A case has recently come to light where a forum member was advised via private messaging to take B12 supplements prior to investigation of a potential B12 deficiency.
As a result of the subsequent small rise in serum B12 levels, the GP refused to entertain the possibility of B12 deficiency, undertake any further investigations and, more importantly, refused to prescribe any treatment for what is most likely B12 deficiency.
Most here will know that taking any form of B12 supplements prior to investigations can skew blood test results and as a consequence, prevent appropriate diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency. But for those who don’t...
Please do not give this advice and most certainly not via the use of private message functions to individual forum members.
It's worth noting that forum administrators rarely, if ever, give advice to individual members via private message. This is because everything we say should be open, transparent, and subject to challenge in the open forum. This is to safeguard both ourselves and forum members since if any mistakes are made, these will be picked up and corrected by other forum members.
It's also worth noting that giving advice via private message may expose you to 'come-back' if that advice is inappropriate, incorrect, or causes detriment to the person concerned.
Another obvious advantage of giving advice within the main forum is that it's visible and available for the benefit of all.
I'm sure that this is not relevant to the majority of forum members, but since one person has suffered detriment, worth saying all the same.