6 Causes of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency You've Never Heard Before



6 Causes of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency You've Never Heard Before

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including the health of the nervous system, brain function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis. However, a significant percentage of the population worldwide is deficient in B12, often without even realizing it. In this article, we will explore six lesser-known causes of vitamin B12 deficiency and discuss how they can impact your health.

1. H. pylori Infection and B12 Deficiency

H. pylori infection, a common bacterial infection that affects the stomach lining, is a leading cause of ulcers, gastritis, and other digestive issues. Surprisingly, this infection can also interfere with B12 absorption and lead to deficiency. H. pylori creates an alkaline environment in the stomach, which inhibits the breakdown of food and the extraction of B12 from animal products. Additionally, H. pylori can deplete iron reserves, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.

To address H. pylori infection, conventional treatments involve multiple antibiotics and acid-suppressing medications. However, these treatments can be harsh and may lead to antibiotic resistance. A more natural approach includes consuming foods and supplements that have been found to inhibit H. pylori, such as garlic, broccoli sprouts, probiotics, clover, and Manuka honey. These alternatives can help put the infection back into remission and improve B12 absorption.

2. Metformin and B12 Deficiency

Metformin, a medication commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes, can have adverse effects on B12 levels. One of the side effects of metformin is a deficiency in B12 and B1 (thiamine). This deficiency can manifest as peripheral neuropathy, a condition characterized by numbness and tingling in the feet. To counteract this deficiency, individuals taking metformin should consider supplementing with B12 and B1 or consuming foods rich in these vitamins, such as beef liver and red meat.

3. Genetic Variations (SNPs) and B12 Absorption

Genetic variations, also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), can impact the body's ability to absorb and activate vitamin B12. Some individuals may have genetic variations that affect the conversion or absorption of B12, leading to suboptimal levels in the body. DNA testing can help identify these variations, allowing individuals to take appropriate measures. One solution is to supplement with the natural form of B12, methylcobalamin, which is more easily absorbed than synthetic versions like cyanocobalamin.

4. Synthetic Folic Acid and B12 Deficiency

Folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is widely used in food fortification and supplementation. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of folic acid can mask a B12 deficiency and lead to neurological damage. Folic acid can accumulate in the body, especially for individuals with genetic variations that impair its conversion. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to supplement with methylfolate, a form of folate that does not require conversion and is better utilized by the body.

5. Laughing Gas and B12 Deficiency

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as an anesthetic during dental procedures. However, prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide can interfere with B12 metabolism and result in a deficiency. If you undergo dental procedures involving laughing gas, it is essential to monitor your B12 levels and consider supplementation if needed.

6. PPIs and Indirect B12 Deficiency

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a class of medications used to reduce stomach acid production, can indirectly contribute to B12 deficiency. PPIs are sometimes prescribed as part of H. pylori treatment, but they can increase the risk of H. pylori infection recurrence. Consequently, the prolonged use of PPIs can exacerbate B12 deficiency. If you are on PPIs, it is advisable to monitor your B12 levels regularly and consider alternative treatments or strategies to manage acid reflux or gastric issues.

It is crucial to be aware of these lesser-known causes of B12 deficiency to address them proactively. By understanding the potential factors that can interfere with B12 absorption and metabolism, individuals can make informed decisions about their diet, supplementation, and medication use. Regular monitoring of B12 levels through blood tests and working closely with healthcare professionals can help prevent and manage B12 deficiency effectively.

Remember, vitamin B12 is vital for your overall well-being, and maintaining optimal levels is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, brain function, and overall vitality. Take charge of your health by staying informed and proactive in addressing the causes of B12 deficiency that you may not have heard before.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before making any dietary or medical changes.


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