Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with OMNOS whatsoever, and have not been compensated for this review.
Ever since going to a “shall-remain-nameless” world-famous health clinic for a full body check-up and getting a clean bill of health, well, almost, I have been trying to make sure I get more vitamin B12. Why that one? Well, one of the questions I got during one of my two solid days of testing, was “what supplements do you take?” The answer from me was a glib, “what supplements do I not take?”
Given that my body was showing low levels of vitamin B12, even though I was taking a multi-vitamin supplement, they were concerned about why this might be happening. At the time, I just processed this as me not getting enough of it in my diet. They asked me to start taking a focussed B12 supplement.
Here is what Vitamin B12 is and does.
Vitamin B-12, cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in cell metabolism, the manufacture of red blood cells, nerve function, and the production of DNA…in other words, some of the most important cellular processes. B12 is essentially helping our bodies convert the food energy we consume into the machinery of life and cellular rejuvenation.
Not getting enough B12 is most common in vegan and vegetarian diets as the best dietary sources are animal proteins. Supplements are a way around this.
The Omnos Test
For my birthday a few months ago, my SO gave me a health check-up consisting of a blood test and some advance diagnostics from a UK startup called Omnos. I was curious to hear of their diagnosis and see what they came up with.
Alarmingly, they too identified this issue with B12. But the alarming thing to me was that their B12 deficiency diagnosis came a year after the first one–only this time I had been consciously taking B12. What gives?
The beauty of Omnos is that it is a truly in-depth piece of blood work analysis and comes with an interpretative call with one of their scientists who talks to you about the results but also about diet, exercise, habits, and health.
What I learned from this is not that I am not getting enough B12…in fact I am getting more than I need from my diet and from supplements, but what is happening is that I am not digesting it well…it is not becoming available to my body. This can come about in a couple of ways: the absence of a particular enzyme that your body needs to process and absorb B12, or not enough stomach acid (most commonly caused by reflux medication or ageing–not taking any meds in my life)…so what could be happening with my stomach?
Well, it happens that there are some behaviour things that might be getting in the way, but there are also some dietary ones as well. Let’s look at the dietary causes first. In my case, there appear to be two causes for this…too much fat and an overworked liver. What I relearned from the Omnos doctor is what I already knew, but now spelled out with real science. I have written previously about chewing food and eating slowly. Well, here was scientific proof that this is vitally important to digestive health.
And while on the one hand, I am counselled to eat cheese, nuts, avocado, olive oil—a range of healthy dietary fats, but I also find that my body really struggles to process them. This can be remedied by waiting 8 hours between fatty meals…and above all, not snacking on fatty foods. This will kill me if I don’t stop it. The liver needs to recover.
Combine this with a few more behaviours that interfere with liver function, like drinking, and you have a perfect cocktail of trouble (pun intended).
Meanwhile, how we eat—like chewing a lot, aids with digestion. So does eating slowly. So too does the sequence. Vegetables before carbs, for example. Having a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar. Not drinking liquids with a meal. Before a meal, a glass or two of lukewarm water is the perfect way to prime the stomach…as is starting a meal with a soup course. But too much liquid during a meal reduces the stomach’s acidity, which means your system struggles more to digest, which in turn makes nutrients less accessible and stresses your liver. In a nutshell? Just slow down when eating.
I am not telling you all about my liver or my digestion because it is interesting to you, but rather to illustrate how this little company Omnos can help diagnose your own system, whether it ails you or not. We are machines, and every one of us operates slightly differently. Slowing down enough to listen to the rhythms of your own body, feeling it, and changing your diet and your lifestyle will give you a happier body–and let me tell you, a happy body means a happy life.
Some very positive changes in my life are felt in my body today:
- A shift towards a plant-based diet from a meat-based one
- dropping alcohol as a regular presence
- habit changes at meal times
- regular meal times
- intermittent fasting
- hydration throughout the day
- 6 of 7 days exercising
- diet focussed on feeding my gut
For one, I haven’t been sick, not once, since 2016 when I started. I sleep better. My energy levels have skyrocketed. My mood is generally much more upbeat. My body just feels good.
Amazing that such rich information can come from a little finger pin prick and a few drops of blood. What will they think of next?