Surprise! B Complex vitamins didn’t raise my B12 levels, but they got rid of my allergies.
I’m not sure why it happened the way it did, but when I was about five or six years old my mother took me to a Circus which was setting up tents in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where we were living with my mom’s parents while my father was in Japan.
This was not long after the Second World War.
It was dusty and hot as we watched the elephants carrying the stout center posts with their trunks, setting them into place with the help of men on the ground, and finally hoisting them upright.
As we were walking around the circus grounds that were coming into shape we passed a young woman in a brief outfit who was sitting on the edge of the work but within the central circus area. I remember her as forlorn yet somehow commanding in her red sequined swimsuit-like costume. Her dark hair was pulled back from her forehead and temples but found its release at the back to lay in languid, necklace-like curls adorning her shoulders.
Just as we passed her, my mother said that she had wanted to join the circus and be a trapeze artist.
I remember finding the thought confusing even though it seemed to make clear that the sitting woman was a trapeze artist. There was all this dust, and yes there were elephants, but grandma and grandpa’s brick house with its thick grass lawn and frame of flower beds, the hollyhocks and peonies, I could not see how the tents and dust, even with the elephants and red sequins, could be preferable.
I don’t remember anything else ~ though I think we got an ice cream cone or something to eat, maybe it was the opposite of ice cream and was a hot dog ~ until we were sitting in the bleachers watching the circus acts. It was then that I got my first attack of allergies. By the time the show was over my eyes were red and itched beyond anything I had ever experienced and my whole face was swollen.
When we got home Grandpa said it was ragweed and that I would probably grow out of it by the time I got married. That was his standard saying. For instance if I got a cut he would say, “Don’t worry it will heal by the time you get married.”
Over thedecades of my life, during which time I never married, I have often thought of when I had my first allergy attack and I can’t help but think that it was stressful that my mother was unhappy with what I found so comforting and that she would trade what I felt was secure for something that seemed exactly the opposite.
I was little at the time, so I didn’t think then and there about the implications, rather the images contrasted in my mind. I have mainly thought in images for most of my life.
Worst Allergies Coincide with Stress
In retrospect most of the very worst allergy seasons I have experienced have been accompanied by stressful situations. For instance I had horrendous allergies when I moved to Santa Fe and was preparing to teach 6th grade (I had not trained to be a teacher, rather I had studied philosophy and English.) The allergies I had after I moved to London were even worse. I could barely see they were so bad and I blamed the honeysuckle which I pulled out with my bare hands, which immediately made the itching worse.
Nutrition has Astonishing Results
About a decade after London I was back in Santa Fe and read Know Your Nutrition by Linda Clark. I hadn’t read about vitamins and minerals before, though I had read Culpepper on herbs over and over again when I found it among my roommate’s books when we lived on Berger Street.
I was astonished to read that different health problems were associated with not having enough of certain vitamins from different foods. I wondered if that could possibly be true. I thought that if it was true, then if I made a list of the physical problems I had, and wrote down the foods that contained the vitamins linked to those problems I could buy all the foods, eat them, and see if there was a change for the better.
I did exactly that. The first thing I noticed was how long it took to eat all the right foods. Two grapefruits, for instance, nuts, an orange, I forget what else was on my list. But it took forever to clear the list each day. There was always something I was supposed to be eating.
I don’t remember feeling particularly different, but come allergy season ~~ nothing ~~ no itching, no sneezing, no swelling face.
So, what do you think? Did I decide that I would always eat these healthy things? No, I decided that I’d grown out of my allergies just as Grandpa had always said.
After I Drew the Wrong Conclusion
Because it took so much time to eat all the things from the book, I stopped doing that and lost track of my list. I even forgot pretty much that I had put all that effort into seeing if food made any difference, because you see, I’d discounted the food altogether as having had an impact.
Come allergy season I was sneezing and itching. I had to conclude I hadn’t grown out of my allergies. But, I didn’t look for my list of foods, and so I continued to have allergies for some years.
B Complex Makes a Difference
The next thing that happened was that I learned I had “profound vitamin B12 deficiency”. Not knowing any better I bought a MegaB complex from K-Mart. I bought the middle of the range, neither the very high dose nor the lowest dose. It was very reasonably priced so I felt free to use many of the tablets, always with a lot of liquid: I took a tablet or two almost every quarter hour, with tea or Dr. Pepper or water.
The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t as tired as I had been, so I figured that the MegaBs were working. But then came allergy season and I was not affected by Chamisa, the wild sage that grows rampant around here, forming banks of yellow blossom along streets and making a sea of sulfur yellow out of every vacant lot.
I could hardly believe it. I decided to test out whether the Chamisa would affect me: I walked up to a shrub, taller than me and laden with bright yellow flowers, buried my nose in the flowers, and inhaled deeply. No sneezing, no itching eyes. I could smell the flowers without them making me uncomfortable. It was wonderful!
That’s when I remembered that once before my allergies had gone away. This time, however, I didn’t think I’d grown out of my allergies, I thought that it seemed pretty clear that the MegaBs had made an extreme, extremely amazing difference.
My Allergies Haven’t Come Back
That was over ten years ago. Since then as long as I remember to take MegaBs of some sort for a month or so before allergy season and during the season I have not had allergies. Maybe fifteen sneezes in the whole of the fall or spring.
On the other hand, when I forget to prepare I cannot bring my allergies under control, once they’ve started, by taking a lot of MegaB vitamins. As an aside I don’t buy the strongest MegaBs on offer because I think it’s better to take a lower dose more often, with a lot of water.
What B Complex didn’t do
B Complex Didn’t Do What I’d Hoped. The reason I bought the MegaBs was not to get rid of my allergies, it had not even occurred to me that might happen. I bought them to increase my B12 level, which I had been told was way too low.
Given the great success I’d had with the B vitamin complex tablets, I was sure that my B12 level would be dynamite come the next test I had. But, I was wrong. My B12 level was unchanged. My serum B12 level had not gone up at all.
Sometime after that a doctor told me I had to have shots in order to increase my B12 level. When I began to have regular shots I felt a lot of improvement in the areas governed by B12. But, having B12 shots alone does not work to keep my allergies away.
It was a few years before I learned that sublingual methylcobalamin works as well as shots, and once I learned that I switched from the shots and have not looked back.
What I Concluded
What I have concluded from this experience of mine is that allergies are linked with stress, and B vitamins help us cope with stress.
Would B Complex help drug allergies?
I don’t know if B vitamins would help me not be allergic to penicillin, to which I developed an allergy when I had pneumonia and appendicitis attacks together repeatedly when I was six or so years old. I had so many penicillin shots that there was no place left to give me one and I just hated them. Shortly after that I got huge hives, and they couldn’t give me any more shots because of the allergy I’d developed. Though, if I remember correctly they skirted the allergy by adding a sulfa drug to the penicillin.
And, that sulfa drug may be the first cause of the good bacteria in my gastrointestinal system being compromised. There was something about how that could happen in that first nutrition book I read, by Linda Clark.
Good vs. Bad Bacteria & Vitamins
When good bacteria is compromised bad bacteria can begin to take over, sort of like weeds in a garden, and once there is a lot of bad bacteria it affects the lining of the stomach in such a way that the lining stops making things we need in order to get the benefit of vitamins and minerals in our food. Read more.
What that means is that slowly, over the years, we have lower and lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals in our bodies, and if we have no knowledge of how this happens we may think that old age or some disease is affecting our lives, when in fact we simply need to fertilize our bodies, the same way we fertilize our gardens.
Fertilizing, so to Speak
Compost for gardens is much better than bagged fertilizer; so too, eating the vegetables and fruits you need to be healthy is better than taking vitamins. However, a problem arises when your deficiency in a vitamin is so great that the amount of time it takes to eat enough of a particular food to replenish a particular vitamin is so gigantic that it’s unworkable. Your schedule doesn’t allow it.
Overall what seems to be the case is that younger people are not as deficient as older people, so they don’t need to take as many vitamins, or as much of any one vitamin in order to restore their health, if they’ve had problems that are associated with being low in a particular vitamin.
How Much of a Vitamin Do You Need?
The key to how much of a vitamin you need to get your health back on track, at least if it is a B vitamin, seems to be how much stress you have to cope with, or if you are failing to cope, how much stress you are overwhelmed by.
However, this is not to say that it is the same for you and your twin, or you and the love of your life. The only way to find out is to keep notes so that you can see what happens when you take a vitamin in some specific amount over some period of time.
It’s important to remember that vitamins work much differently than drugs. When we take drugs we expect and often get rapid results. This is exactly the opposite of the results we get with vitamins. This is because vitamins work with our bodies so they need to go into the tissue and become a part of it the way that they were before our bodies became depleted through hard work and worry, or even while enjoying extremely good times. (I think we often fail to realize that being excited with happiness can be a stress on our nerves, sort of like, “some sugar is good, too much sugar can create problems.”)
As an example of how long it can take a vitamin to work, when I first began having vitamin B12 replacement shots, I was having a shot a month. It took three months for me to begin to have really noticeable differences in how I felt.
A B12 shot is about equal to using one 1mg Methylcobalamin lozenge a day for a month.
Another example is when I switched from using Advil, or more often the store brand Ibuprofen, to control pain to using Serrapeptase. There were three uncomfortable days, but then my body was actually healing, not just having the pain suppressed while the problems it was experiencing were unaffected or even got worse.
Still another example is using vitamin C to control or eliminate tooth ache from an impact situation. I had the most horrible tooth ache, with my face swollen from the infection. I couldn’t afford to go to a dentist and didn’t know what I was going to do.
By luck I tried taking quite a lot of vitamin C, more than 24 grams a day ~~I’m tall and heavy, so while that amount worked for me, it may be way too much for someone else ~~ and on the second day the pain as nearly gone, the day following that the pain was entirely gone.
If you should decide to try vitamin C to help get rid of an infection or to control an infection, be sure to take it with a lot of water. I took mine at the rate of 6 grams with a huge mug of tea every four hours.