|By||John V. Dommisse MD “NutrnlMtblc” (Tucson, AZ United States) – See all my reviews
I am an MD, a nutritional physician, and a psychiatrist (Canadian-board-certified) who has been studying vitamin B12 extensively since 1976, and applying that knowledge in my private nutritional, metabolic and psychiatric practice in Tucson AZ since 1994 (and Portsmouth VA before that).
This book is an outstanding compilation of anecdotes, references and experiences on the “underground devastator” of our society. The reason why this is not common knowledge in the medical profession in the US is because the laboratory “normal range” is way too low. In Japan the range is 2.5 times higher at its low end – and Japan has very little “Alzheimer’s Dementia”, and less depression and bipolar disorders, than we do in the US.
In the 26 years that I have been investigating B12, memory disorders and depressive/ bipolar illnesses, NO patient who came to me with a memory problem (early Alzheimer’s) has gone on to Alzheimer’s dementia, and I have a near-perfect track record in helping people overcome depression and bipolar disorders. These outcomes are largely due to my permanent optimization of every patient’s serum B12 level.
Congratulations to Ms Sally Pacholok RN on an outstanding recording of most of the important facts and treatments for this serious condition. I believe it to be the best book out there for a combination of both medical and lay readers on this condition.
[To anyone reading this review: Please do not simply go and buy B12 tablets or lozenges and start taking them, before getting an accurate serum level measured.]
John V Dommisse MD, MBChB, FRCP(C)
Tucson, AZ, USA
Physician’s Critique, March 1, 2006
|By||DOCTOR “OPTIONAL” (USA) – See all my reviews|
As a primary care physician I read Ms. Pacholok’s book “Could It
Be B12?” with great interest. In the early 1950’s a vitamin B12 shot was a sign-off gesture by many primary care doctors at the close of a Pt’s visit. It seemed as though everyone got a B12 shot for no apparent documented reason. You must understand that laboratory testing in those days was awkward, expensive, and impractical. My own mother went monthly to our family GP for her routine B12 shot. She swore by it. As progress in medicine was made it became apparent that either the United States was the world’s capital of pernicious anemia or perhaps B12 shots were a doctor’s way to make a fast buck. With this type of prevailing sentiment anyone who wanted to be taken seriously as an ethical physician shunned the practice of “routine” Vitamin B12 shots. I do believe this stigma prevails to this day. Just mention B12 deficiency as a possible cause for any disorder and you’re likely to see a smirk come across the doctor’s face as those mental neurons flash back in recollection of those charlatans of an earlier era. But now unlike then we have an easily obtainable and accurate test for Vitamin B12 deficiency. I do believe medicine’s nihilistic attitude toward B12 based on the past makes for a mental block on behalf of a lot of doctors to even consider B12 deficiency on their list of differential diagnoses. This is unfortunate. My only advice to the public is as Ms. Pacholok advocates: 1. Avoid shot gun B12 therapy; 2. Insist that you and your loved ones with signs and symptoms get tested. It’s the right thing to do. I enjoyed the book and give it a 5 star rating.
Excellent resource regarding B12 deficiency, December 17, 2005
|By||annesailorgirl “annesailorgirl” (Berrien Spgs, MI USA) – See all my reviews|
Recently I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency, after struggling with anemia, exhaustion, and a decreased immune system for much of my 20’s. I can hardly believe what a difference B12 shots have made in my life. I’m half Scandinavian, and at least one of my Norwegian cousins has this deficiency, too, which can run in families. I have been researching everything I could find on B12 deficiency. Sally Pacholok, RN, and her husband, Jeffery Stuart, DO, have written a well-researched book on the symptoms, diagnostic tests, and treatment for B12. I wish the book dealt a little more with some of the recovery process, but the book is very thorough and well-researched.
The 13 chapters are as follows:
1. An Invisible Epidemic
2. Is It Aging–or Is It B12 Deficiency?
3. Deadly Mimic: When B12 Deficiency Masquerades as Multiple Sclerosis or Other Neurological Disorders
4. Am I Losing My Mind? When B12 Deficiency Causes Mental Illness
5. Stroke, Heart Disease, and Other Vascular Problems: The B12-Homocysteine Connection
6. Lost Children: When B12 Deficiency Causes Developmental Disabilities or Learning Problems
7. Vitamin B12 and Cancer, Impaired Immune Function, and Autoimmune Disease
8. Under the Knife: Why Low B12 Levels Make Surgery Dangerous
9. Can’t Conceive? How B12 Deficiency Contributes to Male and Female Infertility
10. Protecting Yourself: Are You at Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
11. Information for Physicians
12. Speculation: The Possible Role of Vitamin B12 in Autism
13. A Call for a United Effort
This book is well-written, interspersing case studies/stories with research, and is a fairly easy read. If you have B12 deficiency, or have family or patients with B12 deficiency, this book is highly recommended.
|By||Jeffrey Dach MD (Hollywood, FL USA) – See all my reviews|
Could it Be B12, An Epidemic of MisDiagnoses by Sally M. Pacholok R.N. and Jeffrey J Stuart D.O.
A good friend of ours had a sudden unrelenting pain in her leg which baffled her doctors. After many months of suffering, and many failed treatments and medications, she tried inexpensive vitamin B12 injections which immediately worked, providing complete relief. Occasionally the pain returns and reminds her it’s time for another B12 injection. The injections are easy with a small syringe and tiny needle, and the B12 is injected under the skin twice a week.
There are many more stories of B12 misdiagnosis in Pacholok’s book. Nurse Pacholok first describes her own ordeal with pernicious anemia and B12 deficiency which motivated her to become an expert on the topic. Working within the health care system, she was appalled at the numbers of patients with obvious signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency who were misdiagnosed.
Finding the medical system apathetic and unresponsive to her advice about B12 deficiency, Pacholok wrote this book to empower medical consumers and to educate their physicians. Pacholok is on a crusade to change medical practice to routinely screen for B12 deficiency, and her book is one giant step in that direction.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 10%-15% of individuals over the age of 60 years. 40% of elderly hospitalized patients have low or borderline serum B12 levels, and 50% of long term vegetarians have B12 deficiency.
B12 absorption depends on many cofactors, so it is possible to take adequate amounts of B12 in the diet, and still have a B12 deficiency. Absorption of B12 requires gastric acid, so anything which reduces gastric acid production such as gastric surgery, atrophic gastritis, or antacid drugs could produce B12 deficiency. The very popular antacid drug Prilosec (omeprazole) has been clearly shown to decrease B12 absorption. Other antacid pills such as Prevacid, Protonix, antac, Nexium, Aciphex, Zantec, Tagamet, Pepcid, Maalox, mylanta, reduce gastric acid, inhibit B12 absorption and may produce B12 deficiency. Drugs such as Metformin and other diabetes drugs can cause B12 deficiency. The anesthetic agent, Nitrous Oxide, or “laughing gas”, used in dental or surgical procedures causes B12 deficiency
Pernicious anemia is the second most common cause of B12 deficiency. This is an autoimmune disease with loss of Intrinsic Factor, in which antibodies damage the stomach lining interrupting the B12 absorption mechanism.
Other people at risk for B12 deficiency include vegetarians, people with eating disorders such as bulemia and anorexia, inflammatory bowel disease with malabsorption (ie. crohn’s).
Auto-immune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be associated with B12 deficiency(pernicious anemia).
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause unusual neurological symptoms such as tremor, gait disturbance, severe pain, and can mimic MS (multiple sclerosis) or even Parkinson’s Syndrome. The physical signs and symptoms can often mimic other diseases and the diagnosis is frequently missed.
B12 deficiency damages the myelin sheath around the nerve fibers, this is a soft fatty insulating material which is also damaged in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
B12 deficiency can cause mental changes such as irritability, apathy, sleepiness, paranoia, personality changes, depression (including post-partum depression), memory loss, dementia, cognitive dysfunction or deterioration, fuzzy thinking, psychosis, dementia, hallucinations, violent behavior, in children; autistic behavior, developmental delay.
B12 deficiency can cause neurological signs and symptoms of abnormal sensations (pain, tingling, and/or numbness of legs, arms trunk or anywhere),diminished sense of touch, pain or temperature (may mimic diabetic neuropathy Charcot foot), loss of position sense, weakness, clumsiness, tremor, any symptoms which may mimic parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, spasticity of muscles, incontinence, paralysis, vision changes, damage to optic nerve (optic neuritis).
Atherosclerotic vascular disease is increased by B12 deficiency including; Coronary artery disease, TIAs, CVA, heart attack, heart failure, claudication, all associated with elevated homocysteine levels caused by B12 deficiency.
B12 deficiency causes Megaloblastic Anemia (enlarged red blood cells with anemia). In this type of anemia, the red blood cells are fewer in number, yet they are larger in diameter (this large size is called megaloblastic and is measured on the CBC with the mean corpuscular volume, MCV). The anemia can cause fatigue, and weakness.
Cervical Dysplasia and increased risk for other dysplasias and cancers are associated with B12 deficiency. B12 supplementation is cancer prevention.
Most doctors do not test for B12, and if they do a test it is the serum B12 which may be unreliable because of the wide normal range. A more accurate test, urinary methyl malonic acid was developed by Eric Norman MD, and is inexpensive and widely available (MMA). The Methyl Malonic Acid MMA is elevated in the urine and serum in patients with B12 deficiency. Pacholok makes the case that everyone presenting for medical care should be routinely screened for B12 deficiency with the MMA, serum B12 and Homocysteine tests.
Treatment is Curative:
Treatment with inexpensive B12 injections or sublingual tablets is curative. Recent work by Kuzminski showed that daily 2 mg. oral B12 serves as well as monthly 1 mg intramuscular B12 injections. Serum Homocysteine is elevated in B12 deficiency. It is important to discover B12 deficiency early, since nerve damage can be irreversible if not discovered right away.
In conclusion, this is the definitive book on B12 deficiency, diagnosis and treatment for the lay reader and for the interested physician. As a result of reading this book, I now routinely test serum B12 and Urinary MMA on ALL patients, and have been surprised to find many symptomatic B12 deficient patients completely missed by the medical system. Needles to say, it is very gratifying to see ill patients completely recover with B12 injections.
I applaud the authors on a job well done, bringing B12 deficiency to the attention of the public, and no doubt saving many lives in the process. This book will make a positive impact on the nations’s health, and change medical practice for the better. The only thing I would change about the book is to give Sally a name that is easier to pronounce.
Jeffrey Dach MD
|By||NoBooksNoLife (Tokyo, Japan and Nevada USA) – See all my reviews
Before the availability of the internet for easier research, I never found a good explanation of the workings of B12 in the body (for non-medically-trained people to understand). Most of the physicians I encountered had no good working knowledge of Pernicious Anemia.
This book is an excellent reference for how B12 works, why it is essential that it be absorbed properly, and a long list of other considerations, including possible serious wrong diagnoses, in which B12 mal-absorption should be examined.
Other reviewers have pointed out the readability, devotion to accuracy, and the helpful tone of this useful book. If you or a loved one has any condition related to B12, I think you will be glad to read this book. For some of us, this knowledge will make the difference between a healthy life and a miserable one.
This Book Saved My Son …, March 8, 2007
|By||DG – See all my reviews|
“Could It Be B12?” saved my son from a future of mental retardation and a sub-par life. We caught Jack’s B12 deficiency in its early stages, thanks to this book. Unfortunately, because many of the horrific side effects of a B-12 deficiency hadn’t yet completely manifested, we got dismissed by many doctors. They were looking for telltale signs of prolonged B12 deficiency (enlarged mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and anaemia) though these are only present when B12 has wreaked permanant havoc on the body; I was only too glad that we discovered Jack’s deficiency BEFORE we reached this stage.
The doctors are sadly very uninterested in vitamins (they aren’t “pushed” by huge pharmaceutical companies with drug reps who take our doctors golfing on a weekly basis) and feel they are too simplistic, in many ways, to cause the significant damage that they do, when a person is deficient. Interesting though that medical history is full of diseases that are solely caused by vitamin deficiency: beri-beri, pellegra, kashiworka (sp?), scurvy, etc. Vitamin deficiencies most definitely can cause disease, and certainly death.
Without a doubt, B12 is a vitamin that is essential to life and wellbeing; it serves the Central Nervous System (of which our brain is a part) and the circulatory system (red blood cells); B12 is necessary for BRAIN AND BLOOD. B12 deficiency can cause such terrible symptoms as outlined in this book (the list is literally too long to include). Our son, specifically, was developing a trend toward microcephaly – his head circumference was dropping growth curves. HIS BRAIN WAS NOT GROWING. His B-12 level was only mildly low, and his MMA was definitely elevated, but not nearly the highest the “specialists” had seen – they were happy to nod dismissively at us and push us out the door. I was infuriated, of course. Jack was not developing mentally as he should and was beginning to miss milestones. But, at 7-9 months of age, this is all very subjective. We changed his diet to a B-12 rich one (with meat, eggs, cheese, and milk) and we got a series of hydroxycobalamin injections – his head jumped up on the growth chart, and he started waving, pointing, holding the phone to his ear, etc.
But, then we went to a miniscule “maintenance” dose of B12 and his head started falling growth curves again, his development again slowed (as noted by his physical therapist). I went to specialist after specialist, telling them he needed more B12, and they are all so DISGUSTINGLY unfamiliar with B12 deficiency that they were scratching their heads, and said we must have mismeasured his head time and again. This scares me to the bone. I am SURE there are other babies out there with small heads, with brains that should grown, but aren’t able to do because they are deficient in B12, who will live sad lives as mentally challenged people, FOR NO REASON, and with a simple cure of added B12 by oral supplement (in high doses), or injections, and diet changes to B12 rich foods.
As B12 deficiency progresses, it leads to definite microcephaly, and if it goes on too long, when and if B12 treatment is finally administered, the brain will definitely grow (proving B12’s role in brain growth), but the brain damage cannot be corrected – it is permanent, and was never meant to be, not genetically written in stone, but just because B12 was deficient – a completely fixable condition – isn’t that TRAGIC?
I am ever hopeful that we caught Jack’s deficieny in time. As I watched his head circumference percentiles dropping again, I went back to the doctors. I could get no doctor to up Jack’s tiny dose of B12, though they all agreed you cannot overdose on B12 and too much is not harmful in any way; they were just ignorant, and decided since they didn’t know about B12 it must not be a problem; we’ve all heard of the God-complex.
Fortunately, B12 is available at health food stores, and I began adding it to his bottles. His head steadily grew from the 8th percentile to now between the 23 and 25th where it has remained for the last 5-6 months. We were on a downward trend (I graphed his head circumference percentiles) leading to a mentally retarded child with permanent brain damage. Without this book, I would not have been able to help my son. He will remain on B12 supplementation for the rest of his life, and will always eat B12 rich foods in my house.
I thank God for Sally and her book; I feel that it was placed in our hands for a reason, part of which was to help our son, part of which was to help others learn about B12 deficiency and its crucial role in health and well being and DEVELOPMENT! I actively try to educate parents, because there is no reason for some of the brain damage that is occuring in babies and children out there – it shouldn’t be happening, and it is!
There isn’t a person out there who should think they don’t need this book. You CANNOT and SHOULD NOT think your doctor will know enough about this to keep on top of it. Doctors are just people, and they make mistakes each day.
Sally Pacholok and her husband, Jeffrey Stuart, have done us all a remarkable kindness in authoring this book, and continuing their crusade to educate doctors and improve medical practice on the front of B12. I would urge you not to wait for them to catch up, though, but to read this book and take charge of your own health. You, too, might feel compelled to spread the news.
Thank-you for listening to our story, and best wishes,
|By||Elizabeth Downs “Lizz” (Cumming, Georgia) – See all my reviews
I can say in all honesty that this book saved my life. No really…it really really did. After four and a half years of expensive heart tests and taking doctor prescribed cardio drugs I was getting progressively weaker and weaker – to the point where I was so weak that it was difficult to walk across the room anymore and my heart fluttered and leaped (palpitations)and raced constantly. The heart racing constantly woke me up at night and I could not get enough sleep and it raced and palpitated after meals making me not even want to eat anymore – even through I had to eat constantly because of terrible hypoglycemic symptoms and high blood sugar at times. I had constant panic attacks and shaking and trembling of my arms/hands and legs. The doctors I consulted said I was anxious and that I needed to calm down and basically poo-pooed my symptoms and treated me like a hysterical female. They said my symptoms were caused by Supra Ventricular Tachyacardia (SVT), hypoglycemia, menopause, hypothyroid(?), you name it…I was given a plethoria of drugs and sent home while I continued to decline in health and morale. My life had become unbearable but still I struggled on – until I came across this most excellent and wonderful book. I asked my internist to please test me for B12 deficiency and guess what – I was pretty badly deficient. I do not even take the B12 shots – I started taking the oral (sublingual) pills dissolved under my tongue and now three months later I am like a new person. My symptoms are either totally gone or hugely diminished. I am so grateful that the heart symptoms and the hypoglycemia symptoms are totally gone and I can actually sleep through the night and walk across the room without my legs trembling and without falling down – and all of my panic attack symptoms completely vanished. When I went back and told my docotr this she acted like she didn’t believe me – but it is all too true.
The scary part is that if allowed to continue my symptoms would have become permanent. In my home state a woman recently sued her doctors for allowing her to become permently disabled and wheelchair bound for the rest of her life – all because of a B12 deficiency not diagnosed…so please read this book. It made all the difference in my life…love, good health and blessings to everyone.
|By||ER Doc – See all my reviews|
Many puzzling medical cases could have been solved with careful screening for B12 deficiency. As a physician, I am ashamed to admit that we’ve overlooked B12 problems or just dismissed the possibility that something so simple could have such devaststing consequences. This book should be a staple on the shelves of all medical libraries and offices, as it reminds us to start simple when trying to make a diagnosis.
|By||Libby_Lynn (Oregon) – See all my reviews|
Not long ago I was suffering from occasional memory loss, tremors, and was having difficulty with thinking clearly…and I’m only 45. Eventually my speech was also affected and I started to have trouble finding the exact words that I wanted to say. With all of these symptoms, seeing a neurologist was a logical step. Since my MRI was normal, she ordered additional testing but also wanted to test my Vitamin B12 level, since low levels can cause memory loss. That lab made all the difference in the world and it came back that I have Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more serious than you think, and if you read this book, you’ll find out why. This deficiency mimics many diseases that may or may not sound familiar: memory loss, forgetfulness, tremors, depression, psychosis, fatigue, infertility, and gastrointestinal problems, just to name a few. All it takes is a simple blood test to find out.
The good news is that B12 deficiency is treatable, curable (in most cases) and inexpensive to treat. After being treated for the past few months I have recovered between 85-90%, so there is hope! Time is an important factor though–if you have B12 deficiency and do not treat it, the damage that it does can be permanent, so early treatment is the key.
I urge anyone who has these symptoms to get this simple test and read this book. It could change your life or someone you love.
A Jan 2009 follow-up:
It has now been a few years since I was initially diagnosed and am doing well. I can always tell if I am running low on my levels (a rarity) because one of the first signs is difficulty with finding the right words. Initially I was found to be allergic to the injectable form of cyanocobalamin (severe rash) and so I had to switch to oral (sublingual form) Methylcobalamin, a very effective form of B12. Taking between 2-3 tabs (2-3 mg or 2000-3000mcgs) have kept my levels normal for years. This is a lifelong deal. Once, when I went off my B12 for testing and other purposes, my levels plunged by more than half in just one week, so always make sure you take your B12 daily.
Exceptional book that everyone needs to read, January 21, 2006
|By||Denise Leone (Michigan, USA) – See all my reviews|
B12 deficiency has affected my family, from one of my young sons to my mother. I have just finished reading this book and have found it to be very well written and organized and also an excellent resource. It covers the many different problems associated with B12 deficiency along with showing readers how they can help themselves and their loved ones to recognize the signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency so they can get diagnosed and treated. I will definately be recommending this book to all of my friends and family.
|By||Margaret E. Venske – See all my reviews
I am very impressed with the book’s overall organization and the emphasis on PROPER screening for the deficiency. I have recommended the book to more than thirty people thus far and will continue to do so to others. Am purchasing copies for each of my children as well as for the staff MD in this respiratory rehab unit.
I have been reviewing medical journal articles and abstracts on the topic of B-12 deficiency for 14 years. The book does an excellent job of bringing together a wealth of information that makes clear the impacts of the deficiency and paths to successfully treating/preventing resulting illnesses.
Thank you again!!!
|By||Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) – See all my reviews|
There’s an epidemic of misdiagnoses today: that’s the contention of sally M. Pacholok, RN and Jeffrey J. Stuart, D.O. in Could It Be B12? An Epidemic Of Misdiagnoses. What makes misdiagnoses so probable is that this vitamin deficiency masquerades itself in so many symptoms: tremors, depression, terrible limb pains, chronic fatigue. It can’t be prevented by the usual multivitamin pill – and sometimes even high-dose oral formulas don’t work. It’s considered a disease of the elderly, but kids can be hit hard too. An eye-opening survey comes form the author and her physician husband’s extensive research into the findings of numerous medical centers and universities.
Vitamin B12, October 27, 2007
|By||Jreric “B12 Deficient” (Yakima, WA) – See all my reviews|
This is an EXCELLENT book, about a very CRITICAL health issue. Vitamin B12 deficiency is fairly common, but rarely diagnosed. The results can be devastating. The solution, B12 shots or sub-lingual pills, are cheap and effective, if started soon enough. Many people are not able to get enough B12 from their diet, due to improper digestion and/or absorption. A simple way (not in this book) to tell if you need B12 testing, is to look at your fingernails. If you do not have white, half-moons at the base of your nails, you should schedule blood and urine tests. I have them only on my thumbs, and subsequent testing showed I am B12 deficient.
Fabulous Book, July 29, 2006
|By||Thomas DAngelo (Michigan, USA) – See all my reviews
I’ve read many Health related books in my life, and this is definately one of the best I’ve ever read ! While my knowledge of Nutrition and Homocysteine related research is pretty extensive, I particularly enjoyed how the authors skillfully tied missing pieces of the puzzle together. I was aware that the serum Methylmalonic Acid test was superior to the serum B12 test. It was gratifying to find out that the urinary Methylmalonic acid test is THE BEST of all! Another gold nugget in the book is how a B12 deficiency can actully mimic Multiple Sclerosis and is also related to other disease states like Mental Illness and Developmental Disabilities in Children. It’s reprehensible that a lot of Physicians don’t take the B12 issue seriously because of prejudices, ego, etc… $12.95 and a couple hours of reading is all it takes with this book to become an expert thanks to the authors intimate experience of the subject matter. This book belongs in every Doctors library. Of course many will learn the hard way in the future when they very well could be on the receiving end of a huge lawsuit from an angry jury that finds out the whole fiasco could have been prevented by $12 – $38 Dollars per year worth of B-12 Injections. If they think that continuing education is expensive, try IGNORANCE !!!!!!
Educate Yourself About B12 Deficiency. This Book Says It All!, January 14, 2007
|By||Linda J (New Jersey) – See all my reviews|
It seems the medical community has forgotten about the importance of B12 over the years. This book not only brings back some of the basics concerning B12 but you will also learn things you never knew before about the signs of B12 deficiency and the devastating effect it can have on your health if not treated in a timely manner. The authors of this book have done extensive research and have accurately reported the facts. If I had read this book sooner, I would have been informed and my husband would not be suffering from the neurological brain damage he has now due to his malabsorption of B12. The knowledge you will gain from this book could save a life. B12 deficiency is not uncommon but it is easy to diagnose and inexpensive to treat. Without treatment, the results of B12 deficiency can be devastating. Bravo to Sally Pacholok, R.N. and Dr. Jeffrey Stuart for staying committed to spreading the word about a health care issue that could save lives. I believe after you read this book you will want to spread the word too!!!
B12 was a MIRACLE CURE for my sister’s depression., October 5, 2008
|By||K.C. (San Diego, California) – See all my reviews|
The only reason that B12 is not being hailed as the new miracle drug is because it is not possible for a pharmaceutical company to get a patent for it and make lots of money from it. Another result from this absence of profit is that doctors are not being informed that many ailments can be caused by a B12 deficiency and, therefore, do not test for a B12 deficiency and, when they do, they use the wrong test and, even when they use the correct test (which is rare) they misinterpret the results and, even when they prescribe a B12 supplement, they order the wrong type of B12, in the wrong form, etc., etc…
The best thing you can do is to order an extra copy of this book and just give it to your doctor. Unless he is a complete egomaniac, he will appreciate the information because there aren’t any other authoritative books on this subject, and the total amount of time devoted to teaching about B12 in medical school is only about 2 minutes.
Although it’s true that someones ailment could be caused by something other than a B12 deficiency (the author admirably points this out in the introduction), not being cured when the cause is something as simple as a B12 deficiency because doctors are not trained to look for this is tragic, especially when you consider the seriousness of some of the illnesses that a B12 deficiency can cause.
My sister suffered from depression for 20 years and tried a variety of medications, none of which helped very much. When she started a weight loss program that included small amounts of B12 given by injection, it seemed to help her mood. When she mentioned this to me, I did some research and found this book. I then found her a doctor who was willing to provide her with B12 injections of 2.5 mg (2,500 micrograms) three times a week. In a matter of a few weeks, her depression was gone. Before the B12, she just wanted to go somewhere and wait to die. Now, at age 54, she is planning and looking foward to the future. (By the way, the B12 must be in the form of injections to be effective.)
(IMPORTANT NOTE: The injectable B12 my sister’s doctor uses is Cyanocobalamin. It is made by American Regent, Inc.. It is available by prescription. A 30 ml bottle costs $13 at the Costco pharmacy. A theraputic regimine requires a 1,000 microgram injection every day (or 2,000 every other day) for up to 6 weeks. After this, 1,000 micrograms once a month for maintinence. You can save a lot of money by giving yourself the shots. If you use a 30 guage needle (this is the same size used for botox injections), you won’t even feel it. (Really, you won’t feel it at all.) The easiest place to give youirself the injections is in your belly. If you’re uneasy about giving yourself a shot, just do it the first time at your doctor’s office to see how easy it actually is. Giving yourself the shots beats the hell out of paying your doctor $100 for each shot, especially if your getting 3 each week.
|By||Alisa Guynn “truckingrn” (illinois) – See all my reviews
Although Vitamin B12 is common, the authors are correct: it is rarely diagnosed. This is a must read for health care professionals and the public alike! I’m a registered nurse and I have shared this book with my physician as I was recently diagnosed with Vitamin B12 deficiency and had quite a few of the above symptoms. Excellent book!
|By||Maggie “Maggie” (NJ) – See all my reviews|
Several years ago, my sister was thought to be having a series of strokes and severe memory loss. Thanks to an investigation by a diligent neurologyst, she was found to be B12 anemic, and started on the B12 shots immediately. It has made a world of difference. This book clearly details much information on a problem that is more common than we realize, and yet sadly overlooked. After reading this book, I will be calling my doctor to have my family tested.
A Must Read if You’re B12 Deficient, February 10, 2009
|By||Mary P. Wolters (Michigan) – See all my reviews
In 2000, I began having cognitive difficulties…fuzzy brain. It just did not seem like normal aging (53 at the time). My neurologists followed my progress from 2003 and diagnosed me with cognitive disturbances and paresthesias. I was referred to Multiple Sclerosis experts, who ruled out MS with a Lumbar Puncture. My neurologist told me that my condition was not reversible and my symptoms would progress slowly. But, my symptoms were gaining in number and strength. I assumed that my fate was that of my mother who died of Alzheimer’s.
My first B12 serum test was in 2003 with a level of 493, well within the normal range. My B12 level was not tested again until October 2008. The level had dropped to 187, which then sent up a red flag that something was wrong. I began shots immediately and felt their positive effects. Two months later I was given a diagnosis of Pernicious Anemia (confirmed by Intrinsic Factor AB). I was so relieved to finally have a concrete diagnosis.
The first thing I did was hit the internet to learn more about this condition that was totally unknown to me. I found Sally Pacholok’s book. I cannot express the relief this book provided. It explained the gravity of the disease, described my classic symptoms, the possible causes, treatment and most importantly the hope for recovery. The book is well written, concise and compassionate. Ms. Pacholok captures the reality of the experience of this disease and the sadness of its needless misdiagnosis.
My first visit to the neurologist after I was given the diagnosis over the phone was startling and disappointing. I was equipped with the knowledge from Ms. Pacholok’s book. I assumed that the doctor would already know this information and just confirm what I had learned. On the contrary, I was met with an obvious resistance. I then realized why my absolutely classic B12 symptoms went so long undetected. Doctors were not making the connection. As Ms. Pacholok so aptly expressed in her book, this easy to diagnose and treatable disease is going undetected, leaving patients to suffer and even die needlessly. Without this book, I would not have understood the disease. I would not have known to fight for the correct medication and dose to effectively treat my symptoms, and I would not have experienced the peace of mind that the knowledge brings.
If you have been diagnosed with B12 deficiency, I am so glad that you found this book. It is a valuable source of information, perfectly written for the laymen. I have already given copies to my doctors…it is a start.
This is a must read for every person!, July 13, 2008
|By||D. Gould – See all my reviews
This book is a must read for everyone in contact with other human beings. I have dealt with the devestating effects of b12 deficiency for all of my 20’s and 30’s (at least) with everything getting nothing but worst in the last year. My little boy shares many of my symptoms and is being tested as we speak…now that we know how to test! My son’s doctor had no idea how to test him. Two weeks into B12 therapy most of the symptoms that have been plaguing me for years are gone! The rest are slowly improving and I suspect that they will continue to improve. When I think of all the doctors and tests and appointments and medications and theories I have had over the past years, it is downright depressing. All I needed was what my body was screaming for…B12! Cheap, easy to get, effective and mandatory B12!!!!
This book lays it out well and is very well referenced. The format is very reader friendly with many great examples. If you are looking for a book that you could bring into your doctor for their education (for your own survival!), this is the one. It is an absolute horror that this illness goes unfound for so long in so many people. Protect yourself and your loved ones and have this book on hand always. This is the best gift you could give anyone. It saved me in ways I don’t even want to think about. Thank you to the authors for this important piece of knowledge that is far too ignored in the medical community.
|By||Avid Reader “Pam” (Lee’s Summit, MO USA) – See all my reviews|
This book contains critical information that could change the lives of many people. Anyone with any sort of unexplained health problems, from Alzheimers to leg pain to autism, must read this. I also wish every doctor would read it and become more aware of the prevalence of B12 deficiency. After reading it at the library, I bought a copy for myself and one for my doctor.
Excellent and timely information., June 13, 2009
|By||East Coaster – See all my reviews|
Clients shared this with me, and I’m glad they did. One of them was the victim of undiagnosed B12-deficiency and he suffered with neurological and physical symptoms that are only partially reversed because of misdiagnosis and the delay in correct diagnosis.
I began taking methylcobalamin (1000 mcg, sublingual) three times a day for several weeks, since I was concerned about my own levels of B12 and some mild neurological symptoms I was having. Within a few weeks, the symptoms disappeared and have not returned.
I didn’t get tested before taking the methylcobalamin, for various reasons, but I would have if my symptoms had been severe. How many other people will not be able to replenish their B12 supply because they will not get a proper diagnosis and will become seriously disabled?
Share this book with your family and your physicians!
|By||Patricia Kornic (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews
The best book to read if you suspect that you have a B12 deficiency. This book is very informative as to the types of tests required to determine a B12 Deficiency. It also describes the symptoms for B12 Deficiency and the damage that can happen when a B12 Deficiency is not diagnosed quickly enough. A must read for parents because B12 deficiency can be a cause for your child’s lack of progress in school and slow development. All of this is discussed by Sally. If there is any information you want to know about B12 Deficiency, this is the book to read. I highly recommend it for everyone and it makes a great gift for grandparents. Seniors need to pay particular attention to their B12 levels.
|By||Roger Burks (Riverside, CA United States) – See all my reviews
Some books are fun reading, and some books address deep philosophical questions, but others can directly save and improve lives. This book is of the latter type. It discusses the difficulties involved in diagnosing and treating B12 deficiency, which isn’t as simple as grabbing the right pill from the store shelf. It also contains rather spirited discussion of a common doctors’ dilemma: what to do with patients that have vague symptoms but who keep coming back? Some doctors consider them to be paranoid “drug seekers” while others keep looking for problems. To be fair, many such patients probably are paranoid naturally, but on the other hand–what does it hurt to test for a deficiency in a water-soluble vitamin? Reading this book can literally improve your life, if you are suffering from vague syndromes such as “near-fibromyalgia,” “chronic fatigue,” “treatment-resistant depression,” dysthymia, and similar conditions.
|By||Et Cetera – See all my reviews|
For at least 10 years I had expressed discomfort that had started in my feet. Symptoms of severe swelling, pain — especially walking — tingling, feeling that my feet were bound when barefoot. My feet were and are full of broken veins. A number of times I had cellulitis on my ankles — treated with antibiotics.
Mostly I was told to wear support stockings, prop my feet when sleeping. Nothing really helped.
I did not have a regular physician since I was having to go wherever a payment would go. About 5 years ago I developed arrhythmia full blast requiring hospitilization. The cardiologist said my foot problem was caused by varicose veins.
Also about 5 years ago I started losing control of my bladder — a problem I had never had.
About three months ago I showed my current physician my feet. I was having more and more problems climbing just a few stairs, walking, staggering, falling. He suggested a neurologist. I was given tests I had never had such as an MRI.
I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. My blood work showed severely low B12 levels. Aha, the neurologist said my problem was caused by the low B12. I was assured I would get better.
I have started taking B12 injections. I have taken 7 so far and am going on one a week for I don’t know how long. I really am not feeling better yet, but I have great hope. I am sure this has been my main problem all along.
B12 Deficiency as the Great Mimicker!, July 24, 2008
|By||Paul Theodorescu “Paul T.” (Sherbrooke, QC, Canada) – See all my reviews
A fantastic treatise on a much overlooked medical problem!
As a third year medical student, I was largely unaware of the prevalence of B12 deficiency and its devastating repercussions. This book, a combination of anecdotal evidence and solid research provides a strong case for the importance of B12 testing (using Methylmalonic acid urinary testing not serum B12 levels!) and B12 treatment.
The chapters on B12 & Multiple Sclerosis as well as autism were particularly interesting!
All in all a great book! Easy to read, but with profound repercussions.
I have some technical questions I would love to ask the authors, should they wish to contact me.
|By||La Coccinelle – See all my reviews|
As the population grows older, age-related diseases are going to become more prevalent. Wouldn’t it be better to nip them in the bud ahead of time? This book details a mostly silent epidemic that, if not recognized, is going to cause a lot of problems in the coming years. What’s sad is that B12 deficiency is treatable… if it is caught.
This book is a fascinating read, and important for everyone. The tests for B12 deficiency are basic (if you can get your doctor to listen to you), and the treatment is no more complicated.
My only complaint is that I would have liked more information on B12 analogues and their possible effects on the body (and on the tests!). That information would be of interest to vegetarians and others who may be eating a lot of foods with this “false B12”. Other than that, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a body.
|By||Dolly Byrd “meanmummy” (Auckland New Zealand) – See all my reviews|
This book is a great starting point for anyone researching B12. I’ve been a life long vegetarian from a family of vegetarians and am bringing my children up vegie too. My father was recently dx’ed with problems with B12 which got me interested in researching further and I’ve had many ahhhhhh moments. My non vegie grandfather had parkinsons disease and many other symptoms listed in this book and I can’t help but wonder if the outcome may have been different if doctors had explored futher.
Lucky for me test in New Zealand are free so my son’s frozen urine is winging its way to australia for MMA testing, he’s a type 1 diabetic and there’s a link to B12 and auto immune diseases too. So I await the outcome but in the mean time we’re all on B12 tabs.
Although I’m only part way through this book and telling everyone about it, I too wish that there was a little more info post treatment on the case studies. Duration of treatments before people felt ‘better’ etc.
Could be the best $10 (NZ$20) that you ever spend.
Totally recommend this as a cheap way of starting on your road to discovery.
|By||jersey girl – See all my reviews|
Ever since my husband had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy three years ago he has had constant nausea. He only eats to survive. He was diagnosed with diverticulosis that went into diverticulitis and back to diverticulosis. Many of us have diverticulosis and have no symptoms…he does!! I researched and researched for three years and decided to look up vitamin and mineral deficencies. I stumbled upon this book. It all makes sense. Hubby was on Acid Blockers, PPI’s etc for THREE years. This depletes your B12. Who knew!!! He stopped all Acid Blockers etc.and feels better. Both of us started one month ago taking Sublingual Methylcobalamin 5000mcg. I once a day and he twice daily. While hubby has said he has a 60% improvement on his nausea; he also said he is much calmer, has more energy and less muscle fatigue. I can attest to that. I on the other hand being a very anxious person can claim that I am much calmer and have more energy and my high blood pressure has lowered dramatically. I believe my deceased Mom had B12 deficiency. She had Dementia, Parkinsons and MAJOR problems with her hemoglobin, as did other members of her family. After she had blood transfusions she was a new YOUNG person (that is also in the book) She was Happy, Sharp, Energenic. I purchased another book, as I sent ours to my hubby’s mother. This book is cheap enough….Buy the book it may be a simple cheap fix for what ails you and it is educational at least.
|By||Ruth J. Chessell – See all my reviews
This book has taught me so much, it is a must for everyone to read. An absolute eye opener even for someone who already suffers from the condition.
Excellent book about B12 deficiency, November 19, 2007
|By||Jeff S. Smith “Jeff” (Denver) – See all my reviews
A terrific book on B12 deficiency, covering everything from symptoms, numerous case summaries, tests, and treatment. I didn’t realize, until I read this book, that children can be dangerously deficient too. Potential links between pernicious anemia and autism were also discussed. Every chapter contains many references to scientific publications backing up the authors points.
Best book out there!, January 9, 2007
|By||Juli Bednarzyk (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews
This book really helped educate me about all things B12. I purchased it just before I had a test for it, and I was pretty sure I was deficient. The tests came back , and unsurprisingly, I was. I’ve recommended it to many people.
|By||Freddie Bridge (Connecticut, USA) – See all my reviews|
This is an excellent book — clear, easy to read, well documented, persuasive, and sensible. Just as predicted by the book, my doctors were not fully aware of the importance of B12 in many disease processes. Fortunately, my B12 tests, using the MMA test recommended in the book, turned out to be good, but the work was important in ruling out that particular possible cause for my peripheral neuropathy. It is important that people take charge of their own health, and this book helps us laymen help ourselves.
|By||J. Davis (UK) – See all my reviews
This is an interesting view on many of our common ailments today, from a particularly under-emphasised point -the lack of Vit. B12 in our diet.They have tried to show how many researchers and writers focussed on cholestrol -amongst other things-in the past as one of the big “bogeys” in modern life. Vit. B12 and its absorption has been forgotten or its seriousness as being behind many modern conditions not realised.They quote a lot of case histories in this.
|By||H. Phillips – See all my reviews
This book brings to light yet another health issue that doctors have ignored. It is amazing how symptom-fixated, drug obsessed, our current medical training is, rather than focusing on the whole body, health, diet and common sense methods of old. Read this book if you know of anyone showing signs of dementia. Or if you’re in middle age yourself!
|By||S. Granado “SamanthaBrown666” (Belgium) – See all my reviews
|By||Rosco P. “”The Kid”” (FL Highways) – See all my reviews|
Purchased and read……..Very informative and easy to understand. Had my B-12 tested and was low. Now taking B-12 Lozenges (5,000mg) three days a week and has improved my balance and mobility. Cheap investment! Rosco P.
|By||Glenn R. Medina (Clovis, CA) – See all my reviews
I was diagnosed in May 2009 with a severe vitamin B12 deficiency, but it took three doctors and three months to reach the diagnosis. After seeing my primary doctor three times and two trips to the lab for blood tests, he referred me to a neurologist. I saw the neurologist twice with blood work after both visits. He suspected MS and referred me to another neurologist who tested me for GBS. I tested negative so he sent me for blood work and an MRI of my brain, neck and spinal cord. Based on my symptoms and testing negative for numerous things, he suspected ALS. But fortunately, he screened by B12 level and it was 131! He immediately started me with daily B12 injections. I soon discovered the “Could It Be B12?” book and read it as fast as I could. Wow! What a wealth of knowledge it contains. The best thing I learned from the book is the different forms of B12, such as cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. I was originally prescribed cyanocobalamin because it’s the most common and least expensive form. But it has a trace of cyanide in it which I don’t want flowing through my blood stream. Also, the book indicates that methylcobalamin is better for treating neurological symptoms, which I had. The good news is I had a full recovery! It took four months with daily B12 shots plus supplementing with sublinguals and B12 creme. I had 28 symptoms, the worse of which were fatigue, insomnia, muscle atrophy & weakness and difficulty walking. I still take daily shots and will probably continue to do so for life. My B12 level was checked in October and January, 2000 both times! No harm. B12 is non-toxic so there’s no such thing as a B12 overdose. Better to take more than I need than to become deficient again!
|By||Seeker of Truth “Anne” (Fayetteville, Arkansas) – See all my reviews|
I have referred this book to a number of friends having the same symptoms and frustrations….. I praise God for saving my life through the persistant labor of these two medically-trained authors.
At this time I am self-injecting with cyanocobalomine daily and have at long last (months)am regaining strength, sleep, more stamina and lots of HOPE! A verse in Daniel 2 of the Bible a verse reads, “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries”… I trust His promises.
Update: A few weeks after the above review, I have begun to use injections of the more advanced form of B-12, methylcobalamine, because my B-12 deficiency had undiagnosed for so long and my neurological symptoms had already gotten severe. I hope the extra expense of this form will be worth it…my prayer is that I will be restored !! Happily, I use fewer injections than I have with my initial cyanocobalamine form.
|By||Noks Nauta “Noks Nauta” (The Netherlands) – See all my reviews|
This is a very important book. For patients and for doctors and all working in the health care!
This certainly is a forgotten disease.
I wish that many doctors read this and be aware of this deficiency and the terrible burden it brings to patients. Having a problem that can be cured and no one thinks about it….
Thanks to Sally Pacholok for writing this book!
|By||David A. Hester “Proud Nana” (MS Gulfcoast) – See all my reviews
Good info. After I was diagnosed as b12 deficient, I called my niece and sister. discovered they were b12 deficient. Good info and this book will answer any questions you may have.
|By||abcamy – See all my reviews|
Long story short (at least as short as I can)….Been having symptoms of b12 defciency for many years actually starting in my 20’s but mild – hands would numb when doing certain things like blow drying my hair – people thought it was probable carpal tunnel. Many moons later when the lower abdonminal symptoms starting getting severe I went to my gynecologist. Was diagnosed with CIN Level II of the cervix and adneomyosis of the uterus. Both ended up being removed in early 2007 and pathology found nothing wrong. Talk about eyebrow raising after having had a punch biopsy and ultrasound finding abnormal results.
Needless to say abdominal symptoms continued, so after some time I again started pursuing an answer to these symptoms. In the meant time, more symptoms where adding and piling on. I had went to the ER a couple of times. They finally found enlarged red blood cells……I then was basically accused of being an acoholic. Being new to the area, I had to find a family Dr. Finally I am found to be “a little low” in b12 (being at 173 at that time). Still I had no clue what that meant. Had some other issues with lymph nodes going on – not realted to b12. Dr did not want to treat, so I find another DR. YES, the lumps are nodes most likely, but this Dr wants to do nothing more about my b12 deficiency or lymph nodes other than to give me oral Foltx (way more costly than injections). My last level was 148 in about April or May of this year after having been on Foltx. I was just told by a Dr that I have to take if for a year to get effectiveness out of it. Okay then, one question, if that could possibly even be true, then what the crap do I do for 365 days? Just continue to suffer I guess, and that is if the “One Year” rule is even partially right.
Sally’s book gave me the knowledge I needed to help control my b12 deficiency beyond that of what my Dr is willing to do. I am for now going to try the cyanocobalamin injection (of which I know hydroxocobalamin would be way better)along with a methylcobalamin spray and hopefully I can get this stuff better under control. I also now know some of the tests they need to do. She is right about some Dr’s being “ignorant” (for lack of a better word) about b12 deficiency. But you have to also remember most Dr’s work for drug companies, they do not make the drug compaines work for them. That is why they would want you to take the 10-15 X’s more costly pill that does so little for b12 deficiency.
For years I have been mis-diagnosed with ever thing from Thyroid Disease to Hypoglycemia. About a year ago I started haveing numbness and tingleing in both of my feet, it kept getting worse and I had a Venous Deficenicy test ran and it came back negative, my Vascular Suergon; correctly diagnosed my condition as Neuropathy, but he said we need to find out what caused it. He called my Internist MD and told him, that he needed to run some “Out Of The Norm” blood work on me as some conditions dont always show up; in a standard blood work up. By this time I had read some of Nurse Pacoloks Book “Could it be B-12”. The book correctly gives the Symtoms and Mimics that a B-12 Deficiency can cause. Shew was right, when my blood work results came back, my B-12 level was almost “Nil”. The Internist put me on 1 Injection a Week of 1Mg. Of B-12 Serum and now I feel like a new born baby. I will be 72 this coming August 2011.
I had severe Muscle Spasms, Edema, Migraines, GI Problems, Shortness Of Breath, Couldnt Walk 15 Feet, without giving completely out. Nurse Pacholok; explains all this in her book and how much B-12 is “Important” to your Bodys Metabaolism and “All The Health Problems, A B-12 Deficenincy Cn ++Mimic++.. This Lady knows her Business and the price of the book is well worth it, in terms of Health Benifits to ones Knowledge of What may be wrong with them””. B-12 Deficiency is just now becoming Prevalent in The Medical Society, and most of todays MDs arent schooled of its importance. But “Believe Me”, it can cause you Many years Of Pain and Suffering.
Everyone should read this incredible book. Vitamin B-12 affects many of us elderly, but it can also affect child development, mimic schizophrenia, Alzheimers, MS, and more. Many folks could spend $36 a year on B-12 rather than on expensive medications. Of course, a person has to be low in B-12 to be helped; however, the authors point out that a typical lab says a low level is “normal.” It is not. A person should have a score of 450 to be normal. The authors give the latest tests for assessing B-12 deficiency. One of the problems they cite is that many doctors are not aware of testing correctly. In my practice (psychology), I’ve helped a number of folks who had no idea what was causing their problems. B-12 corrected these issues. This avoided being treated for schizophrenia, being placed in nursing homes, etc.
I was thinking of writing a book on B-12 deficiency; however, the authors’ book fulfills everything I would have said…and more. Thus, I can relax and not write it. Procrastination is one of my strong points. Thanks so much to the authors. I just hope many people read this book. It should be a best seller.
Saint Leo University
MacDill AFB FL