Proton pump inhibiting antacids taken long term can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiencies increase risk for anemia, dementia, and nerve damage
Study shows participants who took proton pump inhibitors for 2 years showed increase in risk for vitamin B12 deficiencies
Vitamin B12 can be injected to combat deficiencies
A study published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association links antacids for an extended period to a deficiency in vitamin B12. The antacids in question are proton pump inhibitors with brand names such as Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium.
The study showed that participants who took proton pump inhibitors for a period of more than 2 years had a 65 percent increase for risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Proton pump inhibitors differ from calcium carbonate based antacids. Antacids such as Tums aid in the neutralization of stomach acid after it has entered the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors suppress the amount of gastric acid produced.
These types of antacids can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12 because “the same cell that makes stomach acid also makes a little protein that helps vitamin B-12 be absorbed,” Dr. Douglas Corley, a gastroenterologist at Kaiser Permanente, and senior researcher states.
Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can lead to an increased risk of anemia, nerve damage, and dementia, as well as other medical conditions.
Some proton pump inhibitors are available in low dosage form over the counter. For higher doses of these antacids, a prescription is required.
If a deficiency in vitamin B12 is found, it can be treated with an injection such as Cobal, Cyanoject, and Vibal among other vitamin B12 boosters. The generic term for this man-made form of vitamin B12 is cyanocobalamin, and it aids in utilizing the body’s fat and carbohydrates for energy and to make new protein.
Dr. Douglas Corley states, “It’s not that people should stop the medication. It raises the question of whether they should check with their physician to be screened for this vitamin deficiency.”