How to eliminate heartburn without the drugs!
New research indicates that people who take common prescription heartburn and ulcer medications may be at risk for serious vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper nervous system function. People who are deficient in the nutrient are at risk for dementia, anemia, nerve damage and other dangerous conditions. Vegans are also at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, because most dietary sources are found in meat and animal products.
Among non-vegetarians the problem of vitamin B12 deficiency is directly related to the activity of prescription medications, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Examples include Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Nexium® and other widely-sold drugs. They work by sharply curtailing the stomach’s production of acid. Problem is, vitamin B12 is not absorbed in the absence of sufficient stomach acid. So millions of people may be getting too little of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is primarily found in meat. But not even cattle can produce it. They depend on bacteria in their guts to produce the vitamin, which we then obtain from their meat. According to the results of a study conducted recently in California, people who took PPI drugs for two or more years had a 65% increased risk of being vitamin B12 deficient. Higher doses of the drugs were also associated with increased risk of this nutritional deficiency.
Investigators speculated that patients taking PPIs might need to have their blood tested to monitor their vitamin B12 status. If you take one of these extremely common drugs, ask your doctor if you should be concerned about your levels of this crucial vitamin.
Kaiser Permanente (2013, December 10). Long-term use of common heartburn and ulcer medications linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210163612.htm