Does Nexium Cause a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Nexium, also known as esomeprazole is a drug that belongs to a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors. Nexium is mainly used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition in which stomach acid flows backwards into the esophagus. Nexium is also used to treat stomach ulcers and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Recent research shows that you can develop vitamin B-12 deficiency if you take Nexium for a long time.

Nexium and Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin is a B-complex vitamin necessary for metabolism, red blood cells production and maintenance of healthy nerve cells. Vitamin B-12 is bound to protein in food. Hydrochloric acid is needed to release the vitamin from food. During long-term Nexium therapy, stomach acid secretion is suppressed, which hinders the release of vitamin B-12 from foods.

Sings and Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

When you are taking Nexium for chronic treatment of stomach conditions, be aware of the signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency. Untreated B-12 deficiency can lead to permanent neurological treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to avoid irreversible damage.

Vitamin B-12 Natural Sources

The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that healthy adults have at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 everyday 1. Vitamin B-12 is naturally only found in animal products such as:

  • beef liver
  • salmon
  • trout
  • shellfish
  • clams
  • eggs
  • milk
  • milk products

Vitamin B-12 is also added to fortified breakfast cereals, enriched breads and processed foods. If you are a vegetarian, consult your doctor about taking dietary supplements.

Vitamin B-12 Supplements

Vitamin B-12 supplements are available as regular tablets, sublingual tablets, intranasal cream and injections 1. Swallow the regular tablets whole with a full glass of water. Place sublingual tablets under the tongue and allow them to dissolve. Do not take more dose than prescribed by your doctor or as stated on the package. B-12 injections are usually administered at the doctor's office. You may experience headache, dizziness and irritation at injection site after receiving a B-12 shot.