Last year, Dr. Oz aired America’s B12 Deficiency, a highly informative and eye-opening program focusing on the increasing rate of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in our society.
Here is a recap of part 2 of that show.
(Continued from America’s B12 Deficiency: Recap of Dr. Oz Show, Part 1)
Dr. Oz continues this segment with question #4, “Have you noticed tingling or numbness in your hands, your feet?”
This is one of the most common neurological conditions of vitamin B12 deficiency, neuropathy from decreased levels of vitamin B12.
The next question he asks, “Has your tongue become inflamed, red?” illustrates another early sign of vitamin B12 deficiency that most people don’t link to malabsorption.
Reasons for vitamin B12 deficiency
According to guest Dr. Katz, medications are a significant cause of vitamin B12 malabsorption, ticking off common over-the-counter and prescription drugs such as aspirin, which may erode the stomach linings, in addition to protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for GERD and metformin for diabetes, which inhibit production of intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme required for vitamin B12 absorption.
“And by the way, we hasten to add here, we’re not telling you to stop taking medications if you need it, but just to recognize this could cause B12 deficiency.”
Additionally, adds Dr. Oz and Dr. Katz, excessive supplementation of folate may exacerbate and hide the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency, putting off your chances of diagnosing an existing depletion of vitamin B12 until levels become dangerously low, increasing your risk for early-onset dementia from old age and cognitive problems such as depression, fatigue, memory loss, and disorientation.
“…and the problem with that is, there is a point at which B12 deficiency is no longer fully reversible.
If you don’t find it within the first months to couple of years, and fix it, some of those effects on cognition can persist.”
Old age is another strong risk factor for vitamin B12 deficiency, and guest Kate Geagan agrees that as you age, the cells in your stomach age as well, secreting fewer stomach acids needed to digest vitamin B12 and other important nutrients. As a result, elderly individuals have a harder time separating vitamin B12 from food proteins and absorbing it into the system.
“Statistically, we don’t have that capability to secrete the gastric juices you need to cleave that B12 from the protein so that then you can start the process of absorbing it.”
To be continued…
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