Regardless of what you are preparing for, and regardless of what stage you are at on the preparedness journey, something that will never change is that people get sick.
Although many people have a medical kit that an accident and emergency department would be proud to own, that alone will not be enough.
You need to have a basic working knowledge of the medical problems that can occur from nothing more complicated than everyday life, especially when that life is lived under conditions that are so very different from those we are used to.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are not the most riveting subject but a working knowledge of the most common, and some of the most dangerous deficiency diseases is an absolute must for those trying to survive in a world without medical assistance.
Eating a restricted diet can induce all of them. The kind of diet many of us will be eating after a societal collapse.
Hypocobalaminemia: B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency is most common in developing countries where people have a diet that does not include enough animal products. The highest at risk group in the first world are vegans as there is no vegetable or fruit that provides B12. Plants simply do not make B12.
A study by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey found that almost 20% of people were borderline deficient in B12. (USA) 3.5% of these were non-vegans over the age of 50.
B12 is stored in the liver and can last for years, being used as required but when that reserve is gone deficiency quickly sets in. It’s a water-soluble vitamin and any excess is excreted in the urine. If you take B12 supplements the excess in your urine will cause it to be a neon yellow or green color. If your urine does not glow you needed the supplement.
Lack of B12 causes very gradual brain deterioration, which shows as fatigue, memory loss and depression. Over a period of years psychosis and mania may develop.
The deterioration and damage is irreversible and the condition is thought to account for a high number of the brain-damaged children in the developing world.
Children need far more B12 than adults as they are growing so rapidly. Breast fed babies can become seriously deficient even if their mother only has a mild deficiency.
B12 is found in the following foods:
Hypocobalaminemia is a devastating disease and doctors recommend supplements for ANYONE who even might be deficient or heading in that direction due to a vegan diet.
In the event of a collapse millions of currently healthy people in the first nations will have their supply of B12 cut off. From that point they will be relying on the reserves stored in their liver.
Many of us have either lost or never had, the ability to rear our own fowl and livestock. Having access to either meat, dairy or eggs will be absolutely essential after any form of collapse or during any crisis that lasts longer than a year.
Children and infants simply must have regular amounts of B12 in their diet to prevent degenerative brain disease.
How long supplements will last in storage is open to debate but even if they lose a good deal of their efficiency over time they are still useful to have if you are in doubt over your ability to keep meat, eggs and dairy in your diet.
Canned, dehydrated and freeze dried products will still provide B12 and should be stockpiled in bulk if you will not be rearing your own fowl or livestock.
Some individuals suffer from a condition called pernicious anaemia. They don’t manufacture or store B12 and no matter how much they take in, either from foods or supplements their body cannot use it. For them regular medical treatment with vitamin B12 injections directly into muscle is the only way they can avoid the problems associated with the deficiency.