Are Vegetarians Deficient In Iron And B12?

By: Ron Lagerquist


 It is true that anemia is a common health problem. The meat industry would like to encourage us to eat lavish portions of meat in order to supply the body with iron. Yet, North America has one of the highest rates of meat consumption per capita and one of the highest incidences of anemia. There is no mystery to the problem of iron deficiency. Milk, sugar, fat, processed food and junk food have either no iron or a supplemented iron with poor bioavailability. It would take a chunk of butter the size of your refrigerator to get the same iron content that you will get from a bowl of broccoli. If 75 percent of our calories are coming from these empty foods, then how can we receive our daily need for iron? Certainly not from enriched bread! To make matters worse, vitamin C is needed for the proper assimilation of iron. Milk, sugar, fat, processed food and junk food are also void of vitamin C.

Most people are reluctant to eliminate meat from their diet for fear of becoming anemic. However, spinach has 14 times the iron per calorie than red meat. Many fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains have more iron than steak per calorie. It is true that the iron in meat has a greater bioavailability than plant foods, but for most of us, eating lots of raw green veggies would solve any iron deficiency. I do encourage any menstruating or pregnant women who are vegan vegetarians to take a natural iron supplement. I highly recommend Floradix liquid iron.


 B12 is the largest and most complex of all vitamin molecules, yet it is used by the body in such small quantities that the amount on the head of a pin (1 milligram) would prevent deficiency for three years. B12 is so minute, it is measured in billionths of a gram.

B12 is formed through micro-bacterial action. Normally, B12 can be absorbed by plants from the bacterial action in soil but modern farming techniques have effectively sterilized soils, destroying the bacterial action. Pesticides leach into the ground, killing the bacteria responsible for creating B12. If B12 is not in the soil, it’s not in your veggies.

B12 is a vitamin predominantly found in meat, eggs and dairy products. There are plant sources like fermented soy products, seaweeds, and algae such as spirulina, but these sources may not be bioavailable. Therefore, I do recommend that if you are a vegan vegetarian, to take a natural B12 supplement.

Related Article: Meat Protein Versus Plant Protein

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