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Posts Tagged ‘wheat gluten’

Don’t be a Glutton for Gluten

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Today’s health food stores stock a wide variety of goods to meet the needs of every diet known to mankind- low fat, low sugar, processed-free, nondairy, low carb, high protein…but what gives with gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in grain products such as wheat, spelt and barley, among others.  Patients of celiac disease, a disorder which distresses the small intestines, have trouble digesting such products and are thus advised to follow a gluten-free diet.  Health food aisles abound with gluten-free cake mixes, breads and pastas.  Hundreds of recipe web sites offer creative suggestions for gluten-free living.

Rewind to thirty years ago, and most people would probably have not heard of celiac disease.  So, how did celiac disease suddenly become a household name?  Modernization provides a key – despite the advice from numerous health experts, we Americans still love our Wonder bread; those light, airy loaves cannot be produced without rich, glutinous dough, and agriculturalists have been striving to deliver the most highly glutinous crops of wheat available in order to meet our demands.

Another culprit might be commercial yeast, which has replaced sourdough yeast as the preferred rising agent among bread makers. According to a report published by Applied and Environmental Microbiology, sourdough yeast contains bacteria which break down the gluten in the dough, thereby reducing the likeliness of bowel irritation.  Commercial yeasts offer no such protection.

Celiac disease can lead to other complications such as osteoporosis, anemia resulting from B12 deficiency, fatigue and weight gain, to name just a few. Incidences of celiac disease are rising, either due to increased wheat consumption or the public’s rising awareness of the disorder.

A doctor’s visit is required in order to ascertain whether one is suffering from celiac or from gluten intolerance, the latter of which is less harmful.  Although gluten intolerance does not create any lasting damage, some experts believe that the continuance of a high-gluten diet might lead to an eventual celiac disease diagnosis.

Food Sources For Vitamin B12

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

The Need For Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is required for cell division and blood formation in the body. Neither plants nor animals can produce vitamin B12; it is produced by bacteria. Animals get the vitamin B12 they need by consuming food which contains the vitamin B12 producing bacteria. The plants we eat do not contain vitamin B12 unless the bacteria are present or vitamin B12 is added to them. Therefore, vegetarians need to look for fortified foods or supplements to get enough vitamin B12 in their diet. Though the daily amount of vitamin B12 needed is very small, vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious problem that can lead eventually to anemia and irreversible nerve damage. Prudent vegetarians will include sources of vitamin B12 in their diet. Vitamin B12 is especially important during pregnancy and lactation, and for infants and children.

Sources of Vitamin B12 For Vegetarians

Some sources of vitamin B12 are vitamin B12 fortified soymilk, vitamin B12 fortified wheat gluten, and soybeans. These vegetarian products are often made to resemble meat, fish, or poultry. Also, there are vitamin supplements available that do not contain animal products. Vegetarians who choose to use a vitamin B12 supplement, either as a single supplement or in a multivitamin, must remember to use the supplements regularly for them to be effective. In order to meet the body’s needs, one should take a daily vitamin B12 supplement of approximately 5-10 micrograms, or a weekly vitamin B12 supplement of approximately 2000 micrograms. 

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