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GERD and vitamin B12 deficiency.

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Nexium and b12 deficiencyIf you follow the news you have probably heard about the correlation between taking medications for GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disease) and Vitamin B12 deficiency.

GERD is a condition that can affect both adults and children and is caused by overproduction of stomach acid or by the back flow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. It is also commonly called heartburn, reflux, gastritis, acid reflux, and GER (gastroesophogeal reflux). GERD presents as a burning sensation in your heart area at the top of your stomach. It can feel like food is stuck behind your breastbone or an acidic burp like feeling. Often GERD is associated with coughing, wheezing, hiccups, sore throat and bringing up food.

There are many types of prescription medications that target GERD including Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Zantac and Antacids. What you may not have known is that long term use of these medications affects the absorption of vitamin B12 and over time causes the body to be deficient in B12.

More than 60 million Americans suffer from Gerd and at one of our most prescribed medications is Nexium. There are lifestyle changes that you can make to decrease the production of stomach acids like quitting smoking and reducing weight, your doctor will probably also tell you to avoid foods like chocolate, Peppermint, Fatty foods, Coffee and Alcohol, high acid foods like lemon, tomatoes, and even pepper.

Cigarette smoking can also contribute to overproduction of stomach acid.

Some Natural remedies include raising your bed head by 10cm – this allows the stomach juices to flow downwards instead of up into your esophagus. Don’t use pillows to prop yourself up as this may increase the pressure on your stomach and make you feel worse.

According to Web MD there is a 65% increase in the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency if you are taking proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prilosec.

Vitamin B12 is important to maintain blood and nerve cell function. B12 can be found in meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. Around 1.5% of Americans are deficient in B12. When b12 is deficient it can present as constipation, tiredness, weakness and loss of appetite. Stomach acid is essential in the absorption of b12 and this is the reason that GERD sufferers are deficient in this important vitamin, but don’t fret it is easy to replenish this vital molecule.

Vitamin B12 is available over the counter in most pharmacies and heath food stores. It is available as a sublingual tablet that dissolves under the tongue and also as an injection.


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2 Responses

  1. Has anyone heard of Eligen B12? It’s a prescription oral tablet I recently read about that works as well as the IM B12 injection, even if you don’t have intrinsic factor. Apparently it came out a month or two ago

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