In 1997, I received a letter from Michael Donaldson, a young Christian family man who was about to graduate from Cornell University with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. In his letter he shared that most fellow graduates were going to pursue a career in the drug industry, but that he had concerns about the safety of drugs and didn’t want to go that route.
In his letter he shared how his wife had resolved some pregnancy issues after adopting The Hallelujah Diet. He felt the Lord leading him to a career in nutrition; specifically, he wanted to join Hallelujah Acres to help us ensure that The Hallelujah Diet was scientifically up-to-date in its dietary recommendations.
Dr. Donaldson was brought on board as our Research Director. His first concern was regarding the adequacy of vitamin B12 in the vegan, 100% plant-based Hallelujah Diet, which was based on God’s original diet as found in Genesis 1:29.
For years, various writers had been saying that there was sufficient B12 in a vegan diet, a diet containing no animal flesh or dairy, which many believed was the primary source of B12. Others claimed B12 was contained in blue-green algae, an analog form of B12 that research reveals mimics the real B12 but does not satisfy B12 needs.
I was under the impression that a 100% plant-based diet had to contain sufficient B12 because Adam and Eve consumed a 100% plant-based diet. Furthermore, not only had Adam and Eve thrived on it, but the human race continued to thrive on such a diet after Adam and Eve were cast from the garden.
It Came As Quite A Shock
Dr. Donaldson tested 54 Health Minsters who had been on the 100% plant-based Hallelujah Diet for B12 adequacy after they had been on the diet for a minimum of two years.
His finding revealed that 47% of those who had been on The Hallelujah Diet for two years or longer showed signs of B12 deficiency at the cellular level — that came as quite a shock to me! Dr. Donaldson said that these results confirmed that there was reason for concern regarding B12 adequacy for those who adopted The Hallelujah Diet.
I was disturbed by Dr. Donaldson’s research findings because the last thing in this world I wanted to do was share information that could potentially harm someone, or prevent them from experiencing the best results after adopting the Hallelujah Acres Diet. I wanted some questions answered and the truth revealed.
Could God Have Made A Mistake?
The first question that had to be resolved to my satisfaction was: “Could God have made a mistake when he gave mankind that original 100% plant based (vegan) diet in Genesis 1:29? And could it be that the reason God allowed animal flesh to be added in Genesis 9:3 was because of a vitamin B12 deficiency in God’s original diet?”
This question did not take me very long to resolve because of the biblical evidence. On the Genesis 1:29 diet (and without any animal flesh foods), after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, man had lived to an average age of 912 years, for some 1,700 years (right up until the flood), without a single recorded instance of sickness.
Certainly, if there had been a nutritional (B12) lack it would have shown up during such a lengthy period of time.
So, if there was no lack of B12 on God’s original diet for the first 1,700 years of recorded history, why would some people today, on the primarily raw, vegan, 100% plant-based Hallelujah Diet — based on God’s original Genesis 1:29 diet — be showing a deficiency after only two years?
At the time Dr. Donaldson began his research I had been on The Hallelujah Diet for 24 years and showed only a slight B12 shortage at the cellular level (a reading of 3.9 or less is considered normal and my level was 5.0). Meanwhile, more than 50% of those Health Ministers on the Hallelujah Acres Diet who Dr. Donaldson tested, also showed no deficiency at all.
This raised another question: “Why do some people on The Hallelujah Diet show a deficiency, while a small majority showed no deficiency?”
The Source Of Vitamin B12 Discovered
The answer to these questions came when we learned where vitamin B12 originates. Dr. Donaldson’s research revealed that B12 does not come from something we consciously consume as food; rather it is manufactured within the body of all God’s animal creations, including humans, by bacteria and microbes.
This all began to make sense to me when I read David Wolfe’s book: “The Sunfood Diet Success System.” Following are a few quotes from that book that I found extremely interesting:
“Although animal and dairy products are a source of vitamin B12, the natural soil microbes and bacteria found on wild food, unwashed garden plants, and also those supplied by plant fermentation are typically adequate to supply the body with vitamin B12 needs.
“The natural microbes and bacteria in the soil need to be duplicated and colonize in our intestinal tract for optimal absorption of nutrients . . . . Vitamin B12 is produced by these natural microbes and bacteria as they colonize the intestines.
“A problem with the formation of B12 occurs when there is a sterilization which happens between the picking of the fruit or vegetable and the moment it reaches the mouth. Sterile environments are unnatural. The soil microbes and bacteria, which grow on raw fruits and vegetables, need to be duplicated in the intestinal tract for the proper assimilation of vitamin B12 to take place.”
“Studies have shown that those eating a typical diet of animal products actually require more vitamin B12 than those who do not eat animal products. This is because the typical diet leads to digestive atrophy. Because vitamin B12 is peptide bound in animal products and must be enzymatically cleaved from peptide bonds to be absorbed, a weakening of all gastric acid and gastric enzyme secretions (due to a cooked food diet) causes an inability to efficiently extract vitamin B12 from external food.
“Raw-food vegans, who have more powerful digestion, actually get more vitamin B12 absorption from the bile (liver secretions in the duodenum) than they do from external food.
“Sugar . . . . is an antibiotic. So a long-term high-sugar diet . . . . coming from refined sources . . . . can damage or wipe out the intestinal flora. Cooking also destroys microbes. A highly-sterilized cooked-vegan diet may not provide the intestines with enough excellent flora.”
In his research, Dr. Donaldson found evidence that gives credibility to the idea that B12 comes from the microflora in the gut. In the follow-up portion of the study, several volunteers consumed probiotics and were then retested for B12. Some of them, but not all, had much improved B12 levels without using any other source of B12. So, proper gut flora can be a source of B12. Since this was not consistently found testing is required by each person who follows this method to ensure that it is working for him.
Is Consuming Animal Flesh & Dairy The Solution?
Concerning the B12 issue, have you ever personally experienced, or known someone on the Standard American Diet, who consumed lots of animal flesh and dairy daily, and yet showed a deficiency in B12 – a deficiency so severe that they had to receive vitamin B12 injections?
Obviously, these people were not receiving sufficient B12 from their animal source diets. For proof of this need for concern of a B12 deficiency by those on a daily animal sourced food diet I call our attention to “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” (71:514, 2000), which reveals:
“Low vitamin B-12 levels don’t just occur in older people. . . . And contrary to current wisdom, meat, poultry, and sea food may not be a good source of the vitamin. . . . A surprising 39 percent of participants [3,000 men and women-aged 26-83] had blood levels below 350 pg/ml, the level at which neurological signs of B-12 deficiency or high homocysteine levels sometimes occur. . . .”
There are a number of health advocates who teach that a 100% plant-based diet is dangerous for pregnant women because of the lack of vitamin B12 in a vegan diet. But they fail to warn pregnant women that it is also dangerous to depend on animal source foods for B12 adequacy, as 39% of those who consume animal flesh and dairy daily are deficient in this vitamin also.
Obviously, consuming animal source foods daily does not guarantee a person is receiving adequate B12 in their diet any more than consuming a vegan or Hallelujah Acres diet does. In addition, there are considerable health risk potentials for a person consuming animal source foods.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell writes in his book “The China Project” – “Only a small intake of animal products was associated with significant increases in chronic degenerative diseases.”
Prior to Dr. Donaldson’s research, there were a number of books and vegan websites stating that there was indeed adequate vitamin B12 in a 100% plant-based diet. Once Dr. Donaldson released his findings we have not been able to find a recent book or website that still proclaims there is adequate vitamin B12 in a vegan diet.
Thus it would appear that Hallelujah Acres has resolved the vitamin B12 issue through research that shows there is no vitamin B12 in a vegan diet and that those who consume daily animal source foods do not fare much better with regard to the B12 issue.
Other than Hallelujah Acres, we are not aware of another health ministry or supplement company that has a scientist who is constantly researching the adequacy of what they are teaching or proclaiming.
Dr. Donaldson remains to this day the lead scientist for Hallelujah Acres. In future articles, we will share some of the other research discoveries Dr. Donaldson has made since his first research regarding B12 over 15 years ago.
So What Is The Solution?
The simple answer is: “SUPPLEMENTATION.”
Following much research, Dr. Donaldson came up with a B12-B6-Folic Acid supplement. Methylocobalamin, the type of B12 used in the Hallelujah Acres supplement, is the preferred form of B12 as it is active immediately upon absorption. The other form of B12, cyanocobalamin, must be converted to an active form prior to utilization.
Numerous studies suggest that vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid play an important role in optimizing homocysteine levels in the body and are a powerful complement for not only vegans and those on The Hallelujah Diet, but for all people regardless of diet, who want to make sure they maintain optimal levels of B12.
After the results of research conducted by Dr. Michael Donaldson of the Hallelujah Acres Foundation revealed low levels of B12 in 47% of the 54 subjects, it became clear that it is wise for everyone to be aware of their potential need for B12 supplementation, regardless of their diet.
And for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, including The Hallelujah Diet, it is vital to use a B12 supplement or take sufficient amounts of probiotics to provide adequate bacteria for the body to manufacture it.