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Millions Potentially at Risk of B-12 Deficiency

Under: General Health, Recommendations & Safety, Vitamin B
Literally, millions of people taking acid blocking drugs on a regular basis for dealing with their symptoms of acid-reflux (GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease) run the risk of becoming B-12 deficient, which can result in troublesome side-effects. (Nerve damage/dysfunction, weakness, fatigue, anemia, memory loss, depression and dementia, just to name a few).

The 2 most popular kinds of these drugs as either PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors, i.e. Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium) and H-2 receptor antagonists, (i.e. Tagamet, Pepcid, Xantac).  Though through different pathways, both of these classes of drugs reduce the production of stomach acid.  The PPI’s are more powerful and their effects last longer.

It does not come as any surprise that a recently published study done by Kaiser Permanente researchers and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people who regularly used PPI’s for two or more years had a 65% increased risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency and those who used H-2 receptor antagonists for the same period of time, had a 25% increased risk of B-12 deficiency.

Stomach acid is used to break down proteins, which are a source of vitamin B-12. With decreased production of stomach acid, protein digestion is compromised.

Additionally, it has also been reported that the use of PPI’s increases bone fracture risk. Several peer-reviewed published studies have documented this and the FDA has notified physicians and users of this potential side-effect.

Furthermore, other studies have shown that the use of PPI’s for one year or more led to reduced levels of magnesium in many users.  The FDA has warned of this PPI side-effect as well.

If you have not been able to control your gastric reflux/heartburn issues via adjustments to your diet, and find that PPI’s and not H-2 antagonists are needed to resolve your symptoms:

  1. Supplement with 100 mcg a day of methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B-12 that is best absorbed and utilized even by people who have B-12 genetic processing issues).
  2. Supplement with 360 mg/day of magnesium citrate which can be absorbed even if your stomach acid is low.
  3. Supplement with 100 mcg/day of MK-7, vitamin K-2 which is readily available in most health food stores.


To a healthier you,

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.