Avoid prescripton drugs when you can

10 Natural Alternatives to Popular Prescription Drugs
Consider these clinically proven natural alternatives
April 29, 2013 | By Gale Maleskey, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert
This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

All too often, people are made to believe that they have no options when it comes to taking a drug. If your doctor says you need a drug for a serious health problem, you might think it’s the only thing you can do. You may feel frightened at the prospect of going against your doctor’s recommendations and seeking out alternatives.

Drug safety is becoming a major concern among many health professionals. Reports to the FDA of serious adverse drug events, including deaths, have more than doubled in recent years. This is more than enough reason to do a little of your own research before you get that prescription filled.

Learn about the adverse side effects associated with the drug and seek out some secondary advice as to whether the risks outweigh the benefits. Consider what lifestyle changes you could make to improve your health and investigate some natural alternatives which may help you avoid taking prescription drugs.

With that in mind, these drugs have clinically proven natural alternatives worth trying:

#1: Ibuprofen vs. Glucosamine

NSAIDs like Celebrex, aspirin and ibuprofen do reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis, but they can irritate your stomach. There is concern that, over time, they can make osteoarthritis worse by blocking the repair process. They have been found to actually retard the growth of cartilage.

Glucosamine, an amino sugar that is a constituent of cartilage, is comparable to ibuprofen for symptom relief, although it takes 4-8 weeks to work. What’s more, it seems to stimulate cartilage-building cells called chondrocytes. People taking glucosamine for up to three years had less knee joint degeneration, less joint space narrowing and significant symptom improvement when compared with placebo. An analysis of several studies suggests that glucosamine might reduce the risk of osteoarthritis progression by up to 54%.

What to take: 1,000-1,500 mg a day.

#2: Ambien vs. Melatonin

Ambien can be a great help for people who need it. But like other pills in its class, it creates dependence — you end up unable to sleep without it. And it has troubling side effects, such as amnesia, daytime drowsiness, headache and dizziness.

Melatonin is the most studied natural remedy for insomnia. It is a hormone synthesized in the brain’s pineal gland that regulates the body’s sleep patterns. Melatonin production is influenced by day/night cycles. Light inhibits melatonin secretion and darkness stimulates secretion.

Melatonin is useful for older people with insomnia, blind people, jet lag and those in withdrawal from prescription sleep medication. Unlike most prescription sleep aids, melatonin has absolutely no risk for dependence. It is not habit-forming.

What to take: 3 mg before bedtime. Higher doses may cause wakefulness.

#3: Restasis vs. Fish Oil

Restasis is the immune-suppressing and inflammation-suppressing drug cyclosporine in an eye-drop form. It’s used for chronic dry eyes, and works by suppressing the inflammation that disrupts tear secretion. Side effects include burning, redness and discharge.

Getting more omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help dry eyes. Tears contain oil, but if you don’t have enough oil in your tears, they don’t lubricate well and evaporate too fast. Consuming more essential omega-3s makes your tears oilier. Fish oil also reduces inflammation that can interfere with tear production. Plus, fish oil reduces your risk of developing macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in older people.

What to take: 1,400 mg a day, or up to 6,000 mg a day if you have an autoimmune condition such as Sjorgren’s Syndrome.

#4: Statins vs. Red Yeast Rice

Statin drugs like Lipitor, Crestor and Lovastatin are called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors because they reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme needed for cholesterol production. Side effects include liver and muscle damage.

Red yeast rice also contains a natural form of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, along with other compounds that help balance cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Studies show that red yeast rice can significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides when used consistently for 8-12 weeks. However, not all red yeast rice products are effective. So choose a quality product standardized for its active ingredients.

What to take: 600 mg twice a day or 1,200 mg once a day.

#5: Neurontin vs. Alpha Lipoic Acid

Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anti-seizure drug that’s become popular for all sorts of pain related to nerve damage, including diabetic neuropathy. Side effects include drowsiness, confusion, dizziness and trouble walking.

Alpha lipoic acid is a water- and fat-soluble coenzyme, naturally produced in the body, involved in energy metabolism. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant. It’s used to improve insulin sensitivity and to treat peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes. It increases blood flow to nerves, raises levels of antioxidants and makes nerves conduct signals faster.

In one study, when people were switched from 600 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid to Neurontin, they experienced many more side effects and less pain relief. In a group left untreated, 73% developed neuropathic symptoms two weeks after stopping alpha lipoic acid treatment. The authors of this study concluded that alpha lipoic acid is “an effective, safe and cost-effective treatment option for the majority of patients with diabetic polyneuropathy.”

What to take: 250-500 mg a day.

#6: Fosamax vs. Calcium and Vitamin D

Fosamax (alendronate) is an osteoporosis drug called a bisphosphonate. It works by inhibiting the work of osteoclasts, bone cells that break down and remove old bone. It has a long list of possible side effects, including stomach ulcers and osteoneocrosis, or death of the jaw bone, resulting in tooth loss, pain and infection.

Calcium and vitamin D can help prevent your bones from reaching the point where you need Fosamax. Long-term calcium supplementation decreases primary fracture rates by 30% to 35% for vertebral bone and 25% for hip bone. It is estimated that 30 years of continuous calcium supplementation after menopause might result in a 10% improvement in bone mineral density and a 50% overall reduction in fracture rates, compared with women who do not take calcium supplements.

Vitamin D is just as vital. Its major functions are to maintain serum calcium within a normal range, enhance intestinal absorption of calcium and stimulate stem cells to become new bone-building osteoblasts.

What to take: 1,000 mg of calcium and 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D, along with a multivitamin containing magnesium, boron, copper, zinc and other nutrients essential for bone growth. Get vitamin K from leafy greens or a supplement. It revs up bone-building cells.

#7: Prozac vs. Fish Oil

Prozac is a popular antidepressant, an SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor), which means it helps to keep the “happy” neurotransmitter, serotonin, floating around in your brain longer.

Fish oil is a win-win for anyone with depression because it can work by itself for some people, and it can safely help antidepressants work better. It gets incorporated into cell membranes, making them more fluid and responsive to the neurotransmitters that latch on to the cells’ receptor sites. Population studies show that people who eat more fish have a lower risk of depression and suicide.

What to take: At least 3,000 mg a day of fish oil. Up to 9,000 mg a day has been used in studies to treat depression. It can take several months to see an improvement in symptoms.

#8: Donnatal vs. Peppermint Oil

Donnatal is prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome. It is an anti-spasmodic, so it relieves pain and cramping. Side effects include constipation, decreased sweating dizziness, drowsiness and dry mouth.

Peppermint oil has long been used to soothe cranky stomachs. It decreases gastrointestinal smooth muscle spasms, reduces abdominal pain, distention and flatulence and decreases diarrhea in 70% to 80% of patients. People with irritable bowel syndrome also often find relief by increasing their intake of soluble fiber and using probiotics for bloating and abdominal pain.

What to take: 0.2-0.4 mL (180-360 mg) before meals of peppermint oil. Also get 20-30 grams a day of fiber from diet and supplements such as psyllium and take a good probiotic that contains at least 3 billion CFU.

#9: Benadryl vs. Quercetin

Benadryl is a brand name for diphenhydramine, an antihistamine used to treat hay fever and other nasal allergies. It works by blocking receptor sites for histamine, the biochemical that causes the runny nose and scratchy eyes. These receptor sites are found on the cells in your nose, eyes and lungs. The drug’s main side effect is sleepiness. In fact, it is also used in over-the-counter sleep aids.

Quercetin is a compound found in many plants. It is considered a natural antihistamine because it can inhibit release of histamine from certain immune cells. Evidence suggests that quercetin inhibits antigen-stimulated histamine release from mast cells of patients with hay fever. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

What to take: 300-600 mg three times daily along with two helpers, bromelain and vitamin C.

#10: Glucophage vs. Cinnamon

Glucophage (metformin) is a diabetes drug that increases insulin sensitivity. It improves the sensitivity of insulin receptor sites on cells, making it easier for them to “pick up” insulin. This lowers blood glucose levels. Most common side effects include indigestion, headache and diarrhea.

Research suggests that cinnamon also improves insulin sensitivity by making receptor sites on cells “pick up” insulin better. One type of cinnamon in particular, Cassia cinnamon, can lower fasting blood glucose by 18% to 30%. Researchers have also found that taking cinnamon extract can lead to significant increases in lean body mass and a reduction in overall body fat. Cinnamon also has antioxidant properties that can fight aging and help your heart.

What to take: 250 mg, morning and evening, of a water-soluble cinnamon extract, which is more absorbable and safer than consuming large amounts of powdered cinnamon. Cinnamon contains volatile oils, and when used frequently in high doses, whole cinnamon and fat-soluble cinnamon extracts may be toxic.

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Tags: Alternative Medicine, fish oil, Vitamin D, Vitamins & Supplements

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How To Self-Experiment


  • Keep it simple. Stick to changing one thing at a time, and make it easy to follow.
  • Be specific. Don’t test how “fruit” affects you post-workout. Test how “bananas” or “mangos” or “blueberries” affect you.
  • Kill multiple birds with one stone, if possible. If you’re testing how post-workout bananas affect fat loss or gain, consider observing other possible effects, like improved performance or blood sugar readings. You don’t have to, but keep an open mind.
  • Start with a sensible premise drawn from reliable sources. Like your own experience, another’s, or results from clinical studies. An example: you forget to eat breakfast and feel stronger during the afternoon lifting session. Was it the lack of breakfast? Maybe; test it.
  • Eliminate outlandish premises. I wouldn’t advise testing whether the trans-fats in Crisco are actually harmful by eating a tablespoon every morning, and breatharianism almost assuredly won’t work; the literature is quite consistent.
  • Be prepared to discard a hypothesis. Things won’t always work. And things that seemed to work for a while might suddenly stop working. Or, things that seem to work won’t actually work, or they’ll be working for entirely different reasons than you supposed. In other words, you’re probably never going to know with absolute certainty that something is working for the reason you thought it was. Just be ready to ditch failed hypotheses and change them on the fly.
  • Don’t extrapolate to others. Just as your experiences didn’t jibe with results from randomized controlled trials, the solutions you discovered from your own experiments may not always work for other people. They’ll have to test it on themselves.
  • The beauty of the self experiment is that it acknowledges the persuasive power of personal experience. Ultimately, we are all interested in leading healthy, happy, and productive lives, so we want whatever works. And while studies on other people are valuable, your own reaction to grass-fed butter always trumps what your cardiologist says the studies about other people’s reactions to butter are. The working mother of three, for example, isn’t going to truly know what works for her until she actually tries some stuff out. Conducting a self-experiment, even if it’s totally casual and would never pass the muster of peer review, gives that mother valuable insight into what works and what does not. And it’s easy, free, and gets the mind working.

The possibilities for experiments are virtually endless…

  • The effect of sleep duration on next day sprint/lifting/running performance.
  • Tolerance of Primal starch source (choose one).
  • The effect of evening laptop abstinence on various markers (sexual performance, sleep duration, next day mood).
  • The effect of a daily “forest bathing” hour-long session.


Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-self-experimentation-matters/#ixzz2RP10DaPa



1. Easier to learn useful stuff than I expected. In contrast to the rest of life, where things turn out harder than expected, learning useful stuff by self-experimentation was always easier than I expected, in the sense that the benefit/cost ratio was unexpectedly high. I learned useful things I never expected to learn. An example is acne. When I was a grad student I had acne. My dermatologist had prescribed two drugs, tetracycline and benzoyl peroxide. I believed that the tetracycline worked and the benzoyl peroxide did not work. My results showed the opposite. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could be so wrong, nor that my dermatologist could be wrong (he believed both worked), nor that the establishment view (treat acne with tetracycline) could so easily be shown to be wrong.

2. Don’t be afraid of subjective measurements. By subjective measurements I mean non-physical measurements, such as ratings of mood or how rested I felt — what professional researchers call “self-report”. They routinely say self-report is misleading. At first, I wondered if my expectations and hopes would distort the measurements. As far as I can tell, that didn’t happen. Instead, I found such measurements helped me learn plenty of useful stuff I couldn’t have learned without it. For example, I learned how to improve my mood and how to wake up more rested.

3. Complex experimental designs were rarely worth the extra effort. Now and then I tried relatively complex experimental designs (e.g., randomization, a factorial experiment). Usually they were too hard.

4. Run conditions until you get 5-40 days of flat results (flat = what you are measuring is not going up or down). Ideal is 10-20 days. Suppose I want to compare Treatments A and B (e.g., different amounts of butter).  I decide to make one measurement/day. The first step would be to do A for several days. I keep doing A until whatever I am measuring (e.g., sleep) stops steadily increasing or decreasing and then run several more days — ideally, 10-20. Then I do B for several days. I keep doing B until my measurement stops changing, then I do 10-20 more days of B. If the B measurements looked different from the A measurements, I would then return to Treatment A. It’s always a good idea to run a treatment until your central measurement stops changing, and then run it longer. How much longer? I’ve found that less than 5 days makes me nervous. Whereas running a condition for more than 40 days of flat results is a wasted opportunity to learn more by trying a different treatment.

5. Data analysis is easy. The most important thing is to plot measurement versus dayIt will tell you most of what you want to know. For example, most of the graphs in this paper show whatever I was measuring (sleep, weight, etc.) as a function of day.

6. When you add data, look again at all the data. Each time I collect new data, I plot all of the data, or at least a large chunk of it. This helps spot unexpected changes. For example, each time I measure my weight I look at a plot of my weight over the last year or so. Recently I found that cold showers caused me to gain weight, which I hadn’t expected. If I hadn’t looked at a year of data every time I weighed myself, it would have taken longer to notice this.

7. Don’t adjust your set. My conclusions often contradicted expert opinion. Again and again, other data suggested my self-experimental conclusions were correct, in spite of what the experts said. Acne is one example. Later research supported my conclusion that tetracycline didn’t work. Another example is breakfast. Experts say breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.” I found it caused me to wake up too early. When I stopped eating it, my sleep got better. Other data supported my conclusion. The Shangri-La Diet is a third example. According to experts, it should never work. Hundreds of stories show that it does.

The most useful lesson I learned was also the most basic. You will be tempted to do something complicated. Don’t. Do the simplest easiest thing that will tell you something. The world was always more complicated than I realized. Gradually it sank in: Complicated (experiment) plus complicated (world) = confusion. Simple (experiment) plus complicated (world) = progress.

From Quantified Self Conference 


10 Ways to Improve Liver Function

A healthy liver helps control blood sugar and cholesterol, reduces fatigue

April 8, 2013 | By , Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert


If you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you’re at increased risk of developing fatty liver disease, a condition that is becoming increasingly common among Americans. The condition is “silent” at first, with no apparent symptoms. It is initially detected by a blood test that finds elevated liver enzymes, a sign of liver breakdown. But if it worsens, you can develop inflammation and scarring in the liver, impairing the liver’s ability to perform its many functions, including the metabolism of proteins and breakdown of toxins.

The same lifestyle changes that help to control diabetes help to improve liver function and stop fatty liver from progressing. And getting your liver functioning properly also improves control of blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. Having a healthy liver can also do a lot to reduce fatigue and brain fog.

Here 10 ways to improve your liver function or recover from fatty liver disease. You can take all of the supplements listed below together. In fact, that’s how they work best. Once your liver enzyme tests are normal again, you may be able to cut back on dosages.

#1: If you’re overweight, lose weight, but not too fast

If you’re overweight, losing weight almost always improves liver function. But don’t go to extremes. Rapid weight loss can exacerbate liver inflammation and cause gallstones. Aim to lose about two pounds a week.

#2: Support your body’s ability to detoxify daily

The liver is the main organ for detoxification. It produces enzymes that break down toxins so that they can be removed. But it can get overwhelmed if it has too much work to do. You can take some of the strain off your liver by avoiding toxins as much as possible (eating organic food, using non-toxic skin care and household products, not smoking, etc.), and by adopting daily habits that support your body’s ability to detoxify. These habits include drinking plenty of water, getting enough soluble fiber and eating cruciferous vegetables.

#3: Avoid fructose and sucrose

Diets high in these two sugars can induce fatty liver disease, and cause liver inflammation, just like alcohol does. Soda contains lots of fructose. So do some other beverages, like fruit juice “cocktails.” Avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Limit your intake of all forms of sugar to about 200 calories a day.

#4: Take milk thistle

Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years to support liver health and remains one of the most trusted and effective herbs for liver cleansing and protection. In people with fatty liver disease who take milk thistle, researchers noted a significant decline in liver enzyme markers that indicate reversal of the disease, with no serious side effect reported. Milk thistle can reduce inflammation in the liver, help prevent scar tissue formation and increase the rate of liver cell regeneration. Dosages range from 240 mg twice a day to 200 mg three times a day.

#5: Take fish oil

Research shows that fish oil can help prevent the build-up of fat in the liver, improve the action of insulin, reduce triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation throughout the body. In one study of people with fatty liver, adding fish oil to the diet improved liver enzyme levels and improved the texture of the liver. Take 2-4 grams a day.

#6: Sip green tea or use an extract

Research has shown that green tea extract may keep fatty deposits from building up in the liver. It seems to work by decreasing intestinal fat absorption and altering liver fat metabolism. Drink about three cups of brewed green tea, or take about 375 mg a day of green tea extract.

#7: Add vitamin E

A multi-center National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found that people with obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease who took 800 IU a day of vitamin E for about two years had an improvement in all aspects of the disease except for the amount of scar tissue in the liver.

#8: Use curcumin

Curcumin, a component of turmeric, has liver-protecting properties similar to those of milk thistle. Several studies have shown curcumin can help protect the liver from chemicals and drugs and to reverse fatty liver. One study found it was helpful at both treating and preventing the fibrosis (scar tissue formation) associated with fatty liver. Curcumin also helped to prevent certain cells in the liver, called stellate cells, from producing excessive amounts of collagen, which causes scar tissue formation. Take about 400 mg a day of turmeric extract.

#9: Take alpha lipoic acid

This naturally-occurring antioxidant has been shown to decrease fat accumulation in both muscles and in the liver of people with insulin resistance. Alpha lipoic acid seems to work in a number of ways, including improving the use of fat for energy by liver cells. Take 600 to 1,200 mg day.

#10: Take acetyl-L-carnitine

Italian researchers have found that acetyl-L-carnitine supplements can improve liver function and the microstructure of liver tissue. In one study, people with inflamed fatty liver who took one gram of acetyl-L-carnitine twice a day for 6 months had lower blood levels of liver enzymes, lower LDL cholesterol, better blood sugar control, less insulin resistance and reduced markers for inflammation compared to people not taking acetyl-L-carnitine. Both groups were also on 1,600 calories a day diet. Acetyl-L-carnitine helps liver function by improving energy production in cells. That also helps to prevent a buildup of toxins in the liver.

The Bottom Line

Given the chance, your liver has a remarkable ability to regenerate. Improving your liver function can help you control blood sugar and cholesterol and improve energy and mood.

See http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/10-ways-to-improve-your-liver-function-for-better-health

The #1 Vitamin You Need for a Healthy Brain

Emerging research is showing that vitamin B12 deficiency poses a serious threat to the health of your brain

April 9, 2013 | By , Editor-in-Chief, Live In The Now

Brain X-rayDid you know that 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 65 – and nearly half of all individuals over the age of 80 – suffer from severe cognitive decline?[1] And did you know that correcting a simple nutrient deficiency that affects an estimated 1 in 2 older individuals could significantly reduce your risk of developing age-related cognitive problems?[2]

Unfortunately, many of us are familiar with the hallmark signs of brain aging: declining mental energy, brain fog and “senior moments,” irritability, mood swings … the list goes on and on. Most people either accept these things as “just part of getting older,” or take whatever drugs their doctors prescribe in the hopes of feeling better.

But guess what? These are NOT normal signs of brain aging.

More often than not, there is a singular, easily remedied vitamin deficiency underlying many of these symptoms, making you feel older than you are! Yet tragically, it frequently goes undetected by doctors until it manifests as a severe neurological disorder, dementia, mental illness … or worse.[3]

What I’m talking about here is vitamin B12 deficiency, which sadly, affects nearly 50% of older adults.[2]. If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms I described above, it’s imperative that you take action NOW before irreversible damage occurs. The good news is that B12 deficiency can be remedied easily, quickly and inexpensively. But don’t run out and grab the first bottle of B12 you see – it’s crucial that you take the right kind of B12.

Signs You May Have a B12 Deficiency

  • Memory problems
  • Confusion or “fuzziness”
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Persistent sleep problems
  • Weak immunity
  • Low energy and weakness
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Digestive problems

What You Need to Know About B12

Vitamin B12 is essential to the very foundation of life itself – it’s one of the building blocks your body uses to produce DNA. It protects your brain and nervous system by keeping nerves healthy and communicating in an optimal manner.[4,5] It also keeps your immune system functioning optimally,[6] regulates mood and sleep cycles[7,4] and is crucial to energy production, which is why it’s known as the “energy vitamin.”[8]

Emerging research is showing that one of B12′s most powerful protective properties for the brain is its ability to lower levels of the stress hormone homocysteine. Reductions in circulation homocysteine levels as a result of increase blood levels of B12 have been found to reduce the risk of developing age-related cognitive problems.[9,10]

How B12 Protects Your Brain

Cognitive decline is a serious concern for most of us as we get older, and the statistics are grim. The good nes is that getting enough B12 can drastically cut your risk!

Scientists now understand that age-related cognitive decline is linked to a process in the body that involves a decrease in brain mass. That’s right, your brain actually shrinks as you age! This reduction in brain mass is directly correlated with loss of memory and cognitive function seen in older individuals.[11]

Emerging research is showing that being deficient in B12 puts your brain in serious danger, so if you care about your cognitive health, you better be sure that you’re getting enough. Recently, a landmark study showed vitamin B12 supplementation slows the accelerated rate of brain shrinkage and declining cognitive scores in older individuals.[12] Another study showed that older individuals with higher levels of B12 in their blood had less shrinkage of the brain than counterparts with lower levels. Those with higher B12 blood levels and increased brain size even scored higher on memory and cognitive tests![13]

B12 Deficiency: The Silent Epidemic

Recent studies have shown that nearly 1 in 2 older adults have dangerously low levels of B12.[2,14] The older you are, the higher your risk, but younger people aren’t exempt from harm. In a shocking recent Tufts University study, researchers found that nearly 1 in 4 people over age 26 are at least borderline deficient in B12 and may already be experiencing symptoms as a result.[15]

The worst part is that doctors typically misdiagnose B12 deficiency symptoms and then prescribe drugs that do nothing to address the problem, but instead, have plenty of side effects that only serve to make you feel worse! But you can avoid falling into that trap.

Why Are So Many People B12 Deficient?

I learned about B12 deficiency the hard way. When I was a bit younger, I followed a vegetarian diet until I began experiencing some “mystery” symptoms that fit the description of a B12 deficiency. My doctor tried to prescribe me drugs, but luckily, I figured out what the problem was and to how fix it. It’s long been known that vegetarians are at increased risk for B12 deficiency, since B12 is only found in red meat and a few other animal foods. But contrary to what some “experts” have said for years, it’s not just vegetarians who are at risk.

The reason that the vast majority of people end up B12 deficient has nothing to do with their B12 intake, but rather, their ability to absorb B12 from food. As you get older, the lining of your stomach gradually loses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid, which you need to absorb B12 from food. The use of certain drugs can also lower your stomach acid secretion, further hampering B12 absorption.[16] This is why with B12 supplements, a sublingual (under the tongue) delivery system – which ensures the B12 goes directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your digestive tract – is absolutely essential.

B12 Deficiency Risk Factors

B12 deficiency can strike anyone, but you are at higher risk if you:

  • Are over the age of 45
  • Take acid-blocking medications
  • Are a vegan or vegetarian
  • Are or have ever been anemic
  • Suffer from digestive problems
  • Have low stomach acid
  • Take certain diabetes drugs
  • Drink alcoholic beverages

WARNING: Some B12 Supplements Contain Cyanide

The form of B12 that you’ll find in most B12 products — even the B12 injections your doctor may administer — is cyanocobalamin. Can you guess how this form of B12 gets its name? Cyanocobalamin is comprised of a cyanide molecule attached to a cobalamin (B12) molecule. Cyanide is a toxic poison that the body cannot metabolize, and over time, it can accumulate in brain tissues with disastrous results.[17]

For reasons I’ll never fully understand, way too many B12 supplements on the market today are made with this virtually worthless form of B12. My guess is that these companies are just out to save money at the expense of your health, which is truly a shame.

What to Look for in a B12 Supplement

The right form: You want to take a supplement made with the methylcobalamin form of B12, which research has shown to be the safest and most effective.

The right dosage: Currently, most experts recommend taking a minimum of 1,000 mcg a day of sublingual methylcobalamin. Higher dosages of up to 15,000 mcg per day are sometimes required to bring levels back up to an optimal level and to restore energy, mental function and mood balance. B12 has no known drug interactions and has never shown any adverse or toxic effects in humans, even when given in very large doses.

The right delivery system: Look for a supplement with a sublingual (under the tongue) delivery system instead of a pill. Sublingual delivery ensures absorption directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract, which makes it effective even for those who can’t absorb B12 from food. With a sublingual B12, you’ll experience immediate boosts in your energy, mental clarity and mood.

If you’re looking for a B12 supplement that meets all of these criteria, click here.


1. http://www.alzheimersprevention.org/alzheimers_disease.htm 

2. Geriatrics. 2003; 58(3):30-4, 37-8.

3. Pacholok SM and Stuart JJ. Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses. 1st ed. Linden Publishing, 2005.

4. Eur J Pharm. 1993; 241:1-6.

5. Neurosci Lett. 2000; 288:191-4.

6. Clin Exp Immunol. 1999; 116:28-32.

7. Neuropsychopharm. 1996; 15:456-64.

8. Herbert V. Vitamin B12 in Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 17th ed. International Life Sciences Institute Press, 1996.

9. Clin Nutr. 2012; 1-7.

10. Ann Pharmacother. 2000; 34:57-65.

11. http://www.AHAF.com/alzheimers

12. PLoS ONE. 5(9): e12244. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012244.

13. Neurology. Published online Dec. 28, 2011. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182436598

14. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000; 71:514-22.

15. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999; 19:357-77.

16. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000; 14:651-68.

17. J Royal Soc Med. 1992; 85:686-7.