Vitamin B12 can only be found in in animal food sources, such as meat, fish, milk, and dairy products. This is why strict vegetarians and vegans are among the most at risk to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
“It’s true if you’re over 50 or a vegan/vegetarian, your chances of being vitamin B12 deficient are higher than average. But no matter your age or diet, if your body isn’t absorbing the B12 you’re giving it, you, too, could be lacking in this vitally important nutrient*,” natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola says. He reveals the common and rather surprising causes of vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome. Cobalamin is the scientific term for vitamin B12. This condition occurs when your stomach lining loses its capacity to produce intrinsic factor, which is a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows your body to absorb it at the end of your small intestine.
- Inadequate stomach acid production. The older you are, the less able your stomach is to produce the hydrochloric acid necessary to release B12 from the food you consume.
- Long-term use of antacid/antiulcer drugs. Hydrochloric acid is required for you to absorb vitamin B12, so if you’re taking an antacid, your stomach will be unable to digest B12 out of your food. H2-receptor antagonists – like Zantac and Tagamet – and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec are included in this class of drugs.
- Use of Metformin for Type 2 diabetes. With brands names like Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Riomet, and Glumetza, Metformin may disrupt your B12 absorption, especially when it’s taken at higher doses. “Metformin may interfere with calcium absorption. And this interference may reduce B12 absorption, because this absorption requires calcium,” explains Dr. Mercola.
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- Coffee consumption. Did you know that four or more cups of coffee a day may reduce your vitamin B reserve by as high as 15 percent.
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Exposure to nitrous oxide. Often called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is commonly used by dentists to help mitigate pain. Catalytic converters in automobiles are also creating enough nitrous oxide emissions to pose health dangers and significantly contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Do you suspect that you’re vitamin B12 deficient? According to Dr. Mercola, blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency aren’t as clear cut or helpful as they are for other nutritional deficiencies. Standard tests to assess vitamin B12 concentrations are limited, because the clinical severity of vitamin B12 deficiency is unrelated to vitamin B12 concentrations.
“Getting your B12 and MMA serum levels lab tested is one way to go, especially if you have a compelling reason to have ‘official’ test result,” says Dr. Mercola.
However, it’s a much more practical approach to simply supplement your diet with B12. Powering you up with extra energy is just one of B12’s many health benefits,* so it’s important to consider this option today.
Dr. Mercola’s Vitamin B12 Energy Booster* Spray offers vitamin B12 in a convenient pre-metered, non-aerosol container. It delivers a serving size of 1,200 micrograms (six sprays per day) in an all-natural formula free of sugar, yeast, starch, artificial flavors, colors, synthetics, binders, fillers, wax, and animal gelatin. Since it easily fits into your purse or pocket, it’s a hassle-free way to ward off vitamin B12 deficiency today.
See other Mercola products.