Some drugs, such as cholestyramine, a cholesterol lowering drug, decreases absorption of folic acid. Cimetidine, for ulcers, dampens digestion and vitamin B12 absorption. Even sodium bicarbonate interferes with vitamin absorption with its acid neutralization. Other B-unfriendly-drugs include sulfasalzine, phenytoin, nitrous oxide, isoniazid, hydralazine, tolazamide, tetracycline and birth control pills (16,17). Alcohol (16) and smoking (18) are harmful too.
In addition to stress, pollution, dieting, illness and injury, less obvious situations requiring higher B complex intake are exercise (16), pregnancy, lactation, and growing children and teens. Chronic, high doses of vitamin C can decrease B12 levels too.
In light of the evidence, it seems we're all bound for confused and unhappy B deficient lives. Not necessarily so. Knowing B complex's weaknesses gives you the ability to make good nutritional decisions. Eat as many fresh, raw, whole foods as possible including whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and dried beans. Follow the macrobiotic principle of choosing foods that are regional and in season. A backyard garden is an ideal way to do this, or visit local farmers. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
If you're in a B-vitamin-draining situation, such as taking medication (see above or ask your doctor), pregnant, under stress (aren't we all) or ill, consider supplementing your diet with B complex. Since vitamins and mineral taken in large doses can impact each other, a multiple is best. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of B vitamin deficiency, consult a nutritionally trained physician for a complete work-up. Stay healthy, happy and sound of mind by protecting the B's in your life.
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