Stomach meds can leave you with a  vitamin B12 deficiency 

If you're suffering from a stomach acid problem, you might find this a little hard to believe: You actually need the very acid you think is causing all your misery.

In many cases, the real problem isn't that stomach acid anyway. And when you reduce those levels with a drug, you can stop the acid from doing its job -- and that's helping you to digest food and absorb nutrients.

That's why people who take these meds often suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies -- and that's why new research shows these drugs can leave you with a vitamin B12 deficiency.

That's a critical nutrient you need to make both red blood cells and DNA. It's also essential to your brain, and low levels can lead to mood problems and memory loss. Vitamin B12 deficiency can even lead to lasting and sometimes permanent nerve damage.

And if you're taking a PPI such as Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid for two or more years, your risk of a deficiency in that very same vitamin B12 jumps by 65 percent, according to the study.

That adds up to one new case of vitamin B12 deficiency caused by the drugs for every 67 people who take them.

Unfortunately, low B12 isn't the only risk that can come from stomach acid drugs. PPIs can also block the absorption of both magnesium and calcium, which is why people who take the drugs have a higher risk of bone breaks.

PPIs can block vitamin C and D, damaging your immune system and leaving you prone to pneumonia and other illnesses.

And by suppressing stomach acid, they can change the bacterial balance in your gut, exposing you to dangerous and potentially deadly infections from bugs such C. diff.

PPIs can even cause the very stomach acid problems they're supposed to prevent -- the infamous "acid rebound" that strikes the moment you stop taking the drug.

That's a lot of risk for drugs you almost certainly never needed in the first place -- because as I mentioned earlier, stomach acid problems are rarely caused by too much stomach acid.

There are a number of possible causes, but I've found acid reflux and other issues are often related to food sensitivities. A holistic physician can help determine which foods might be causing your problems, and then you can learn to avoid them -- and stop the flare-ups before they start.

For complete food allergy testing in Southern California, make an appointment to see me at my clinic outside San Diego. And if you're not in the area, I'm also available for telephone consultations. Call 855-DOC-MARK to set up a call.