Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Frozen food habit costs man lifelong injections

Frozen food habit costs man lifelong injections
By Anjana Sankar

22 February 2006

ABU DHABI — Dining on ready-to-eat food packets for a year or so has presumably put an Indian pharmaceutical professional on lifelong injections.

Doctors assume that excessive consumption of the readymade food that contains harmful preservatives has led to the destruction of cells that store and absorb the B12 vitamin, causing numbness and weakness in K. Vasudevan, who hails from Chennai in India. The 50-year old has now to take B12 injections weekly for survival.

Talking to Khaleej Times, Vasudevan said he started using frozen food packets almost a year ago when his family left for India. “I used to buy more than 50 packets for a month or so, as my job involves a lot of travelling within the country. It was since last July that I started developing strange numbness in my feet and hands that worsened day by day. Initially, I thought it was just fatigue and took pain killers. But after a few months, my health deteriorated to an extent that I could not even walk properly or stand for a long time.”

Vasudevan underwent tests for diabetics, cholesterol etc., but doctors could not figure out what was wrong. “I was told that the long nerve running from the spinal chord to the feet has degenerated and probably I would end up paralysed. When I got admitted at the Mafraq Hospital, they diagnosed the root cause of my health problems to acute deficiency of B12 vitamins,” Vasudevan said.

B-12 deficiency, as per doctors, is generally found in heavy alcoholics, which Vasudevan claims he is not. “The only other cause, doctors told me, would be my food habits, and so it was. I stopped taking the pre-cooked dal (pulse) curry and bhindi (ladies finger) masala that I have been eating for more than a year, and switched to fresh food. That, along with the prescribed regular B12 injections, have literally got me out of my deathbed,” sighed Vasudevan. Dr Rajeev Gupta of Ahalia Hospital said in Vasudevan’s case, the intrinsic factors in the gastric cells lining the stomach that absorbs B12 vitamins had been destroyed by some kind of preservatives contained in the pre-cooked food.

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