Nitrous oxide gas is used primarily as a local anesthetic in dentistry as well as in certain phases of cardiac bypass surgery.
Supplementation Possibly Helpful
Nitrous oxide can occasionally cause significant vitamin B 12 deficiency especially in people who are already borderline deficient in the vitamin (total vegetarians, for example) or those who are frequently exposed to the gas such as dentists and anesthesiologists. 1–4
The effect on B 12 impacts folate, too. 5,6,7
Taking folate and B 12 supplements at the U.S. Dietary Reference Intake (formerly known as the Recommended Dietary Allowance) levels should prevent any problems from developing.
1. Ermens AA, Refsum H, Rupreht J, et al. Monitoring cobalamin inactivation during nitrous oxide anesthesia by determination of homocysteine and folate plasma and urine. Clin Pharmacol Ther 49: 385–393, 1991.
Last reviewed October 2007 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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