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
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.
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 that can increase your chances of being B12 deficient include