America’s B12 Deficiency: Recap of Dr. Oz Show, Part 3
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 review of part 3 of that show.
(Continued from America’s B12 Deficiency: Recap of Dr. Oz Show, Part 2)
Here is a review of part 3 of that show.
Dr. Oz begins this segment with a demonstration about vitamin B12, explaining that when you eat animal-based protein foods like meat and fish, your body has to first separate the vitamin from the protein, which it does through an R-protein (trans-cobalamin) which occurs naturally in your saliva, which protects vitamin B12 from your stomach acids.
Vitamin B12 malabsorption
For young people, vitamin B12 digestion begins without a hitch, but for older individuals, a reduction in digestive enzymes makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, to separate the B12 from the protein and protect it from caustic elements in the stomach. As a result, vitamin B12 dissolves, instead of being absorbed.
For the demonstration, he shows how vitamin B12 in people aged 50 and over stays bound to transcobalamin, and resists separating and diffusing into the digestive system.
“Once the B12 breaks away, your body can absorb it. Otherwise, this will go right through your intestinal system, because this reflects your stomach, goes right out your poop. You’re just wasting money.”
Guest Kate Geagan pipes in, explaining that the best natural source of vitamin B12 is in seafood and meat, as evidenced by the low rate of vitamin B12 deficiency in countries such as Japan where people thrive on shrimp and other fish products. She points out that as a result of a shift towards vegan or low-fat dieting, many Americans may be experiencing a rising incidence of vitamin B12 malabsorption.
“…coupled with changes in stomach acid, changes in physiology as we age, we’re not absorbing effectively even what we are taking in.”
Alcoholism and B12
Regarding alcoholism and vitamin B12 deficiency, guest Dr. Katz explains that alcohol impairs the gastrointestinal system, affects the liver and pancreas, and over time, excessive alcohol use also causes atrophy of the stomach, one of many causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption. Coupled with the fact that most alcoholics tend to eat a non-nutritious diet, the risk factor for malnutrition in people suffering from alcoholism is extremely high.
Says Dr. Oz to the audience, “There’s a B12 deficiency, it is a big deal… but the good news, although it’s serious, it can be reversed…”
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Image courtesy of David Berkowitz/ Wikimedia