Vitamin B12 and Iron

by | Dec 28, 2009 | Columns, Nourishing Wisdom | 3 comments

Rwanda: Celebrating

Dear Sally,
I have just completed 6 months of methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) injections at 25mg daily for 10 days on, 5 days off, 10 days on, etc. Since I have dye and preservative allergies, poor absorption and also low, low ferritin…can you suggest an alternative form to injections which are very costly as they are compounded? Also, I’ve been unable to tolerate ferrous gluconate….any suggestions? I’ve also have adrenal insufficiency and am taking DHEA and digestive enzymes. l saw lots of chatter about the questionable use of B12…. Please advise.

Sally’s response:
For vitamin B12, you can take sublingual tablets — Jarrow makes a good one, I take it myself. For a more detailed explanation of my thoughts on B12 supplementation, please see the below excerpt from my article entitled Vitamin B12: Vital Nutrient for Good Health written with Mary Enig, PhD:

In these pages, we have consistently advised obtaining vitamins from food (including superfoods) rather than with vitamin supplements. One good reason to avoid supplements derives from research indicating that they can interfere with B12 uptake, exacerbate the symptoms of B12 deficiency or even cause the creation of B12 analogs that increase the body’s need for B12.

However, when it comes to B12 itself, supplementation with isolated B12 is often necessary and appropriate. The many factors in our modern lifestyle that block the complicated uptake pathways of this important nutrient–from nutrient deficiencies to exposure to toxins to factors in processed foods that cause reduced stomach acid, autoimmune disease and enzyme disruption–make it difficult to obtain sufficient quantities from our normal diet; and since vitamin B12 in supplements is produced in exactly the same way as B12 in nature, that is, by bacterial fermentation, the danger of high doses in most cases is negligible.

B12 supplements have the potential of making life better for a large portion of the population, and not just the elderly. Regular testing and treatment with supplements as needed is an important step in the transition from the modern diet back to a nutrient-dense traditional one, when, after a generation or two, supplements of any kind will no longer be needed.”

You need vitamin A to absorb iron, so the first thing would be cod liver oil, which is also absolutely essential for the adrenals. Then to eat iron rich foods — liver, red meat, beets, molasses.

Live well, Sally

photo: Rwanda: Celebrating ©Betty LaDuke | Artist Betty LaDuke works with Heifer International to end world hunger by offering families in need long term solutions that work. One of the cornerstones of Heifer’s approach is “Passing on the Gift”, a cycle of sustainability where people share the offspring of their animals along with their knowledge, resources, and skills to create a circle of self-reliance that reaches around the globe.

  • Earthwalker

    Earthwalker is the username that PT founder Julie Genser created for her online interactions so many years ago when first creating Planet Thrive.

    Julie's (Earthwalker's) life was derailed over twenty years ago when she had a very large organic mercury exposure after she naively used a mouth thermometer to measure the temperature of just-boiled milk while making her very first pizza at home. The mercury instantly expanded into a gas form and exploded out the back of the thermometer right into her face. Unaware that mercury was the third most neurotoxic element on Earth, Julie had no idea she had just received a very high dose of a poisonous substance.

    A series of subsequent toxic exposures over the next few years -- to smoke from two fires (including 9/11), toxic mold, lyme disease, and chemical injuries -- caused catastrophic damage to her health. While figuring out how to survive day-to-day, and often minute-to-minute, she created Planet Thrive to help others avoid some of the misdiagnoses and struggles she had experienced.

    She has clawed her way over many health mountains to get to where she is today. She is excited to bring the latest iteration of Planet Thrive to the chronic illness community.

    In 2019, Julie published her very first cookbook e-book called Low Lectin Lunches (+ Dinners, Too!) after discovering how a low lectin, gluten free diet was helping manage her chronic fascia/muscle pain.


  1. Tarra Sabin

    I just wanted to share something about vitamin B-12 for those who are on fairly long-term treatment (or anyone else). Vitamin B-12 is not well-absorbed through the intestinal tract, as all other vitamins are. That’s why shots are usually prescribed. But there is a much more agreeable solution, and more economical as well. Both Twin Labs and GNC put out “Sub-lingual B-12 Dots”. One dot is equal to most B-12 shots. It dissolves under your tongue in less than a minute and has no bad taste. That puts it immediately into your blood stream. A bottle of 100 by Twin Labs runs $10-$12, depending on your area. GNC is more expensive. You can find the Twin Labs B-12 dots in almost any health food store and stores that sell nutritional supplements. My niece has a rare type of hereditary anemia and has to take B-12 for life. She’s done very well on the B-12 Dots for many years now.

  2. earthwalker

    Thanks for this great tip Tarra!! Much appreciated.

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