The Vitamin B12 Hoax
By: Dr. Virginia Vetrano
"You can't get well of pernicious
anemia" so imply all the
authorities, "your stomach
doesn't produce the intrinsic
factor necessary for the
absorption of B-12, but as long
as you take vitamin B-12 shots,
you don't have to worry."
In so many words they are saying:
don't correct your stomach condition; rely on this crutch, because there are
billions of willing microorganisms busily engaged in excreting vitamin B-12
just for you.
Recently, we admitted a woman to the Health School Clinic who had
pernicious anemia. She had had it well over six years and had taken vitamin
B-12 for approximately five of those years. She completely lacked
hydrochloric acid, and took this in the form of a drug for a while; but then she
began using enzymes. She had pain and swelling in her feet and ankles. Six
years previously she developed blood clots in her lungs, while receiving
Before entering the Health School Clinic, she was taking both vitamin B-12 and
iron shots, once a month. Despite medical therapy, she complained of
excessive fatigue plus other discomforts before coming to the Health School
Clinic and she left feeling very well.
Accompanying the anemia were mucus colitis and abnormal sounds in the
ears (tinnitus). She had also recently suffered with an inflammatory condition
of her middle ear, which became so severe that the tympanic membrane burst.
She also showed signs of diverticulosis.
Although she was 74 years old and was in a very bad condition when she
came, she was feeling very well when she left, after a period of only eight and
a half weeks. She was old enough to be set in her ways and much of the
difficulty with her was in trying to change her wrong habits of living.
She was very anxious to get back to her potato diet. Although she left the
Health School prematurely, as many do, she has written back saying that she
is doing fine and was amazed at the way she regained her strength and feeling
of well being.
She suffered with one condition after another prior to coming to the Health
School Clinic. Care at the Health School Clinic not only started her well on the
road to recovery from anemia, but also relieved her of many of her other
troubles. This is not unusual with Hygienic attention. It is a well known fact in
Hygienic circles that many cases of pernicious anemia double their blood cell
count in only one week of fasting, without taking vitamin B-12 shots.
Dr. William Howard Hay recorded 101 cases of pernicious anemia and only
eight of them failed to recover, and these were dying when they arrived for his
care. It is not news to Hygienists that these cases get well; most abnormalities
of the blood are corrected through fasting.
Pernicious anemia is a grave form of anemia, characterized by an extreme
reduction in the number of red blood cells with a reduction of the total number
of the leukocytes, variation in the size and form of the red blood cells, a lack of
hydrochloric acid secretion, often combined with neurologic symptoms and
gastrointestinal symptoms in some.
Symptoms: The main symptoms are sore, shiny tongue, a lack of hydrochloric
acid and sometimes an absence of the digestive enzymes of the stomach,
increased tiredness, weakness, faintness, a waxy pallor or lemon yellow tint,
shortness of breath and palpitation, edema, recurrent fever, digestive
disturbances, pain in the epigastric region, occasional hemorrhages, often
concomitant with flabby fatness.
Nervous symptoms may develop before the symptoms of anemia or later in
the course of the disease and develop in about 80 per cent of cases. These
take the form of symmetrical parenthesis (abnormal sensations) of the toes or
fingers, such as formication, burning, tingling or itching. In severe cases
numbness develops. In 50 per cent of the cases spinal cord symptoms are
severe and cause ataxia and muscular spasticity. Some are unable to hold
things and are continuously dropping them.
Performing delicate tasks with the hands becomes extremely difficult, if not
impossible. The patient may eventually become a cripple due to progressive
weakness, spasticity, incoordination and stiffness of the lower extremities.
Nothing tastes good to these people as their sense of taste and smell is lost.
They become dull, apathetic and irritable, and unable to concentrate. In some
oases frank psychoses becomes a problem. Constipation and diarrhea
frequently accompany the anemia. Besides a sore tongue, some patients
complain of the whole mouth being sore.
Clinical Manifestations: The pulse is soft and quickly drops (bounding). In
severe cases of anemia, recurrent bouts of fever plague the patient. The
tongue is usually shiny and smooth and, in some, very red and raw like beef.
The tongue may ulcerate or vesicles may form.
The smooth tongue is due to atrophy of the papilla of the tongue. The heart
beats very fast and a soft hemic murmur is audible. The liver may be slightly
enlarged and the spleen, though seldom palpable, is thought to be enlarged in
When a tuning fork is placed on the shinbone, the patient cannot sense the
vibrations, nor does he have a sense of position of the various members of his
He may not be able to sense when touched, but he still senses pain and
temperature. If he stands with feet together and eyes closed, he will sway.
Reflexes vary from diminished to heightened. Visual defects and optic
atrophy develop in occasional cases. Retinal hemorrhages occur in some.
Pathology: In discussing the pathology it is important to realize that most
tissue changes discussed in textbooks are changes seen after death. These
are not necessarily the condition of the body in the early and even in some late
stages of pernicious anemia. For instance, at death the fundus and body of
the stomach show extreme atrophy.
The coats of the fundus and body of the stomach are very thin and the glands
of this area are almost completely destroyed; but during the course of the
disease, biopsy findings show that only about 40 per cent of cases have the
extreme gastric atrophy seen at autopsy. The biopsy shows varying degrees
of atrophic gastritis, with cellular infiltrations into the secreting layers of the
stomach and atrophy of the glands.
Changes seen at autopsy are end points of pathology and do not portray the
condition of the patient when he first presents himself to the physician or the
The blood picture varies with the exacerbations and remissions of the
disease. The red cell count may be as low as 500,000 during an exacerbation
of the anemia and as high as 4,000,000 during a remission. All the elements of
the blood in general are low _ the red cells, the leukocytes, and the platelets
(particles necessary for clotting of blood).
The hemoglobin percent is also diminished, but not in proportion to the red
cells, so that the color index may be relatively high. Many of the red cells are
well colored, giving us the term hyperchromic anemia.
As mentioned before, gastric atrophy is supposedly the basic lesion of
pernicious anemia. Atrophy of the gastric glands, it is thought, is responsible
for the lack of so-called intrinsic factor, which supposedly facilitates the
absorption of vitamin B-12 from foods.
Boyd states that sometimes the gastric mucosa is as thin as parchment, but
again he is viewing the stomach at death. Naturally, digestion would be
impaired, due to a lack of gastric secretion, at this stage. The pyloric region or
antrum (lower part of the stomach), which secretes only mucus, does not
atrophy but is completely normal, so he states.
In fact, Boyd states that an abrupt change can be seen from the atrophy of the
body to the normalcy of the antral region.
Etiology: Pernicious anemia is supposed to be due to a lack of an unknown
entity, which has not yet been isolated, called the intrinsic factor or
hemopoietin, without which vitamin B-12 cannot be absorbed.
Cecil and Loeb state that:
"Although the essential lesion of pernicious anemia, failure of intrinsic factor
secretion, may arise from many processes interfering with normal gastric
secretory function, in most patients the gastric lesion is idiopathic." In other
words, the cause of the gastric lesion is unknown.
Guyten states that the intrinsic factor is secreted in the mucous glands of the
pyloric area of the stomach and to a lesser degree in the gastric glands. Best
and Taylor state the opposite _ that it is the fundus and body of the stomach,
which secretes the intrinsic factor, and that, the pathology, which is
characteristic of pernicious anemia, proves this because the pyloric region is
normal whereas the fundus and body of the stomach are atrophied.
The intrinsic factor is not secreted by the small intestines, although some
think it is secreted at the beginning of the duodenum. It is thought to be a
mucoprotein or many mucoproteins, and the manner by which it facilitates
absorption of B-12 is unknown.
It is thought to be an enzyme, which acts at a pH of seven. That of the hog
stomach tissue can be digested with trypsin and pepsin and is destroyed by
heating to 45 degrees centigrade.
Since the intrinsic factor acts only in a pH of seven, it would seem that it would
of necessity be useful only in an area of the digestive tract that is neutral or be
altogether non-useful to man.
Inasmuch as the secretions of the gastrointestinal tract of man are either acid
or alkaline, where would the intrinsic factor be useful? Is this a real substance
or the result of poor digestion and absorption? When most of the stomach is
removed because of gastric ulcer or cancer, pernicious anemia will develop in
two to seven years.
Is this really due to a lack of intrinsic factor or poor digestion due to a lack of
secretions in general? We know that patients who have been on vitamin B-12
injections for years without much benefit can take a fast and get well.
This would seem to indicate that they still had the power to secrete the
so-called intrinsic factor. It would also indicate that, perhaps, they were
suffering with a simple gastritis, and that after fasting the inflammatory
condition healed, leaving them better able to secrete the necessary enzymes
for good digestion.
We do know the anemic get well while fasting and stay well if they continue to
live properly. Why they get well could be due to a number of factors. The
blood picture improves while fasting, though no extraneous vitamin B-12 is
After the fast, these subjects are fed properly combined foods of vegetable
origin. Properly combining their foods enables them to digest and absorb all
elements in the diet. If their gastric mucosa is damaged or atrophied, as in
long standing cases, feeding foods in compatible combinations will not place
a burden on the impaired organ and better nutrition is maintained despite the
Hygienically, it is thought that toxemia plays an important role in the
production of pernicious anemia. Toxemia itself causes lowered functioning
power, not only of the secreting glands of the stomach, but of every organ in
the body, including the blood-forming organs.
Lowered functioning power of the gastrointestinal system hinders digestion,
causing much fermentation and putrefaction. This in turn interferes with
absorption of nutriments necessary for the production of blood and also
causes the absorption of toxic products of indigestion, producing more
toxemia, which in turn causes more lowered functioning power and
consequently less digesting and blood forming power.
Much ado is made of the vegans in England who supposedly after a few years
develop pernicious anemia because of a lack of animal proteins in their diet. It
is said that they do not develop the blood condition but that they develop the
more serious troubles, such as degeneration of the spinal cord and brain.
These symptoms, they say, may be developing so insidiously that the vegan
may have a serious case of pernicious anemia before he realizes it. Better
Nutrition magazine advocates that the vegan take vitamin B-12, in extremely
small amounts daily, so that this can be prevented.
Thus, the big scare is going around that leads the uninformed to believe that
man must be a carnivore or he must take vitamins.
Some of the vegans in England, we are informed, are of the tea and white flour
biscuit type. Vegans not only abstain from flesh foods, but also from wearing
anything of animal origin. This is to emphasize that they are vegetarians for
ethical reasons only.
I am not stating this with any maliciousness, but only to show that they have
not given too much thought to their health, only to the welfare of animals.
Therefore, they eat anything they like in any kind of combination that pleases
the taste buds. No dietary precautions are taken such as getting whole grain
foods or raw fruits and vegetables, or a good source of proteins.
Their diet is lacking in more than one essential element. Vegans in America
who also practice Hygienic living have splendid health. Man does not have to
eat animals to get his vitamin B-12.
Vitamin B-12 is necessary in minuscule amounts. This, we can get in our
vegetable foods. We can store enough B-12 in the liver to last approximately
two years or more.
Some people who have had a total gastrectomy for one reason or another, do
not develop pernicious anemia until seven or eight years after the operation.
We can store a tremendous amount of vitamin B-12, or we need it in even
smaller amounts than thought necessary at present.
Guyten states that our minimum daily requirement is less than one microgram
a day. People with good digestion and on a wholesome diet probably need
less than that.
The question is: can we get it from vegetables? I say yes. We need it in
infinitesimal amounts and if one is eating a diet predominating in fresh fruits,
vegetables and nuts in the uncooked state, he will get sufficient vitamin B-12
to maintain him in good health for a lifetime.
Most sources state that vegetable products show no "measurable activity"
when speaking of this vitamin, called cobalamin for short. "No measurable
activity" does not mean that there is none at all in the vegetable.
Best and Taylor state that:
"The extrinsic factor (vitamin B-12) is present in liver, beef, rice polishings,
yeast and other substances rich in the vitamin B complex."
They continue that:
"It is also found in the intestinal contents of normal persons, as well as in the
feces of patients with pernicious anemia. There is, therefore, no reason to
believe that a dietary deficiency of this factor is the cause of the disease."
Other authorities also condemn vegetable foods as lacking in vitamin B-12,
but they never state that there is no vitamin B-12 in vegetable foods. Indeed, I
think they are hiding the truth.
The meat packing industry, who furnishes the money for these latest
experiments, has the researchers minimizing the amount of vitamin B-12
found in vegetables and nuts.
I hold that if it is not in fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts and bacteria do not
manufacture it where man can absorb it, then man does not need it.
The diet to which man is constitutionally adapted should furnish all the
requisites of good nutrition. If it isn't present in the diet and bacteria do not
produce it where it is absorbable by man, then what can we think except that
nature must have made a big mistake.
The Cyclopedia of Medicine makes the following statement about cobalamin:
"The vitamin B-12 requirements of man are obtained from foods, mainly those
of animal protein origin: kidney, liver, heart and muscle meats being the richest
sources; but lesser amounts occur in other foods, including eggs, cheese and
milk. Vegetables contain practically no vitamin B-12, in contrast to their high
content of folic acid."
Here again we note some hedging. In contrast to the folic acid content,
vegetables have practically no vitamin B-12 content. They do not state that
there is no vitamin B-12 whatsoever in vegetables.
Which vegetables do they use and are they cooked when the assay is made?
Under what conditions were the tests made? A change in conditions will
many times change results and produce errors in thinking.
Are they sincerely trying to find it in vegetable products or are the researchers
trying to satisfy their backers by finding the demanded results.
Furthermore, no one gives us any information about nuts. They only contrast
animal products to vegetables.
What about fruits and nuts? Not until we are furnished with a reliable source
of information, and not until they have tested all fruits, vegetables and nuts
can we say that vegans are unable to get vitamin B-12 in their diet.
Although we only need one microgram a day, Adele Davis in Let's Get Well
asserts that the strict vegetarian should take 50 grams of cobalamin (vitamin
B-12) a week, "while their stomach secretions are still normal" thus implying
that in time on the vegetarian diet, they will soon develop abnormal stomachs.
She states that of the vegetable foods, only "yeast, wheat germ and soybeans
contain appreciable traces of vitamin B-12." Evidently she is misinformed, for it
is stated in Boyd's pathology that vitamin B-12 is found in ground nuts
(peanuts). However, he also has the idea that it is found in only one or two
Experiments made not so many years ago by Berg, who was not subsidized
by special interests, showed that growth will be normal in animals who have a
supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
White, Handler, Smith and Stetten in their Principles of Biochemistry state that:
"The requirement of cobalamin is so minute that its wide distribution in
foodstuffs and retention by the animal organism would seem to preclude the
possibility of nutritional deficiency in normal individuals."
Berg states that vitamin B complex is present in a large number of foodstuffs
and Best and Taylor state that vitamin B-12 is found in every food which has
vitamin B complex in it; so, vegetables have vitamin B-12 in them even if in
I have already shown that we only need small amounts of cobalamin and that
normal people have the ability to concentrate it and absorb it readily.
A few years ago nutritionists urged people to take calcium and phosphorus
because that's the stuff teeth and bones are made of. Now recent studies say
we can't make teeth even if we have an abundance of calcium and
phosphorus, without magnesium.
The fact is the chemistry of the body is almost as unknown today as it was a
hundred years ago. No one can get into a live cell and watch the chemical
activities going on, so no one really knows what man needs or the proportions
that he needs these things in.
We only know that a simple natural uncooked diet of green vegetables, fruits
and nuts grown in good soil without sprays, will furnish all the necessary
vitamins and minerals, and in the proper proportions.
If man observes proper food combining and does not hamper digestion in any
way, and maintains emotional poise, then he will be able to extract from live
foods all the elements necessary for health, strength and long life.
While producing commercial aureomycin, the organism streptomyces
aureofaciens is grown in a culture medium to induce the production of the
largest amount of the antibiotic. The antibiotic is then extracted from the total
products of the bacteria, thus leaving a residue.
Naturally, all chemists serving commercial interests must find some use for
the residue. Vitamin B-12 was part of the residue; hence, a market must be
made for it. Could this be one of the reasons why we must either eat flesh or
take vitamin pills?
Let us get back to pernicious anemia. Before the medical profession had liver
extract and vitamin B-12, pernicious anemia was "progressively and uniformly"
fatal under their care.
Under Hygienic care, as far back as 60 years ago, Weger says:
"The only cases of pernicious anemia that fail to respond favorably to Hygienic
methods are those in which the heart muscle has degenerated and in which a
general dropsical condition has existed for a long time, accompanied (as is
often the case) by cerebral manifestations or mania and profound hemolytic
jaundice. These advanced symptoms indicate that the organism has passed
beyond the power of recuperation because of nutritional devitalization."
Dr. Hay in his Health Via Diet tells of his 101 cases of pernicious anemia where
only eight failed to recover. Dr. Hay says of these:
"The blood during a fast undergoes no visible changes as to cell count unless
markedly abnormal when the fast is begun in which case there is a return to
For most of two weeks (in progressive pernicious anemia) the red erythrocyte
count continues to fall before there is a regeneration in the blood-making
organs; then gradually the microscopic picture begins to show round
erythrocytes with regular edges, no crenations or irregularities, and soon
there is noticeable increase in the number of these with gradual
disappearance of the adventitious cells present in the beginning.
"Not unusually there is a gain during the succeeding two weeks that brings the
total back to the normal five million erythrocyte count, even though this may
have been at, or below, one million in the beginning."
At the Tilden Health School 75 per cent of the cases recovered and of the
deaths he says:
"The deaths, which represent the 25 per cent, occurred within a few days of
admission to the institution. These cases were so far gone that nothing could
be done, and no treatment was attempted, as they were dying when admitted."
Medical treatment makes of the patient a physiological cripple. It does not
remove the cause of the disease; hence, the gastric condition is not corrected
so that his nutritional status remains poor, to say the least, and the gastric
condition which is not corrected very often progresses to cancer and an early
By: Dr. Virginia Vetrano
Article: The Vitamin B12 Hoax