Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Surprising Number of Conditions Cause B12 Deficiency

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Surprising Number of Conditions Cause B12 Deficiency

Article excerpt

Dear Readers: In yesterday's column I began to answer a reader's question about the different causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, and whether to treat them with shots or pills. Today, we continue a discussion of the many conditions that can interfere with the ability of the small intestine (the part called the ileum) to absorb vitamin B12 from the foods you eat.

Vitamin B12 in food is like leaves on a tree: It needs to be shaken loose. Stomach acid (and another stomach chemical called pepsin) are what shake vitamin B12 loose from food, allowing it to be absorbed by the ileum.

Even though I eat plenty of B12-rich foods, I also need to take B12 pills. Most people with this condition are like me: Vitamin B12 pills are enough, and we don't need shots. And, sometimes, just increasing the B12-rich foods in your diet is enough -- you don't even need pills.

B12 is found naturally only in animal products. Examples include meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk. …

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