On the pill? Check your b12 levels.

I mentioned in a previous post that I recently had a scare with a b12 deficiency. It has been over a month since I finally  have been able to track down a doctor who could give me the type of consultation I was looking for: a holistic approach that takes both a medicinal and natural stand, someone able to integrate the two types of medicine and look at my case on all levels. And boy was I surprised when I learned that yes, I probably have a b12 deficiency because I have been vegetarian and then vegan for so long without proper supplementation, however, it is also likely because I have been on birth control for nearly a decade.  What does that have to do with my b12, I asked. Well apparently birth control seriously decreases the natural levels of b12 due to the high levels of estrogen in the pills.

Foods like leafy greens, tempeh and nutritional yeast contain b12

Learning this made me extremely frustrated with the traditional system of medicine ….Of course, part of this is on my head because I should have done more research than I did about the prescriptions I am on. But additionally, my gynecologist — who prescribes my birth control — knows I follow a vegan diet,  and yet never mentioned the b12 factor to me. This is because, as a professional in a specialized field, he probably got only a few hours of general education nutrition training in med school. Perhaps our healthcare system is trying its best, but it’s becoming more and more clear that our diets affect every part of our lives — our moods, sleep patterns, stress levels, ability to fight disease and sickness, and  capacity to think clearly.

With this green revolution our country seems to be going through, and the rise in the popularity of natural medicine, I hope to see more holistic doctors popping up all over. A great friend of mine just got accepted to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and I know she will do great things (congrats AC!). I look forward to the future of medicine when a doctor can take a look at a patient and evaluate them from an all-inclusive, holistic point of view.

So for any vegans or vegetarians out there who are on birth control, get your b12 levels tested and then get on a supplement! Don’t play around with this. Also, check out this video of an interview with Dr. Jay Gordon, who believes that diet should be the foundation of a medicinal practice.

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