Holistic Healing and Alternative Medicine for Your Total Health

May 2012

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“Natural Forces Within Us Are The True Healers” ~ Hippocrates

By Peter Hinde 2005

All the information presented here is from a summary of all the available research on Vitamin B12 over approximately 50 years by Jack Norris in his lengthy paper Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It? It is particularly aimed at vegetarians and vegans.

1. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient. The chemical names for the active forms of B12 found in foods are adenosylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and methylcobalamin. The usual synthetic form of the vitamin is cyanocobalamin which occurs only in small amounts naturally. The Recommended Daily Allowance (USA) is 6 micrograms per day. This increases by 10 micrograms during pregnancy and 1 microgram during lactation. In foods vitamin B12 it at its highest in liver at around 100 and kidney at 55 micrograms per 100g. The oily fish contain 4-12; white fish 0-2; red meats 1-3 and white meats 0-2 micrograms per 100g. Eggs contain 2.5 and cheese 1-1.5 micrograms per 100g. Animal fats such as butter contain only trace levels.

2. If taken orally as a constituent of foods, it is combined with first one factor called R-protein and later with intrinsic factor (both of which are produced in the stomach). This avoids its degradation by bacteria or its digestion so that it can it be absorbed in the small intestine. Passive (unbound) absorption accounts for only 1-3% of the total absorption.

3. Vitamin B12 is a coenzyme, that is, it is required by at least 2 enzymes for their functionality. The first breaks down homocysteine to methionine. The other breaks down methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA; if this does not occur then the methylmalonyl-CoA is converted to methylmalonic acid (MMA). Serum or urine levels of MMA are the most reliable test for B12 deficiency.

4. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and muscles and in the absence of intake these stores can last between 5 months and 30 years before deficiency symptoms become apparent. This makes symptoms due to deficiency difficult to track to any previous dietary changes. Early deficiency symptoms include unusual fatigue, faulty digestion, no appetite, nausea, and loss of menstruation. Later symptoms include numbness and tingling of the hands and feet (which are when advanced considered symptoms of irreversible nerve damage), nervousness, diarrhoea, mild depression, striking behavioural changes, paranoia, hyperactive reflexes, fever, frequent upper respiratory infections, impotence, impaired memory, infertility, sore tongue, enlargement of the mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina, and stomach, macrocytic (pernicious) anemia, low platelet count and increased bleeding, and neutropenia. Not all symptoms occur in all cases of deficiency. Additionally since deficiency of B12 leads to elevated homocysteine levels it contributes to its resulting varied pathology including arterial disease.

5. Several factors beside inadequate intake can result in deficiency. Vitamin B12 is protein-bound in foods and requires good protein digestion to be utilised. In 2% of people there is faulty absorption due to for example an inadequate level of intrinsic factor. B12 absorption also requires normal levels of absorption in the small intestine, with relevance in for example, Crohn’s Disease.

6. Vitamin B12 is contained within a group of chemicals called corrinoids which occur in foods. The corrinoids close to B12 are termed B12 analogues and may be active or inactive in the body. Some inactive B12 analogues can be active in bone marrow but not in nervous tissue, thus making a diagnosis of deficiency by the presenting symptoms difficult. Current chemical analysis is not able to assess whether the analogue is active or inactive. This can only be verified by feeding the food to a human and testing the resulting MMA level. Inactive analogues interfere with (active) vitamin B12, quickening the onset of symptoms in marginal cases.

7. As of 2004 no plant sources of vitamin B12 had been found, though many had been tested including various seaweeds, algae and fermented foods. Where claims have been made as to B12 being present in a plant source it has not been based on the test for MMA levels, and any subsequent tests have found no reduction in MMA, proving the presence only of inactive analogues.

8. Vitamin B12 is produced in the human intestine by some of the bacteria naturally present. A study in the 1950’s verified that vegans with pernicious anemia could be returned to normality by isolating the B12 analogues from their faeces and feeding them back orally, where it could be combined with intrinsic factor. This proved that the forms produced in the intestines contain active B12 analogues, but that insufficient is absorbed passively to prevent deficiency. It is assumed that passive absorption from B12 produced by gut bacteria in herbivorous animals is adequate due to the increased length of, and increased fermentation time in, their intestines. Additionally many “herbivores” eat insects and faeces.

9. A group of Finnish people living solely on fermented vegetable foods believed that vitamin B12 was produced by the fermentation processes. When their MMA levels were checked over a certain period they were found to be increasing, proving that externally fermented foods do not contain B12, but only its inactive analogues.

10. Vitamin B12 can be destroyed by cooking for a long enough time. There is thus an advantage to eating some raw animal protein. Raw food vegans however, have not been shown to have any advantage over other vegetarian groups.

11. It is likely that some mental and balance symptoms common in the elderly are the result directly of vitamin B12 deficiency. Much of this will be as a result of poorer protein digestion within this age-group. Two literature reviews also note that homocysteine and MMA levels are often raised in Alzheimer’s Disease. In such cases sublingual drops of the synthetic vitamin will be maximally effective in combating deficiency since they by-pass the complex absorption process in the intestines.

12. Several foods are fortified with a synthetic form of the vitamin, including most yeast extracts and many breakfast cereals. This is how many vegans are maintaining their levels of B12. This method of obtaining B12 is highly risky since levels cannot be guaranteed in each of these foods. The only sure way for a vegan to maintain levels of the vitamin is to take a synthetic form as a supplement.
Source: Douglas Morrison, www.howweheal.com

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By Dr. Mercola

Steve Benda is trained in power systems and nuclear engineering. Here, we discuss saunas and the electromagnetic fields (EMF's) they can produce. While sauna bathing can be highly beneficial for your health, EMF's are a distinct health hazard. Benda literally grew up in and around saunas, due to his Finnish and German heritage. "The saunas were always in my family and they became part of our lives, so I guess I just had an early interest," he says.

The Historical Use of Saunas

Historically, saunas have a longstanding tradition of use. They are common to many Eastern European countries, as well as Asia. In some countries, such as Finland, you can find them in nearly every home.

"Some of the old Finnish saunas were fires under piles of rocks inside a room that was very smoky," Benda explains. "People would come in to those rooms and throw water on that pile of rocks; get the steam heat in the room, and sweat.... It evolved into contained wood stoves, where the woodstove would heat the pile of rocks...  

That evolved into electrical saunas, which are more traditional now, where electric heating elements will heat the rocks in a small stove. It's very typically found in basements or little recreation centers in homes and in lots of clinics.

... That has led, in more recent years... to the evolution of the infrared sauna, which is a different kind of heating mechanism that relies on the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to provide heat and radiation; radiant heat."

The Different Types of Saunas

Today, there are three basic types of saunas:

1. The wet Finnish sauna, where steam is created by throwing water on hot rocks (the heat can be generated by either wood burning or electricity)

2. The dry Finnish sauna that uses electrical heating, and therefore does not employ water (these stoves are not made to have water poured on them. Doing so can result in short-circuiting)

3. Infrared saunas

The difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas is that the latter heats you up from the outside in, like an oven. The infrared sauna heats you from the inside out.  The traditional wet sauna typically uses a small stove with radiant heat elements, i.e. resistive elements that heat up when current flows through them. These elements heat up the rocks piled on top. The temperature is regulated by a thermostat. Initially, the sauna will feel warm and dry, but once you toss some water on the rocks, hot steam is generated.

"At that moment, when it goes from dry to more of a humid environment, thousands of pores are popping [open] at the same time on your body," Benda explains. "It feels really, really nice as your sweat mechanisms turn on. That's a traditional sauna. We throw water on the rocks. We get the steam heat in the room and we experience a lot of sweating... That'd be considered the wet sauna.

... I'll say it's the best recipe to get ready to go to bed. Now when you lay down to go to sleep at night, you're very, very relaxed and cleaned from the sauna... My sauna at home is heated every night — my traditional (sauna) in the basement."

Beware: Saunas Can Generate Very High Levels of Electromagnetic Radiation

While some still favor old-fashioned wood-burning saunas, the more modern electrical versions and the infrared saunas are the most common today. Unfortunately, this has also led to some problems, namely high electromagnetic radiation.

"Electromagnetic fields are all about electrical energy. I call it the force components that come off of electrical energy," Benda says. "The force equations are set up where electrical fields are everywhere around us. If there are energized wires, [then] electrical fields are around us…[T]hey can be mitigated through shielding. The electrical fields are probably one of the areas that we can easily contain.

But the other component that's in the electrical field is the electromagnetic radiation (EMF). ... [B]oth are very bad actors, I would say, because they act on our bodies. Our bodies are filled with charged particles. We're made up of charged particles. An electrical field will act out with a force on those charged particles, depending on its magnitude, and over time may alter the way that our bodies behave cellularly."

Many people don't realize that we are fundamentally electrical beings. The cells in your body communicate with each other electrically, and if you're exposed to an external electrical field, it could interfere with their communication and wreak havoc on your system.

"From the electrical side, I know that if I have an energized source, which is an EMF, an electromotive force – volt... Volts generate or emit electric fields. We measure that by volts per distance; that's what our meter will tell us.

The other part of that force equation would be the electromagnetic part, which is when a charged particle moves in the wire; meaning current (so you have volts and current). This generates a magnetic field around the wire, and that magnetic field will also impart a force on those same charged particles in your body. We have developed technology that can effectively mitigates or eliminates the electric field... [and]... technology that will mitigate or minimize below acceptable standards the electromagnetic [field]..."

Benda's background in nuclear power deals with radiation, power systems, and the control of electrical properties. He was asked to apply some of these theories to the development of a safer, low-EMF infrared sauna, which led to the creation of a whole new generation of shielded saunas.

Is Your Infrared Sauna Emitting High Levels of EMF?

About 15 years ago, when I first started doing saunas, the panels used to create infrared heat were initially made of ceramic. Later, they began using carbon. The problem with this is that while ceramic panels are relatively safe, the later-generation carbon panels actually emit very high EMF levels. You can easily test this by using an inexpensive electrical meter, or a more sophisticated EMF meter like Trifield.

One of the saunas I recently tested measured off the chart—about 120 milligauss. Even outside the sauna the EMF level was high. Normally, it should be below three or so.

Needless to say, the technology Mr. Benda has helped develop can be of great benefit, especially if you're regularly using your sauna. Because while radiation drops off exponentially as you move away from the source, when you're sitting in a small confined space such as a sauna, you don't have the choice to move further away.

"Hotspots would be ranges of 100 to 300 milligauss," Benda explains. "... [A]s you move away from the source, the measured field drops off by one over the distance squared. So it drops off relatively quickly. However, we don't have that luxury when we're sitting in one of these [saunas]... [M]ost likely you'll be leaning against the source...  

[W]hen there is an electric field and there's an electric current flow, it will generate electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Being that electric fields and electromagnetic radiation fields are vectors—meaning they have a direction and a magnitude—any combination of an electric field, plus an electric field, plus other components that add up will end up to be the result of the many, not just one. What happens is, if we don't effectively control all the sources of the electric field, or all the sources of electromagnetic radiation, we aren't really taking care of the problem.

... "[To describe] the electric field, I use a water analogy where you have a garden hose, a water source, and then you saw a pressure gauge. In the pressure gauge, the pressure is volts in the electric analogy. When you turn it on, the flow of the water is the current in the electric analogy. You can't have current flowing without volts in the electric portion. To address only one, and to assume only one exists, is missing half of the equation. If we're truly addressing all aspects of the electromagnetic field, we need to effectively address both.

... So the [patented] technologies we have developed can effectively eliminate all the induced electric fields in the room so that they entire environment is below our acceptable standards. We have also upgraded the technologies to mitigate... the magnetic portion."

Many are using saunas for detoxification, and it would clearly seem counterproductive to employ a device that is aiding one aspect of their health while hurting them in another. In fact, depending on your specific health status, detoxing in a high-EMF environment might actually do you more harm than good. This is why I'm delighted to see that the issue of EMF's is finally being addressed—at least by one sauna company. Clearly, if you're in the market for a new sauna, this is definitely something you'll want to investigate, to make sure your sauna does not encase you in a high-EMF environment...

A New Generation of Infrared Saunas

The technology developed by Mr. Benda can effectively shield the bather from dangerous levels of EMF. In the interview, he describes how they determined these safer limits of exposure:

"... The standard we use as our target is one that has developed in Sweden... called the electromagnetic Swedish standard... They have developed a standard where, at 30 or 50 centimeters from [a computer] screen, there would be a certain amount of milligauss reading or maximum electric field. What we have done, based on that study and the credibility of that study, is, we have said, "Okay, let's take that same benchmark, that same standard, and apply that to our saunas."  Currently, our standard is 2.0 milligauss at 30 centimeters."

Besides addressing EMF's, Mr. Benda is also working on redefining the infrared signature from the typical 50 percent "on," to one that's about 96 percent "on." Benda explains:  "When an infrared room nears the set point – the thermostat at 150°F setting, let's say – it begins to cycle on and off, based on the controls and the set points. We have done some very interesting high-performance [modifications] that will more effectively keep the infrared signal "on" 96 percent of the time versus only 50 percent.

To the bather that means a lot because he'll feel warm and he'll feel like he's in an experience when the infrared is on. Again, the heat signature is coming from the electrical energization, whereas if the room is turned off their bodies will start to feel cooler almost instantaneously."

Sauna Bathing Can be an Excellent Addition to a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone today is exposed to heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Particularly for slow metabolizers, using an infrared sauna can be a very good method to detoxify. Its dry, warming energy is highly compatible with the human body. By heating your tissues several inches deep, it helps enhance metabolic processes, and greater cellular energy production facilitates healing. Furthermore, viruses and toxin-laden cells are weaker than normal cells and tolerate heat poorly, so raising your body temperature helps heal infections quicker.

A major organ of elimination, most people's skin is very inactive. Many simply do not sweat enough. Repeated use of the sauna slowly restores skin elimination, allowing toxic chemicals and metals to be removed. It's a daily habit that pays many dividends. To learn more about the health benefits of using saunas, please review the related articles listed below. However, all of these benefits could be effectively cancelled out if your sauna is emitting very high EMF's, so please, do take the time to evaluate your sauna, and make sure to purchase a low-EMF version if you're buying new. 
Source: mercola.com

Thank you for reading!

Brampton, Ontario, Canada


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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.