A silent crippler stalks millions of North Americans. It afflicts one person with tremors, makes another depressed or psychotic, and causes agonizing leg pains or paralysis in still another. It can mimic Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, early Parkinson’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It can make men or women infertile or cause development disabilities in their children. The disorder is vitamin B12 deficiency. This isn’t a new or fad disease. You’ll find it listed in the textbooks of any first-year medical student. Yet it may be the most misdiagnosed disease and, when this occurs, the consequences can be tragic.
I'm glad I read this, and I read the whole thing. And while I learned a lot from the book, I can't give it more than three stars simply because the writing was so over-the-top fanatical. Surely not every ailment on the face of the earth can be caused by a B12 deficiency ... okay, maybe the authors didn't say that exactly, but close.
I was also surprised to read on page 4, "B12 is produced in the gut of animals, it's also the only vitamin that you can't obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don't need B12, so they don't produce or store it. To obtain B12 from your diet, you need to eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, or food fortified with B12..."
So, I'm still researching that concept. According to veganforum.com, "Vitamin B12 is found in algae, peas, clover, alfalfa, mustard..." and "Foods fortified with vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) may be a potential problem if cooked."
But Pacholok writes, "...several plants that some supplement manufacturers claim are high in B12, such as spirulina and tempeh, actually contain "pseudo-B12" analogues that block the uptake of the real vitamin, sometimes causing dangerous deficiencies" (page 4).
I also really take issue with any person that places blame (of any sort) with mothers who are well intentioned doing the best they can to care for the well-being of their children. Maybe I misread or misunderstood, but Pacholok writes, "Vegetarian and vegan mothers also are the most likely to breastfeed for long periods of time, which puts nursing children at high risk of B12 deficiency if the mothers don't supplement their diets correctly. Children can be severely crippled by B12 deficiency..." (page 95).
The extremist language used in the book was certainly a turn-off, but I can't deny the potentially useful and life-changing information in this book. If you are suffering from any physical ailment, it might be worth your time to consider whether or not you are deficient in vitamin B12 and give this book a read.
Also, be aware that the authors really beat it into the reader’s head that getting a “typical” blood test for B12 deficiency is not good enough. They go on and on and on about the reasons, but just so you know, if you’re going to be tested, you need the other tests recommended by the authors.
And, if you want to supplement your diet with B12 … I’ve done the research for you (well, I did it for me, but I’ll share the info with you).
A supplement needs to be a SUBLINGUAL B12 tablet that has 1000-2000 mcg of B12 in it and it needs to be made from either hydroxocobalamin or methylcobalamin. Many vitamins that are mass produced use the less expensive form of B12 made from cyanocobalamin which uses Cyanide. Why put that in your body?
If you're not getting B12 shots, then you need to take a sublingual B12. A sublingual is placed under your tongue and you let it dissolve there. The blood vessels under your tongue absorb the vitamin directly into your blood stream, so the vitamin doesn’t have to go through your digestive system before “maybe” being absorbed.
Before reading this book, I had been taking oral B12 tablets made from the cyanocobalamin with minimal results. So now I’ve purchased new B12 vitamins – sublingual hydroxocobalamin 2000mcg. And, I’ll let you know if they make a difference for me.
Buy this book! Even if you think B12 deficiency is very unlikely to be the cause of your symptoms - buy this book. You may well be surprised.
B12 deficiency is far more common than many doctors are aware of. That includes nutritional doctors and authors of books on vitamins too.
It can be the sole cause of symptoms or a person can develop a B12 deficiency after years of being ill with something else. Many diseases which affect the gut or have an autoimmune component can put you at an increased risk of B12 deficiency even if you eat a very good diet.
This book explains:
* B12 deficiency is very common but often not diagnosed early or at all, and is often poorly treated.
* B12 deficiency is very response to treeatment and easy to treat but only if treatment is begun early. Time is of the essence in treating B12 deficiency.
* Patients may become wheelchair- or bedbound, incontinent and suffer many serious cognitive issues if B12 deficiency is left untreated. It can also become fatal if untreated. The book includes many case studies, both of patients that were diagnosed too late and those that were diagnosed early and so saved from being made far more ill.
* Why many patients need regular B12 injections and sublingual B12 may not work for them although can be useful to boost B12 levels between injections for many people.
* B12 deficiency can cause very different symptoms in different people. Some may just have balance and memory issues, others may have burning arm and leg pain and incontinence issues, or may seem to be very mentally ill and depressed. This book provides the most comprehensive symptom list for B12 deficiency I've seen. It's very helpful. Many symptom lists for B12 deficiency symptoms are very basic and unhelpful.
There are a few things in the book that could maybe be improved somewhat in the next edition.
* I'd love to see a brief section on the start-up reactions that some of us can have when starting B12 treatment. (Mine are huge!) This includes severe fatigue and feeling like you've taken knockout drops, bad detoxification reactions and also huge sleep-wake cycle changes and reduced sleep. This is a huge issue because when B12 is listed only as being 'harmless' it can give a wrong impression that these symptoms indicate that B12 is not being tolerated well or is being taken at too high a dose when in fact the opposite may well be true. While B12 is not toxic, it can actually cause harm to some patients. This harm is likely only short term and will be tiny when compared to the horrific neurological effects of an untreated B12 deficiency but it is still harm. The symptoms are made worse by the patient not being aware that they may occur and so not being able to prepare for them too.
* Some of the cutting-edge MTHFR websites (recomended reading!) explain that ideally it's best to take both some methylcobalamin (or hydroxycobalamin, which can be converted in the body to methylcobalamin in most people) as well as some adenosylcobalamin. These two forms do different things in the body and not everyone may convert between different types well. It seems like a person can be deficient in one or both forms of B12, and so all B12 is not necessarily B12. For this reason it'd be a great move if all sources of B12 information gave clear information about the benefits of taking both active B12 types and not just one of them.
* Higher doses of sublinguals could be talked about. Many people take more than the 2-5 mg of methylcobalamin sublinguals daily that this book mentions.
But overall this book is pretty great. I'm so glad I was able to buy this book, and to get it so quick because it was digital as well! The authors of the book are very passionate about B12 deficiency and have done a great job with this book.
I have had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) since 1995 when I was 19. I developed symptoms of B12 deficiency (on top of my primary neurological disease) in early 2012. I was not aware that these new symptoms were B12 deficiency for around 18 months. 18 months after these new symptoms started I began high dose B12 treatment - to pretty wonderful effect. The change I've seen in just 2 weeks of treatment is amazing!
I took an extra 1 mg methylcobalamin sublingual when I was a few pages into the book and worked on it as I read. I finished the book that night and the next day I started working my dosage up - aiming to get it as high as I could without getting severe start-up effects. By day 3 when I was up around the 10 mg mark I knew for absolute certain that finally I had found the cause of my strange new symptoms as they had already improved so much. It was a very happy day!
(BTW M.E. is not at all the same thing as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as most B12 deficiency resources incorrectly state, along with almost everyone else, sadly. It is also not true to say that B12 deficiency can cause all the symptoms of M.E. It cannot, although it can cause all the symptoms which are included in CFS definitions.)
I knew late-stage B12 deficiency caused neurological damage that could be permanent but I had no idea it could affect your bladder and kidneys and cause all sorts of vein, breathing, lymph and cardiac issues. My awareness of the B12 deficiency facts was poorer than I'd thought it was. (I've put my symptom list and treatment reactions up on my health site FWIW.)
B12 deficiency wasn't mentioned at all in many of my otherwise excellent health books that went into such details about the benefits and deficiency symptoms of so many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Often when it was mentioned it was listed as very rare or just not an issue at all. The doctors that wrote those books need serious re-educating on this issue!
I saw the 'Could it be B12?' book so many times in my 'recommended books' list on Amazon and elsewhere but I thought buying it would be a frivolous purchase. I really wanted to though as I love health books and am a big huge B vitamin fan. Several times in the last 2 years I added it to my cart then deleted it again. I was sure it'd be only a health-trivia read and not affect me at all personally. Huge mistake as it turns out! I should have bought that book in 2011, not 2013. If only!
If you have any new onset neurological issues, nerve or vein pain, oedema, bladder or kidney weirdness such as pain or recurrent UTI-like symptoms etc. make sure you investigate B12 deficiency! Get the three tests done and then start your B12 trial. It is very simple to treat but early diagnosis and treatment is vital.
This book is a must-read if you have a B12 deficiency or any new and unexplained symptoms. I give it 4.5 stars.
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
This book is a complete lifesaver and that's no lie. I'm so glad I read this, it's like my Bible now. Really gave me some food for thought and has given me hope that one day I might start to feel well again. I was diagnosed with a severe B12 deficiency in October 2010 after feeling ill since the December 2007/January 2008. I am so grateful to the authors of this incredible book.
Essential information; way too long and repetitive I think this book is an important read in order to grasp the importance of B12, the devastating consequences of B12 deficiency, and the generalised ignorance about this in the health care field. However, it should be a quarter of the size. There is a lot of things that are repeated several times in slightly different ways, and there are way too many reported case histories. I have written a concise article about B12 based on the book that I think captures the essence of it in far fewer words here: B12: Your Life Depends on It
The authors of this book, a registered nurse and an osteopathic doctor, work and have worked for a long time as health care practitioners, and have seen a lot of things. Clearly the most remarkable of these is the universality of both misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis of B12 deficiency. They have seen time and time again the devastating toll that this deficiency has brought to hundreds of people, from the youngest infants to oldest elders, and have also seen, very unfortunately, almost as often the sad truth that the doctors treating these people failed to recognise that their problems were are stemming from B12 deficiency.
Therefore, they wrote this book to inform as many individuals as possible, and at the same time give themselves the necessary backing in the form of a written document for what has been since then their mission to bring to the medical community as a whole the direly needed attention this issue deserves.
In that sense, the book is very convincing, and hence serves its purpose well. It is, however, very long to get through, and contains surprisingly little biochemistry and physiology even if the main subject, B12 or cobalamin deficiency, is wholly biochemical and physiological in form and in action. There are a very large number of examples and reported cases of victims of B12 deficiency, what their symptoms were, how their story unfolded over weeks, months and years, how they recovered sometimes fully, sometimes partly, and sometimes not significantly from being unable to remediate to the permanent neurological damage incurred.
Furthermore, as with most of the health books I have read and listed in this bibliography, there is a lot of repetition throughout the book. It is clearly a book written for the masses (even though there are some sections, including a whole chapter dedicated to health practitioners, with more technical details and specific advice). As such, the authors are primarily concerned with getting their main message across, which is: do not allow yourself or your doctor to be ignorant to the devastation that B12 deficiency can cause, and everyone's B12 levels should be kept above 600 pg/ml throughout life.
Everyone should read this book! Some say that it is simplistic to suggest that a B12 deficiency could be at the root of so many diseases, but as the author explains, B12 is more than just a vitamin, it is involved in digestion, cell reproduction and many more functions. I think the day will come when doctors will routinely check for this as they are now starting to check vitamin D levels. A vitamin B12 deficiency may cause different symptoms in different people. Some people are not able to convert the B12 from supplements into a form that their bodies can use. Also if a person has too much folic acid it may mask a B12 deficiency.
I began reading "Could it be B12" because I was researching possible problems related to my son's anti-seizure medications, and was reading about the fact that Lamictal (an anti-seizure med) can leech folate out of the system, thereby making it difficult to process vitamin B12. That, and the fact that my son is on the autism spectrum, and vitamin B12 shots are one of many possibly therapies tossed around to "improve" the symptoms of autism, made this book worth a read.
There is no doubt that the information within the book is well-researched. I am sure that, when an individual has a true B12 deficiency, this book is extremely valuable. I also agree whole-heartedly that there are doctors out there who would dispute the necessity of having people tested for B12 deficiency as a matter of course, and that drives me as crazy as it does the authors of this book. It would be so easy to provide a few tests and at the very least rule out that B12 deficiency is a cause for some of society's most difficult and perplexing medical issues.
In our situation, though, after reading this book, I get the distinct impression that my son does not have a B12 deficiency (based on the books list of symptoms) -- that his autism diagnosis was legit. I still think that B12 supplementation should be tried, and if it improves ones energy levels, cognition, etc, then it's worthwhile -- and if not, there's no harm done at all.
I agree with others, though, that there is an implication that B12 deficiency causes all sorts of medical problems, and this may be true -- but after reading this book, you get the impression that the authors almost think that B12 deficiency has it's tentacles in EVERY medical issue. Maybe I over-interpreted this, but it sure felt like this was the case as one lumbers toward the end of the book. By the 12th chapter, I was just skipping through the information, because much of it was getting repetitive.
If B12 deficiency is indeed your problem, then this book is a godsend. It's definitely worth a read, but read it with a grain of salt and a level head.
"What is the cost of failing to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency early? The answer may stun you: BILLIONS OF DOLLARS! Not only are insurance companies and the government (through Medicare and Medicaid) paying out enormous amounts of money, but so are taxpayers and society. Why? People who are injured as a result of B12 deficiency OFTEN BECOME DISABLED. The consequences of this invisible epidemic include fall-related trauma, frequent emergency room department visits, frequent medical office visits, repeated hospitalizations, cognitive decline (dementia), nursing home placements, unnecessary prescriptions, blood transfusions and/or erythropoietin use, psychiatric care, unnecessary radiologic and invasive testing, malpractice settlements and payments, need for mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, walking devices), rehabilitation (in and out patient), physical therapy, occupational therapy, loss of income to disability, social security payments or disability insurance, family stress as relatives become caretakers or disabled individuals."
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever been diagnosed of having low B12s. I know with experience of how hard it is to get a correct diagnosis. I was told I had a b12 deficiency many years ago and was told to take oral over-the-counter supplements when I eat a diet rich in B12s. Sadly the doctors are very incompetent about this issue. It runs in my family. My mom is currently in a wheelchair with a diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy and she has also tested for low b12s in the past. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that I will have to sue my doctors as they keep not addressing my neurological issues that I know deep in my heart stem from a B12 deficiency. My doctor appointments keep getting pushed farther due to the CORVID-19 pandemic but as soon as I can have my appointment I am arming myself with my wits and thanks to groups on Facebook, I am armed with documents that I will be giving my doctor to help with my lawsuit. It's so sad and unfortunate that it has to come to this. But maybe if enough people sue it can be brought to the attention that it greatly deserves.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This book is a must read for anyone working in the medical or health & wellness sphere. I don’t fall into either category but the book is equally valuable to the lay reader. Upon reading the first few pages, it became evident to me that my dad has been struggling with a B12 deficiency ever since undergoing cardiac bypass surgery last year. His doctor reluctantly agreed to test him, while prefacing that his B12 levels would most certainly come back normal. Low and behold his B12 came back in the gray zone and he is now supplementing. We have already noticed an improvement in his symptoms - shortness of breath, mental fog/confusion, fatigue, lack of energy, etc. This book had been sitting at the bottom of my pile of books to read for several years - I purchased the book a while back because I suspected I was vulnerable to B12 deficiency but I never got around to reading it. It was some of my own recurring symptoms that finally led me to dig this book out from under the bottom of the pile. The book provided insight into my own long standing symptoms. I didn’t anticipate that the information in the book would also help my dad regain quality of life! In short, this is an extremely valuable book, with life saving information. I plan to keep it front and center in the health & wellness section of my home library for future reference. Thank you to the authors for spreading this information and improving countless lives along the way...your crusade is making a difference.
This book was published in 2011 so the issues with MTHFR weren’t as well known back then, though the authors DO mention genetic mutations inhibiting B12, as well as things like autism etc. so they were on the right track.
I would recommend the book to everyone as it’s likely you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of B12 deficiency... it is so common. At the very least you will know what to look out for, and signs that are often missed or contributed to other deficiencies. Even things like Restless legs syndrome, speech delays, shortness of breaths, tingling in the hands or legs, chronic fatigue, constipation or diarrhea, ringing in the ears... the list goes on.
The authors recommend anyone with symptoms gets tested first so you have your baseline numbers, but if you’re looking to prevent deficiencies in the first place they recommend the bare minimum supplementation would be oral 1000mcg B12 daily for both adults (including during pregnancy and breastfeeding) and children.
The cover is calm, but don't let that put you off, the power is really in the content of the book! The book immediately starts intriguing, the prefaces make me want to know more. I wanted to read this book out of personal interest, I have been getting b12 injections for years, and out of broader interest, I am a holistic lifestyle coach and always want to delve into aspects that can offer people a better life. This book does what it promises, it contains background information, facts and examples and, despite being very medical, is very readable. The most important lesson I take from this book is that b12 deficiencies are often hidden and that every individual should remain very alert to complaints. In that case, this book is highly recommended. I have already recommended it to a very sick friend and will also discuss the book with my doctor.
This book could save your life - it did mine! I had no idea I was B12 deficient as my symptoms were strange - shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, dizzy, anxiety, insomnia, aches/pains, tingling in my feet, I just thought I was getting old! I was deficient. I now take Methyl B12 and feel much better. Thank you Sally Pacholok!
Every household should have a copy of this book. Every doctor's surgery should have it and each doctor, nurse and every other staff member should be made to read it and use it as their Bible! That is how important this book and the information it contains. A life saver!
Everyone needs to know about B12 deficiency and what it can do to your health. It's amazing how a deficiency of B12 will wreak havoc on pretty much ALL of a person's body systems. You will start to have symptoms of SO many diseases.
I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia (an autoimmune disease where my body is not able to take in and use B12 because my body attacks intrinsic factor in the stomach) at the end of 2010, but I've had symptoms of it since before I was 12 years old. I had so many symptoms most of my life and yet had no idea what was causing my problems and no doctor ever, ever thought to test me for B12 deficiency (or Pernicious Anemia), until a few years ago. My B12 serum levels were normal, and so was my homocysteine, but no one thought to test my urinary MMA levels which most likely were high. No one thought to test for Intrinsic Factor Antibodies until a person over the internet who had the same exact problems I had with blood levels being constantly low--pancytopenia--told me she had PA. I decided to get tested for it. My doctor at first would not test me for it because my homocysteine levels were normal and she insisted that if they are normal, then you can't have PA or B12 deficiency. Well, she was wrong. very wrong!
If you get tested and your serum B12 and homocysteine levels are normal that doesn't mean you are out of the woods yet. You could still have B12 deficiency. Testing just sucks and is not very accurate. Urinary MMA is usually the best test to go by when testing for B12 deficiency.
I also believe my dad has Pernicious Anemia (because it does run in families) or at least B12 deficiency because he has been having trouble with his legs and back for a few years and it has gotten to the point where he can barely walk; his leg muscles are so weak that he has fallen many times. I want to get him on B12 injections like I am on, but it's not easy when he lives halfway across the United States from me. I have gotten into contact with his doctors and they are so unhelpful and rude. They just don't want to help. None of them. So I have done what I could and bought him and sent him high levels of sublingual methyl B12. And not surprisingly, it has helped his legs so much that he was able to stop taking pain medicine for his legs. His back still gives him problems and pain, but I suspect that's because he needs the injections, and I am going to get him the injections at some point, somehow.
I just wish doctors would open their minds and actually care about their patients and WANT to help, but most doctors are not like that anymore and it's very, very sad. Even doctors who outright say they care about their patients and want to help, end up not being helpful at all.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency is an epidemic causing more health damage than the polio epidemic and it can now be prevented through simple screening and treatment.” -–Sally M. Pacholok, RN,BSN
My Thoughts: Ok guys, so this book is a non-fiction self help type book. These are really hard to review since there isn’t really a story or plot to critique. The best I can do here is tell you what the book is about and whether I think they did a good job compiling the information or not.
As for the topic: This one is about how the vitamin B12 (or lack there of) can be the cause of many ailments. It explains how there is currently an epidemic of misdiagnosed diseases ranging from MS to depression that are actually B12 deficiency. Being someone who has had a “mystery” illness that over 5 years and uncountable doctors later is STILL a mystery, of COURSE this book was of interest to me.
I have to be honest, this thing is a beast, I mean it took me over a month to get through. That being said, I wasn’t really trying to read it straight through either. I would read a little while and then pick up some fiction. Curious as I am about what’s wrong with me – it wasn’t enough to make me sit down and read cover to cover.
Did I think this book was helpful: I think it was interesting. I don’t regret reading it, if that makes sense. I think anyone who is interested in ‘feeling” better would probably benefit from reading this one because it seems there are a lot of illnesses (or at least the symptoms of) out there that B12 is the answer for. I also think this book would be a beneficial read to anyone in the health care field (RN, LPN, CNA, HOME CARE, etc) If more professionals and the people in charge of health care were aware of and acknowledged this issue, perhaps it would become less of an issue.
Should you read it? Just for "funsies"-probably no. Its just not that kind of book. If you or your loved ones have health issues that you cant seem to get a handle on or you’ve been diagnosed for something and the standard treatment for that “something” doesn’t seem to work… Then I say, definitely pick this book up.
As much as these authors try to not blame everything on B-12, I found their tone to be a little overdrawn. That said, it is scarey to hear what horrible symptoms simple, easily fixed vitamin defficiency can cause. These include symptoms that can mimic multiple sclerosis, dementia, autisim, cause infertility and a variety of additional problems. The elderly, vegetarians, and those with stomach problems or pernicious anemia are at most risk, but since a defficiency through malabsorption or diet can take years to manifest itself in visible symptoms and possible irreversible neurological damage,you can do a lot of damage before you find out.
The authors state that the test and the cure are both easy to administer, but that most doctors only do blood tests for B12 deficiency occasionally and the blood test is less accurate than a simple urine test. In fact they state that most doctors don't know about the urine test.
I've having lots problems with exhaustion, so my husband asked me to have the tests. I brought the book with me and my ordered all three recommended tests, but not without first having to do some research into the urine test because the office wasn't sure what protocol was involved. Still waiting for the results, but I can state that for several weeks as I was trying to set up the doctor's appointments I stopped taking vitamin supplements and couldn't make it through a whole work week. As soon as the tests were done, I started taking a B-complex vitamin with a high level of B12 and feel like a new person. Still waiting the results of the tests, but I would suggest that my vegetarian friends read the book and if they are having any unexplained problems, they want to have some of these tests as well.
Two matters I missed reading: 1. With the recommendation to test before supplementing, I wonder why it should matter because, if supplementation is helping and working, and effective serum levels can be measured over time during supplementation, then I see no reason to require a baseline amount (based on diet rather than isolated supplementation).