Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) combined with Vitamin E.

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin but unlike other water soluble vitamins that are normally excreted in urine very quickly, B12 accumulates and gets stored in the liver (around 80%), kidney and body tissues. B12 is vital for the efficient working of every cell in the body especially those with a rapid turnover as it prevents cell degeneration. It functions as a methyl donor and works with folic acid in the manufacture of DNA and red blood cells and also is necessary to maintain the health of the insulating sheath (myelin sheath) that surrounds all nerve cells. It is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for resetting our biological clock’s rhythm when we change to new time zones, and also helps us sleep.

The most common disease associated with B12 deficiency is pernicious anaemia, which is characterised by large, immature red blood cells. You can find out more about anaemia in a post HERE

But other diseases and medical conditions associated with a lack of this vitamin are:

• allergies,
• Alzheimer’s disease,
• asthma,
• low blood pressure,
• multiple sclerosis,
• tinnitus
• low sperm counts.

How do we become deficient in B12?

We actually do not need a huge amount of the vitamin per day, around 2 micrograms or 2millionth of a gram. The problem is that it is not particularly well absorbed by the body so larger amounts are needed in the diet to supply the amount we need. Absorption of B12 requires the secretion from the cells lining the stomach of a glycoprotein, known as the intrinsic factor. The B12-intrinsic factor is then absorbed into the ileum (part of the small intestine) with calcium.

One of the issues regarding deficiencies is that many people have turned away from the richest sources of B12 because they believe either that they are harmful, fattening or will raise levels of cholesterol. Liver, kidneys and eggs have not enjoyed wonderful press over the last few years and many people have also reduced the amount of cheese they eat believing that it is fattening.

Plant sources of B12 are virtually non-existent and many long term and dedicated vegetarians have been found to be deficient. Over use of antacids, inflammation of the stomach lining (Helicobacter pylori infection) and pancreatic problems can also lead to deficiency as the secretion of the intrinsic factor is compromised. There is some evidence that women with breast cancer have lower levels of B12 and there are indications that women after menopause with very low levels were more likely to develop the disease. It is not clear if the deficiency is caused by the cancer in the body or the other way around.

Some drugs have inhibited the uptake of B12 such as those prescribed for diabetes and ulcers and there is a great deal of research into these interactions.

As we age our ability to process our foods becomes less effective with enzyme production reduced such as the secretion of the intrinsic factor necessary for B12 absorption. Added to the fact that many elderly people suffer from a lack of appetite and you have a higher risk of malnutrition.

An interesting piece of research proposes that it is possible that Vitamin E may protect the process of absorption of B12 by preventing oxidative damage to cell membranes. If so a deficiency in this vitamin may well affect our B12 levels. (Which is why the recipes today also contain Vitamin E rich foods)

What food sources are there for Vitamin B12?

B12 is present in beef, offal like liver, eggs and dairy.. also mackerel, shellfish such as clams and crabs, fortified cereals and tofu, Marmite and cottage, feta and mozzarella cheese.

It is better to drink a cold glass of milk than to eat yoghurt as the fermentation process destroys most of the B12 as does boiling milk.

There are very few sources, if any of B12 in plants, although some people do believe that eating fermented Soya products, sea weeds and algae will provide the vitamin. However analysis of these products shows that whilst some of them do contain B12 it is in the form of B12 analogues which are unable to be absorbed by the human body.

Eating foods containing Vitamin E may help the absorption process and the best sources for this are in nuts such as the walnuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, eggs, spinach, apples, bananas, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, onions and oily fish.

Most cereals and breads today are fortified with B12 as are yeast extracts (marmite) and vegetarian products.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources of these two vitamins.

The vitamin B12 is not found in as many food sources as other vitamins however Vitamin E is said to aid the absorption of B12…

Starting today with a recipe for Beef and Broccoli …The beef is a very good source of the B12 vitamin and the addition of broccoli and onions is your source of the Vitamin E…

Beef and Broccoli stir fry.


• 500 gm of beef tenderloin
• 4 cups of broccoli florets
• 3 tbsp of Oyster sauce
• 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
• A 2 in piece of fresh ginger julienned
• 1 small brown onion cut into 6
• 2 spring( green) onions sliced
• I tbsp of soy sauce
• 1 tbsp of sesame seeds lightly toasted
• 2 tbsp of vegetable oil I used coconut oil
• 1 chilli finely slice( optional)

Let’s Cook

Slice the beef finely into 3 in strips put in a bowl and add the ginger, garlic and oyster sauce then massage the sauce into the meat…Yep, get those hands in there once done set to one side until you have prepared all your ingredients.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan and heat to med to hot not smoking and add your beef stir fry until your beef is cooked to your liking then remove from the pan and set to one side.

Add 1 tbsp of oil and add the onions stirring until they start to soften but not colour and add the broccoli at this point I added a dash of hot water and cook for 2-3 mins, then add the beef back into the pan and if using add your spring onions and the soy sauce…Check your seasoning and adjust if required. Then sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds…

Serve with Brown Rice…

Now if you really don’t like brown rice then add a really good handful of chopped watercress to white rice and leave for about 10 mins before you serve the rice and the heat from the rice will wilt the watercress which is a very good source of Vitamin E. It is also a lovely addition to rice which everyone in this house loves.

My taste testers loved it…Lily didn’t like the white onions and wanted more of the green onions and her mum suggested the addition of a few mushrooms and of course a chilli or two so I am guessing that is how take two will pan out but it got the thumbs up from Aston who if anything contains beef or meat he will eat it…He is a growing lad after all and I have even managed to convert him to Brown Rice…

How about a nice old fashioned banana milkshake??

Just take a ripe banana and blitz it with ½ tbsp of honey until it is nice and creamy about 2 minutess and then add 1 cup of full cream milk and blitz for 2 mins…You now have a lovely fresh milkshake …Containing your B12 from the cold milk and your Vitamin E from the banana…

Quick and easy to do and delicious…

Beef and mushrooms with pasta.



• 250 kg beef mince…grass fed
• 2 tbsp diced onion
• 1-1/2 cups quartered fresh mushrooms
• 3/4 cup Burgundy wine or beef stock
• 1/2 cup fresh stock if using beef stock then water
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 cloves garlic crushed
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles (about 4 ounces) cooked as per packet instructions.
• 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Let’s Cook!

Add a good splash of olive oil to a pan and heat on a medium heat add the diced onions and cook stirring until they soften slightly add garlic, bay leaves and minced beef.

Cook stirring until the mince is browned and add wine or stock bring to a rolling boil and reduce the heat and cook for about 15 mins and then add the mushrooms. Add some water if required cook for a further 10 minutes and season and taste.

Cook your pasta as per the packet instructions and when cooked add the mince mixture to the pasta stir gently to combine and check the seasoning.

Serve with steamed vegetables or a side salad and add some grated parmesan or cheese of your choice… Enjoy!

We love smoked mackerel and it is a very good source of B12 and with apple, horseradish and either watercress or spinach it makes a lovely light healthy salad with some lovely whole grain bread with grass fed butter.

I get lovely fresh smoked mackerel from my local market and I love this salad so quick and easy…

All you need to do is wash and grate an apple, add some horseradish freshly grated if not a tsp or two depending on your taste from a jar will suffice. Take a couple of large handfuls of either spinach or watercress and toss the apple, horseradish and some good olive oil and then flake your smoked mackerel and add to the salad…Eat straight away…

Nothing is simpler to make or tastier as a light lunch…

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes if you have any questions please ask either Sally or myself will be happy to answer xx

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins such as B12 and Vitamin E in your diet. 

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog:

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

10 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) combined with Vitamin E.

  1. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    The next instalment in this nutritional deficiency series is about B12 and Vitamin E all the info from Sally and recipes from Carol(me) combining ingredients with these Vitamins and minerals to ensure you get the benefits…We hope you enjoy!


  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly Roundup…B12, 5G, Plastic, Recycling, Recipes and more… | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Solar Minimum, Jazz Guitar, Vitamin Deficiency, Italian Cookery and Mischief in the court of Charles II | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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