Vitamin B12 Deficiency Prevalent in the US
Because a large portion of people suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances such as: constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn, it is more than likely that a Vitamin B12 deficiency (or a subclinical deficiency) is far more prevalent than what was previously thought.
Since Vitamin B12 requires sufficient gastric acid for absorption, even if an individual with sufficient intrinsic factor (necessary for B12 absorption), over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as well as prescription drugs for heartburn (that suppress the acid), indirectly suppresses Vitamin B12 absorption. And this is just the top of the iceberg.
Commonly prescribed drugs also cause nutritionally deficiencies, including Vitamin B12, which has been linked to many health conditions. Here’s just a small list of such drugs:
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Anti-hypertensive (blood pressure lowering)
- Anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, aspirin)
- Anti-ulcer and Heartburn drugs (i.e. H2 blockers such as Prilosec, Nexium)
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs (i.e. Lipitor)
- Phenothiazines (i.e. Thorazine)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (i.e. Sinequan, Norpramin)
- Benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax)
- ERT (Estrogen Replacement Therapy)
- Anti-diabetic drugs
If you notice, oral contraceptives (birth control pills) top the list above.
Interestingly, it is commonly accepted knowledge that oral contraceptives are linked with an increased risk of blood clots and stroke, especially in women “over the age of thirty-five”.
Most women start taking birth control pills in their late teens or early twenties without the advice to take Vitamin B12 and other important nutrients such as: Vitamin B9 (folic acid) [except in low does for the prevention of birth defects], and Vitamin B6 to lower homocysteine levels.
Remember that high homocysteine levels are now considered a major factor in cardiovascular disease, including blood clots and stroke!
Even more interesting are the use of beta-blockers (from the list above) to treat cardiovascular disease while, adding to the risk of cardiovascular disease by depleting important nutrients such as Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B9 (folic acid), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), and most alarming Coenzyme Q10!
[Did you know that heart disease is linked to low CoQ10 levels? And that heart disease has even been reversed with CoQ10 therapy?]
Vitamin B12 deficiency has also been linked with Depression. With at least one out of six Americans diagnosed with depression, it would seem to be a “no-brainer” that a doctor would to take a closer look at the Vitamin B12 levels in the body before reaching for the prescription drug pad.
Wouldn’t doctors want to prevent potential horrific side effects associated with those drugs? I’ll go even farther to say that the medical profession should reevaluate what is considered “normal” Vitamin B12 levels. Because the current so-called “healthy” levels are simply not showing the real picture when serious health conditions such as cardiovascular and autoimmune disease are on a steady increase in this country!