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If you suffer from constant lot of stomach bloating and other signs of indigestion, it can be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Your ability to digest vitamin B12 and use it to prevent pernicious anemia can be traced directly to the environment in your gut. Symptoms of stomach bloating can be the first clue in distinguishing why you’re suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, and how to prevent it.
Vitamin B12 malabsorption
When your digestive system is not working properly, then you’re not getting enough vitamin B12. That’s because unlike other vitamins, B12 cannot be absorbed from foods without the help of certain digestive enzymes that are produced by your parietal cells of the stomach.
Gastritis (stomach inflammation) is one of several causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption.
So even though you eat plenty of meat, chicken, and fish, you aren’t getting the vitamin B12 you need in order to survive. And it all stems from your gastrointestinal health.
Intrinsic factor is one such protein that your body needs, both to extract cobalamin (vitamin B12) from food and to utilize it efficiently so that it reaches your blood stream.
But with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or if there is any type of damage to your esophagus, stomach walls, or intestinal tract, then you run a high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly pernicious anemia.
So while people assume that pernicious anemia is a blood disease, it really begins in the stomach, with bloating, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Symptoms of stomach disorders
The following symptoms, if they occur often, may indicate a breakdown in your digestive system that requires immediate treatment in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and many other ailments:
There are many causes of pernicious anemia, including autoimmune conditions, medications, and damage to the intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by vegan dieting is not considered a cause of pernicious anemia, as it can be reversed by eating foods containing ample amounts of vitamin B12.
Crohn’s disease, celiac, and fibromyalgia can impair your ability to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that is needed in order to extract vitamin B12 from food and replenish supplies of vitamin B12 in the blood stream. Pernicious anemia is often comorbid with illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal system. For prevention, check vitamin B12 levels routinely and supplement with non-pill forms of vitamin B12.
If either of your parents or grandparents suffered from pernicious anemia, then you are also a high risk category for vitamin B12 deficiency. With frequent testing, you can catch the onset of vitamin B12 deficiency before it advances to pernicious anemia.
Certain medications can eventually impair your ability to absorb vitamin B12, leading to pernicious anemia; these include PPIs used to treat GERD (acid reflux), metformin for diabetes, and various antibiotics, NSAIDs and antidepressants. If you are on long-term medication, check to see if you are a risk factor for megaloblastic anemia and use vitamin B12 supplements.
If you have had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or surgical treatments for illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, then pernicious anemia may result because of vitamin B12 malabsorption. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, supplement with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.
Please tell us…
Do you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent symptoms of pernicious anemia, or would you feel better if your doctor would prescribe more vitamin B12?
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Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) originates in most protein foods, but even meat-eaters can get vitamin B12 deficiency. Absorbing vitamin B12 is a tricky process, and people who lack the intrinsic factor protein are unable to digest vitamin B12 from natural sources. Learning about B12 supplement absorption is essential for avoiding B-12 deficiency symptoms.
Vitamin B12- What is it?
Vitamin B12, a member of the B-complex family of vitamins, is a water-soluble protein. Most of the vitamin B12 that you eat comes from meat sources, as animal microorganisms produce it. Beef, liver, chicken, fish, and shellfish are some of the richest sources of vitamin B-12, in addition to eggs, cheese, and other dairy products. The only widely confirmed vegan form of B12 occurs in brewer’s yeast.
This is your Body on B12
The benefits of vitamin B12 for your body are expansive.
Vitamin B12 assists in producing oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 also protects the myelin sheathe, which protects your nervous system.
Vitamin B12 benefits cognitive functioning- Cognitive health treatments are essential for treating symptoms of autism, and to delay the early onset of dementia.
Supplementing with vitamin B12 boosts stamina, sustains the memory, enhances mental focus, and imparts feelings of well-being in individuals who suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency causes depression, anxiety, fatigue, memory loss, and numbness/tingling in the extremities.
Vitamin B12’s journey through your body is a complicated, tricky procedure, and many things can go wrong.
1. When you consume dietary vitamin B12 (from food), it immediately clings to hydrochloric acid and pepsin, a gastric enzyme that your body makes- except for when it doesn’t. (More on this later.)
2. In your stomach, digestive acids separate vitamin B12 (cobalamin) from its protein part. Also in your stomach, gastric parietal cells produce a substance called intrinsic factor- a necessary glycoprotein for digesting B12.
3. Vitamin B12 combines with “R protein,” thus becoming B-complex. B complex, along with intrinsic factor, travels to the small intestine.
4. In the small intestine, R protein and B-complex separate. B12 then attaches itself to intrinsic factor.
5. The B12/intrinsic factor complex travels through the small intestine, finally arriving at the very bottom, where it reaches the terminal ileum. The ileum then absorbs the vitamin B12 and distributes it into your bloodstream, where it is then stored in the liver.
Things that can go wrong with vitamin B12 Absorption
Some people are unable to digest vitamin B12 properly from food, and must instead receive vitamin B12 injections, which go directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the need for digestion.
You don’t have intrinsic factor. Lack of intrinsic factor is an autoimmune response, in which autoantibodies destroy intrinsic factor proteins produced in the stomach. Since intrinsic factor is required in order to digest B12, the only way to avoid B12 deficiency is to bypass digestion by taking vitamin B12 supplements.
You are among the elderly. The majority of senior citizens don’t produce the amount of stomach acids needed to break down B12 for digestion. Even the minimum amount of vitamin B12 recommended by physicians is not enough to avoid dementia caused by B12 deficiency, so elderly individuals are a high-risk group. To prevent early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or neurological damage, transdermal vitamin B12 is advisable.
You take heartburn medication. As with the elderly, people who have GERD, or others who frequently take medicine for acid-reflux, including pregnant women, are susceptible to B12 deficiency.
You have had your ileum removed.Gastric bypass patients are at high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as are other patients of gastrointestinal surgery, such as sufferers of Crohn’s disease. Unfortunately, many surgeons neglect to warn their patients about complications regarding vitamin B12 deficiency, and many bariatric surgery patients don’t find out about it until the symptoms- depression, fatigue, brain fog- become too hard to ignore.
You are a vegan. The vegan diet is largely devoid of B-12 sources, so unless you are a vegetarian who eats eggs, fish, or dairy, then you must take regular vitamin B12 supplements in order to avoid B12 deficiency.
You are diabetic. Metformin, a diabetes drug, interferes with the absorption of vitamin B12.
You have an autoimmune disease. Many autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome are highly correlated with B12 deficiency. Scientists are unsure as to the exact cause, but they have noted a decrease in symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and depression with the inclusion of vitamin B12 supplements.
Got Colitis? Skip Tequila, Go for the Worm: Scientists believe they have a cure for Crohn’s disease and celiac,and it involves using parasitic hookworms. Here are some other surprising natural options for managing autoimmune disease.
Are we killing ourselves with hygiene?
Clean bottled drinking water, sub-zero refrigeration, anti-bacterial gels, dirt-free playgrounds, and sanitized kitchen counters- what do all these things all have in common?
If you guessed that these things all help to prevent disease, then guess again.
According to scientists, our standards of cleanliness are backfiring, killing healthy microscopic parasites that our bodies need to thrive.
Unlike people living in impoverished countries, where bug-ridden sacks of grain are commonly dealt with, we, with our clean, white processed bags of flour are nevertheless exclusive in our propensity for developing autoimmune diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD),Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and asthma.
Dish out the dirt.
The hygiene hypothesis implies that modern-day medical technology and sanitary standards, such as vaccines, antibiotics, purified water, and refrigeration have caused autoimmune disease by disturbing the body’s natural balance of healthy parasitic worms.
Worm therapy was part of standard medicine in previous centuries. So it comes as no surprise to supporters of the hygiene hypothesis that autoimmune diseases were nonexistent in earlier times, arriving on the medical scene only in recent years.
According to Dr. Joel Weinstock, chief of gastroenterology and professor of immunology at Tufts University, instances of IBD went up from 1 out of 10,000 in the 50s, to 1 out of 250 in modern days.
Open up and say…well, you might want to close your eyes.
Beginning in October 2011, research participants will volunteer to swallow pig whipworm eggs, as part of a study focusing on treating autoimmune disease. By introducing worms into the digestive systems, scientists hope to find a cure for digestive disorders. By the end of the year, the whipworm larvae will have passed through the intestines, and scientists hope to find enough evidence to further the advancement of worm therapy for immunological diseases.
Treat IBD naturally and deliciously by including these anti-inflammatory fermented foods in your diet.
There’s a war brewing in your tummy!
Whether you suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you know that the best way to treat your tummy right is by following a diet rich in probiotic foods.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that occur naturally in aged foods, such as pickles and yogurt. Consider them your allies in fighting your body’s war between good and evil! (bacteria-wise, that is.)
When it comes to promoting gastrointestinal integrity, the health benefits of probiotics are unrivaled.
One of the best ways to treat IBD is to follow a diet plan that alleviates most of the symptoms. There are many food ingredients that are associated with increased Crohn’s disease symptoms: dairy, gluten, sugar, and grains, for example.
The gluten-free diet excludes all food items that contain gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and others.
The casein-free diet eliminates the specific protein that occurs naturally in milk, while the dairy-free diet rules out all dairy products as a whole.