Vitamin B12 and a Bottle of White Horse – What More Could I Want?

by | Jun 10, 2016 | 4 comments

So, here I am on the island of Kos in the Greek Dodecanese Islands. The islands are known for their Byzantine Churches, Crusader Castles, Pure White Sandy Beaches and Vitamin B12 that can be bought over the counter in pharmacies. I bought some yesterday. It’s become a sort of ritual for me when visiting overseas countries. It’s not long before I find myself in one of those neat little Pharmacies where the green cross that morphs into all manner of different medicine related images (this particular one transformed the cross into a snake climbing up a pole) lures me into the cool interior.
I walked into one yesterday. A tall Greek lady who was wearing the obligatory white coat greeted me with a nod of her head.
“Can I help you”
“Do you have any Vitamin B12”
“Yes – but only as part of a mixture of B Vitamins”.
“I need 1mg”
“This will do”.
She reached into a cupboard and produced a small packet that contained three vials.
“You see” she said as she pointed out the list of contents on the back of the package.
‘1mg cyanocobalamin, 1mg of Vitamin B1 and 1mg of Vitamin B6″
The vials were obviously three times larger than the usual ones containing just the B12. I told her I would take them.
“But wait” she hesitated. “Who will inject you?”
“I will”
“You will? Are you a doctor?”
“No – but I do it all the time”.
She shrugged her shoulders in the Greek fashion.
“That’ll be €1.90”
“Thank you”.
And there I was walking away from her with no feeling of guilt and knowing that the injection will be safe – having been manufactured and approved by the Greek pharmaceutical compliance agency.
60cents an injection.
B1 is known as thiamine and is found in yeast, grains beans and nuts. It is used to treat digestion problems (including poor appetite), colitis and diarrhoea. It’s also used for AIDS, boosting the immune system, diabetic pain, heart disease, alcoholism, ageing, a type of brain damage called cerebellar syndrome, canker sores, vision problems including cataracts and glaucoma, motion sickness, and improving athletic performance. Other uses include preventing cervical cancer and progression of kidney disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Some people use thiamine for maintaining a positive mental attitude; enhancing learning abilities; increasing energy; fighting stress; and preventing memory loss, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Healthcare providers give thiamine shots for a memory disorder called Wernicke’s encephalopathy syndrome, other thiamine deficiency syndromes in critically ill people, alcohol withdrawal, and coma.
(taken from Medicine Plus – part of the National Institutes for Health).
B6 is a generic name for a group of 6 vitamins and they do all kinds of things that are far too complex to go into here (that means it’s too complex for me to understand) and is naturally found in fruit (non-citrus) and offal. Vitamin B6 deficiency can result from malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Certain genetic diseases, such as homocystinuria, can also cause vitamin B6 deficiency (once again my source is the NIH). Anti-epileptic drugs can also lead to a deficiency.
So, I’m very soon going to correct any deficiency in B1, B6 and B12. All for just about 50pence.

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  1. SueC

    I look forward to the day when we can do this in the UK.

  2. Katy Marchant

    Hi Martyn I do exactly the same when abroad. In Germany I got hydroxocobalamin. I haven’t made it to Munich yet where you can even get Methyl. Crazy to be kept ill for decades for the want of something so readily available in Europe. Hope you are well. Katy

  3. Janette Miller

    I can buy the injections over the counter in NZ. B12 is not a drug it is a vitamin that for some of us is essential for life. I cannot lie without it. tpp am allowed to inject myself and there I did have a problem because most chemists are not allowed to sell needles in NZ. It took a long time a visit to a specialist to get the prescription to do this.
    There was an answer that no one here would tell me. You go to a needle exchange chemist and they give you the needles. It was as easy as buying an ice cream.
    Why all the fuss is beyond me. B12 is so safe. Even the FDA says it is safe and yet in UK it is treated like asking for heroin.

  4. Jane

    Hi Martyn,
    Just came across your post sitting outside our villa on Greek island of Crete. I was diagnosed with pa a few weeks ago, at home in north Wales and, having already had to change GPs after being told 2 weeks of loading was ‘plenty’ despite severe neurological symptoms, I have spent the week reading your books on kindle to prepare myself for treatment battle when I get home, many thanks! The local clinic in Greece has been happy to give me 48 hourly jabs and, like you, I had a lovely shop in the local pharmacy today – 21 Euro for 12 ampoules, needles and a box of sub-lingual tabs. Hope I won’t need them but the experiences of pas members means that I can go into discussion with my GP with a secure plan b, many thanks again and enjoy your holiday!


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