A Shot to Live – Vitamin B12

A paediatrician was doing his rounds in the hospital one day when he tripped over his own feet. He regained his balance and carried on walking. This was the second time his feet had dragged. He had also begun having memory lapses, what he called brain fog, and he related this and his clumsiness to the ails of getting old.1

Carrying on as usual, he began to notice that he was losing his balance. A little concerned he called his friend, an MD, and asked him about balance and equilibrium, thinking maybe it could be an issue with his inner ear.1

Leaning towards caution his friend told him to see a neurologist, a doctor trained in diagnosing and treating issues related to the nervous system such as disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.

After many consultations, the neurologist told the paediatrician he had Multiple System Atrophy; he was dying from an incurable neurodegenerative disease.1 His nerves, muscles, organs and brain were deteriorating.

As the months went by the paediatrician began to wither and waste away. He became blind, deaf, immobile, and had to wear a diaper. He would get angry at times and yell at his family and friends to just let him die but they would not give up.

So, ignoring the wishes of the dying paediatrician, one day his best friend bundled him into a car and took him to a different hospital. Some tests later he was correctly diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency and given appropriate care in the form of aggressive B12 shots.1

As time went by the paediatrician slowly began to recover. During his sessions with the physical therapist he would wonder how it is possible that in this day and age there are people who are deficient in a vitamin. He would also remember, when he could, how he thought vitamin B12 and its rumoured effects was just a placebo.1

But it isn’t a placebo.

You see every cell in your body is in need of vitamin B12 to help it within the process of DNA synthesis.   B12 helps with DNA methylation which is important when it comes to gene expression and vital cellular processes. 4

red-41524_1280Every nerve cell in your body needs vitamin B12 to help maintain its protective covering known as the myelin sheath. With a depleted myelin sheath nerve cells cannot communicate as effectively.

Before the 1980s vitamin B12 shots were covered by insurance companies.1 Doctors were able to offer shots to their patients and found that maladies such as fatigue and mild depression were cured.1

After the 1980s, when insurance companies no longer covered B12 shots, unless conclusive evidence of B12 deficiency was proven, doctors stopped freely administering this shot.1

One way to prove that an individual is suffering from a lack of B12 is via a blood test to see the shape of the red blood cells. These cells should appear enlarged due to B12 deficiency. However vitamin B9, commonly known as Folic Acid, corrects for this abnormality.1

Another way to prove a vitamin B12 deficiency is via a blood count, a low level of red blood cells circulating in the blood, known as pernicious anaemia, is a sign that the body lacks the amount of B12 necessary to make haemoglobin.1

The only problem is macrocytosis, enlarged red blood cells, and pernicious anaemia, are late findings of a vitamin B12 deficiency.1

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can be pernicious. Here are a few early signs and symptoms:


  • Anxiety and/or depression (low B12 interferes with the production of serotonin)1
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities
  • Inability to see clearly/ blurry vision
  • Brain fog
  • Chest pains
  • Dragging feet
  • Mood swings
  • A faster than normal heart rate or tachycardia
  • Oedema
  • Compulsive behaviours1
  • Delusions
  • Dementia

These are just a few.

Vitamin B12 can be stored in the liver for up to 5 years.3 This store is constantly replenished when we consume meat products. However for those of us lacking a proper nourishing diet our stores of this essential vitamin becomes depleted. This is especially distressing if you are vegan or vegetarian.

A vitamin B12 shot is a good way to get this vitamin directly to your cells. Just be aware of two things:


To get a complete view of your body’s vitamin B12 needs there are 5 tests to be done:1

  1. Serum B12 – this can be misleading. Just because you have vitamin B12 circulating in your body does not mean it is reaching your cells or that you liver has an adequate amount storedquotescover-JPG-23
  1. HoloTranscobalamin – this will test for the “active” B12 that is attached to the appropriate transport protein to be delivered to your cells.
  1. Serum Homocysteine – this is toxic to the nerves and veins and needs B12 to convert it into methionine, an amino acid.
  1. Serum Methylmalonic acid – this acids needs B12 to react with it in order to make coenzyme A (CoA) which is important for the cells to function normally.
  1. Unsaturated B12 binding capacity – this test will look for the total unbound trans-cobalamin, the protein needed to transport B12 into the cells. Some people lack an adequate amount of this protein.

A paediatrician is doing his rounds in the hospital. He is unsteady on his feet and needs two crutches in order to walk.

His name is Dr David Carr.

Dr Carr’s body is slowly rebuilding itself. It is part of his story that I relate above. He is featured in the movie by Elissa Leonard titled Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

I have included the link below.

Please watch and share.


  1. Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency</i>. Perf. Sally Pacholock, David Carr MD, Ralph Green MD, Et Al. 2011.Elissa Leonard Film.
  2. Adams, J. F. “Biological Half-life of Vitamin B12 in Plasma.” Nature200 (1963). Nature. Nature Publishing Group. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v198/n4876/abs/198200a0.html#References&gt;.
  3. Balch, Phyllis A. “Vitamins.” <i>Prescription for Nutritional Healing</i>. 5th ed. New York: Avery, 2010. 23,24. Print.
  4. Phillips, Theresa. “The Role of Methylation in Gene Expression.” Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-role-of-methylation-in-gene-expression-1070&gt;.
  5. Oh, Robert C., and David L. Brown. “Vitamin B12 Deficiency.” Am Fam Physician 67.5 (2003): 979-86. American Family Physician. American Academy of Family Physicians. Web. 3 Apr. 2015. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0301/p979.html&gt;.

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