Vitamin B12 for Vegans a Common Component of Japanese diet

Viable Vitamin B12 for Vegans available for centuries as common component of Japanese daily diet ~ Shiitake Mushroom

Consider this: Do mushrooms require B12? Why would mushrooms adsorb and absorb the B12? Is this an accident of Nature;  or ~ is DNA much more intelligent than we realize?

In AUSTRALIA ~ University of Western Sydneycompleted ground-breaking research on the B12 content of button mushrooms.

In JAPAN ~ According to Dr. Kanichi Mori, Shiitake mushrooms have more vitamin B12 than milk and fish.

Brief:Certain types of Mushrooms are unique in that they contain Vitamin B12, something that vegetables can’t produce at all.  Since B12 is mainly of animal origin, deficiency is commonly associated with vegetarian diets.  Mushrooms were found to contain 0.32-0.65 mg per gram of B12, allowing just 3 g of fresh mushrooms to provide the RDA of this vitamin.  Vegetarians may find this a useful way of getting this important nutrient. ~ more at ~ This is possibly due to a subtle, potential symbiotic relationship that occurs between the three parties involved… humans, mushrooms, and B12 producing bacterium.


Australian Government Analytical Laboratories found appreciable amounts of B12 in mushrooms.

There has long been speculation about whether or not mushrooms provide vitamin B12, a vitamin normally associated with animal foods. In 1987, the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories found appreciable amounts of B12 in mushrooms.

Based on this analysis, the mushroom industry then included B12 as a nutrient in their promotional material and advertising. The B12 level was disputed by some nutrition professionals who believed that only animal sources can provide B12, while others wanted to know whether the B12 claimed to be found was bio-available.

In early 2009, researchers at the University of Western Sydney completed ground-breaking research on the B12 content of button mushrooms. Their detailed experiments on mushrooms of all sizes and stages of growth from around Australia conclusively proved that:

A. Mushrooms do have B12 present. It is on both the surface of the mushroom and in the flesh of the mushroom. The majority of B12 is in the surface of the cup of the mushroom.

B. The B12 present is bio-available, in exactly the same form as B12 in beef liver and fish.




Shiitake (Lentinus Edodes) is often called a wild mushroom, however, it is mostly found cultivated. The name Shiitake is derived from a Japanese word meaning “oak fungus” – discovered most frequently growing at the base of Japanese oak conifers called “shii trees,” thus its name. Originally they grew on rotted oak logs in shady areas, but are now commercially grown on both coasts of the U.S. as well as in Japan. Currently, Shiitakes are being grown with an intensive cultivation technique that has only recently been developed: synthetic logs (oak sawdust and other agricultural wastes in bales) composed of sterile compost using environmental manipulation of the crop by heavy watering, a moderate temperature, humidity and shading or positioning the logs in areas of different microclimate. This controlled environment allows fresh year round availability in nearly all U.S. markets, but most plentifully during spring and summer. The cropping period is 3 to 5 years. Shiitake mushrooms are the second mostcultivated mushroom in the world, only after Agaricus, the Paris mushroom. Besides China and Japan, Shiitake is also widely cultivated in Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore as well as Holland, the United States and Canada. They are priced on the high side, but are not as expensive as Chanterelles or Morels, and have the distinct advantage of a long shelf life because they are most commonly sold dried, there being a very large demand for the dry form. The Shiitake Mushroom is as common in Asian countries as Agaricus bisporus is in the West. Its cultivation method is similar to that of P. ostreatus, the Oyster mushroom.

The earliest written record of Shiitake mushroom dates back to 199 A.D. when they were orginally only served to royalty. According to Japanese historical documents, Emperor Chuai praised the Shiitake given him by the natives of Kyushu. Actual cultivation of Shiitake originated during the Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Both history and legend credit Wu San Kwung as the originator of Shiitake cultivation, and today, almost every mushroom-growing village in China has a temple in his honor. Not only was the Shiitake mushroom prized for its superlative flavor and texture but the ancient Japanese court believed the vegetable slowed the aging process. Reputed as a tonic, a stimulant, they have often been called “Elixir of Life”.

Regarding the nutritional and medicinal value of the Shiitake: extensive Japanese medical research is finding that they are to be valued for their disease-preventing qualities – enhancing the immune system, proving beneficial in fighting cancer with anti-tumor and antiviral properties and as an aid in the prevention of cerebral hemorrhagic strokes by regulating blood pressure. Also, researchers S. Suzuki and Oshima found that a raw Shiitake eaten daily for one week lowered serum cholesterol by 12%. Concentrated forms of lentinan (a polysaccharide), a Shiitake extract, have been used to treat cancer, AIDS, diabetes, fibrosystic breast disease and other conditions.

According to Dr. Kanichi Mori, Shiitake mushrooms have very low fat content, no starch, and more vitamin B12 than milk and fish. He considers Shiitake nutritionally more valuable than the western staples: corn, turnips, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Having a full complement of essential amino acids, and containing twice the protein of other mushrooms : (18%) – although less protein than meat, the amount is comparable to peas and green beans. Shiitakes contain a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, iron and other minerals, a low caloric count, and are said to be rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D2, niacin, with good lipids, fiber and carbohydrates.

Here is its detailed nutritional value from  American Health Magazine, May 1987:

100 grams (about 3 1/2 oz) shiitake contains

• 39 calories

• 15 to 35% protein

• Less than 1 gram of fat

• 7.3 g. carbohydrate

• 0.8 g. crude fiber

• 0.8mg. thiamine (53% mdr)

• 0.5mg. riboflavin (29% mdr)

• 5.5mg. niacin(27.5%)

• rich in Vitamin D2(200iu. 50%)

• B2 and B12

Shiitakes, also referred to as Chinese, Oriental Black mushrooms or Forest Mushrooms are in size range from baby to large and very dense. Dried caps are swarthy and handsome, gold to dark brown on top with creamy tan-colored interior gills underneath. The rim of the dried Shiitake curls down toward the stem. The cap ranges from 1 to 1-3/4 wide. They boast a full bodied, meaty flesh and a light garlic-pine aroma. Its low water content intensifies its rich woodsy flavor, thereby yielding more taste per ounce, and a stem tougher than most mushrooms is best utilized for soups or stews. Wash them thoroughly before soaking if they are uncleaned. Soak clean Shiitakes for 30 to 45 minutes in very warm water to cover, or pour boiling water over them. Then using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, snip off and discard the tough stems.

French chefs call the Shiitake the “fragrant” mushroom. Use anywhere pronounced mushroom flavor is desired. Delicious breaded and fried, added to vegetable and Oriental soups. Chop and mix with bread crumbs for a savory stuffing for grilled vegetables. Use in stir fry dishes, rice dishes, casseroles and even grilled with meats. It also may be eaten raw. The large caps are often grilled whole as an appetizer, stuffed and baked or as a “Veggie Burger.” However, grilled or broiled – Shiitake needs a generous supply of oil. Shiitakes may also be enjoyed as a tea for further health benefits.

Much MORE info…

There are many essential vitamins required daily in the diet.  The fruit body of a mushroom is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins including riboflavin (B2) niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin (B1) biotin, folate and vitamin B12.  Mushrooms are a particularly rich source of riboflavin.  One portabella mushroom takes care of nearly one-third our daily value.  Vegetarians should also be aware that mushrooms are one of the best plant-based sources of niacin around: 100g of fresh mushrooms provide more than a quarter of the adult daily requirement of this vitamin.

Certain kinds of mushrooms are unique in that they contain Vitamin B12, something that vegetables can’t produce at all.  Since B12 is mainly of animal origin, deficiency is commonly associated with vegetarian diets.  Mushrooms were found to contain 0.32-0.65 mg per gram of B12, allowing just 3 g of fresh mushrooms to provide the RDA of this vitamin.  Vegetarians may find this a useful way of getting this important nutrient.

Shiitake Mushrooms: OverviewMushrooms have long been treated much like herbs in China and Japan, and have been used for many health purposes. Nutrition researchers have chemically analyzed some of these mushrooms and determined that they contain unique nutrients and compounds not found in other plants. As research continues, the virtue of mushrooms, such as Shiitake Mushroom and Maitake Mushroom, grows stronger throughout the world.In 1936, a Dr. Kisaku Mori established the Institute of Mushroom Research in Tokyo. Until his death in 1977, Dr. Mori worked with scientists from around the world to document the medicinal effects of shiitake. Using analytical techniques, Mori found shiitake high in many enzymes and vitamins that were not usually found in plants. His findings, published in Mushrooms as Health Foods, were extensive. Working for years with human subjects, he discovered that shiitake is effective in treating a long list of ailments including high cholesterol, gallstones, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers, diabetes, vitamin deficiency, anemia, and even the common cold.

Since then, many studies have focused on shiitake’s ability to rapidly lower serum cholesterol, as well as this mushroom’s potent antitumor, antiviral, and antibiotic properties.

History; Source

Shiitake has been revered in Japan and China as both a food and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Wu Ri, a famous physician from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, wrote extensively about this mushroom, noting its ability to increase energy, cure colds, and eliminate worms.

Shiitake Mushroom grows on the trunks or stumps of trees. In the wild, this light amber fungus is also found on fallen hardwood trees. Wild Shiitake Mushrooms are native to Japan, China, and other Asian countries. Shiitake is widely cultivated throughout the world. The fruiting body is used medicinally.

Function; Reasons For Use

Primary chemical constituents of Shiitake include Polysaccharide, eritadenin, proteins, fatty acids, and vitamins D, B-2, B-12. The proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, and most commonly occurring non-essential amino acids and amides. The fatty acids are largely unsaturated, and Shiitake’s are rich in vitamins and minerals. Key therapeutic substances also present are glucans, a major constituent of the cell walls. Shiitake also yields Lentinan, a beta-1,3-linked glucan polysaccharide with a molecular weight of 1 million.

Scientists now believe that lentinan and virus-like particles found in shiitake trigger the increased production of various serum factors associated with immunity and inflammation. These so-called lymphokines, such as interferon and interleukin, stimulate the defense system through the proliferation of phagocytes, including macrophages and other immune fighters that attack cancer cells, bacteria, and viruses.

In addition to fighting cancer, inhibiting the growth of viruses, and lowering cholesterol, shiitake have potent antibiotic effects against other organisms. A substance called cortinelin, a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent, which has been isolated from shiitake, kills a wide range of pathogenic bacteria. A sulfide compound extracted from shiitake has been found to have an effect against the fungus that causes ringworm and other skin diseases.

Lentinan acts by stimulating the immune system, rather than by direct action on the tumor. Because of its large molecular size, Lentinan is not absorbed efficiently when taken orally, but some is absorbed. Lentinan activates the alternative complement pathway, stimulating the macrophages, thus inhibiting tumor growth. It also may activate interleukin-1 secretion, which helps trigger T-lymphocytes. Shiitake is believed to stimulate interferon production.

A vast amount of research into Shiitake’s medicinal properties has been completed and shows that it has the ability to fight tumors and viruses and enhance the immune system.

High levels of cholesterol in the blood has been linked to serious diseases such as arteriosclerosis and strokes, so investigators were excited in 1966 when they isolated a substance from shiitake that dramatically lowered blood cholesterol. This substance, now called eritadenine, has been associated with the water-soluble fiber of shiitake, but its action is even stronger when the whole mushroom is consumed. Studies with humans have shown that only three ounces of shiitake (5-6 mushrooms) a day can lower cholesterol by 12% in a week.

In a 1996 study at Drew University, a protein-bound polysaccharide extracted from shiitake was found to have strong anti-tumor properties. In the study ten cancer patients were treated with the compound and all showed significant improvement. Similar studies have shown that shiitake extract helps prevent transplanted tumors from taking hold, and “excellent results” were obtained by Japanese scientists in a four-year follow-up study of patients with advanced and recurrent stomach and colon cancer. Shiitake extract is even being tested for use with modern chemotherapy drugs to lessen their toxic effects on healthy tissue and the immune system.

The most recent development in shiitake medical research involves the use of shiitake extract to inhibit the reproduction of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in tissue culture. Researchers working at Japan’s Yamaguchi University School of Medicine have reported that shiitake extract has a “protective effect” that inhibits the usual cell-destroying effects of the HIV virus.

Shiitake Mushrooms can help with the following:


Weakened Immune System

It is believed that shiitake mushrooms stimulate immune function.

Tumors, Malignant

Cancer, General

The antitumor and anticancer properties of mushrooms have been studied. Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and reishi (Ganoderma ludidum) have been found to have general anticancer and immune-stimulating activity [Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1982;9(8): pp.1474-81]. Maitake (Grifolia frondosa) also contains immune-stimulating polysaccharides. There are some combination mushroom products on the market to help prevent and treat different forms of cancer.

Shiitake Mushrooms can help with the following:


Weakened Immune System

It is believed that shiitake mushrooms stimulate immune function.

Tumors, Malignant

Cancer, General

The antitumor and anticancer properties of mushrooms have been studied. Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and reishi (Ganoderma ludidum) have been found to have general anticancer and immune-stimulating activity [Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1982;9(8): pp.1474-81]. Maitake (Grifolia frondosa) also contains immune-stimulating polysaccharides. There are some combination mushroom products on the market to help prevent and treat different forms of cancer.


Amino Acid (Amino Acids)

An organic acid containing nitrogen chemical building blocks that aid in the production of protein in the body. Eight of the twenty-two known amino acids are considered “essential,” and must be obtained from dietary sources because the body can not synthesize them.

Anemia (Anaemia, Anemias)

A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.


Any of a number of herbs, drugs or agents capable of destroying viruses or inhibiting their growth or multiplication until the body is capable of destroying the virus itself. Most antiviral agents are members of the antimetabolite family.


A common arterial disorder. Characterized by calcified yellowish plaques, lipids, and cellular debris in the inner layers of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.

Bacteria (Bacterial, Bacterium)

Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are “harmful” and can cause disease, while other “friendly” bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.


Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


A treatment of disease by any chemicals. Used most often to refer to the chemical treatments used to combat cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles: a treatment period followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, and so on. Most anticancer drugs are given by injection into a blood vessel (IV); some are given by mouth. Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy, meaning that the drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Usually, a patient has chemotherapy as an outpatient (at the hospital, at the doctor’s office, or at home). However, depending on which drugs are given and the patient’s general health, a short hospital stay may be needed.


A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Cobalamin (B12, B-12, Cobalamine, Vitamin B12)

Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).

Colon (Colonic)

The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.

Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes, Diabetic, Diabetics)

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Enzymes (Enzyme)

Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Fatty Acids (Fatty Acid)

Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.

Gallstone (Biliary Calculus, Gall Stone, Gall Stones, Gallbladder Attack, Gallbladder Attacks, Gallstones)

Stone-like objects in either the gallbladder or bile ducts, composed mainly of cholesterol and occasionally mixed with calcium. Most gallstones do not cause problems until they become larger or they begin obstructing bile ducts, at which point gallbladder “attacks” begin to occur. Symptoms usually occur after a fatty meal and at night. The following are the most common ones: steady, severe pain in the middle-upper abdomen or below the ribs on the right; pain in the back between the shoulder blades; pain under the right shoulder; nausea; vomiting; fever; chills; jaundice; abdominal bloating; intolerance of fatty foods; belching or gas; indigestion.

Herbs (Herb, Herbal)

Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

A retrovirus associated with onset of advanced immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Immune System (Immune Response, Immunity)

A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation. The process may involve acquired immunity (the ability to learn and remember a specific infectious agent), or innate immunity (the genetically programmed system of responses that attack, digest, remove, and initiate inflammation and tissue healing).


A protein formed by the cells of the immune system in the presence of a virus, etc. It prevents viral reproduction, and is capable of protecting noninfected cells from viral infection. Several kinds of interferon exist including alpha, beta, and gamma.


Substances produced by the cells of the immune system when exposed to antigens. These substances are not antibodies, but they play a vital role in the on-board defense system.

Macrophage (Macrophages)

An immune system cell that scavenges bacterial and other foreign material in the blood and tissues. It is a mature form of what is released from the marrow as a monocyte. A macrophage lives long, can digest much detritus, and is able to wear particles of odd food on its outer membrane. This allows T-cell and B-cell lymphocytes to taste the particle (an epitope) and form an antibody response. Further, these macrophages, traveling as monocytes, will take up permanent residence in many tissues, providing them with immunity. They line the spleen, form the cleansing Kupffer cells in the liver, make up the “dust cells” that protect the lungs, protect the synovial fluids of the joints, and form the microglial cells that provide protection to the brain and nerve tissues. Essentially the macrophages clean up messes and act as the intermediates between innate and acquired immunity.

Mineral (Minerals)

Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Ounce (Ounces, oz)

Approximately 28 grams.

Protein (Proteins)

Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Riboflavin (B2, B-2, Vitamin B2)

A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that activates the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation and necessary for healthy skin and eyes.


The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.


A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.

Tineas (Athletes Foot, Athlete’s Foot, Pityriasis Versicolor, Ringworm, Tinea Pedis, Tinea Versicolor)

A dermatomycosis; any number of skin fungus infections, such as ringworm, athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis), and so forth. It is generally slow to acquire and hard to get rid of. Tinea Versicolor is a chronic skin fungus, often without symptoms… except the light skin splotches of infected surfaces that don’t tan. It seems easily transmitted from one part of the body to another or one person to another. It is also called Pityriasis Versicolor.

T-Lymphocyte (T-Lymphocytes)

Long-lived mononuclear white blood cell having the property of destroying target cells and responsible for cell-mediated immunity.

Tumor (Tumors, Tumour, Tumours)

An abnormal growth of tissue resulting from uncontrolled, progressive multiplication of cells and serving no physiological function; a neoplasm. Literally, a swelling; in the past the term has been used in reference to any swelling of the body, no matter what the cause. However, the word is now being used almost exclusively to refer to a neoplastic mass, and the more general usage is being discarded.

Ulcer (Ulceration, Ulcers)

Lesion on the skin or mucous membrane.

Virus (Viri, Viruses)

Any of a vast group of minute structures composed of a protein coat and a core of DNA and/or RNA that reproduces in the cells of the infected host. Capable of infecting all animals and plants, causing devastating disease in immunocompromised individuals. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and are completely dependent upon the cells of the infected host for the ability to reproduce.

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