Violinist and Teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Could it be B12?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Could It Be B12?

by Sally Pacholok

Some background: I have had some minor hearing loss that has bothered me for several years. In fact, I’ve been aware of some hearing loss since the early 70’s. Due to the pattern of the loss being worse at very low and very high frequencies, I have some trouble hearing the pitch of piano notes more than an octave below middle-C, and some of the higher passages of some of the major violin concertos sound “out of tune” to me. The latter is very unlikely, since anyone who can play the Beethoven or Brahms concertos is probably not going to play the high notes out of tune. I recall having trouble with playing a cello about 6 years ago, because I couldn’t hear the pitch accurately on the C string. At the time, I just thought it was because the instrument was a cheap one. I even had a little problem hearing the pitch of the viola C string, which is only a fifth below the pitch span of my main instrument, the violin.

On our recent low-carb cruise, my wife picked up a book by Sally Pacholok, R.N., B.S.N., and Jeffry Stuart, D.O., entitled Could it be B12? It looked pretty interesting, so I ended up reading it before she did. I was pretty skeptical about the subject of the book (subtitle: “An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses”), but as I delved into the book, I concluded, despite the anecdotal nature of most of the evidence cited, that the authors had an important point to make.

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin of which the human body needs a relatively tiny amount. However, without that tiny amount of B12, the body does not function well, and exhibits symptoms that are commonly confused with other (many of which are incurable) diseases.

I think the book is a bit longer than it needs to be, but it was an entertaining and educational read. The main points of the book:

  • B12 deficiency can be devastating, even ‘sub-clinical’ deficiencies.
  • B12 deficiency can be positively identified easily and inexpensively.
  • B12 deficiency can be treated easily and inexpenively.
  • B12 is completely safe, so taking large doses of it will do no harm even if you don’t need it.

Based on that information, I decided to try taking large-dose sub-lingual B12. I started taking 2500 mcg/day about a month ago. I didn’t notice anything really remarkable for a while. I did feel a little better, but that could be placebo effect, or just the additional exercise I’ve been getting by riding my bicycle to work (6 miles). But a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a change that was very startling — and can’t be written off as placebo effect.

At my piano lesson a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I could actually hear the pitch of the low notes on my teacher’s piano! That was totally unexpected, and when I got home, I drug out a recording of the Beethoven violin concerto and listened to it. I could hear the high notes correctly! Then I picked up my viola and played some scales and arpeggios on the C string. They sounded clearer than I had ever before heard them!

I don’t know for sure whether it was B12 that made the difference. But the difference is quite profound, and B12 was the only major change I made in my routine in the preceding two weeks. I can say that it definitely didn’t hurt anything! I find myself wondering how much difference this would have made in my musical career if I had discovered it four decades ago.

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