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Posts Tagged ‘b12 deficiency bariatric surgery’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

Monday, October 28th, 2013



Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur because of diet, medication, or gastrointestinal surgery, but it can also be hereditary. Genetic pernicious anemia is a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency that sometimes slips right off the radar, yet can produce debilitating symptoms of extreme fatigue, disorientation, muscular pain, and depression.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?

Listed are just some of the most common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. For a more complete list, see vitamin B12 deficiency causes.


Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based food sources such as fish, chicken, beef, and dairy products. The foods that have the most vitamin B12 are shellfish and organ meats. So if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it’s vitally important to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent becoming anemic.


Certain medications can inhibit your ability to digest vitamin B12 from foods; these include PPIs for acid reflux and heartburn, metformin for diabetes, and certain antidepressants.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Also, if you’ve ever had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or gastrointestinal surgery for Crohn’s disease, then you are required to take lifelong vitamin B12 supplements.

Autoimmune diseases

The more autoimmune disorders you have, the likelier your chances of developing new ailments caused by a weak immune system. Vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia is one such autoimmune disease that can occur alone or along with other genetic autoimmune dysfunctions.

Genetic pernicious anemia is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme needed to absorb vitamin B12.

Pernicious anemia can occur as an autoimmune disorder, or it can develop as a comorbid condition to other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or celiac disease.

If you eat a healthy diet of lean meats and seafood, and you don’t fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, then your cause of vitamin B12 deficiency may be genetic.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Vitamin B12 is crucial for many important biochemical responses throughout your body. Vitamin B12 aids in red blood cell formation, and also sustains healthy neurological functioning.

Vitamin B12 boosts cellular energy, supports a good metabolism, and helps to regulate levels of homocysteine, a hormone linked with heart attack and stroke.

Untreated, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia can result severe irreversible damage to your nervous system, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, cognitive impairments, and sometimes, death.

Getting tested

Off the bat, your family medical history can tell you if you’re prone to vitamin B12 deficiency from genetic pernicious anemia. If anybody in your family suffers from pernicious anemia or any autoimmune disorder, then your chances of developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency are higher than normal.

You can test for vitamin B12 deficiency easily with one blood test, but the results are not always accurate. In diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor should pay attention to the symptoms you’re experiencing and how well you’re responding to vitamin B12 supplementation.

Please tell us…

Do you or your parents have vitamin B12 deficiency? Have you found a genetic link to that or other autoimmune disorders?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.
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Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013



About half the population has a gene mutation making them prone to genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, according to researchers, which would explain the growing epidemic of pernicious anemia from untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. About 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12, and many don’t even realize it until the debilitating symptoms begin to set in. Here are the facts on genetic vitamin B12 deficiency.

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

The MTHFR gene and B12 Deficiency

Everybody has two MTHFR genes, one from each parent. These genes are necessary for efficiently converting vitamin B12 to a usable form, and in effect also maintaining healthy homocysteine levels.

If you have defective MTHFR genes, then you’re not able to convert cobalamin to usable vitamin B12 as effectively as somebody without the gene defect.

However, nearly 50% of all people have a defected MTHFR gene from one parent, and 10% have mutated MTHFR genes from both parents, making them more likely to suffer genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, and also elevated levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries and increased risk for heart attack.

Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complicated process, and there are many things that can go wrong. Certain health conditions, medications, invasive surgeries, dietary restrictions, and yes- genetics- can impede your ability to digest vitamin B12 properly from food sources and vitamin supplements.

Common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Vegan and vegetarian dieting
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and fibromyalgia
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • MTHFR gene mutations
  • Gastrointestinal infections or illnesses, such as leaky gut, Crohn’s, celiac, and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Bariatric surgeries or ilium removal for Crohn’s treatment
  • Medications such as metformin for diabetes and PPIs for GERD
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

Find out if you have genetic B12 Deficiency

There are several ways of finding out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, including plasma vitamin B12 level screening, complete blood count (CBC) and homocysteine blood screening for Hyperhomocysteinemia.

As for testing for the MTHFR gene mutation, there are no official guidelines as to who should be tested. So unless you request a test for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency from a doctor who is able to comply, then your best bet is to stay on top of vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels, and supplement daily with vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6.

Treating vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’re tested with genetic vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a gene mutation, or any form of vitamin B12 deficiency that doesn’t stem from diet, then it’s absolutely essential to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other severe malnutrition. Diet alone will not provide you the amount of vitamin B12 needed in order to prevent pernicious anemia.

Please tell us…

Would you consider getting tested for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency? Do one or both parents also have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013



According to health reports, vitamin B12 deficiency in bariatric surgery patients is on the rise. But before you commit to bariatric surgery, you need to know how it will affect your body’s absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12 (cobalamin). In some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can be just as debilitating as morbid obesity.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Vitamin B12 deficiency after Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight for most of your life, then you may be considering a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. Before you go under the knife, you should know the health risks involved with bariatric surgery; vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies observed after weight loss surgery. Bariatric patients are at an increased risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because their digestive tracts have been altered in such a way as to interfere with the natural absorption of this crucial vitamin.

Signs of severe vitamin B12 deficiency include depression, memory loss, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders. (Read this: Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List)

Vitamin B12 is needed for healthy red blood cells and cognitive excellence, plus it protects the nerve cells from harm. So when vitamin B12 levels plummet, as they often do a few years post-bariatric surgery, patients begin to suffer symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that affect memory, mental health, and nervous system integrity.

Bariatric Surgery Causes Malabsorption

In healthy adults, vitamin B12 is broken down in the acidic environment of the stomach.  Intrinsic factor, which is released by the parietal cells in the stomach, then binds with vitamin B12 in the duodenum. The bound vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the ileum.

During gastric bypass surgery, however, the portions of the gastrointestinal tract responsible for making intrinsic factor, most of the stomach and duodenum, are bypassed, limiting the breakdown of vitamin B12 and its subsequent binding with intrinsic factor, causing vitamin B12 malabsorption, or the inability to digest vitamin B12 naturally from foods or even pill form.

You cannot absorb enough vitamin B12 to prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Without the right type of  supplementation, your vitamin B12 levels will slowly decline, along with your health.

Gastric Bypass Side Effects your Surgeon Forgot to Mention

Which kind of B12 is best?

For patients of bariatric surgery, only very miniscule amounts of vitamin B12 are absorbed through the digestive tract; this true for vitamin B12 food sources and vitamin B12 in a pill form. It doesn’t matter if you swallow a vitamin B12 pill whole or get your vitamin B12 in chewable or liquid form; once you’ve had bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 if ingested via the digestive tract will not be absorbed into the body.

To prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency in patients of gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 supplements that deposit B12 molecules directly into the bloodstream are the only real option. There are several non-oral methods of supplying vitamin B12 that are available by prescription or over the counter.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

Most vitamin B12 supplements are 1,000mcg. Your doctor may recommend weekly, biweekly, or monthly doses of vitamin B12.

For optimum results in preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, bariatric surgery patients may take as much vitamin B12 as they need to prevent debilitating symptoms, as there is no upper limit for vitamin B12 under FDA guidelines, so no risk of overdosing or experiencing any negative side effects.

Plus, the extra vitamin B12 may help with weight loss, as B12 boosts energy, promotes good metabolism, and sustains healthy mental balance.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Getting your Vitamin B12, Post-Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery: What 50 Post-Op Patients have to Say

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Image courtesy of Ambro/freedigitalphotos

B12 and Bariatric Surgery

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Gastric Bypass Surgery has gained much notoriety in recent years as a fairly safe and efficient way to deal with weight issues which are difficult to manage. For many people the operation became a life-saving step, totally transforming their existence. However Gastric Bypass Surgery has its own setbacks, and it can and does affect the ability to absorb nutrients well from the foods ingested. It can also inhibit the effect of oral supplementation of vitamins. Gastric Bypass can affect B12 and other nutrient absorption on several levels.gastric_bypass_roux-en-y

1.  The daily food intake is a bariatric patient is often greatly reduced, as the procedure prevents one from ingesting large portions.

2. The new stomach structure is made to bypass a portion of the digestive portion of the tract where most of the absorption of many vitamins and minerals occurs.

3. The gastric pouch is so reduced in size that it produces negligible amounts of the enzymes needed for the complete digestion and absorption of many foods.

4. The new digestive system prevents normal levels of production of gastric acid and intrinsic factor which are necessary for the proper absorption of vitamin B12

We will now discuss these points to clarify exactly how bariatric surgery hampers with the proper absorption of B12 vitamin and other nutrients. Firstly, as mentioned above, much of the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food occurs within the small intestine. Although only a small portion of the intestine is actually affected by the surgery (specifically in the hopes of avoiding problems with malabsorption), issues with intake of minerals and vitamins still arise. Many bariatric patients are told in post-treatment that it may be optimal for them to begin B12 injection therapy, and some doctors suggest that this 1000 mcg injection be administered daily, as the effect of surgery on the intrinsic factor could be damaging.

The surgery heavily affects the production of the intrinsic factor and gastric juices, which can end up causing a severe B12 deficiency in a matter of weeks (to read more about the importance of the intrinsic factor for B12 absorption click here). With the functions of intrinsic factor unable to properly bind to the vitamin and be reabsorbed in the small intestine, the individual is at high risk for developing the symptoms of the deficiency. It will also poorly influence the general wellbeing of the individual just recovering from surgery.

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