Thursday, 28 July 2011

Day 950 - Vitamin B12

"Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin which is very important for a number of key biological pathways, including nerve function, cell growth, cell membranes and energy production.

It is an essential nutrient available exclusively from bacterial sources, ie in the diet, or through the action of gut bacteria. As Vitamin B12 is manufactured by bacteria in animal guts, you should be able to get it from red meat, fish and dairy products.

There are two main causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency – where the body can’t get B12 from your diet; and where the body can’t use it. Both can develop over a period of years or happen suddenly.

B12 is a robust molecule and survives cooking. One of the few things that can break it is a microwave oven. Even if you don’t use a microwave yourself, it’s possible that foods containing B12 have been irradiated to stop microbes growing, which might break down B12.

B12 deficiency typically makes you extremely tired (including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and can lead to depression; other symptoms include dizziness, hair loss, pins and needles, loss of memory, gastritis and constant headaches."*


I have been seeing the kinesiologist for about two years now. The last time I saw him my muscle testing showed that Vitamin B12 would strengthen my system. I am now on a rather high dose, at six a day.

I had taken these supplements already a few months ago but it appears that my body still has a deficiency in B12. I have done some research on this vitamin which, according to certain studies, a vast part of the population is deficient in. People who suffer from intestinal disorders are particularly at risk, as their bodies are unable to absorb the vitamin. Given that IBS, for example, is such a common illness, this to me could mean that a good part of the population may well also have a B12 deficiency.

Given my recent unsettled stomach and considering that I don’t particularly eat a lot of red meat or dairy products, let alone fish, lacking in B12 hasn’t come as too much of a surprise to me.

The headache is still hovering at a 1, which is perfectly acceptable to live with. When I think back at how bad it was at the beginning, at about 9/10, making me scream in agony at night and bang my head against the bed, I feel grateful not to feel like that again. And all I can do is hope it will not flare up to such horrid levels again.

The mystery remains as to what is causing it – even the kinesiologist, who is so passionate about his work and who is determined to find a solution to my headache, said to me the other day: ‘No wonder no one knows what your headache is - every time something new comes up!’. Even he is baffled as to what could be the underlying cause, but given the progress I have seen since my first appointment two years ago, my faith in curing my headache relies entirely on him.