Friday, May 15, 2009

Vitamin B-12

I could quote Cheech and Chong here... but this is a family blog.

Still, I don't think I've ever been prescribed such a nice pick-me-up as Vitamin B-12.

A couple days ago, I learned I am anemic. It's pretty severe. No one's suggesting it yet, but technically my hemoglobin is low enough that I think I am a candidate for blood transfusions.

Being anemic means that I do not have enough red blood cells. Which means there is only limited oxygen in my blood. Getting this diagnosis is a blessing. Now I know why I've been so tired.

My normal problem with anemia (having had it four years ago - though not as bad as I have it now) is that my body doesn't absorb iron pills - they just make me sick to my stomach. Also in the past, I haven't been able to take a multiple "B" vitamins without feeling nauseated. But my naturopath doctor had some good - um - stuff, man, that is absorbable (so he says, and he's a man of his word). Included in the drugs he gave me (a pill and a liquid), which I now take twice a day, is some form of B-12. Apparently you need infusion of both iron and B vitamins (and B-12 in particular) in order to fight anemia effectively.

As it turns out - I am loving that B-12. And from what I hear, it is a little-kept secret that vitamin B-12 can deliver this kind of pick-me-up. I just didn't know about it until this week.

Here is my daily pattern these past couple of days. I wake up a little lethargic. I take my B-12 (and other drugs - I mean, vitamins). Suddenly, I am energized. I think I own the world. I go out and let the world know that I am a benevolent dictator.

And then I crash.

Because, for as much as I like the energy, the truth here is: I am anemic. I have too few red cells. This means I have no oxygen in my blood. So it doesn't matter how much energy the B-12 gives me - I still am anemic and without enough oxygen.

The doc thinks I'll be replenished in two months. At least, that's when I'm supposed to get my next blood test. In the meantime, I'm riding a roller coaster of energy. And I seem to be out of breath a lot.

Still - gotta say it again - I am loving that B-12!

I've also adjusted my diet so I'm eating iron-filled food. This means I've been eating a lot of beef. When I read that dried apricots also have iron, I was thrilled. That would be a lot lighter intake than beef, is what I thought. So I ate a big bag of dried apricots last night. Urp. Let me just say - I don't recommend that you do the same. Too much of a good thing, is the best way to describe it. And - um - I think dried apricots could moonlight as refried beans when it comes to digestion. Enough said.


Anonymous said...

You might try frying the beef in an iron skillet. I was taught that food cooked in iron absorbs part of the iron.

Beth Bollinger said...

Thanks - great idea.