The good news is your terminal disease was a misdiagnosis

The bad news is you’re going to die from it

February 21, 2012—An epidemic of misdiagnoses are killing and crippling people, mostly because the real, easily correctable problem imitates a variety of terminal diseases, then turns lethal itself when ignored: vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Millions of people needlessly suffer and even die from this common vitamin deficiency. Doctors mistakenly think their patients have multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, autism, anemia, depression, chronic fatigue, or some other disease or condition mimicked by B-12 deficiency.

“The shame is that the problem is easy to spot, easy to treat, easy to cure, and it costs very little money,” say emergency medicine physician Jeffrey Stuart, D.O. and Sally Pacholok, R.N., co-authors of the only book on the subject. “But that’s only if your doctor diagnoses you before it’s too late. Unfortunately, that frequently doesn’t happen.”

Their message is starting to catch on. Dr. Oz just did an entire show on B-12 in January, 2012.

Stuart and Pacholok say the entire health crisis (and the related financial burden from expensive treatments for misdiagnosed disease as well as malpractice lawsuits) could be solved with a simple change in the standard of care that would encourage health care professionals to test for B-12 deficiency whenever people show symptoms of the diseases it mimics.

“If insurance companies and our government knew how much money they were needlessly spending they would be on board immediately,” Pacholok says. “Standardized testing and treatment of people found to be deficient, as well as those who are symptomatic and in the gray zone (B-12 levels between 200-450pg/ml, considered normal by many doctors), would save them billions of dollars.”

Pacholok, a leading authority on B-12 deficiency, warns that if you are B-12 deficient, standard multivitamin pills won’t help. The reason? Most people are deficient because their digestive systems do not effectively absorb the vitamin.

“If you’re deficient, swallowing a multivitamin is like adding a teaspoon of water to an empty swimming pool,” Pacholok says.

The preferred way to take an oral vitamin B-12 supplement, Pacholok says, is by sublingual or micro-lingual absorption, where the vitamin dissolves under the tongue and directly enters the bloodstream. Some patients, however, may still require B-12 injections.

Available for Interview: Pacholok has done dozens of TV, radio and print interviews including CNN Headline News and Redbook. She is the co-author of the newly released second edition of Could It Be B-12?   An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses, Quill Driver Books, (2nd Ed. 2011) (1st Ed. 2005). Contact: Chris Kelley, publicist, at 406-333-9999 or