- Note: Responses are invited. Please submit
- A fellow poster at my favorite Homestead
List asked our chat circle for help for a woman who was not capable of
sleeping more than an hour at a time. She was hysterical, depressed, panicky.
Well, who of us wouldn't be without a good night's sleep?
- Without any other stress in her life,
the woman had begun to have this insomnia, and then to lose weight, until
she was weighing in at around 95 pounds. Think BIRD-like.
- Her doctor had given her anti-depressants
yet she continued to wake from fitful naps in an hysterical and sleep-deprived
state. She was of basically sound mind, not insane, and not having other
"life problems." The first assumption was that it was just a
lack of sleep which was making her feel ragged.
- Now, here is the scary part. The woman
was totally Vegan. Reading this post, I turned as always, to an expert,
my friend Bill, the holistic researcher; a guy who sits on the Net for
20 hours at a time, downloading files from holistic websites. I asked
him for some herbal sleep/anxiety and depression aids. Bill answered by
- "A Prescription drug called 'Klonopin'
(clonazepam) might be indicated. Klonopin is a benzodiazepine -- prescribed
for generalized anxiety disorder -- and stormy brainwaves in general. It
works well -- and has minimal side effects at low doses.
- It sounds like she has a clinical grade
"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" -- and Klonopin is often prescribed
for this condition.
- Klonopin's half-life is up to 50 hrs
as compared to 27 for Xanax and even less for Valium so you might want
to go with a 'lite' pill. Klonopin also has one of the highest dependence
liabilities of all of the benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs). Zoloft
might be a good choice but some people become depressed on it. Nonetheless,
Zoloft is called 'an anti-depressant' and it is being used for depression.
So, if her doctor is a paperhanger, she can play around with these avenues.
- But what if the woman is not basically
depressed but just has a panic anxiety sleep disorder? On the non-prescription
front there is Kava Kava, St. John's Wort and valerian, for anti-anxiety.
(Anxiety can make you depressed because it takes your energy.) Some people
report that St. John's Wort can CAUSE agitation, so one might want to take
it only after a sleep problem is solved. Also, after major trauma in the
person's life passes away.
- Bear in mind that many anti-depressants
CREATE insomnia when they are pulled, so one would want to be cautious
about starting up with them.
- For that reason, if one wanted a non-chemical
approach, also effective, and possibly long-term, try EMDR -- Eye Movement
Desensitization and Reprocessing. (Article excerpt:) Re: EMDR -- Eye Movement
Desensitization and Reprocessing from the Mind, The Brain, Memory, and
Trauma -- by David A. Lee "The Trauma Resolution Technique EMDR (Butler,
K., 1993; Shapiro, 1995) appears to support the theory that interhemispheric
communication deficits are a component of PTSD. In EMDR, the client is
instructed to hold an image of the traumatic event in their mind and make
their eyes move rapidly back and forth rapidly. As they do this, they experience
changes in their emotions, beliefs about the trauma and themselves, and
the visual representation of the memory.
- Although the underlying neurobiological
process is still unknown, it is hard not to note its similarity to REM
eye movement exhibited during dreaming. It has long been held that dreaming
is involved in learning and memory consolidation. Perhaps during both dreaming
and EMDR, each hemisphere is activated through the eye movements. Saccadic
eye movement alternates hemispheric activation. This may result in the
accessing of memory components stored in each hemisphere and then the transferring
of this information across the corpus callosum. This would allow for integration
and resolution. Although this is still within the realm of speculation,
it fits with the theory that alexithymia and post-traumatic stress disorder
are related and involve interhemispheric communication deficits."
- Bill also cited some URLS: <http://www.starfound.com/EMDR.html
- Apparently, he then spotted the part
of my letter where I described how the Vegan reported that her face, fingers,
and toes were numb. This clue provoked another email:
- "Hyperventilation causes "tetany"
-- and tetany is experienced as "peripheral numbness". Tetany
results from metabolic alkalosis -- AKA: respiratory alkalosis. Carbon
Dioxide is acidic. If we hyper-breathe, we get high in oxygen and get the
distaff side; we get alkalosis. If she has an unconscious, low-grade "hyperventilation
syndrome" -- as an anxiety reaction to her stressful life situations
-- she could be experiencing "tetany numbness".
- Hyperventilation: According to the standard
Western medical work on hyperventilation, The Hyperventilation Syndrome:
Research and Clinical Treatment, (Robert Fried, 1987, The Johns Hopkins
University Press), hyperventilation is not defined in terms of "bellows"
breathing or any other outwardly obvious form of breathing, but rather
by parameters of blood gases:
- 'While acute hyperventilation is readily
observable in most persons, chronic hyperventilation may be quite subtle,
and its effects may not invariably be obvious.... My clinical experience
has been that it is much more likely that a person with no overt dyspnea
[labored breathing] may be hyperventilating than that a person with typical
signs [the symptoms below] is, in fact, not doing so.... When this increased
ventilation results in a change in the level of carbon dioxide in the blood,
the person is said to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation may be accompanied
by physical and/or mental symptoms due to changes in the oxygen transport
system, changes in circulation to the brain, and neural and cardiovascular
adjustments to low carbon dioxide (hypcapnia)." pps.6-8 Signs or symptoms
of hyperventilation syndrome [either advanced or chronic hyperventilation]
- * "initially, there is a slight
transient tremor of the eyelids and facial
- musculature -- usually one side only
(and typically the right side);
- * tremors are replaced by muscular rigidity
in the face and hands -- the
- lips form a circle, close against the
teeth, thumb and fingers are
- extended; the width of the hand is reduced
to the 'obstetrician's hand'
- configuration [claw-like];
- * if hyperpnea [overbreathing] is discontinued
at this point, no rigidity
- is noted in other parts of the body;
- * lightheadedness, giddiness
- * fainting, syncope [blackout] * headache
[including onset of migraine]
- * blurred vision
- * tremors, twitching [including tetany,
powerful spasmodic contractions of
- tonic muscles, and epileptic-like seizures]
- * numbness, tingling, prickling (paresthesia)
- * chest pain, discomfort
- * nausea
- * vomiting
- * abdominal pain
- * lump in the throat
- * dry mouth
- * difficulty breathing
- * weakness, exhaustion
- * apprehension, nervousness" (op.
cit., pps. 58-60).'
- The symptoms appear to mimic aspects
of both epilepsy and panic attacks. ---- from: <http://trancenet.org/secrets/sutras/hyperventilate.shtml
- The Solution: (1) Stop hyperventilating!
This may not be easy -- but Klonopin might do the job... , or: (2) she
should reverse the over-alkalinity in her blood. Her doctors may be working
on this -- if they've thought of it (don't bet on it). Calcium and/or magnesium
and/or potassium may be required. The best absorbed minerals are the "orotate"
forms, recently made available (again) in the U.S. by LifeLink Company
-- call toll-free 1-888-433-5266. They have lithium, zinc, potassium, magnesium,
calcium, and "Osteo" Orotates."
- He then cited another URL: <http://www.lifelinknet.com"
- I was copying these URLs in my notebook
when the next email came. Bill had already noticed other clues in my text.
His Rx continued:
- "Being a vegan, your friend may
already be a "borderline alkalosis" case. One possible remedy
-- Vinegar and Honey tea -- or Vinegar and black-strap Molasses. The local
Santa Monica CO-OP has certified-organic-grade "Sucanat brand"
molasses. They also have organic-grade apple cider vinegar."
- Researchers say that alkalosis balance
must be established by testing. If someone were desperate and didn't want
to pay a lab costly fees, one safe and easy way to test the body's acid/
alkali balance is to take a shot of bicarbonate of soda, no more than one
tsp., a dose which wouldn't hurt a fly, unless that fly had high blood
pressure as it does have sodium... but drop that sodium in water, drink
it down and see how one feels. She'll know in ten minutes if that hit of
an alkalii soothes her. This is an empirical experiment, a do it yourself
- If one felt no different, the opposite
test would be to take two teaspons of vinegar in a cup of water and see
how they felt. One will surely make them feel better, the other worse.
- That will establish the body's PH balance.
If her health is then restored, she wouldn't have to worry with any other
- "What other tests," I shot
him back. The answer zipped back to me.
- "There are two other possibilities:
Her stressful life situation could have also uncovered an underlying vitamin
B-12 deficiency -- which causes "peripheral neuropathy". This
can be perceived as numb face, fingers, and toes.
- Or,, as she is a total vegan, remember,
Vegans (people who don't even drink milk or use cheese) are at risk for
a B-12 deficiency -- especially if they eat algae such as spirulina."
- I waited for the other shoe to drop.
Silence. I hunched over my keyboard and typed, "what the heck are
you saying? Spirulina is God's gift to man, isn't it?" I punched 'SEND.'
- "Not necessarily," came the
reply. " Spirulina (and some seaweeds, including nori) contain vitamin
B-12 'analogues' which clog the body's B-12 receptors and block most of
the body's absorbtion of the real vitamin B-12 molecule. This is an established
and verified scientific fact. An ocassional, very low-cost B-12 injection
would prevent this algae-diet problem (!) from becoming a disease.
- "The liver can store several year's
worth of B-12 -- but if the supply of B-12 is cut off -- such as by frequent
Spirulina ingestion -- eventually nerve damage slowly appears. This nerve
damage is reversable if caught in time -- by the re-establishment of B-12
levels in the body. This is not always the same as "re-establishment
of (alleged) availability in the diet".
- Did you know -- Vitamin B-12 is a natural
MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) and therefore a natural "psychiatric"
remedy. However, B-12 has a very low profit margin -- so don't wait for
your doctor to offer it for lifting your mood. Too much of that type of
prescribing, and the Prozac salesmen would blacklist him damned quick,
and he knows it. There are "sublingual" forms of vitamin B-12.
The very best B-12 is the very new 'Bioactive B12' currently available
only from Enzymatic Therapy brand. Their 1,000 mcg. sublingual tablet is
bioactive "methylcobalamin" (rather than non-bioactive cyanocobalamin,
made partly of toxic cyanide.) Get Enzymatic instead. 30 tabs list for
$6.95. Keep it sealed and refrigerated !!!
- In medical testing done so far, methylcobalamin
has shown effect in treating peripheral neuropathy in diabetics, as well
as diabetic retinopathy. Also in treating Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's
disease, and circadian rhythm disorders.
- These phony B-12's should be off the
market. Cyanide is sort of a toxin, nevertheless, cyanocobalamin is easier
to make and sell than methyl B-12. Your body labors to convert the common
cyanocobalamin into the forms it actually requires: (1) Hydroxocobalamin,
(2)Methylcobalamin (mecobal), and (3) Adenosylcobalamin (dibencozide).
Injectable Hydroxocobalamin WAS available -- and was a becoming known
as a powerful AIDS remedy, until the FDA ordered it taken off the market
a while back. Strange timing -- it was also simultaneously banned in Europe."
- By the way, those who read this article
should search for compounding phamarcies in the Yellow Pages and let us
at the web-site sightings.com know if you find additional sources for
methylcobalamin. AKA: methyl B12, mecobalamin, methylcobal, mecobal, methylcoenzyme
B12. And of course, injectable methylcobalamin, by prescription, and arrangement
with your doctor, of course. We'd like to tell people where they can find
- Back to our panicky Vegan. In Bill's
last post, he said:
- "The last possibility is that a
Vegan really has a protein deficiency. It is difficult to get all the
amino acids out of the vegetable kingdom. People of Northern European
descent are simply not capable of doing that efficiently. Their digestion
is not up to it. Even Vegan George Bernard Shaw took powdered Liver extract.
- "A good test for a Vegan who felt
poorly would be to eat Sardines with olive oil, or enjoy melted, clarified
butter (ghee) on vegetables and to simply see if he or she felt better
after a week on a richer diet.
- "How long has your friend been using
Algae/Spirulina? The liver can only store vitamin B-12 for three to five
years -- and sometimes considerably less. Taking Multiple B vitamins by
mouth will NOT help -- if she continues to take Spirulina, etc.! The B-12
"analogues" in algaes, etc. will block most or all B-12 absorbtion
from the diet or oral supplements, even if the B-12 is taken at a different
time of day !!! (see attachment)
- Sublingual type B-12 may (or may NOT)
help -- but any help from sublingual B-12 will be very SLOW. She may have
too serious a B-12 deficiency to risk delay -- see article excerpt below
!!! Even if her symptoms subside (as her PTSD symptoms resolve) -- she
should have her doctor (ideally a Hematologist?) order several blood tests
to "rule out" a diagnosis of B-12 deficiency (see article excerpt
- Therapy -- if indicated by diagnostic
testing -- should then consist of a SERIES of B-12 injections over several
months to replenish the liver's normal B-12 storage levels. B-12 is entirely
non-toxic -- and the MAOI anti-depressant effect will be a very pleasant
side effect. Any anemia will be alleviated, resulting in increased red
bood cells -- meaning more hemoglobin and oxygen to the body and brain.
- If testing indicates -- she should consider
vitamin B-12 injections as desirable, positive, and required. Unfortunately,
Cyanocobalamin is the only injectable B-12 (commonly) available, as far
as I know.
- Hydroxocobalamin or Methylcobalamin injections
would be much preferred -- but don't hesitate to accept Cyanocobalamin
injections, if necessary. The minute amount of cyanide molecules in cyanocobalamin
has never been known to have harmed anyone.
- Cyanacobalamin has always been in many
of the foods avoided by vegans, so it's a natural, harmless, and 100% essential
part of the "normal" diet. One last point: If she is treated
for a B-12 deficiency, she should be retested several months thereafter
-- to "rule out" several very rare B-12 deficiency syndromes
that require the use of only Hydroxocobalamin or Methylcobalamin injections.
- Read carefully the following:
- Article #1 excerpt: "Deficiencies.
Stages of deficiencies include: I (early) - lower serum holotranscobalamin
(holoTC II) (<60 pg/ml); II - lower serum vitamin B-12 (<300 pg/ml)
and holoTC II (<40 pg/ml); III - serum vitamin B-12 < 200 pg/ml and
holoTC II <40 pg/ml, neutrophil hypersegmentation, elevated homocysteine
and methylmalonic acid; IV (severest) - also megaloblastic, macrocytic
- Around Stage III (before anemia) there
may be potentially irreversible demyelination of spinal cord, brain and
optic and peripheral nerves which produces peripheral neuropathy progressing
to subacute combined degeneration. Early symptoms may be dementia, poor
attention span and depression." -- from: <http://www.faseb.org/ain/NIVIB12.html
- Article #2 excerpt "...should have
B-12 status determined by measurement of serum levels of vitamin B-12,
homo-cysteine, and holotranscobalamin (holo TC II). Holo TC II will be
low before any other tests for negative B-12 status become low (see our
1994 paper in American Journal of Clincal Nutrition on assessing B-12 status)."
-- from letter by Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D.
- Noah's Dove <email@example.com
wrote: "As reported in the International Journal of Neuroscience,
there is a strong correlation between Vitamin B12 deficency and the possible
onset of multiple-sclerois. B-12 deficency may "render the patient
more vulnerable to viral mechanisms." Thus, the B-12 in AFA is one
very important and natural way to boost the immune system and protect the
body agains such viral invasions." Quote from the book by Prof.
Karl J. Abrams.
- Bill typed the following comment. "If
that's really true, then for sure MS patients must stay away from the blue-green
algae everyone is selling today. Blue-green algae synthesize B-12 analogs
that have no nutritional activity and may even block the absorption of
"true" B-12 by occupying the receptor sites for B-12 absorption.
- I sat back stunned, then fell to studying
a file he'd put together about that subject. I reprint it here:
- Dr. Victor Herbert, MD, on BLUE-GREEN
ALGAE. Copyright 1996, Mark Thorson:
- [An analog (or "analogue")
is a molecule that is a modified form of another molecule. For example,
heroin and codeine are analogs of morphine. There are analogs of vitamin
B-12 which do not contribute toward nutritional vitamin B-12 activity,
and they may even block absorption of "true" B-12 by occupying
the receptor sites for the IF/B-12 complex.]
- Quoting in whole an April 26, 1995 letter
to Sharon Gordon, Consumer Complaint Coordinator, FDA (Philadelphia District)
from Victor Herbert, MD, a leading scientist on vitamins and nutritional
diseases (and also author of additional quotes which follow on non-nutritional
analogs of vitamin B-12):
- "Dear Ms. Gordon:" "I
received a copy of the April 18 letter to you from attorney XXX on the
above subject. This is to advise both you and him that many algae products
are falsely represented as containing vitamin B-12. As we published a
decade ago in The New England Journal of Medicine, they contain only analogs
of B-12, and no human-active B-12."
- "Analogs of B-12 are worthless,
and possibly harmful, to humans. One of the harms they may produce, in
patients with negative B-12 balance (which is very possible in (your client,)
a Type I diabetic, age (X), is to accelerate the development of B-12 deficiency
neuropathy in feet, legs, and hands. XXX should see a neurologist to
determine if he has B12-deficient neuropathy." XXX should have his
B-12 status determined by measurement of his serum levels of vitamin B-12,
homo-cysteine, and holotranscobalamin (holo TC II). Holo TC II will be
low before any other tests for negative B-12 status become low (see our
1994 paper in American Journal of Clincal Nutrition on assessing B-12
- If the Cell Tech product: a. contains
analogs of B-12, and, b. its label does not contain a consumer warning
stating, 'WARNING: contains vitamin B-12 analogs but no vitamin B-12.
Do not take this product unless your vitamin B-12 status has been evaluated
by a responsible health professional and found to be normal', then it is
my perception that the seller has violated product liability law, i.e.,
he has a duty to warn, and he failed to warn." "Sincerely,"
[signed] "Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D."
- Quoting from "Staging vitamin B-12
(cobalamin) status in vegetarians", American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, volume 59 (supplement), pages 1213S-1222S:
- "About one-third of the 'vitamin
B-12' in serum is, in fact, not cobalamins (which are all forms of vitamin
B-12 that are active for humans), but other corrinoids that are metabolically
dead for humans but active for bacteria. Thus, many microbiologic assays
may find normal 'vitamin B-12' concentrations in vitamin B-12-deficient
people because the assay is reading as vitamin B-12 what is in fact noncobalamin
- Quoting from "Vitamin B-12: Plant
Sources, Requirements, and Assay", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
Volume 48, pages 852-858:
- "Vitamin B-12 is of singular interest
in any discussion of vegetarian diets because this vitamin is not found
in plant foods as are other vitamins. Confusion about what sources may
yield vitamin B-12 to strict vegetarians has arisen because the standard
US Pharmacopeia (USP) assay for vitamin B-12 does not assay only vitamin
B-12. In the USP method the content of vitamin B-12 of any given food
is determined by making a water extract of that food and feeding the extract
to a bacterium (Lactobacillus leichmannii). The quantity of vitamin B-12
is determined by the amount of bacterial growth. The problem is that what
is active vitamin B-12 for bacteria is not necessarily active vitamin B-12
for humans. Many of the papers in the literature give values of vitamin
B-12 in food that are false because as much as 80% of the activity by
this method is due to inactive analogues of vitamin B-12."
- "We studied several types of tempeh,
including Original Soy Tempeh, a Rhizobus oligosporus culture with a label
claim of 160% of the US RDA for vitamin B-12 per 4 oz.
- Using the differential radioassay we
found there was practically no vitamin B-12 in it."
- "We also studied most of the spirulinas
sold in health food stores as sources of vitamin B-12; there is practically
no vitamin B-12 in them. The so-called vitamin B-12 is almost exclusively
analogues of vitamin B-12 and we have extracted the two largest peaks of
analogues and they actually block vitamin B-12 metabolism. We suspect
that people taking spirulina as a source of vitamin B-12 may get vitamin
B-12 deficiency quicker because the analogues in the product block human
mammilian cell metabolism in culture and we suspect they will also do this
in the living human. Remember that the label claim of vitamin B-12 is
actually a claim of corrinoid content, not vitamin B-12 content."
- Quoting from "Spirulina and Vitamin
B-12", Journal of the American Medical Association, volume 248, number
23, pages 3096-3097: "A current health food fad involves tablets
of Spirulina, a genus of blue-green algae belonging to the family Oscillatoriaceae
of the division Cyanophyta, represented in the health food literature to
contain large amounts of vitamin B-12."
- "We subjected three popular brands
of 500-mg Spirulina tablets to both the United States Pharmacopeia microbiologic
assay for vitamin B-12 and the vitamin B-12 radioassay method we recently
applied to multivitamin pills."
- "Microbiologic assay would lead
one to believe that 500-mg Spirulina_tablets contain about 0.25 to 1 microgram
of vitamin B-12 per tablet, but radioassays, using R binder to measure
the total of (cobalamins plus cobalamin analogues) and intrinsic factor
to measure cobalamins alone (ie, 'true B-12'), suggest that more than 80%
of what appears to be 'vitamin B-12' by microbiologic assay is in fact
analogues of B-12."
- "Elsewhere, we reported that 10%
to 30% of the vitamin B-12 activity in multivitamin/mineral pills may
be analogues created by the antioxidant actions of iron, vitamin C, and
other ingredients in the pills. In all of these preparations, there was
more true B-12 than analogues; in Spirulina, the reverse was the case.
These findings are consistent with studies three decades ago, indicating
that sewage and other organisms make a variety of vitamin B-12 analogues
that have no vitamin B-12 activity for humans, ..."
- What this means is that the origin of
Cobalimine analogues (the unwanted bad guys) in animal chow and human tissue
--are unknown. Scientists are investigating the possibility that cobalimine
might convert to cobalimine analogues. These vitamins are useless and
only befuddle and clog and fool the B-12 receptors in the body. They are
absorbed in the intestines and appear in the bloodstream yet FAIL to do
their B-12 WORK!. So, "stress vitamins", B-Complex and the like
may end up inhibiting all B-12 utilization. Which means that Multi-vitamins
could be the reason people are going crazy and begging for Prozac.
- Some Studies suggested the analogues
were formed due to the concerted action of B-12 mixed with Thiamine B-1
with copper or Vitamin C. It will not happen as much if you take B-12 alone.
Take B-12 alone if you want to get your money's worth. Methylcobalamine.
Enzymatic therapy bio-active B-12 just to be sure."
- I posted the whole thing to my Homestead
group, sat back and had a Spam milkshake, my favorite ex-Vegan treat on
a cold autumn night and thought. Boy, IS THAT A TRIP! Sewer sludge is
better for you than BLUE GREEN ALGAE! Thank GOD for the INTERNET. But don't
take my word for it. For those of you kiddies who want to be holistic researchers
when you grow up, Do a SEARCH ON: B-12 and diet; Algae & B-12; B-12
& analogue; B-12 & deficiency; ALSO CHECK URL:
- http://www.vegan-straight-edge.org.uk/b12.htm and http://envirolink.org/arrs/VRG/b12.html
- Do your homework, tote those bales, search
those URLS and make up your mind, yourself!
- Anita Sands Hernandez