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I have been on a proton pump inhibitor for several months because of heartburn and reflux.

Q. Dear Terry, “I have been on a proton pump inhibitor for several months because of heartburn and reflux. I was looking at the side effects and found it can decrease vitamin B12 levels in the body. Should I be taking B12 while I’m on this medication?” – Noah B., Casper, WY

A. Dear Noah, Many people may not realize there are numerous medications that can deplete the body of B vitamins like stomach acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors), birth control pills, Metformin (used for type 2 diabetes), epilepsy and blood pressure medications, steroids, and antibiotics. Even over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are at fault.

B vitamins are crucial to our overall health and well-being. They play a role in virtually every system in our body, including: cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, endocrine, digestive, and others. B vitamins are very important for cardiovascular health and help to reduce homocysteine levels and inflammation. Our nervous system also relies upon B vitamins for protecting our nerve endings, which ensures proper communication throughout our brain and body. B vitamins have been shown to be helpful with many mood conditions, like depression. Several B vitamins also play a very important role in overall energy production in our body.

While you can supplement with B12 on its own, I think it’s important to include other B vitamins since they work better together. I recommend taking B6, B12, and folic acid in their active forms – P-5-P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), methylcobalamin, and methyltetrahydrofolate, respectively. I would take 25 mg of P-5-P, 1,360 mcg of methyltetrahydrofolate, and 1,000 mcg of methylcobalamin. These forms don’t require conversion by the liver, so they can go to work immediately to replete potential deficiencies, increase energy levels, support heart health, and optimize metabolism. I would take active B vitamins once per day.

To support acid reflux and heartburn, I recommend d-limonene and sea buckthorn oil. Sea buckthorn has been clinically studied for healing ulcers and other gastric lining inflammation that can also cause heartburn or reflux. D-limonene has been studied for its beneficial effects on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Make sure the sea buckthorn you choose features both the seed and pulp oil to receive the full benefits of this plant. I recommend taking 600 mg of these two ingredients twice daily. Please be patient, as it may take a month or two to see improvements since results improve with continued use.

You may also want to consider adding in deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). DGL is a powerful antioxidant, works as an antimicrobial agent, and helps reduce inflammation. The DGL I recommend is standardized to at least 3.5% glabridin and greater than 10% flavonoids. I recommend 75 mg of this DGL twice per day.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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