A: That’s a good question. This is important because, according to WebMD, B12 deficiency can boost levels of homocysteine, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Bill and I were already taking supplemental B12 when we changed our diet, so we just continued to do so. But you are right if you are consuming a mostly plant-based diet you need B12 either through supplementation or fortified foods. Additionally, it seems for many seniors B12 is not absorbed well so supplementation is often recommended. You can read more at WebMD here.
A: Thank goodness for modern medicine and the drugs that have been developed to help us when we need it! Unfortunately they often come with side-effects. For example, Bill was prescribed Metoprolol, a beta-blocker, immediately after his heart attack. It slows the heart rate, protecting it and helping it heal, and is also prescribed to reduce blood pressure. But for Bill it also caused bad dreams and difficulty sleeping. Fortunately the Fix It! diet plan, along with weight loss and exercise has caused Bill’s blood pressure to drop significantly and stabilize, so his doctor had him stop taking that medication, and the sleeping issues have disappeared.
Unquestionably it is important to work closely and together with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and other blood markers for making decisions about modifying your medications, and that’s what Bill is doing. It is also important to Bill and his doctor to try to “treat” his hypertension and heart disease with lifestyle changes rather than medication and so far it’s working!