Can a hiatal hernia cause b12 deficiency?

Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty, no gas in the tank and all that? Well, it might be more than just a lack of sleep or too many carbs. It’s possible that your hiatal hernia has caused some serious b12 deficiency!

What Even is a Hiatal Hernia?

Okay folks, let’s start from the top, shall we? A hiatal hernia is when part of your stomach squeezes up through the diaphragm and into your chest cavity. Some people don’t even know they have one because there are often zero symptoms. Or maybe they just think those persistent heartburn flares are normal – either way!

How Do I Get One of Those Suckers?

Hiatal hernias can come about for any number of reasons: pregnancy (wowza), obesity (more wowza), aging (hellooo retirement) … or sometimes it just happens for no reason at all.

The Symptoms

While many folks won’t experience any symptoms whatsoever, others will notice:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath

And if left untreated these could lead to complications such as ulcers, bleeding and strictures (oh my!).

But Wait… There’s More!

As if that weren’t enough already – here’s another fun fact for ya: having a hiatal hernia may also put you at risk for vitamin deficiencies… particularly b12!

Why Is This Happening To Me?!

The good news is – it’s not necessarily related to the hiatus per se, but actually due to some funky-reflux-related shenanigans happening down below…

You see, when our friend heartburn decides to pay us an unpleasant visit…he brings his burpy buddies along with him. Acid Reflux happens when stomach acid seeps up the esophagus. (yum) However, what many people don’t know is that this pesky acid can actually hinder the absorption of your essential b12 vitamins.

This All Sounds Like Greek to Me…

Don’t worry… we’ve got you! Here’s a quick breakdown for our non-science-loving crew out there:

  • Stomach produces hydrochloric acid (HCL)
  • Acid helps break down food and pull nutrients from it – Awesome, right?
  • B12 requires intrinsic factor (IF) for absorption process.
  • HCL also activates enzyme in stomach lining which creates IF

If there’s too much or not enough gastric juice resulting from reflux, it becomes harder for your digestive system to release those feel-good-breadcrumbs known as b12!

So What’s Next?

Maybe all this talk has you feeling like checking on your hernia status…but how do you know if yours is causing any vitamin deficiencies? That sounds pretty sneaky…

First off: always speak with a licensed medical professional when making decisions about treatment options.

But here are some underlying conditions which may enhance risk factors:

  • Gastritis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Chronic use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

How ever…

It’s important to remember that problems absorbing b12 could be due to other causes beyond hiatal hernia-related-shennanigans; so again make sure you check-in with “the doc”. It’s never smart to diagnose yourself based on symptoms alone – trust us.

Also (PSA alert) just because you have heartburn doesn’t necessarily mean thatyou’re doomed for malabsorption issues cue the deep exhale.

So What Can I Do About It?

In addition to seeking guidance from professionals such as doctors and/or dietitians..there are also plenty of little habits you can change to help boost your b12 intake and absorption:

  • Add a good source of b12 such as fortified cereals, beef liver! Wait.. did someone say beef Liver? Give yourselves a pat on the back for having good taste.
  • Consider supplementing with multivitamins (cue eye roll over 1st year gym-rat mentality)
  • But hold up – too much supplementation may lead to toxicity issues so consult medical professionals before popping supplements).

Another important factor that plays into this – attention! In particular: attention to eating slowly, smaller portions meals, avoiding trigger foods when possible (i.e. caffeine chocolate!), along with proactive methods including staying upright after meals all aid in helping reflux-related symptoms.

To Sum It Up

Yes indeed folks – hiatal hernias could be linked to hindered vitamin B12 absorption (mind blown)… but there’s no need for alarm or paranoia. Working alongside licensed experts within the fields of gastroenterology and/or nutrition/dietetics remain out top priority. Take small steps towards incremental lifestyle modifications like those mentioned above… because forward progress is always yummier than backwards momentum!

And The Moral Of This Little Tale…

Listen lads and ladybugs, next time some one suggest taking proton-pump-inhibitors , or stuffing yourself full before slumping down horizontal posturings; just remember that….
As Oscar Wilde once said “Everything in moderation except love…and wine”

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