Crohn’s and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Crohn’s and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Last week, I explained how many people with Crohn’s disease are deficient in vitamin D. In this column, I'll look at another deficiency common in those with Crohn’s: vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is responsible for red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. When someone is deficient in B12, they do not have enough healthy red blood cells. B12 deficiencies have multiple causes, such as diet, medications, medical conditions, and surgeries. Causes of B12 deficiency Diet Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are at risk of being B12 deficient because animal-based foods such as poultry, beef, fish, dairy, and eggs are the best sources of this vitamin. If you're not consuming these foods regularly, you may need to take supplements. Medications Certain medications known as antacids also can be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Long-term use of antacids such as Nexium (esomeprazole) or Protonix (pantoprazole) can increase the risk of B12 deficiency. Antacids lower the amount of acid in the stomach that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Medical conditions Medical conditions that can increase your chances of being B12 deficient include autoimmune diseases, chronic gastritis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and thyroid disease. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease, and having this condition can cause a B12 deficiency. This nutrient is absorbed through the process of digestion. Crohn’s, however, interferes with the body's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins. This is why most people with Crohn’s are classified as malnourished. Another way Crohn’s can be linked to B12 deficiency is if a section of the small intestine called the ileum has been surgically removed. How do you know if you
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