I’m sometimes asked if vitamin B12 is really that important and if there is any difference between sublingual B12 and a regular B12 supplement. So, in the next few posts, we’ll look into these questions.
Not too long ago in the United States, a diagnosis of pernicious anemia was like a death sentence. Now, picture this, the first therapy for pernicious anemia was the eating of repulsive amounts of raw liver! Patients had to eat a half pound or more per day just to continue living. The thought of that makes me gag! Fortunately, that is no longer required because in 1947 vitamin B12 was isolated from liver and found to be the factor that alleviated pernicious anemia.
The discovery of vitamin B12 led to the knowledge of both the cause of and the cure for pernicious anemia. This form of anemia develops due to a shortage or lack of B12 in the body. It will cause damage to both the blood-forming process and the nervous system. As a result of the B12 deficiency, the bone marrow produces abnormally large red blood cells. The life span of these affected blood cells is only one-half that of normal cells.
The bone marrow turns red and jelly-like. This results in a decrease of both the red and white blood cell count. The normal count for red blood cells is 5,000,000. One suffering from pernicious anemia may experience a red blood cell count of only 1,000. The white blood cell count may fall to 3,000 as compared to a normal range of 5,000 to 10,000. Blood cells suffer from both arrested development and rapid destruction. These two factors prevent many blood cells from ever reaching the bloodstream. Harm to the nervous system can range from a tingling sensation in the fingers to permanent impairment to the nerves; 40 to 95 percent of pernicious anemia victims suffer some degree of neurological damage.
Next time, we will look into “intrinsic factor”, another significant factor involved with B12 anemia.