Recently discovered bioactive B12 has been found in water lentils

Yvonne O'Halloran

B12 has long been known to be one of the main nutrients of concern for vegans as is was thought that it was the only essential nutrient not naturally obtainable and therefore supplementation was a necessity.  However, it has recently been discovered that natural bioactive vitamin B12 has been found in Parabel’s USA water lentil crop (B12 is not commonly found in plants).

Independent third-party testing confirmed Parabel’s water lentil crop contains bioactive forms of vitamin B12 adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin & hydroxocobalamin. It was found that 100g of dry water lentils (or duckweed) contains approximately 750% of the US recommended daily value!

Lentein, derived from the duckweed plant, was already an impressive nutrient-dense plant-based protein source rich in amino acids and omega-3’s. However, the fact that duckweed has naturally occurring vitamin B12 in bioactive forms makes the plant “a game-changer,” says Geoff Palmer, founder of Clean Machine, a sports nutrition company that uses lentein in its protein powder.

Cecelia Wittbjer, vice president of marketing the manufacturers of the “water lentil” ingredient, Parabel, says the company was so busy promoting and understanding the protein and other components that it wasn’t even aware that B12 was in the mix until a larger company considering the ingredient for its products discovered it.

“Everybody thought that vitamin B12 did not exist in plants, so we didn’t even bother looking for it,” states Wittbjer.

A vegan bodybuilder and advocate for the plant-based athlete lifestyle, Palmer says the discovery of a plant-based B12 source will allow him to stop doing “the same thing that almost all vegans were doing, which is taking a synthetic vitamin B12.” The discovery completes the nutrition profile for an ingredient that was already a nutrient powerhouse.

Dr. Matthew Van Ert, Parabel’s Chief Scientific Officer stated “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.”

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