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B12 Deficiency Can Kill


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Unfortunately many people who have this illness have excellent diets - and if you look at the volume of b12 via meat that you would need to eat to rectify (not prevent) a deficiency Murphy and Minot's research in the 1920s showed it took about 1/2lb of raw liver per day. Most people don't have a diet like this.

If you look at hypochlorydria, that also limits the absorption of such things as calcium and iron as well as b12.

I think it does prove though how important diet is and how much more we need to learn about what we put in it and how everything functions.

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I agree but for some people just trying get a reasonable balanced diet can be quite a challenge as it is, which is why I said earlier despite having good diet and varied some people could still fall short .

You have to be a bit sensible a lot people are not going to study and research or the in and outs exactly what they are going to put into their mouth every mealtime and which vitamin/mineral  might block absoption of another during their busy lifestyles.

I would have thought best would be a varied diet and balanced as you can get for yourself and if you think you might benefit from additional  supplement then do and pick out bits of information that people offer like B12 video clip that might helpful or useful to themselves .

However some groups of people might want seek further medical advice.


Yes I agree diet is important and how everything works but sometimes keeping thing little simple can have good effect too, too much info can be off putting to some especially it becomes too complicated .

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I think there might be a bit of confusion here. I was responding to what you put,




I suppose for preventive measures obtaining B12 naturally from food would always be best and preferred option, the problem of this is eating right food rich in B12 in sufficient amounts"


and pointing out that although this would be the preferred option most people can't eat the required amounts if trying to overcome or prevent a deficiency if a malabsorption condition is present.


So I think that essentially, we are in agreement?


I would never recommend any particular supplement or type of nutrient to add to a diet, simply because I don't know how any one individual has been affected. One man's meat can be another man's poison.


With b12 we know that there is a list of symptoms that indicate a deficiency. We know that it's not toxic. We also know that although b12 and folic acid work together synergistically, having a deficiency in b12 does not necessarily mean you will have a deficiency in folic acid. Some people do and some don't - does that mean everyone with a b12 deficiency should take additional folic acid?

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Just as a matter of interest I've been browsing the Orcadian Online and apparently there is a tv programme on MS in Orkney MS & Me A search for a cure on a satellite station this week. I know Shetland is a smidge behind Orkney but it may be of interest to some - pound to a pinch of snuff they never mention the symptoms being the same as b12 deficiency though!

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Anybody watch it?


I'd like to bet it mentioned Edinburgh University's 'cutting edge stem cell research'?  Amazing - they don't know that b12 deficiency is a demyelinating illness, brush it aside (particularly if a patient has normal serum b12 levels) and then start looking at every concievable cause of demyelinating illnesses.


Maybe if they actually started listening to patients at the point of contact instead of trying to shut them up, then the message would get through to the scientists who are looking for a 'cause?'

Maybe it would actually stop people degenerating into paralysed vegetables who live in a murky foggy nightmare world? And I include myself in that category.


Maybe patients like myself would not be shunned and hated but listened to. Maybe then the scientists and medical professionals wouldn't have as much egg on their faces as they are getting.


Here's a great starting point for all medical professionals to ask themselves when they are looking at the cause of demyelinating illnesses - "What function does B12 perform in the body?"


Dissertations only accepted at 12,000+ words - because we all know academics like to use 200 words where 2 would do nicely.

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  • 1 month later...

I did a little asking at our NHS CCG here, it seems the tests are currently costing the CCG £3.28, as has been quoted before,

Question 2:         Are those who pass away in hospital have tests on vit
b12 as routine? 


Response:           Assay of vitamin b12 forms part of the investigation
for Anaemia so not routinely performed on patients unless Anaemia is




Question 3:         What importance does the foundation place on testing
for vit b12 levels in the case of heart attack, strokes and mental

Response:           There is no indication for assaying vitamin b12 in the
above conditions unless there is anaemia.


Though, if you use current figures, to test all deaths in a year would cost £2,211,792 throughout England and Wales.


On that basis, it could be prudent to test for deficiencies, especially as you would not normally have to test all.


Still, the first thing that I think should still happen is the education that a balanced diet will go some way to reducing these deaths, then the testing should be done, while putting out fires may be OK, best try to remove the fuel or conditions.

As a community health champion here where I live, with others, we work to improve the lot of those who have difficulty.

I will write to the MP here and see her response, though I hold little faith she will write back. Next part for me is that.


One of the sad figures that came from looking at deaths was the 353 infants that died last month (4.7 weeks) and the 121 1-14 year olds that died in the same period

Edited by shetlandpeat
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  • 2 months later...

An alert was put out about b12 deficiency last year in May by UK Neqas - it shows just how behind the times Scotland is with treating this illness. England is behind too - but trivialising it and not looking at the full picture is costing lives:

And Neqas are the experts, I know they sometimes produce documents for WHO.


False normal B12 results and the risk of neurological damage.     B12 assays may be vulnerable to interference resulting in normal values despite severe cobalamin deficiency. Where there is discordance between the clinical features of neuropathy – parasthesiae, loss of joint position sense, or megaloblastic anaemia and a “normal†B12 result, clinicians are advised to request storage of serum for further testing and are advised to treat the patient with B12 replacement therapy. Further testing may include repeat testing by an alternative B12 assay, holotranscobalamin assay, serum methylmalonicacid and measurement of intrinsic factor antibody. Treatment with B12 should not be delayed to avoid progression of neurological damage. References Carmel R, Argawal YP. 2012 NEJM 367:4 385-386 Hamilton MS, Blackmore S, Lee A. BMJ 2006:333 654-655 BJHaem. 2010 149 supp 1 abstract 54 Devalia V. BMJ 2006:333 385-386 For further information regarding methods affected see downloadable publications - Holotranscobalamin assay 2010 - go to members area- participant information - publications. Edited by Mistymaud
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Ooh, it won't let me edit my own post.


I'll clarify what NEQAS mean for those who find it a little confusing:

Patients who present with indications of b12 deficiency particularly relating to parasthesia (numbness, tingling, burning - many of the symptoms you would suggest poor circulation) or joint position sense (toes and fingers being manipulated but the patient not knowing which is up or down) OR anaemia, then the patient should have bloods taken prior to treatment (because any treatment can affect levels). Please note that even a multivit containing b12 can affect levels.


When it comes to dementia - b12 deficiency is known as one of the reversible dementias. Yet patients only usually get enough b12 to reverse blood serum levels. Any studies done with larger amounts usually focus on patients who have severe dementia (that has resulted in permanent damage) rather than those who have the subtle forms of dementia at the commencement of illness.

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