I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia at 23 years of age (my gut does not adequately absorb vitamin B12, essential for cell regeneration). This has been treated successfully with 1000mcg liquid cyanocobalamin (synthetic) injected weekly & sublingual methylcobalamin (organic) as needed.
With pernicious anemia usually only being seen in geriatric patients, and my sudden symptoms (exhaustion and slight depression culminating in a bed-ridden state accompanied by mild sensory hallucinations), I naturally pondered a cause other than mere chance.
I narrowed it down to two significant lifestyle changes that both occurred within two years of the diagnosis.
- I had commenced a vigorous exercise routine of weightlifting and martials arts, ultimately losing 60lbs of fat and gaining 40lbs of muscle.
- I had started drinking perhaps 3 glasses of wine or 2 doubles of liquor weekly since turning 21, having never drank beforehand.
In order to test these hypotheses, I maintained and even increased my exercise routine while going completely sober from September 2017 to December 2018, experiencing no anemic symptoms during this time.
Then, I drank 6 tall glasses of red wine within 48 hours. By the following day I was on the cusp of reliving the original culmination of symptoms which had driven me to seek medical attention and ultimately be diagnosed. In particular, the sensory hallucinations returned in the form of smell–while driving along a highway with no restaurants nearby, it suddenly seemed as though an entire nonexistent Thanksgiving meal (turkey, dressing, cranberry) were in the vehicle with me.
Arriving home, I immediately injected the 1000mcg, and by the next day all symptoms had ceased.
While I’m sure it will come as no surprise to medical professionals to find that alcohol may alter or agitate the gut, especially of an individual whose gut is already deficient, I thought this might be of interest to anyone else who is wondering whether to keep drinking when diagnosed with pernicious anemia. As for myself, I now know not to take another drop.