There are just some foods that always give me heartburn or a little acid reflux. And I usually just reach for antacids, without a second thought.
Now, however, I may think again.
While it’s long been known that vegetarians are at higher risk of B12 deficiency, regular users of antacids may be just as prone.
New research suggests that if you have been using antacids or a proton pump inhibitor for two years or more to help with heart burn or acid reflux, you may be suffering from B12 deficiency.
Medication, your diet, and, unfortunately aging may affect your stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid, resulting in heart burn, wheezing, gagging and other forms of pain or discomfort.
Like me, when this happens many will thoughtlessly reach for antacids. If the discomfort is so serious that it affects our quality of life, our doctor may well prescribe proton pump inhibitors — such as Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium — to suppress acid levels. However, these inhibitors also impact our body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12.
The study, by Kaiser Permanente, suggests that when you take antacids or PPIs for more than two years, you can inhibit the gut bacterium that not only produces stomach acid but also releases B12 vitamin from the food you eat.
People who used antacids and PPIs for the extended period of time were found to have a 65% increased risk of B12 deficiency. And women and younger age groups were more at risk of this deficiency.
The research also found that the risk of deficiency fell once people stopped taking antacids.
Of real concern is that participants who were recorded using proton pump inhibitors for more than two years had a 65 percent increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to a number of troublesome ailments, including:
- Nerve damage
- Psychiatric problems
Ultimately, the researchers said, they could not rule out other factors affecting their result but they were convinced that using antacids “identifies a population at higher risk of B12 deficiency.”
And there are many other benefits to B12:
10 health benefits of vitamin B12
- Fights fatigue
- Reduces the risk of pernicious anemia
- Helps lower the risk of heart disease
- Improves mental health
- Prevents memory loss in elderly
- Reduces the incidence of birth defects
- May protect against cancer
- Boosts hepatitis C treatment
- May protect against Alzheimer’s disease
- Might help to reduce depression
Check out our range of B12 brands if you feel that you will gain from these benefits.