B12 Deficiency–Common. Dangerous. Naturally Treatable.

Could you be B12 Deficient? It's very common. And it's serious. And it's treatable naturally. Come find out how.

{Today please welcome back Kristin from Nature Had It First.  Kristin is sharing some very important information about B12 levels–why they are important and how to get them where they should be–naturally.}

When one of our readers, Karie Kinney, told me about liver pills after reading about it on the web, I knew it was something that I needed to incorporate into my own routine.

Even after a very short period of time, Karie was noticing dramatic improvements.

After taking the liver pills for only 2 weeks, she was:

– no longer experiencing dizziness
- the cracks in the corners of her mouth had healed and
- her nails were getting strong again.
– When she had her period a month later she noticed even more profound changes.  See the end of this post for more…..

I ordered organic grass-fed liver that evening.

What’s So Important about B12?

1.  Metabolism. Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of virtually every cell in the human body. It is called the energy vitamin since it helps metabolize fat and protein and converts fatty acids into glucose.

2.  Essential for Cell Division -B12 is involved in cell replication which is how cells divide in your body.  No DNA replication–no new cells.

3.  Blood Health – It’s involved in formation of hemoglobin for red blood cells (RBC’s)

4.  Nerve Health – B12 is important in forming the myelin that surrounds nerve cells (affected in diseases like multiple sclerosis).

5.  Immune Health – Vitamin B12 also promotes normal immune function

6.  Prevents Disease -Additionally, vitamin B12 deficiency is implicated in numerous diseases including multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and many more.

Due to our monthly menses and high demand for vitamin B12 during pregnancy, women can be more at risk for developing a deficiency.

What’s So Great About Liver?

1.  Great source of B12 – Organic grass-fed liver is one of the highest dietary sources for vitamin B12 available.

2.  Rich in vitamins and nutrients.  Liver is also rich in other vitamins and nutrients that many of us are deficient in, including other B-vitamins, vitamin A*, zinc and iron (which is beneficial for iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstruation).

Problems with Vitamin B12 Levels in the U.S.

We are Probably Deficient

The levels used in the U.S. to determine a vitamin B12 deficiency are often much lower than levels used in other countries. The U.S. uses a level of 200 pg/mL to determine a deficiency. In many European countries they use a deficiency level of 500 pg/mL and that is the level at which they see degenerative mental changes such as:

– bipolar disorder
– mood swings
– dementia and
– Alzheimer’s.

One U.S. study looked at vitamin B12 levels in college students attending Tuft’s University and found that approximately 40% of the students tested were deficient in spite of the fact that they were eating a diet that included foods containing B12. Additionally, the study used a very low level to determine a deficiency 258 pg/mL. Even at that very low level, 40% of participants had a vitamin B12 deficiency (McBride, 2000).

Why are We B12 Deficient?

The reasons for the widespread deficiency found in this study are probably two-fold.

1.  First, our only dietary source of B12 comes from animal proteins. Vitamin B12 comes from soil and to have sufficient levels of B12, that animal had to be pasture-raised. Many of our animal proteins in the U.S. are raised on concrete and never have access to grass and soil.

2.  Second, vitamin B12 is a very difficult vitamin for the body to assimilate. To properly absorb vitamin B12 we need optimal digestive conditions, including adequate levels of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Without these conditions, we will not be able to absorb the vitamin B12 we ingest.

Get the Best Quality Liver Possible

Sourcing your liver is extremely important.

Make sure to use liver from an organic, pasture-raised and pasture-finished source. By using pasture-raised and finished liver, you are not only getting liver that will have higher B12 levels, but higher levels of omega-3’s and other nutrients.

Additionally, you will not be ingesting the large doses of antibiotics and steroids that are given to conventionally raised animals.

Two companies we like to get our grass-fed meat from are:

Good Earth Farms
Alder Spring Ranch

Liver Pills

You can make pills using fresh liver (which I think would be a slimy, time-consuming process), or you can dry the liver first.

The payoff of either method is that you have a rich source of vitamin B12 daily, without having to make liver every night for dinner :).

Here are step by step instructions showing how to make liver pills, but here are the Instructions in a Nutshell:

Of course, if you are squeemish about making liver pills, you can buy dessicated liver pills as well.

Always Eat With a Fermented Food–ALWAYS

As with any protein you consume, always make sure to eat a fermented food, such as a couple of forkfuls of raw fermented sauerkraut, along with it. So each time I take my liver pills (five in the morning and five in the evening), I take some organic raw sauerkraut or raw apple cider vinegar mixed with water along with them.

Fermented foods contain enzymes just like the digestive enzymes in our own pancreas that help us to break down and metabolize the foods we are eating. By eating a fermented food with your liver pills, you will help your body extract all the wonderful nutrition the liver has to offer.

Conclusion

So for many reasons, you should definitely think about including liver pills as part of your regimen. By incorporating this B12 rich food into your diet and pairing it with the digestive enzymes found in fermented foods, you can raise your B12 levels naturally and that can have a significant impact on your overall health.

Karie’s update:

A few days ago, Karie sent me this message, “I forgot to tell you when I was talking to you earlier. This last period (just getting over now) was the best period I think I have ever had in my life. I don’t know if it’s the bone broth, turmeric or the liver pills or a combo of everything but I am not changing a thing! Wow, very light and short!! So exciting:)”

*Pregnant women are told not to consume liver due to high vitamin A content.

References: McBride, J. 2000. B12 deficiency may be more widespread than thought. USDA Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved 4/3/11

{Please note – the above information is for entertainment and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Please consult with your physician prior to changing your diet or exercise program.}

Are you thinking YOU will try Liver Pills?

Kristin Urdiales - contributing writerKristin Urdiales @ NatureHadItFirst is an author, blogger, speaker, and mother of two children. Kristin was only fourteen when her mother became ill with lupus in 1992. Having already begun to suffer from migraine headaches and extraordinary fatigue, she knew that she was most likely on the same path if she did not make some changes. It would not be until Kristin was in her early 30s that she and her mother would truly discover the things that would improve the health of her entire family. Learn more by visiting Kristin’s blog at Nature Had It First or connecting with Kristin on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Comments

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  1. Until I can save up for a dehydrator, I cut the liver into small enough pieces to swallow. Then I freeze them for two weeks to kill any of the icky bacteria. Once 2 weeks has passed, I take of few of my frozen pills a day. Sally Fallon says we need 1 to 2 ounces a week for best health, so I try and take 1 TBS of my frozen pills a day. By the end of the week, I’ve had 7 TBS, which equals a little over 3 oz. (This is based on 2 TBS being equal to 1 oz).

    • Hi Susan I think that is a wonderful health habit. If you can get in the habit of taking the liver along with a fermented food so that your body can properly absorb it that would be wonderful too! Do you have a favorite source for organic grass-fed liver? Take care, Kristin

  2. I don’t know if I will ever eat liver or liver pills, but I am surprised it wasn’t noted the difference between cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin (the two types of B-12 supplements you can find on the market). The second one is the most absorb able kind, in an active form.

    It is very common for people to have trouble methylating the b-vitamins they take (especially folate and B-12). So very important to take in their active forms. :)

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you for the information on which B-vitamin is more easily absorbed. In our experience many people have lost the ability to metabolize vitamins and nutrients properly, including vitamin B12, due to conditions like a lack of digestive enzymes and insufficient stomach acid. So when looking at correcting a deficiency, we think it is important to work with your body so it is metabolized correctly as well. For this reason, we always try to do it with food first. Have a good weekend! Kristin

  3. I think a lot of people probably have low B12 and don’t realize it. About 6 months ago I had a full blood work up and found out my B12 was dangerously low. I had been having tingling in my arms and thought it was from sleeping on them wrong. NOPE. Low B12.

    My doctor prescribed a nasal spray and ordered me to do blood work again in 3 months. Turns out the nasal spray was really expensive even with my insurance so I decided to try sublingual supplements. I figured after 3 months I would know if they worked or not. When I went back after 3 months and got my results I was shocked, my numbers had tripled. My doctor said that not everyone adsorbs it as well as I do , but if it worked for me to keep doing it.

    I hadn’t thought about making liver pills, but I may need to try them now that I do :) Thanks for writing such a great article.

    Have a great friday

    • Hi Cherin,

      I think you are absolutely right so many people are deficient and have not idea. My mom was a 119 pg/mL and below 100 pg/mL you can have convulsions. One thing to think about is that serum blood levels of B12 are often different than cellular levels. Often times you can artificially elevate your blood levels of B12 with supplements but that doesn’t mean the body is metabolizing it properly and that it is getting into the cells or into the cerebrospinal fluid where there is often degeneration taking place due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Take care, Kristin

  4. What about the toxins that build up in the liver? Wouldn’t these have a negative effect if you are ingesting them? Or does the dehydrator take the toxins out?

    • Hi Cheri,

      I think you are absolutely right to be concerned about toxins and that is why we look for the best quality liver possible, organic and pasture-raised. It never hurts to have a phone call with the person raising the meat, you may find out some really interesting information :). Thanks, Kristin

      • I think you are completely right, Kristin. But I think the reader is concerned that the liver’s job is to filter toxins so she is wondering how we should think about that with any liver. I think :).

      • I was concerned about this too. After doing some research I learned that the liver is only a filter and not a storage organ, so is clean. Toxins that are filtered out are excreted in the urine or stored in fat. My bigger concern, even with all of it’s wonder benefits, is consuming the fat above the liver and kidneys typically rendered as lard or tallow because of the toxins stored in it. I have stopped using this for food and only use fat from other areas of the animal for cooking (such as fat I skim off of stock).

  5. Thank you for this very interesting post.

    I can’t bring myself to eat liver or even take liver pills. Can I just do the B12 supplement? What is the recommended daily dosage of B12?

    I suffer from pretty severe migraines and fibromyalgia both, so I would really like to see if upping my Vitamin B12 intake would help. My nails also are very ridged and weak. Apparently, liver pills helped strengthen Karie’s nails, so I was wondering if B12 might help mine. I have been taking Biotin for quite some time and I am finally seeing them become a little stronger, but the ridges are as bad as ever. Do you know if B12 would help with that?

    Thanks Karie and Adrienne!

    • Hi Karen. We can’t diagnose or prescribe but I am sure Kristin will be over to respond – thanks!

      • Great! Thanks, Adrienne! I’m really just looking for some specific thoughts on Vitamin B12. I understand y’all can’t diagnose or prescribe.

        I look forward to Kristin’s response.

        Thank you!

        • Hi Karen,

          I am so sorry you get horrible headaches, my mom and I used to have migraines all the time. It was truly one of the worst symptoms we had. Raising your B12 levels naturally :) could be one of the most effective ways to treat your headaches.

          I also understand your aversion to liver and the desire to take supplemental B12, but in someone with fibromyalgia or another autoimmune condition that may not be the best course to take.

          The issue is often not just deficiency, but the inability to proper metabolize many of these nutrients. To absorb B12 properly, you need sufficient levels of digestive enzymes and HCl acid (both of which are deficient in people with fibromyalgia). When you supplement with vitamin B12 it often only effects serum or blood levels but does not cross over into the cerebrospinal fluid where more than 60% of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferers show vitamin B12 deficiency and also have degeneration in their spinal cords (which the National Institutes of Health says is due to a vitamin B12 deficiency).

          Additionally supplementing with nutrients that your body cannot metabolize properly can lead to additional disease symptoms. We included a study in our book (affiliate link) Fibromyalgia The Cause And The Cure on supplemental B12. In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid increased the risk of being diagnosed with cancer, of dying from cancer, and of dying from any cause (Dixon, 2009).

          My mom and I both suffered from horrible migraines, which can be related to elevated levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a normal amino acid in our bodies involved in cellular maintenance, but B12 is required to convert it back to methionine or remove it from the body. Without sufficient levels of B12 homocysteine becomes elevated and then attacks the blood vessels all over the body and can lead to conditions like Raynaud’s, macular degeneration, heart attacks, strokes, and migraines.

          Here is a study showing the relationship between homocysteine levels and migraines..

          Homocysteine plasma levels in patients with migraine with aura.
          Moschiano. F., D. D’Amico, S. Usai, L. Grazzi, M. Di Stefano, E. Ciusani, N. Erba, G. Bussone. 2008. Neurol Sci. 29(Suppl. 1):S173-5.

          “We investigated homocysteine plasma levels in 136 MA sufferers and in 117 sex-and age-matched controls. Mean homocysteine plasma levels – as well as the proportion of subjects with hyperhomocysteinaemia – were significantly higher in patients with MA than in healthy controls. Hyperhomocysteinaemia may be a link between MA and ischaemic stroke.”

          So the hope is that once you restore your body’s ability to properly metabolize and raise B12 levels naturally, your homocysteine levels will normalize and you will no longer suffer from the excruciating migraines. My mom and I almost never get headaches and migraines anymore and I used to take ibuprofen 3x a week or more to deal with them. As we learned about herbs we used them to treat our headaches, but in the end nothing was as effective as changing our diet. Take care, Kristin

          References:

          http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=184898

    • And I actually meant to say thanks to Kristin, rather than Karie! :)

  6. At the very end there is a note that “*Pregnant women are told not to consume liver due to high vitamin A content.” I was under the impression that liver was excellent for pregnant women. Can you speak to that?

  7. Sorry, but…this advice is disgusting! There are excellent alternatives – supplements not based on dead animals…think about that, please!

    • Hi Lisa. I am sure Kristin can chime in as well but I empathize w/ you. I used to be vegan – it wasn’t so much that I was totally opposed to eating animals but I wasn’t thrilled about it. Then when I got ill part of my healing was eating animal proteins. I mainly care now that it is done humanely and I do my best to source well. Have you seen the (affiliate link) Temple Grandin movie? She took great care to work on that end of things–she is the most famous autistic in the world.

      I am not trying to convince you, but there is a lot of literature and research stating that you really need to have animal protein to metabolize properly.

      • I totally disagree…..you do not need animal protein to metabolize properly……I know too many vegetarians since I am 18 and I am 63 who do not eat an animal….and who are very healthy…..sorry it did not work for you…..we must be careful as to where the studies come from and who paid for them etc…..there are studies that say GMO is fine……wish we were not killing any animals…..or raising them to be killed…..

        • Prema, I am quoting a practitioner who is very careful about her info. I am sorry you disagree. I do think that you might consider that it is totally necessary to kill animals in order for vegans to eat. Otherwise, the animals would eat the crops. There is a book about a man who was an enthusiastic vegetarian who became an omnivore b/c he found this out. I wish I knew the title but I don’t. Maybe someone else does. Meanwhile, this is a very interesting post about Why A Vegetarian Might Kill More Animals than an Omnivore. I would love to know what you think about it. And I am very aware that we need to watch sourcing of studies. I am not always right for sure, but the proteins in grains like quinoa are just not complete. And there are more and more folks coming out who have switched from being vegetarian due to health issues. http://measureofdoubt.com/2011/06/22/why-a-vegetarian-might-kill-more-animals-than-an-omnivore/

          • Hi Adrienne,
            I read the article that you suggested and found it quite interesting but….. I am allergic to dairy and I don’t eat eggs. I also have a number of other food allergies so I am quite careful with what I eat and it must be organic. While I am not philosophically a vegan I am very healthy for my age and my weight is good. (Aging is not fun no matter what diet you choose.).I don’t think I fit into the vegetarian that this article speaks of though again it is quite interesting and perhaps it is not totally impossible that an animal has been killed for the way I eat. But I personally find eating any animal flesh quite upsetting in my heart. When you eat any kind of animal you are eating their consciousness and all their feelings too. It is just not something I can bring myself to do. There are ways around it.
            Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays.

            • I have heard that kind of reasoning and I just guess we come from different perspectives. I believe that animals were given to us for food. I don’t think that animals are on the same plane as humans and that we were created in God’s image but animals were not. However, I really appreciate your conscientiousness. Blessings to you and yours.

              • Hi Adrienne,
                You are right. We have a totally different perspective.
                I believe God created everything as I am sure you do too. But I do not adhere to the Biblical concreteness that humans are created in God’s image and other beings are not. All of God’s creation is created by and through God’s image. If humans are so great and so full of love which is what God is then why is there so much violence? God IS Love. Wherever there is love there is God and certainly love exists in other beings and not just humans. And sometimes it does not exist in some humans though that does not mean that God is not within them too. To me we are one with God and one with all of God’s beings and that being said I feel in my heart that we must love and honor and respect all beings that God put on this planet. The Bal Shem Tov and Saint Francis of Assisi both talked to all the animals and the animals talked back to them. I also believe that all beings are thinking and have emotions. Cows, dogs, cats, chickens, fish etc. all think and have feelings. While in our history there were cultures that were forced to kill animals in order to survive that is not the case now. We can get plant food all year round and in a way that we are thoroughly and completely nourished. In addition, no prayers are said over the animal that is killed for our benefit today. The Native Americans and other cultures said prayers for the soul of the animal and gave thanks while taking away its earthly existence. This is not done today. I find the entire idea of eating flesh of another animal that has been killed the way we do it today very upsetting. Humans are here to serve and do God’s work and that is through Love. Love All. Hurt None. This is what I feel in my heart so along with this goes that I honor where others are. God Bless.

              • PS. One more thing. To me the real and true nourishment of us all comes from our Oneness with God. The more we are connected to God, not through a belief system but through our heart, the healthier we are on all levels. Food alone cannot do this. There are saints that due to their connection and total oneness with God did not have to eat at all. They could get what the body needed through the air.

                • Hey Prema. I don’t mind having spiritual discussions at all. In fact I really like them. But I hope you are OK with my perspective. I never said that food alone could connect us to God. And in fact, aside from it being a gift from God I don’t know how it would be so. The saints had to eat. I am not sure whom you are talking about. The body needs food and water or it will die. Of course, one can go longer without food than water. And I suspect our perspective on Oneness with God is very different but we can dialogue about that as well if you would like. so happy to interact with you. Thanks.

    • Hi Lia, sorry you find this info disgusting. I think a lot of people would agree with you when it comes to liver :).

      I think Adrienne is right though, evidence is beginning to point to animal products being an essential component to a healthy diet. Organic and grassfed with no antibiotics and hormones of course!

      For instance information coming out of India is pointing to their multigenerational vegetarian diet and low rates of B12 as the reason for their increase in type II diabetes and high rates of cardiovascular disease (higher than the United States). Here is some information below from our book (affiliate link) Autoimmune The Cause and The Cure:

      The International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries calls India “The diabetes capital of the world.” Ninety-five percent of the diabetics in India have type 2 diabetes.

      A study done in India and published in Diabetologia, concludes, “Vitamin B12 deficiency may be an important factor underlying the high risk of ‘diabesity’ in south Asian Indians.” The lead researcher, Dr. Yajnik stated, “Multigenerational vegetarianism means that vitamin B12 deficiency is common in Indians…” Once again, the criterion for a vitamin B12 deficiency was established at a very low level, 150 pg/mL. Even at that level, 43% were found deficient.

      The Times of India wrote: “Widespread deficiency of vitamin B12 among vegetarians is leading to a growing incidence of stroke and heart attacks among young people warn doctors. Deficiency of vitamin B12 increases the concentration of a chemical called homocysteine…. Invariably it is a vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a pure vegetarian diet that is leading to this condition.” –Sudhir Kothari, neurologist at Poona Hospital.

      Now while it maybe tempting to correct the B12 deficiency with supplements, shouldn’t a “healthy” diet include vitamin and nutrient levels sufficient to prevent serious disease?

      • Hi Kirsten,
        It is very strange about these Asian cultures and the modern world. If you have been to India you would find that the West has disrupted the balance of the way they eat and this causes most of the diabetes. Of course I cannot dispute a doctor but I am always leery of the way they conduct their research no matter how good it looks. I know the Indian diet nowadays and it is nothing compared to the ancient times. And if you go to any of the really high spiritual teachers in India they are not telling you to eat meat unless you have a disease of some kind. Doctors are different especially if they have been trained in Western modern medicine. Their entire perspective becomes Western and they don’t even search for the ancient cures or medicines or diet. I know too many vegetarians that are as healthy if not more than meat eaters. And especially since today an average meat eater not eating organic grass fed animals will not even get the B12 because the animals they are eating are not properly being nourished.
        I suppose everyone just needs to choose what is right for their spiritual being and leave it at that.
        I also don’t believe in vaccines or pharmaceuticals of any kind

        • Hi Prema,

          I completely agree with you that the diet in India, nor in almost any other culture resembles their traditional healthful diets. We maybe in a situation where meat was not always necessary but is becoming more so now to correct years of deficiency. B12 is stored in the liver so it often takes years before a deficiency is manifest. By the time a deficiency shows up there maybe severe symptoms.

          I do not feel that supplementing is preferable to eating organic grass-fed animal proteins to correct a B12 deficiency. I think it is important to take our vitamins and nutrients in through foods rather than isolated supplements (I am not including whole herbs in this-we love those!). Foods contain many vitamins and nutrients that interact with one another and help each other in ways that we do not understand.

          Also in many cases we are not just deficient but have lost the ability to metabolize it as well, so taking additional B12 that we are not able to metabolize can increase the risk of disease. The following information is from our book on a study done in Norway.

          “In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid increased the risk of being diagnosed with cancer, of dying from cancer, and of dying from any cause.

          “The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in which nearly 7,000 adults in Norway were randomly selected to take one of the following:
          • 0.8 mg of folic acid + 0.4 mg of vitamin B12 + 40 mg vitamin B6 per day
          • 0.8 mg of folic acid + 0.4 mg of vitamin B12 per day
          • 40 mg vitamin B6 per day
          • placebo (no vitamins)

          Study participants were followed for a median (similar to average) of approximately six and a half years (39 months of active study participation plus 38 months of post-study observation). The study showed that compared with people not receiving folic acid and vitamin B12, those who took these vitamins had:
          • 21% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer (any type)
          • 38% higher risk of dying of cancer (any type)
          • 18% higher risk of dying of any cause

          SOURCES: Ebbing, M. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 18, 2009; vol 302: pp 2119-2126

          Take care! Kristin

          • Hi Kristen,
            All this information is very kind of you to share.
            I just come from a totally different perspective.
            For one thing I do not trust the medical profession or scientific studies for an instant and the people in the studies probably did not even eat well or what did they eat? What are the myriad of other variables that are not mentioned here? For example, woman versus men? Or genetic propensity? or what type of B12 and folic acid were used?
            While I agree that nutrition is best taken in through very good organic food I do not believe in eating flesh of any animal. I believe that we, all of us, in God’s creation are One with each other and with God and that eating another being is simply, and I am sorry to be so blunt or even horrific, cannibalism. I simply cannot eat the flesh of another being.
            Also did you know that 20/20 did a study years and years ago about the main factor of why someone lives to be 100 years old? The answer had nothing to do with diet. It had to do with one’s relationship to God and the Universe. Most of them had survived their children. Another doctor, whose name I cannot recall and who wrote a book in the 1930’s, said that our thoughts are what harm us most, not the food we eat.
            Have you ever met a person whose diet is the healthiest possible yet is so angry? The anger would be the factor that would make that person’s health compromised.
            So these studies don’t even take into consideration factors that are affecting the people being studied.
            I believe that cancer is not only a genetic propensity, which we can turn on or off, but also that cancer cells are in all of us and brought out by a lowered immune system that turns on the cancer gene.
            GMO foods, vaccines, pollution of all kinds, pesticides etc. are causing bad health….not eating a vegetarian diet.
            Most diets today are lacking in all kinds of vitamins. Food just does not have the nutrients it did one hundred years ago.
            I suppose sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. I just can never eat flesh of any being. That just is not in my make up.
            God Bless!!

  8. One correction to “our only dietary source of B12 comes from animal proteins”:
    Neither plants nor animals are independently capable of constructing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its biosynthesis.
    So while liver, and meat in general, is a source of vitamin B12 it is not a very efficient source.

    • Hi Chuck,

      You are correct that vitamin B12 is initially manufactured by micro-organisms, especially bacteria in soil and water, and to an extent, in animals’ guts. Animals then ingest these B12-producing bacteria by eating grass and drinking water with soil particles.

      Since we do not usually eat our vegetables with soil particles attached or drink water that has not been treated, our B12 comes by eating these animal proteins. This is one of the many reasons we stress how important it is to eat only animal proteins that are organic, pasture-raised and pasture-finished. To have adequate levels of B12 animals need to have access to grass and soil.

      As far as liver and meat not being a very efficient source of B12, foods like liver and clams and oysters contain very high levels of B12 in a form that our body was meant to ingest B12 in.

      During WWII, the development of Myasthenia Gravis (an autoimmune disease associated with vitamin B12 deficiency) in prisoners of war in Singapore was attributed to malnutrition. It is reported that a nutritious diet, with high vitamin content and plenty of liver, soon restored these prisoners to normal. Excess vitamin B12 is stored in our livers, so liver is one of the foods that contain the highest levels of vitamin B12. The fact that the prisoners recovered by eating liver shows they were able to properly digest proteins and simply lacked B12. Thanks!

  9. For those of you who are vegetarians you can buy B12 patches on Amazon.

  10. Adrienne,

    This is amazing. I am soooo going to try your method and make liver pills.

    Thank you lovely lady.

    Big Hugs,
    –Ambe

  11. Like another commenter mentioned, I am very curious about the statement that it isn’t recommended that pregnant women consume liver due to the high vitamin A content. I just read on another popular blog (holistic squid) that it’s a great idea! Do you have a resource? I was planning to take homemade liver pills…but now I’m worried. Isn’t it similar to getting A through pastured eggs, raw milk, etc? (which I also consume regularly.) Love your blog and appreciate all of your hard work to bring us information!

  12. The only time I’ve ever heard of liver pills was some saying associated with Jimmy Carter my parents used to say when I was a kid!

    I have trigeminal neuralgia in which the trigeminal nerve gets aggravated and causes great pain in my face. Considering that B12 is important in so many “nerve” conditions, I’m wondering if a deficiency may affect the TN?

    What is a good place to buy the desiccated liver pills?

    • Hi Nikki. I would check out Iherb in my sidebar. Or Vitacost. They both have links in my sidebar. You get money off if you go through my blog and use the codes I have specified there. you don’t need one w/ Vitacost but you do w/ Iherb. Thanks!

  13. Thanks for this important info! I’ve done some research on B12 as well but have never come across an answer/solution to my question/issue. I’ve tested low for B12 so my naturopath suggested supplementing my diet (whether with vitamin supplements and/or foods). The problem is every single B12 supplement I’ve ever taken (including my dessicated liver pills) creates wicked insomnia for me. (Folate does the same thing for me.) Even taking the tiniest amount only in the morning brings the same result. It’s like I just don’t get tired EVER (which sounds nice but isn’t). My doctor thinks I might have problems with methylation, however I can’t figure out how to bring my B12 up otherwise. I know you’re not a doctor, however I thought maybe in your research, you’ve come across something like this. My doctor is puzzled and keeps saying B12 is supposed to relax someone and help one sleep, not energize them. So at this time, I can’t take anything until we figure this out. Does anyone else out there have this problem?

    • Hi Crystal,

      It took us a long time to learn that deficiency and metabolism are not one in the same. Meaning that in many of us we are not only deficient in these nutrients but may have also lost the ability to metabolize them. For instance with B12 in order to properly absorb it, you need sufficient levels of digestive enzymes, HCl, intrinsic factor etc. Without these things you maybe eating a diet rich in B12 but you could still have a deficiency because you are not absorbing it. Your symptoms may suggest that not only are you deficient, but perhaps you aren’t metabolizing it correctly either.

      It might be best to focus first on restoring the enzymes that are responsible for the proper metabolism of vitamin B12 (like the enzymes contained in fermented foods). These enzymes are called “protease” and they originate in the “exocrine” pancreas. Without these enzymes, you will not be able to properly bind or transport the vitamin into your cells. Taking supplemental vitamin B12 that you can not properly metabolize may lead to unwanted side effects, such as those that you are experiencing.

      Hope that helps! Kristin

      • Sunny Murray says:

        Hi Kristin,
        Everything here refers to low levels of B12…what about high levels? My latest test showed 1,411 but didn’t even designate what measurement is used here. I take no B12 supplements, other than what is in my multi-vitamin. I recently started eating liver, making the pills, and trying to follow what you have been sharing about B12. Is it possible my levels measured high in the blood because the B12 is not being taken up in the cells?

        • Hi Sunny,

          Yes, it is possible that blood levels can be artificially elevated by taking supplements but that it is not being taken into the cells or crossing over into the cerebrospinal fluid-where a B12 deficiency can lead to subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord (National Institutes of Health, 2010). So it goes back to metabolism. To correct an underlying deficiency you also need to address your body’s ability to properly metabolize vitamin B12. Are you having any symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency or have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or other disease?

  14. Kristin,

    Do you have a nutritional comparison between the homemade dried liver capsules and fresh liver? I have a really good method of making the fresh, but if there is no difference, I would rather store the dried form which I am assuming could be safely stored at room temp?

    Thanks,
    Dawn in Colorado Springs

  15. Dear Kristen,

    I am in the UK and have read your book with huge interest, as I have all the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome as well as Interstitial Cystitis (though none of the blood markers, and hence no diagnosis.) It all made perfect scientific sense to me, and tied in completely with my experience of my various symptoms. The only problem was that when I re-checked the results of my B12 test that was done a while back, my levels were not low but extremely high…above normal range! I don’t recall that I was taking any supplementation at the time. I am going to ask my doctor to check it again in case it was an anomaly or a lab error. I know you say in the book that one can have a high serum level of B12 and yet have low cellular levels, but do you think it is possible to have SUCH high serum B12 and yet still have a cellular deficiency? I’d be really grateful for any knowledge you might be able to share! Thank you, Anna

  16. Susan F. says:

    Hi – I talked to Annesse once on the phone as she had contacted me through the Interstitial Cystitis Network and that was very kind of her. I have the Autoimmune Cause… and also the Fibromyalgia book on Kindle. I never went on the WAPF diet including all that sauerkraut (fear of the sour aggravating IC plus my difficulty in making it) which is basically what Annesse’s cure is I believe (really derived from the work of Weston A. Price and then Sally Fallon). I did however, try the Paleo Approach autoimmune protocol for a bit (no grains, dairy, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs) but without much change in my various symptoms ( I really do not think I am gluten intolerant but how can one really know, so much know is being attributed to that) so I am back thinking about Annesse’s connections of the different studies and about B12. I’ve found out that I am homozygous for MTHFR c677t gene which means I got 2 copies of a bad gene and I may have difficulty with methylation. Therefore my naturopath has me on Metabolic Maintenance which contains all the B’s including the methylated ones (b12 and folate). My b12 blood test then went up from low 400s to over 700s, but from what you are saying I may not actually be getting it into my cells. So if I could tolerate eating all that sauerkraut and liver, are you suggesting one could abandon taking a formula that contains all the B vitamins as I have mentioned? I just want to make sure and thank you so much. Also what about k2 and fish oil?

    • Hi Susan. I will email the author to see if she can respond. Thanks!

    • Hi Susan,

      Research confirms that patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune disease lack the enzymes that are necessary for the proper metabolism of vitamin B12 – protease and DNase 1.

      The lack of these enzymes leads to a “cellular” vitamin B12 deficiency. Increasing “blood” levels of vitamin B12 though supplementation will not correct the underlying cellular deficiency. It may however greatly increase the risk of disease.

      Cancer cells put out extra receptors to vitamin B12 because it helps them divide. Drug companies know this and have actually designed new cancer therapies that involve using supplemental vitamin B12 to deliver cytotoxic agents to cancerous tumors. Here is one study that discusses this. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18540842

      The same is true of folate. Here is a study on this. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9741912

      As we discuss in our books, every nutrient works with at least 8 other nutrients in order to function properly and to prevent causing harm, so we think it is best to keep nutrients in their whole form. You can effectively and safely address the lack of vitamin B12 and the other nutrients you mentioned by focusing on healing your GI tract and restoring the missing enzymes.

      We are also posting some info on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Autoimmunethecauseandthecure

      Hope that helps answer your question, thanks!