On November 18, 2009, film and television producer Elissa Leonard approached us regarding producing a documentary on vitamin B12 deficiency. Elissa became interested in B12 deficiency after reading the first edition of our book, Could It Be B12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses, and learned one of her own family members was afflicted. Elissa has joined us and is passionate about educating the U.S. about this unrecognized disorder. Her goal is to uncover whatever truths she can find: “Is there an epidemic of misdiagnosis? Do doctors know what to look for and are they looking for it? What is the state of our scientific knowledge? Has the federal fortification of foods with folic acid caused harm and to whom?” she says, “This would be the definitive B12 movie.” Elissa began her interviews in 2010, and we were interviewed in late September. Her documentary was completed in late 2011 and is now available to view on our website on this page (see B12 Documentary by Elissa Leonard) and on the B12 Documentary page. Elissa has spent years producing and writing a health/science/technology documentary series for PBS called Innovation. She has won two Emmys for her work on Innovation. Elissa was also the Head of Story Development for Explorer, a series on National Geographic Television. She has the contacts and credibility with the right people to get this film aired. We are hopeful this documentary will create even more B12 deficiency awareness so lives can be spared as well as save billions of health care dollars. Please post your comments and reactions to the film below. We are hopeful Elissa will be able to get her film viewed by 60 minutes, Dateline, PBS or any other responsible and informative news program. Please tweet about this informative documentary and spread the word. We need public assistance to spread awareness to this mismanaged medical disorder. We are trying to get a bill to declare September as “B12 Awareness Month,” to protect the lives of millions and save billions of dollars for the nation’s taxpayers. Help us, help you!
2013 B12 Documentary by Elissa Leonard Completed
by Sally Pacholok, RN | Oct 1, 2014 | Media, Press | 28 comments
Hi just loved this ! I suffer from this awful illness and have done since 2002 and am recieving injections every 3/4 weeks ! I have never gone longer than four weeks since my diagnosis. I found the story of JJ quite close to home it was about a year before i was diagnosed, I began to think I was imagining my symptoms and I think my Doctor thought the same too ! I was so tired felt “drunk” when walking my memory was awful all I wanted to do was sleep , eventually they foundI was running on empty for b12 and I have been getting high doses ever since ! some symptoms have never gone. A GP at my surgery still maintains I do not have the disease any more as I am treated for it ?? I refuse to see her any more….Thank you for caring XX
See if you can get 3-4 shots a week-I do myself!
A very well made documentary that should be included in the curriculum of every medical school to enable future generations to be diagnosed promptly, if B12 deficient.
Elissa Leonard has done an outstanding job of showing the serious consequences of what happens when a B12 deficiency is allowed to progress without diagnosis and treatment.
People should not be ending up in a wheelchair because their doctors do not have the knowledge to check for a simple vitamin deficiency. The cost to screen for B12 deficiency and to treat those who are found to be B12 deficient would far outweigh the cost of keeping someone with SACDSC or someone with dementia in a long-term care facility.
Thank you for this real great documentary.
Everything was so recognisable.
I’m gonna give this link to the doctors in The Netherlands who misdiagnosed me,
So other people aren’t handicaped for life.
Thank you also for the acknowledgement!
A wonderful film that will, I’m certain, go down in history. I’ve already sent it to a couple of health authorities I’ve been in contact with and I have a long list to work through. Can I ask though, is there a direct link from Youtube? I tried to find it last night on a search and couldn’t but don’t know if it will take time to be found on a Youtube search.
Direct Youtube link:
It’s now gone off to a couple more Health Authorities!
A wonderful documentary. Of course I have been spreading your book “Could it be B12?” to doctors already. But with this documentary it will be easier to get attention for pernicious anaemia here in Norway. In the Handbook for doctors pernicious anaemia is defined as a megaloblastic anaemia. First sentence.
And go on with different incorrect statements, no wonder they call it a “rare” disease.
I have also started to wonder whether people with neck injuries and TMD could more easily get pernicious anaemia??? My neck injury gave me neurological symptoms all the time, so I had no idea before my doctor said I had blood serum of 28 (as I remember it, the papers are unavailable, only that it was below 100) All my symptoms could be explained by the neck injury. Except the doctor noticed that I often wanted to lie down instead of sitting in the waiting room.
I hope this documentary will change people`s attitudes in Scandinavia.
Hi, heartbreaking to watch. I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anaemia in July 2012, after many symptoms throughout years. My level when diagnosed was the same as the lady Torie at end of documentary, I am also folate deficient. More awareness is so needed and would like to say a big thankyou to all in the film for sharing their personal experiences. I had my bloods overlooked two years before diagnoses showing larger blood cells and wasnt told or put on a treatment plan. I had been put on antids and sent for counselling. It was a relief when finally someone realised something was way wrong and hence diagnoses. But it doesnt end there does it, Im still not getting the treatment i need for my individual needs and believe more awareness on B12 diagnoses and treatment is needed. I am in the UK, and felt relief finally getting a name for the way i was feeling, but some people are still ignorant to the damages a Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Thank you for sharing this. andrea
Excellent film! Very informative in plain language and persuasive about the urgent need for more doctors and patients to be made aware of B12 deficiency. It was especially powerful to watch the account of a pediatrician become extremely ill from B12 deficiency and to learn that he was misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. When he was finally diagnosed correctly much later, it was quite an eye opener for him as a medical doctor to realize how important vitamin B12 is to human health and life. Hopefully, his testimony will grab the attention of many doctors and motivate them to screen more of their patients at the earliest signs of B12 deficiency symptoms and to spread the awareness about vitamin B12. I am a survivor of severe B12 deficiency (in 2009) and very blessed and thrilled to experience a full recovery the same year. I bought Sally’s book soon after my diagnosis and it helped me tremendously to understand my illness and to recover quickly. Thank you Sally and Jeffrey for your excellent book and thank you Elissa Leonard for your excellent work on the documentary!
Hello Sal,Jeff and Elissa,
This fantastic documentary is an absolute must see ! Put it on dvd and give it the widest distribution as possible. Especially doctors and nurses have to know the facts about the B12 story, so that many people can be saved from needless [mis]treatment. Keep up the good work !
Anthon Hendrik de Bont,
Fantastic film, will be ensuring all family and friends watch it. Need to get this out there for all the medical profession to see. Education on this disorder is so desperatley needed. Thank goodness for you and all the work you have done. I just hope that the current guidelines for dianosing and treating b12 will soon be changed and the millions of sufferers can finally get the treatment they so deserve.
Great stuff! Congratulations! Spread the word!
I put your link on my Facebook page.
I wish the list of symptoms and at risk categories had gone a lot slower. My daughter has had issues, and since turning forty…so have I. When I see how many similarities are popping up between things in this video, and our experiences… it’s scary. On one hand, it makes me really mad…and on the other I’m so relieved to be able to say, this may be what the problem is.
Our website has the list of signs and symptoms and our book explains B12 deficiency in depth, as well as how it strikes different age groups. We have included a cost-effectiveness chapter in the 2nd Edition which demonstrates how billions of dollars are being spent on undiagnosed or untreated vitamin B12 deficiency.
Please accept my congrats to the group of people who made this excellent documentary. It really is excellent in every way….the messages come across crystal clear.
Eye opener. All I can say is Thank You!!!
My elderly mother was diagnosed with a B12 deficiency last month. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in making this excellent documentary. It was eye-opening, to say the least. I posted a link to the documentary on my Facebook page and opened that post to the public. Next on my “to do” list is ordering a few copies of “Could it be B12” for myself, for family, and for friends.
I have just been told of my vit b 12, folic acid, vit d are severly low. I will read the book, i watched the vidio and am aware. I am also scared, I see I have a multitude of the same problems. I had 2 bouts of blood clots, 17 yrs apart. I now found out i have a gene mutation mthfr and neck issues. That unless you have unresolved major problems they dont test for in your blood, also it is new and not really figured out. But if you have it you need foltic instead of folic acid……..but i am not sure why cause i cant remember squat darn it! In hopes we all get better and spread the word.
I agree with all the former comments about the excellent quality of this documentary and how important it is to spread the word among medical professionals of all kinds, as well as the general public. I sent information to a science writer who, among her extensive writings, has written for AARP. I’m wondering if anyone working on the B12 Awareness website or documentary could write an article (including reference to Could It Be B12? and the documentary) that could be widely distributed in magazines and newspapers, including those that target the senior population. Also, inclusion on shows, such as that of Dr. Oz, could be helpful. If the documentary was put on DVD that was available to the public, I’m sure many of us would purchase them for our friends, family, doctors, etc. The information I’ve gotten since reading Could It Be B12 has been invaluable in my work as a physical therapist. Thank you!
My Grandfather was diagnosed with this in the 1960’s, but only after visiting many doctors. He was in his late 70’s and was told that he was dementing by all but the last doctor he consulted, who correctly diagnosed it. Lucky for him he was convinced that they were wrong and kept looking for an answer..
He had B12 injections for the rest of his life and died in 1980 at the age of 94.
I’ve sent this to everyone I know. The video is excellent. Thank you so much for making this available to us!
I need to find a physician who believes in the therapy you present, in my area. Please contact me, I need support very much. I believe in bloodless medicine. This info about B-12 is imperative. Very many physicians withhold simple B-12 therapy just because a person refuses a blood transfusion. Thank you.
Around 2000 I began having horrific numbness in my lower limbs and my Dr. sent me to cardiologists, MRI’s, Xrays and on and on. This particular Dr. ended up retiring and I had to change Doctors and thankfully he finally figured out my problem was Pernicious Anemia and his blood test lab report was the lowest B12 level he had ever seen and he quickly put me on B12 shots once a week for about a month or so and weaning down to now one every month.
Unfortunately I still suffer these symptoms and I guess they’ll be sticking around till I drop dead.
-strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
-difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)
-fatigue….although this one seems to get better for a couple of weeks after getting the injection.
I have once again changed doctors and normally call for a ‘nurses visit’ for the B12 shot and now they
tell me they have no B12 available to them. I had them write me a prescription and went to WalGreen and
now have to pick up B12 at WalGreen and take it to the nurses visit and you know what? They still charge
me the same for the injection even though they aren’t providing the B12. What does that say about the
American healthcare system?
I had stomach surgeryin 1986. I had an ulcer with a fistula to my colon. I had the stomach 50% removed along with other repairs. I was never perscribed B12. Here in 2012 i became very sick. I had 3-4 TIA’s a stroke and 3 seizures. Before all of this I had noticed that my thoughts were very confused, i could not find my way home from a client’s house where I was her nurse. I could not remember how to fix a client’s vent I am an RN. I was fired from my job. Attempted suicide and and developed pneumonia-which later the doctors thought was lung cancer. Then after the TIA’and stroke I was hospitialized. and had the seizures. I was unable to drive for 3 months. I am on meds now to control the seizures and I am able to think clearly. I am 68 so I just contributed my slow thoughts and forgetfulness on age. Thank God that I had good doctors that actually thought to check my B12 levels. My disease process was so slow it had been coming on for at least 5 years or since I had the stomach surgery. Every one should be having their levels of all vitamins checked and monitored. I am hoping to find a job as a PCA . I don’t quite feel capable of performing my duties as a nurse.
I am struggling with how to be treated. My level was 154 MMA is on the low end of normal and the Homocystiene was 15 non fasting. I have no anemia. My Dr. order 1 shot weekly 1000ug and then 1 shot monthly. I just had my first monthly shot. While many of the symptoms have resolved I am still having significant numbness and tingling in my extremities and right sided under the rib pain which goes into the back. I do not have stomach problems such as Crohn’s. I did for many years use Prilosec and Birth Control and then Estrogen replacement. I have also battled with and eating disorder. It seems like this has been a long time brewing. I did not think much of the symptoms until I started having the numbness and tingling relentlessly. I am wondering if I did not have enough of a “loading dose” initially or if I just need to give this more time. I started all of this 4 months ago and my neuro doc is seems to be taking his time. Should I be expecting different, this is costing me a lot of money having multiple MRI’s and CT’s and the like and it may all be be unneeded. My neuro is scheduling me for more tests because he says my symptoms should have gotten better by now. I don’t know what to think after reading many of the comments posted and seeing the video
Thanks for this very comprehensive explanation of the importance of vitamin B12. Our area of interest is with Multiple Sclerosis and Venous insufficiency and we were wondering if we could use some extract of this video for circulation in the UK. Particularly to time poor doctors and nurses.