Pernicious anemia is a debilitating disease caused by a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Until 1926 the only treatment for the disease was blood transfusions.
Shortly thereafter, Drs. Whipple, Murphy and Minot received the Nobel Price for their discovery of liver therapy for the disease. Dr. William P. Murphy recalls the discovery of the therapy:
"Dr. George Whipple of the University of Rochester had demonstrated that liver caused a rapid replacement of blood in dogs made anemic by bleeding. From his idea, we proposed that liver might be useful in treating pernicious anemia, even though this anemia was totally different from the one induced in dogs.
With these observations, it became important to prove the efficacy of liver. But in those days, getting permission to do studies was not such an easy matter. The chief physician of Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was quite skeptical, but gave me permission with the understanding that a transfusion would never be withheld from a patient who needed one.
I started one of my patients on liver therapy. This patient, a man in his forties, was critically ill and partially comatose.
In spite of his condition, I was able to explain to him that liver might be distinctly useful to him. We found that if a patient were fed half a pound of liver per day, it would take about five days to show an increase in red blood count.
But this man seemed more ill on the fifth day. According to the policy laid down, my patient was a candidate for a transfusion. I stayed up very late that night trying to decide to give him the liver. It was a miserable night, but around midnight I noticed that his red blood cell count had increased slightly.
That gave me courage to go on with the liver. When I saw his blood count go up, I went home and collapsed into bed, slept very poorly and was back at the hospital at seven o’clock the next morning.
I approached his room with fear and trembling, and cautiously peaked around the corner to see if he was still alive.
To my great surprise and relief he sat up in bed and cheerfully asked, ‘What time is breakfast?’ His blood count was at the maximum and he not only survived but lived many years. With that success, the staff became cooperative."
Later, patients didn’t have to choke down liver but could receive extracts and still later, vitamin B12 . . .
Bee’s note: Vitamin B12 mostly is found in red meat liver, along with iron, but it is also in all meats and eggs. The traditional treatment was to eat one pound of calf’s liver per day, providing almost 200 micrograms of Vitamin B12.
If blood tests show you are anemic, and you want to quickly increase your iron within 10 days, you can do “one” of following:
- Eat 1/2 pound of raw liver per day for the iron and Vitamin B12 (100 mcg).
- Take the equivalent of 1/2 pound of frozen raw liver, cut into pieces small enough to swallow.
- Grate 1/2 pound of frozen raw liver and add it to broth, soup, or stew.
If you cannot stomach that much liver it will take much longer to raise your iron levels. For more information about Vitamin B12 see the reference below.
How to Make Iron Supplements – 2 Basic Methods:
- Freeze liver for 14 days in large chunks. (Fourteen days will ensure the elimination of any possible pathogens and parasites.) Then grate the liver, using a grater with small holes, and mix it into broth, soup, or stew. A teaspoon or two of grated raw liver can be added to baby’s egg yolk or to mashed vegetables.
- Turn raw liver into pills! Cut fresh liver into pea-sized pieces and freeze it for 14 days. Swallow like vitamin pills.
For both methods, use very fresh red meat liver of the highest quality available, and organic or certified organic. To reduce the strong flavor soak liver chunks in lemon juice before freezing.
Dosage: If blood tests show you are anemic, take the equivalent of 1/2 pound of frozen or grated raw liver daily for at least 10 days in a row. If you cannot stomach that much liver, it will take much longer to increase your iron levels.