true b12 deficiency, then get  a prescription from your doctor and fill that at a legitimate pharmacy and take as much as needed to treat the deficiency.  It is not known for sure what exactly is in b12 shots sold on the black market and or in some OTC markets.  Even then, synthetic b12 supplements may contain toxic compounds, and or be toxic in large amounts for some people. 

Like any supplement and or medication, there are risks of overdose, toxicity and or side effects.   Potential side effects include: (20)

Blood clots in the legs
Feelings of swelling over the entire body
Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:

Hives or a rash

Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
Wheezing or other difficulty breathing.

Very high doses of cobalamin may sometimes cause acne . (21)

Other anecdotal evidence of side effects include Vitamin B12 overdose symptoms include headache, giddiness and abnormal functioning of the heart .  The most prominent side effect is increased risk of cancer. One of the functions of vitamin B12 is to stimulate cell division. But, as it cannot differentiate between useful and harmful cells, it leads to multiplication and growth of cancerous cells as well. 
An overdose of vitamin B12, while treating pernicious anemia, can result in leukemia. If a person having a diet high in cholesterol and animal protein has an overdose of this vitamin, he is at a higher risk of suffering from cancer of stomach and esophagus. Hence, it has been observed that there is an increased risk of different types of cancers due to toxicity of this vitamin. (20) (21)

Therefore, before thinking of using supplements,  find out from a medical professional whether a deficiency actually exists. Take supplements only on prescription and restrict it to the prescribed amount. Although vitamin B12 overdose is very rare, one must take proper measures in order to prevent the side effects related to it. 

Find out the cause of the b12 deficiency.  In rare cases, some people have either a genetic disposition and or damage done to their bodies and may have intrinsic factor issues.  These people may have to take b12 injections for the rest of their lives.  

However, in many cases, b12 is an absorption issue and or an issue related to damaged gut flora.  Once the diet is changed to a more healthy diet, and the digestive system healed, so too is the b12 issue resolved.  Many individuals with pernicious anemia, a type of b12 deficiency, actually have Celiac Disease and or gluten sensitivies.  For them, a simple removal of grains from the diet is enough to get b12 under control again.   (22) (23)

Recommendations of Vitamins

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins reflect how much of each vitamin most people should get each day. (1)

  • The RDA for vitamins may be used as goals for each person.
  • How much of each vitamin you need depends on your age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and your health, are also important.

The best way to get all the daily vitamins you need is to eat a balanced diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and lettuce greens.  

If under a doctor's care you are taking supplements, DO NOT take more than 100% of the RDA. Be very careful about taking large amounts of fat-soluble vitamin supplements -- vitamins A, D, E, and K. Because these vitamins are stored in fat cells, they can build up in your body and may cause harmful effects.


Tracking Nutrients





On a low fat raw fruit and lettuce green based diet, where fruit and about 1-2 pounds of lettuce greens are consumed everyday, all vitamins will be consumed in some amount except vitamin D.  The best source of Vitamin D is the sun and it is recommend to sit about 30 minutes a day.(6)  Mushrooms are also a source of vitamin D.

Lettuce greens contain almost every kind of vitamin except for vitamin D.

Benefits of Lettuce Greens

To ensure overall good health and avoid deficiencies, eat at least 2500/3000 calories a day.  Eat simple meals, but eat a rainbow of fruits over a period of time, and focus on getting at least 1/2-2 pounds of lettuce greens.

Why 2500/3000 Calories A Day?

Avoid foods that are high in anti nutrients, irritating substances like oxalate and purines that may inhibit assimilation of vitamins thus causing deficiencies and long term degenerative diseases.  High oxalate foods such as kale and spinach and starchy foods such as tubers, legumes, grains, and starchy vegetables my interfere with digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients.  

Starchy Foods vs Fruit n Lettuce

Oxalate Health Impact

Abdominal Bloating



Information regarding vitamins and what they do provided complimentary by MedlinePlus, the official medical search engine of the Unites States government.  

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002399.htm  Vitamins
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000355.htm  Scurvy
  3. Most people get their vitamin K from plants such as green vegetable...  Vitamin K.
  4. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-produc... 1 head raw romaine lettuce
  5. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-produc... Mushrooms, Vitamin D source. 
  6. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-produc...  One head iceberg lettuce. 
  7. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-produc...  Tomato
  8. http://www.livestrong.com/article/206067-what-foods-contain-biotin/  Biotin in fruits
  9. http://www.livestrong.com/article/50634-foods-high-vitamin-b1/  Thiamine and B1 sources
  10. http://soilandhealth.org/02/0201hyglibcat/HlthUltd.pdf  B12 manufactered by gut bacteria and absorbed in intestine. pg 61-62. No need of other supplements pg 65.  
  11. http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/b12-breakth...tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=76&cHash=135f525da5 Written By T. Collin Campbell.  Older article, but modern research still confirms.  
  12. http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/232/10/1266.full.pdf+html  b12 sources including some green plants, soy, and tea.  
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959839  Pubmed Vitamin B12 sources and bioavailabilit
  14. http://scienceviews.com/geology/cobalt.html Cobalt in soil and provided for animals. 
  15. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Other-vitamins... Sources of cobalt.  
  16. http://www.soilandhealth.org/06clipfile/drbass04.pdf Natural Hygienist, b12, two pounds of lettuce greens.  
  17. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2000/000802.htm  2/5 or 40% of people in USA deficient. 
  18. en.emedtv.com/vitamin-b12/vitamin-b12-toxicity.html B12 toxicity.
  19. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Vitamin_B12.aspx High dose of b12 and acne.  
  20. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/vitamin-b12-overdose.html  B12 overdose and cancer.
  21. http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/9/8/789.full.pdf+... Higher b12 serum in patients suffering from leukemia.  
  22. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ Source of b12 and causes of deficiency.
  23. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/vitamin-b12-deficiency-anemia-to...  b12 deficiency anemia. 
  24. Many links and or disease explanations courtesy of MedlinePlus, the medical search engine of the United States government.  


This blog is for informational purposes only.
Never try to self diagnose or treat a disease or symptom.  Many diseases and conditions have similar symptoms.  In case of a medical emergency, seek medical care to get a proper diagnosis.  

The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional  medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health 
provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional 
medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site.

Updated August 22, 2012 By PK

Views: 3810


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Comment by PK on June 30, 2016 at 12:20pm

Therefore, before thinking of using supplements,  find out from a medical professional whether a deficiency actually exists. Take supplements only on prescription and restrict it to the prescribed amount. Although vitamin B12 overdose is very rare, one must take proper measures in order to prevent the side effects related to it.

Peace, PK

Comment by Sunny Pirjana on March 24, 2015 at 6:05am
What? So you mustn't take b12 supplements?? ?
Comment by Klairee Berry on December 23, 2013 at 10:15am

I JUST WANT to say thank you for these wonderful articles.  You guys have really done your research and thank you for the links!  I have been trying to de-myth the Weston A Price FOunation and its great to have such an authoritative site to utilize when speaking with my friends!


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