Acid Reflux Medications and B-12 Deficiency

  • Recent research has shown what many nutritionists and physicians have known for quite some time, PPIs and H2 blockers can increase your risk for B-12 deficiency (1).   For people who require long-term use of these medications, those with chronic acid reflux disease or Barrett's esophagitis, this is an important revelation.

    Vitamin B-12 is very important in many bodily functions.  It helps to keep your nerve and blood cells healthy and even helps in making DNA.  If your body is deficient in B-12, it can cause numerous problems and in some instances those issues can become permanent.  

    Symptoms of B-12 deficiency include: weakness, rapid heart rate, pale skin, easy bruising, soar tongue, bleeding gums, stomach upset, diarrhea or constipation.  If you have any of these symptoms and are on an acid reducing medication, you need to talk to your physician immediately.  They may want to run a blood test to determine if you have a B-12 deficiency.

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    If you are deficient in B-12 your physician may prescribe you a supplement to take.  If you must continue to take acid reducers it is likely that they will prescribe B-12 shots to avoid any absorption issues.  It can also help to consume foods that are rich in B-12.  Good food sources of B-12 include: meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs.  You can also find B-12 in many fortified cereals.

Published On: May 27, 2014