Anyone who has ever suffered with acid reflux or heartburn knows how unpleasant and painful this can be thankfully, there are a range of over the counter and prescription medications that can assist depending on the severity of the situation. There is however a downside that many haven’t considered.
Some of the acid blocking medications that help bring relief to those who suffer from heartburn also block the absorption of vitamin B12 which is bad news. B12 is an essential vitamin which plays a vital role in regulating a number of bodily functions and left untreated this deficiency can lead to serious complications.
According to studies taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to ease the symptoms of excess stomach acid for more than two years was linked to a 65% increase in the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency. Acid-suppressing drugs called histamine-2 receptor antagonists — also known as H2 blockers — for two years was associated with a 25% increase in the risk of B-12 deficiency.
But why does this happen you ask? The answer is simple, vitamin B12 needs stomach acid to detach it from its original protein so it can be absorbed into your system. Otherwise, it just continues down your digestive track, and you’re left with none of the benefits.
So while you may be resolving one issue you’re unknowingly creating another. The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, weakness, constipation and a loss of appetite. A more serious deficiency can cause balance problems, memory difficulties and nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands or feet.
If you suffer from heartburn but fear that your medication may be causing a B12 deficiency speak to your physician today about the options available to you. Experts suggest trying natural remedies for heartburn and supplementing your B12 intake where necessary.