Parabel USA Inc based in Vero Beach, Florida this week announced a natural plant-based source of Vitamin B12 in Water Lentils. It is marketing this as Lentein® Plant Protein. The company hopes that the “last reason against plant-based eating – that plants don’t contain B12 – will now be debunked.”
The water lentil is commonly called “duckweed”. It was “shown to contain approximately 750 % of the US recommended daily value of the bioactive forms of Vitamin B12 (per 100 grams of the dry plant)”. In other words, there is now a plant-based vitamin B12.
Parabel confirmed that independent third-party laboratory testing has confirmed that the company’s water lentil crop containing the ingredient Lentein® plant protein contains the natural bioactive forms of Vitamin B 12 adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
This is an exciting nutritional development at a time when plant-based diets are being adopted in greater numbers. Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria found in soil as well as in the guts of animals, which for these purposes includes humans. But the soil needs to contain the mineral cobalt for the bacteria to make B12. The reduced soil quality from intensive over-farming has made it nigh on impossible for vegans to get enough vitamin B12 naturally. Vegans therefore typically need a vitamin B12 supplement as it is absent in plant foods. Most Vitamin B12 supplements are, however, synthetic.
Some meat-eaters are themselves deficient in this vitamin too even though natural bioactive forms of Vitamin B12 can be found in meats and dairy products.
Cecilia Wittbjer, Vice-President of Marketing at Parabel explained that water lentils had not been tested for vitamin B12 until now because of a prejudice that it was only found in animal ingredients. “This meant we didn’t concentrate on this until one of the large multinational food manufacturers confirmed it to us. There are different testing methods for B12, which also makes it complicated. However, it has now been confirmed from multiple third-party sources, so we feel comfortable in our statements.”
The company also believes that this natural rich source of vitamin B12 is also especially important for our ageing population which is a growing worldwide demographic.
Duckweed is a “complete food source”
Parabel describes the water lentil as “the world’s most complete food source” due to its “high levels and quality of protein, vitamins and minerals in the plant”.
The rapidly growing water lentil crop can double its biomass in a matter of days thereby producing high yields.
Parabel has developed patented technologies that allow it to transform this plant which has been eaten for thousands of years into high nutrition and high-quality products.
Vegan bodybuilder Geoff Palmer commented:
“I have reviewed the testing and I feel confident that the Parabel team has identified bioactive Vitamin B12 in their products. This could be a game-changing event for the plant-based food community as it allows one to consume bioactive, natural, whole-food plant-sourced B12.”
Dr Matthew Van Ert, Parabel’s Chief Scientific Officer concludes “Parabel’s hydroponic systems represent a scalable and potentially revolutionary platform to produce highly nutritious plant foods that contain bioactive vitamin B12 forms. Along with partners, we will begin conducting bioavailability studies to determine the effectiveness of water lentils as a natural, plant-based solution to address vitamin B12 deficiencies.”