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Posts Tagged ‘Glucophage and vitamin B12 deficiency’

Diabetics, Take Heed

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

A new study released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) warns diabetics who take metformin to get their blood checked regularly for vitamin deficiencies, particularly B12.

Sold under the brand name of Glucophage, metformin is often prescribed to patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes.  Metformin increases the body’s receptiveness to insulin while, at the same time, significantly decreasing the amount of glucose secreted by the liver; additionally, it also aids in lowering bad cholesterol.   Scientists, however, have reason to believe that metformin may prevent the body from efficiently absorbing B12, a vitamin which is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and red blood cell production.  According to recent research, patients who take metformin are 10% – 30% more likely to have difficulty utilizing B12.  Health experts urge anybody taking the medication over a long period of time to have their B12 levels tested routinely.

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed, as its symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Loss of memory
  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Slow blood clotting
  • Dandruff
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Red or sore tongue
  • Menstrual complications

Treatment for B12 deficiency may include a series of B12 vitamin supplements taken in the form of intramuscular injections.


Bloomberg Businessweek

Web MD

Diabetes Self-Management

Drugs That Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Here is a list of drugs that can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in their users.  The primary reason is that these drugs interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12.  Many people are totally unaware that these pharmaceuticals cause malabsorption of vitamin B12, and are therefore at risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency.

In general, people over age sixty have reduced levels of stomach acid.  The acid is necessary to aid in the extraction of vitamin B12 from the food we eat, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.

To further complicate matters, doctors often prescribe medications to treat different stomach illnesses.  These medications reduce the levels of stomach acid even further, which greatly impedes the absorption of vitamin B12.

Here are some drugs that interfere with absorption of vitamin B12:

  1. Drugs for heartburn and ulcers:  Prevacid, Prolisec, Protonix, Nexium, Zantac, Tagamet, Axid, Alternagel, Maalox, Mylanta, Riopan and Tums.
  2. Drugs for diabetes, potassium deficiency and congestive heart failure:  Glucophage, Glucovance, K-Lor, K-Lyte, Klotrix, K-Dur, Micro-K, Slow-K and potassium chloride.
  3. Drug to treat gout:  Cholchicine.
  4. Drug to treat high cholesterol:  Questran.
  5. Drug to treat infections:  Neomycin.
  6. Drug to treat tuberculosis:  Para-aminosalicylic acid.

These drugs can be highly problematic for seniors, who are prone to vitamin B12 deficiencies to begin with.  To make matters worse, many doctors don’t routinely administer blood tests to check blood plasma B12 levels.  There are many seniors who suffer from memory loss, fatigue, clumsiness, difficulty sleeping and tremors, but are not aware that these symptoms can be easily alleviated by taking vitamin B12 supplements.

If you know anyone taking the medications mentioned above, please tell him to have his blood plasma B12 levels checked.

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