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of the DMB patients were given the combination within the first week of the onset of symptoms, and only one among them re- quired oxygen therapy. The researchers explained that vitamin D, magnesium and


vitamin B12 present a unique three-pronged approach for tack- ling COVID-19, noting, “Vitamin B12 is essential in supporting a healthy gut microbiome which has an important role in the development and function of both innate and adaptive immune systems.”


Who’s at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency? It’s been suggested that nearly two-fifths of Americans may


have lower than ideal B12 levels, with 9% deficient and 16% below 185 pmol/L, which is considered marginally deficient. While vegetarians and vegans are susceptible since B12 is derived from animal products, even meat eaters may be deficient, as problems with absorption are common. B12 is tightly bound to proteins and high acidity is required


to break this bond. Some people may not have sufficient stomach acid to separate the B12 from the protein. Advancing age may also diminish your ability to absorb the vitamin from food and increase your risk of deficiency, as may any of the following scenarios:


• People who regularly drink alcohol, as B12 is stored in your liver.


• Anyone with an autoimmune disease like Crohn's or celiac, which may prevent your body from being able to absorb B12.


• People who drink more than four cups of coffee daily are more prone to vitamin B deficiencies than non-coffee consum- ers.


• Those who've had gastric bypass surgery and therefore have altered digestive systems, as this may impair B12 absorption.


• People exposed to nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which can wipe out whatever B12 reserves you may have in your body.


• Adults over 50, because as you grow older, your ability to produce intrinsic factor decreases


• People who take antacids, which have a tendency to interfere with B12 absorption, especially over time.


• Patients who take metformin for low blood sugar, as the drug interferes with B12 absorption, doubling your risk of deficiency.


• Anyone taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPIs) like Prevacid or Nexium or H2 blocker such as Pepcid or Zantac. Research shows taking PPIs for more than two years increases your risk of B12 deficiency by 65%.


• Women taking birth control pills for an extended period of time, as the estrogen impairs absorption.


• People who have taken antibiotics, as these drugs have been shown to induce vitamin B12 deficiency.


In adults, B12 deficiency can develop in about six years,


which is how long it takes to deplete your body's B12 stores. So, it’s important to be aware of your intake and catch a B12 defi- ciency early, as impaired brain and nerve development can be very difficult to correct once the damage is done. Regularly eating B12-rich foods, such as grass fed beef liver,


wild rainbow trout and wild sockeye salmon, is important to maintain adequate levels, but if you suspect you may be deficient, weekly B12 shots or a high-dose, daily supplement may be nec- essary.


Methylcobalamin, which is the naturally occurring form of


vitamin B12 found in food, is more absorbable than the cyano- cobalamin, which is the type found in most supplements.


Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of Mercola.com. An osteo- pathic physician, best-selling author and recipient of multiple awards in the field of natural health, his primary vision is to change the modern health paradigm by providing people with a valuable resource to help them take control of their health.


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NOVEMBER 2020 29


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