Taking Heartburn Medication Can Inhibit B12 Absorption
Acid Blockers are one of the most common types of over-the-counter medications my patients take. Unfortunately, over time, these medications can lead to health challenges which include, difficulty digesting food, malabsorption, and nutritional deficiencies. This is due to the fact that, without adequate stomach acid, it becomes impossible to digest our food properly, and absorb key nutrients.
B12 is absorbed in the distal portion of the small intestine, and requires intrinsic factor (a carrier protein), in order to be adequately absorbed. Intrinsic factor is produced and stored by parietal cells of the stomach. The parietal cells also produce and store stomach acid. So when people take acid blockers, they inhibit both the release of stomach acid and intrinsic factor—making B12 absorption far more difficult. This is why the chronic use of acid blockers is associated with B12 deficiency. I often advise my patients—who are unable to get off acid blockers—to supplement with B12.
The Signs and Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
Vitamin deficiencies are common as we age, and are associated with poor cognition. People who suffer from B12 deficiency may experience, feelings of fatigue, depression, and muddled thinking. A lab test can be run by your doctor to determine if you are deficient.
If your doctor has placed you on an acid blocker, speak to her or him about vitamin B12, and its impact on your health.. B12 is required to make hormones and neurotransmitters, aids in DNA synthesis, and helps protect nerve cells. And is required to aid in red blood cell division. A deficiency may lead to a medical condition called neuropathy, or nerve pain, which often manifests as pain in the feet and hands. Furthermore, deficiencies are associated with megaloblastic anemia, where red blood cells continue to grow but do not divide.
If you are taking an acid-blocker and concerned about whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, I usually recommend taking a sublingual B12 as a B complex. I always advise a B complex, because B12 works best as a complex.
There are several good supplements on the market. I often prescribe B Complex by Superior Source.
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