Is there any possible connection between pancreatitis and vitamins, or is this another vitamin myth. The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no, as there are some vitamins that can be very helpful in controlling the symptoms associated with it; however, there are some that may actually contribute to this condition if you are taking mega dosages of them. There is also one nutrient that if it becomes deficient in your body, is speculated to actually cause this very painful condition.
What is Pancreatitis?
To fully understand any possible connection between pancreatitis and vitamins, it is very helpful to understand exactly what it is, the symptoms to watch for, the myriad of potential causes, as well as exactly what nutrients can help and why they help.
Pancreatitis is a condition that is very easy to understand; it is the inflammation of your pancreas, which is the long and flat gland that is located behind your stomach in your upper abdomen. Its main responsibility in your body is to produce enzymes that help you digest your food as well as hormones that help to regulate the way your body process glucose. This condition can occur in two different forms; acute as well as chronic. If it is acute, it will attack very quickly, but will generally last for only a few hours or a few days.
If it is chronic, it can literally last for several years. In the majority of cases, if it is acute and mild, there is no need to treat it, but once you have had it, you may want to consider how to prevent it from reoccurring, which is where the first of the connections between pancreatitis and vitamins begin to develop. However, if it becomes chronic and severe enough, it can challenge you with life time potential complications as well as being extremely painful in some cases. In this case, there are still some nutrients that can help.
The potential connections between pancreatitis and vitamins continue with the symptoms, and when the acute form attacks you, these attacks can range from very mild to quite severe. The first of these signs or symptoms is in most all cases a pain in your upper abdomen that after a period of time will make its way to your mid to lower back area. In the vast majority of cases, these pains will become much more intense after you have eaten and may lead to both nausea as well as vomiting. In some cases, your abdomen or the area directly surrounding it may be very tender when you touch it.
If it is the chronic form, you will also experience upper abdomen pain, but you will also have extended periods of indigestion. Because of this, you may start to lose weight, as well as begin to develop what is referred to as steatorrhea, which is a situation where you stools will appear to be almost oily in nature as well as be extremely foul in smell. There are cases where certain medications can also cause steatorrhea, but it will stop when you quit taking these medications. In this case, it does not stop.
However, in further connecting pancreatitis and vitamins, it is also helpful to understand why this is happening. Pancreatitis occurs as the result of the digestive enzymes that are produced in your pancreas activating while they are still inside of it, which begins to damage it. If everything is normal, your pancreatic enzymes stay inactivated and move through tunnels or ducts in your pancreas, where they are then sent to your small intestine and then activated. Once they are activated, they begin to assist in the digestion process. However, with this condition, they are activated before this process, which immediately begin to irritate the cells in your pancreas, which in turn triggers the inflammation.
If this condition becomes chronic, it will begin to scar this organ, which will eventually affect its ability to function, which can lead to other complications such as several digestive problems as well as diabetes.
There are several potential causes of this condition, including a deficiency of vitamin B-12, according to some experts. Leading the list of potential causes are two very controllable habits, heavy alcohol consumption and smoking, both which can also affect the absorption of nutrients into your system. Gallstones, any type of a recent abdominal surgery, as well as cystic fibrosis are also potential causes, as well as medications that may be used to treat gallstones.
Hypercalcemia, hyperparathyroidism, as well as hypertriglyceridemia are also potential causes. Hypercalcemia is a situation where there are very high levels of calcium in your bloodstream, and hyperparathyroidism is a situation where there are high levels of the hormone parathyroid in your blood. Hypertriglyceridemia is a situation where you have very high levels of triglycerides in your bloodstream.
Pancreatitis and Vitamins:
The connections between pancreatitis and vitamins begin with B-12, and it is believed that a deficiency of this nutrient may also trigger this condition, although this is still being studied and is controversial. However, what is not controversial is that pancreatitis can very easily cause this vitamin to become deficient in your body very rapidly, which is also a very dangerous situation.
Vitamin B-12 is absolutely critical in the formation of myelin, which is a fatty sheath of insulation that protects your nerve fibers. It is these fibers that keep the electrical impulses moving throughout your entire body, and if this process is interrupted, it can very easily cause fatigue, as well as a loss of both balance and reflexes. However, this nutrient is also very important in the production of your red blood cells. The major reason this condition interferes with this nutrient, is the fact that it is absorbed in your stomach, and if you happen to have what is referred to as a lack of the intrinsic factor, this vitamin may not be extracted from the food that you eat.
The intrinsic factor is a protein that is made in your stomach and helps to extract B-12 from digested food, and if this or pancreatitis is stealing this nutrient from your food, it has to be supplemented, preferably by a liquid form of B12, as it absorbs more efficiency in your body. However, in chronic forms of this condition, you may have to use what is referred to as a B12 patch in order to restore all of your normal body functions. Although liquid vitamins are much more effective than pills or capsules, a patch delivers this nutrient directly from your skin right into your bloodstream.
There are also other possible connections between pancreatitis and vitamins, and they include calcium, vitamin D, C, and E. If you are ingesting too much calcium, it can easily trigger one of the potential causes, hypercalcemia, and it is also a theory that mega-doses of vitamin D can also trigger this condition because of its connections with calcium. Both vitamin C and E can be very effective at treating this condition for one basic reason; they both help to slow down inflammation. When they are combined, they are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
There are several connections between pancreatitis and vitamins, and while there is speculation that B-12 can prevent it, there is none that this condition can definitely cause of deficiency of it. If you suffer from the either form, liquid multi-vitamins can definitely help, as they will deliver the correct amounts of all these nutrients much more effectively to your bloodstream. By simply taking the recommended daily dosage, you can help to prevent too much calcium and vitamin D, and at the same time, receive the amounts of B-12, C and E that you need.
Mayo Clinic: Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis and Vitamin B-12
Pancreatitis and Vitamin B-12 Patches