My boss was recently diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency after suffering some serious symptoms including seizures. She is now on B12 shots and has completely reversed all of her symptoms. Further testing has revealed that her body doesn't take into any B vitamins, zinc or iron from dietary sources (don't ask me how they tested this).
I know that eating SAD will dramatically reduce your body's ability to absorb and digest nutrients, including those listed above. Out of curiosity, have you ever heard of anyone that has a nutrient absorption issue this severe that has come back by eating a proper diet? I only ask because my boss notices the way I eat and often asks me questions about it. I don't want to bring up anything if it might not help, but we are also on good enough terms that she wouldn't take it as criticizing - which I find most people do if talk to them about food!
If your boss has Pernicious Anemia, then I don't think diet will help. She'll need to receive B12 via shots or possibly sublingually.
For several reasons, B12 is one of the trickier nutrients to absorb properly. If her gut has issues like IBS, she should spend some effort on fixing those issues. A paleo diet is a great start, but adding a probiotic should also be tried in combination with it. (I like NOW Foods - Gr8-Dophilus).
By any chance does your boss drink sodas, diet or otherwise? If so, ditch them too.
Yes, I know of one place where absorption changes due to diet: Celiac disease. My family thought I was an isolated case in our group until my little sister developed the same symptoms I did. Since then, my entire family has gone on a gluten-reduced diet (they all still cheat, but rarely) and seen massive health changes. My mother, in particular, was on all sorts of high doses of vitamins because she was having very serious malabsorption issues, specifically anemia, calcium and D. At one point, she was on massive doses of calcium because her bones showed pre-osteoporosis which wasn't getting better, but she had crystals of calcium in her breast tissue. Since going on the gluten-free-ish diet, it's getting much better. She's still having issues with vitamin D, but healing the gut is a process.
I hope this helps your boss!
Hey VMary -- Good to see you here!! Sorry to hear about the ferritin and zinc. I hope they improve soon! I wonder if the gut is involved after years of SAD/neolethal damage?
NH-- that sucks about your bosslady but great to hear the B12 reversal of symptoms with repletion and treatment. The sad thing is that even many young infants and children have B12 deficiency (e.g. 'failure to thrive' diagnoses and other types of neurodeficits) because of the current SAD diet. B12 deficiency is related to seizures and many other types of brain damage which can be irreversible later like Wernicke's in chronic alcoholics from alcohol-malnourished states.
The gut lining cells have at the tip (of the villi) many of the critical enzymes and transporters for absorption, metabolism, activation/detox for our food and nutrients, naturally, right?
Gluten and other food allergens will destroy the villi so instead of sticking 'upward' they are flattened and useless. For some it only takes 1-2 months to heal but others depending on their hormone/nutritional status, much longer, I've observed.
To grow these fundamentally essential villi back, avoidance of the food allergens (gluten/grains, dairy/casein, phyate/legumes, egg white, nightshades, nuts, whatever) is absolutely necessary. Then nutrients to heal the villi are required (vitamin D, all the fat-soluble nutrients, saturated fat, omega-3, zinc, gut-specific and immune-specific amino acids/protein (GLUTAMINE is essential, leucine, taurine, etc), B-vitamins, minerals, etc.
B12 is just a temporary bandaid.
Besides foods and lifestyles, many drugs deplete B12 (probably by a variety of gut-bacteria-displacing mechanisms)
--oral contraceptives --artifical synthetic hormones (Big Pharm 'HRT') --prilosec (the 'purple pill' and its mirror image Nexium) --pepsid (acid blocker and all its cousins: tagamet axid etc) --metformin (the #1 diabetic drug) --any stomach upsetting or acid disrupting drug
I had tests done to determine my levels of b12 magnesium potassium and ferritin (to check for iron deficiency). Everything was ideal except for ferritin. I have posted before that for my iron deficiency anemia, increasing my iron intake through eating more red meat etc for 8months did not help increase my iron in the slightest. As evidenced by my good levels of the other nutrients,I do not have a general absorption problem. As evidenced by my good digestion I do not have a problem with bacteria eating my iron. Therefore my conclusion and the conclusion of my hemotologist is that my iron stores have become depleted through heavy periods (which I had for about 4years prior to paleo).so in the case of severe iron deficiency anemia (is ferritin of 5), the problem can not be corrected by diet alone.