Coconut Water Kefir – Latest Unproven Source of Vitamin B12
[Update August 16, 2013: It appears I messed this up. Tonix was not claiming their product contains B12, only that the Lactobacillus and Bifidis in their product prodcuce B12. I have since learned that there is evidence that Lactobacillus produces B12 (see Lactobacillus species). There is evidence to suggest that vegans should not rely on Lactobacillus for keeping their vitamin B12 status healthy, but this company's claims may very well be correct.]
To make a long story short, I recently became aware of a mainstream vegan who was relying on coconut kefir water for vitamin B12, and another vegan who did not immediately recognize the problems with this idea.
On their website, the company Tonix makes the following claim about their coconut water kefir:
“This product is brisling with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which creates awesome intestinal flora, digestion and production of B-6, B12, K, niacin and folic acid.”
I wrote them on March 6:
Someone brought it to my attention that Tonix claims that its coconut keifer contains vitamin B12. I see on your website that you say that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are the source of vitamin B12. I’m writing to let you know that those bacteria do not produce vitamin B12 and that there is no reason to think that coconut keifer would contain vitamin B12.
If you are interested in more information on vitamin B12 in plant foods, please see this article:
I hope you will correct the information on your website and I look forward to your response.
I never heard back and the info is still up as of March 31, so I decided to publicly warn vegans about this claim.