Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency - Overview

What is this vitamin and why is it so important?

Here's what the experts say:

"Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood; it is one of the eight B vitamins.

It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation, but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production."


Where does vitamin B12 come from?

There is only one source of natural vitamin B12, and that’s from the consumption of animal products such as eggs, milk, meat, poultry, and fish.

A Lacto-ovo vegetarian or vegan diet can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians should use supplements and/or enriched foods as part of their regular diet.

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The Role of Stomach Acid in vitamin B12 Absorption

The long-term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors raises the stomach pH level to a point where the digestive system cannot process vitamin B12 efficiently.

The pH (potential of Hydrogen) scale goes from 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). Normal stomach acid has a pH factor of between 1 and 3.

The use of PPIs either inhibits acid production while the drug is active, or blocks it altogether.

This action dilutes the digestive fluid, thereby pushing the pH factor past the critical point.


What makes This Vitamin Deficiency Dangerous?

Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency could eventually lead to a number of serious defects and illnesses.

The initial deficiency causes Pernicious Anemia, which in turn further reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12.

At first, the deficiency is asymptomatic (no noticeable symptoms).

However, if left unchecked, this chase-your-tail cycle develops into chronic vitamin b12 deficiency, causing the following initial symptoms:

  • Tiredness.
  • A decreased mental work capacity.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Weakened memory.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
The longer this deficiency is allowed to continue, the greater the chance of one or more of the following conditions developing:
  1. Reduced DNA synthesis and regulation.
  2. Reduced fatty acid synthesis and energy production.
  3. Sleep disturbances -- B12 involves the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle.
  4. Damaged peripheral nerves causing sensory disturbances.
  5. Progressive nerve cell death.
  6. Numbness and/or tingling of the extremities.
  7. Impaired sense of smell.
  8. Loss of appetite.
  9. Clinical depression.
  10. Personality changes.
  11. Dementia and loss of mental abilities.
  12. Disturbed coordination.
  13. An Ataxic gait, sometimes called the “Drunken Sailor” gait.
  14. Severe and irreversible damage to the nervous system.
  15. And finally, subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord due to lack of DNA synthesis.



Although the chances of B12 deficiency occurring are fairly low, this is just one adverse reactions amongst dozens of other possible Proton Pump Inhibitor long-term side effects.

If you are a long-term user of Proton Pump Inhibitors, it’s time to change your lifestyle and to re-evaluate the use of these drugs.

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