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Posts Tagged ‘intrinsic factor’

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

Monday, November 18th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the body- and the hardest to digest, for many people. A water-based B vitamin, cobalamin is essential for the nervous system, blood cells, and for DNA. Yet an increasing number of people don’t get enough vitamin B12 from food, and as a result feel fatigued and disoriented from pernicious anemia.

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 is essential for survival; it is involved in some of the most vital processes that take place in the body.

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain production of healthy red blood cells. Without enough vitamin B12 in your system, your body starts producing overlarge irregular-shaped blood cells that cannot function properly, resulting in a depletion of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

Vitamin B12 also aids in converting carbohydrates into necessary energy, ensuring that you have plenty of stamina and mental focus during the day.

Vitamin B12 enhances your nervous system functioning by helping to maintain myelin, a fatty coating that surrounds each individual nerve cell.

Vitamin B12 supports cell reproduction and renewal in preventing common signs of aging.

Boost your Metabolism with Vitamin B12

What foods provide vitamin B12?

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include meats, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Among these, organ meat and shellfish provide the richest natural source of vitamin B12.

While it’s possible to find vegan products that are fortified with vitamins such as B12, these are not natural forms of the vitamin, and don’t provide the maximum amount needed to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels.

To prevent deficiency, vegans and vegetarians are recommended to take vitamin B12 supplements on a regular basis.

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is complicated

Vitamin B12 is one of the few nutrients that require a cofactor for proper absorption. It’s not a simple matter of eating plenty of foods the contain vitamin B12, such as beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products. To complete the digestion process, your body uses a digestive enzyme called intrinsic factor, which bonds to the vitamin and escorts it through your digestive system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia

If your vitamin B12 levels have been low for a very long period of time, you may have pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs when people are unable to produce intrinsic factor.

Pernicious anemia can result from an autoimmune disorder or it can occur as a result of damage to the stomach lining (gastritis).

If you have pernicious anemia, then you can’t get enough vitamin B12 from swallowing pills or other dietary supplements. Only supplementation with a highly-absorbable form of vitamin B12 that enters directly into the blood stream can reverse the symptoms of severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Risk factors for pernicious anemia include:

  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Removal of ilium for Crohn’s disease
  • Metformin for diabetes
  • Protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) for GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn, or ulcer
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic migraines
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

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

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

By the time you start to notice the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, you are already on a dangerous decline, as it takes years for the symptoms to manifest themselves. Also, blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency don’t give you ample warning to up your vitamin B12 intake, as they only test for extremely low levels of vitamin B12, and aren’t always even accurate in such screenings.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Constant fatigue, even after sleeping well
  • Depression
  • Slow talking and thinking
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, eye twitches
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Sore, burning red tongue

How much B12 do I need?

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 consumption for healthy people who don’t have a deficiency is a scant 2 or 3 micrograms per day. Why then do most vitamin B12 supplements contain a whopping 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 in one weekly dose?

If you are unable to produce intrinsic factor, then you can only digest about 1% of all the vitamin B12 you get from foods, pills, or other supplements.

So, to get the amount you need to keep your B12 levels at a normal rate, you need to take about 100 times the amount any other person would need to stay healthy.

Please tell us…

Have you ever been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Do you suffer from chronic fatigue that you can’t explain?

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:

Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

 

 

If you suffer from constant lot of stomach bloating and other signs of indigestion, it can be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Your ability to digest vitamin B12 and use it to prevent pernicious anemia can be traced directly to the environment in your gut. Symptoms of stomach bloating can be the first clue in distinguishing why you’re suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, and how to prevent it.

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

Vitamin B12 malabsorption

When your digestive system is not working properly, then you’re not getting enough vitamin B12. That’s because unlike other vitamins, B12 cannot be absorbed from foods without the help of certain digestive enzymes that are produced by your parietal cells of the stomach.  

Gastritis (stomach inflammation) is one of several causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption.

So even though you eat plenty of meat, chicken, and fish, you aren’t getting the vitamin B12 you need in order to survive. And it all stems from your gastrointestinal health.

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Pernicious anemia occurs in the stomach

Intrinsic factor is one such protein that your body needs, both to extract cobalamin (vitamin B12) from food and to utilize it efficiently so that it reaches your blood stream.

But with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or if there is any type of damage to your esophagus, stomach walls, or intestinal tract, then you run a high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly pernicious anemia.

So while people assume that pernicious anemia is a blood disease, it really begins in the stomach, with bloating, acid reflux, and heartburn.

Symptoms of stomach disorders

The following symptoms, if they occur often, may indicate a breakdown in your digestive system that requires immediate treatment in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and many other ailments:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Stomach bloating
  • Hardening of the stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • “Lump” in your throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Frequent burping
  • Flatulence

IBD or IBS- What’s the Difference in a Tummy Ache?

Comorbid illnesses

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are comorbid with vitamin B12 deficiency, as are many other autoimmune disorders and chronic pain conditions.

The following illnesses and health problems cause damage to the stomach that may also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Migraines
  • Celiac disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Diverticulitis
  • Esophageal stricture

Please tell us…

Have you been experiencing stomach bloating and other signs of digestive disorders, but didn’t realize they were connected to vitamin B12 deficiency?

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:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Here’s your Crohn’s Disease Survival Kit

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Vitamin B12 deficiency and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria are linked in several studies as having a strong causative correlation with each other. Even in people without gastritis or other digestive problems, scientists have detected H. pylori bacteria in more than half of patients suffering from pernicious anemia due to untreated vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

H. pylori causes vitamin B12 deficiency

H. pylori bacteria damages parietal cells needed to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme which helps to absorb vitamin B12 from the foods we eat.

There are many causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, and if you live in a developed country, then you can probably overrule H. pylori infection.

Still, the numbers add up; about half of the world’s population is carriers of these harmful bacteria, so it’s a good idea to check this one off your list of possible causes of vitamin B12 deficiency.

In a Turkish study on vitamin B12 deficiency and H. pylori, researchers studied 138 patients with pernicious anemia, and discovered the H. pylori infection in 56% of vitamin B12 deficiency sufferers.

Furthermore, removing the bacteria resulted in higher vitamin B12 levels in 40% of afflicted patients, proving that the helicobacter pylori infection can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

In a study based in Pakistan and published by the World Applied Sciences Journal, vitamin B12 deficiency was observed in nearly half of test subjects afflicted with H. Pylori.

In another study, H. pylori has been detected in nearly 78% of people suffering from severe vitamin B12 deficiency, compared with 44% of test subjects with normal healthy levels of vitamin B12.

Who gets H. pylori?

According to studies, H. pylori infections affect more than half of the world’s population, though about 80% will never notice the symptoms.

Still, H. pylori as a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in developed countries where it is not a high risk factor.

H. pylori infection is recognized as a public health problem, and is often associated with stomach ulcers.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

H. pylori bacteria can be spread through contaminated food, saliva, vomit, and fecal matter.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of H. pylori also occur with vitamin B12 deficiency; this is not surprising, as gastric dysfunctions are common causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption.

Symptoms of H. pylori include:

  • Stomach pain, bloating
  • Frequent burping
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black stools
  • Tar-like vomit

Treatment options

To treat vitamin B12 deficiency caused by H. pylori, it’s important to remove the bacteria while also boosting vitamin B12 levels.

Treatments include:

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Antibiotics
  • Acid suppression
  • Intense vitamin B12 supplementation

Please tell us…

Have you been tested for H. pylori with vitamin B12 deficiency?

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:

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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

Sources:

Helicobacter pylori: A Cause of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Impact of Helicobacter pylori on the development of vitamin B12 deficiency in the absence of gastric atrophy

Image courtesy of fotographic1980/freedigitalphotos

What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

 

 

There are many causes of pernicious anemia, including autoimmune conditions, medications, and damage to the intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by vegan dieting is not considered a cause of pernicious anemia, as it can be reversed by eating foods containing ample amounts of vitamin B12.

What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Digestive illnesses

Crohn’s disease, celiac, and fibromyalgia can impair your ability to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that is needed in order to extract vitamin B12 from food and replenish supplies of vitamin B12 in the blood stream. Pernicious anemia is often comorbid with illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal system. For prevention, check vitamin B12 levels routinely and supplement with non-pill forms of vitamin B12.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Genetics

If either of your parents or grandparents suffered from pernicious anemia, then you are also a high risk category for vitamin B12 deficiency. With frequent testing, you can catch the onset of vitamin B12 deficiency before it advances to pernicious anemia.

Pernicious Anemia- What’s your Risk?

Medication-induced vitamin B12 deficiency

Certain medications can eventually impair your ability to absorb vitamin B12, leading to pernicious anemia; these include PPIs used to treat GERD (acid reflux), metformin for diabetes, and various antibiotics, NSAIDs and antidepressants. If you are on long-term medication, check to see if you are a risk factor for megaloblastic anemia and use vitamin B12 supplements.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Gastrointestinal surgery

If you have had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or surgical treatments for illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, then pernicious anemia may result because of vitamin B12 malabsorption. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, supplement with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

Please tell us…

Do you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent symptoms of pernicious anemia, or would you feel better if your doctor would prescribe more vitamin B12?

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:

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Image courtesy of keepingtime_ca/flickr

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

 

 

Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs with severe vitamin B12 deficiency. To find the right treatment and understand symptoms of fatigue, depression, and chronic pain, it helps to understand how pernicious anemia impairs your red blood cells and what you can do for prevention.

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Megaloblastic anemia

There are several types of anemia, and they are usually classified by the way they impair red blood cells in size and shape. Specifically, megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder in which red blood cells called megaloblasts become too large to function properly, resulting in fewer healthy red blood cells needed to deliver oxygen throughout your body; symptoms of memory loss, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and agitation occur when your vital organs and tissues don’t receive enough oxygen.

Quick facts:

  • With megaloblastic anemia, your body starts producing red blood cells that are overlarge, misshapen, and poorly developed.
  • New red blood cells do not mature- they die before their life expectancy.
  • Healthy red blood cells become replaced by these distorted megaloblasts.
  • Bone marrow starts producing fewer red blood cells.
  • Your body starts receiving less oxygen, causing a breakdown in various bodily functions of the organs, tissues, and nervous system.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 malabsorption, the inability to digest vitamin B12 found in meat, fish, dairy, and egg products. Since vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can progress into severe pernicious anemia, a once-fatal condition that is now prevented through vitamin B12 supplementation.

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable

Quick facts:

  • Pernicious anemia occurs with vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Pernicious anemia used to be fatal, until scientists discovered that symptoms could be cured with vitamin B12 supplementation.
  • Foods richest in vitamin B12 are seafood and organ meats.
  • Even if you eat plenty of beef, chicken, and fish, you may still have vitamin B12 deficiency through lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme needed to digest and absorb vitamin B12.
  • Pernicious anemia is one type of megaloblastic anemia; another type occurs with folic acid deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Please tell us…

Have you been diagnosed with pernicious anemia or another type of megaloblastic anemia? If so, what kind of vitamin B12 supplements do you use- vitamin B12 shots or over-the-counter vitamin B12?

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:

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Image courtesy of Genista/flickr

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

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

 

 

About 25% of people in the US have vitamin B12 deficiency anemia without even knowing it. Pernicious anemia, a debilitating condition that occurs when vitamin B12 levels dip to a dangerous low, can result from underlying health problems that many doctors don’t pick up.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Pernicious anemia- What is it?

Anemia is a condition that happens when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin. Vitamin B12 is necessary for producing plenty of normal-sized red blood cells, so when vitamin B12 levels dip low, you experience symptoms of pernicious anemia, which is a type of megaloblastic anemia.

Early signs of pernicious anemia such as dizziness, tiredness, and difficulty remembering things occur because your brain is not getting enough oxygen, due to fewer red blood cells.

Symptoms of pernicious anemia include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Painful numbness and tingling sensations
  • Muscle spasms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shallow breathing

B12- why you’re not getting it

People often ask, “What’s the big deal about vitamin B12 deficiency anemia? If you’re not feeling well, then can’t you just eat more foods with vitamin B12?”

Most people do eat enough foods containing vitamin B12. Unless you follow a vegan diet, then you probably ingest enough vitamin B12 from beef, chicken, and seafood to last a lifetime.

The problem lies with vitamin B12 malabsorption; there are so many risk factors that interfere with your ability to digest vitamin B12 from the foods you eat.

Medications, autoimmune disorders, weight-loss surgeries, and gastrointestinal disorders- these all affect vitamin B12 absorption.

Vitamin B12: It takes two

Vitamin B12 cannot be digested by itself- it requires a co-factor, a “partner” in digestion. To absorb vitamin B12, you need specific digestive enzymes, such as intrinsic factor, which is manufactured in your gut, or stomach acids that help to break down vitamin B12 molecules.

You risks for developing vitamin B12 deficiency- pernicious anemia are high if:

  • You don’t have intrinsic factor in your gut
  • Your autoimmune system destroys the intrinsic factor you make
  • You are a senior citizen who doesn’t produce enough stomach acids to digest vitamin B12
  • You have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as bariatric surgery

If you fall into any of those categories, then it’s essential to get your vitamin B12 from supplementation, preferably in a non-dietary form, so that you may bypass the need for digestion in the stomach.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

To test for vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a simple blood test. You may need to continue checking your vitamin B12 levels regularly.

To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and restore healthy vitamin B12 levels, doctors recommend at least 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 supplements weekly, or more often, as needed.

For more info, read:

Anemia Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Is it Anemia from Vitamin B12 Deficiency, or Low Iron?

Sources:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia

Facts About Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Image courtesy of artur84/freedigitalphotos

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

 

 

If you have a family history for pernicious anemia or other autoimmune disorders, then your chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are higher than normal, even if you eat a diet rich in foods containing this vital nutrient. Below are common risk factors for vitamin B12 malabsorption.

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption? B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 malabsorption

Several factors can interfere with your ability to digest vitamin B12, regardless of your diet. Vitamin B12 malabsorption can result from autoimmune disorders, old age, gastritis, or certain medications.

  • Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder which prevents you from manufacturing or accessing intrinsic factor correctly, resulting in severe vitamin B12 deficiency.  Sometimes, pernicious anemia is caused by gastrointestinal damage (atrophic gastritis) from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Old age is another risk factor for vitamin B12 malabsorption, as elderly individuals often do not make enough digestive enzymes to break down vitamin B12.
  • Surgeries involving removal of the ileum, such as gastric bypass surgery, also impair your ability to digest vitamin B12 naturally, necessitating vitamin B12 supplementation.
  • If you take protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for GERD, or metformin for diabetes, then you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, as certain medications interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.
  • Scientists have found a high correlation between various autoimmune disorders and increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Vitamin B12 malabsorption is one of many damaging effects of alcoholism, as recognized by many scientists.

Treating vitamin B12 malabsorption

If vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by an underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or acid reflux, then it is necessary to treat the primary illness in order to improve your ability to digest vitamin B12.

However, in the case of autoimmune disorders such as pernicious anemia, where intrinsic factor antibodies are diagnosed as the cause of vitamin B12 malabsorption, there is no “cure.”

In any case, only immediate and complete vitamin B12 supplementation can effective raise your vitamin B12 levels back to where they should be.

To maintain healthy levels of vitamin B12 in the blood, and avoid debilitating symptoms of fatigue and chronic pain, it may be necessary to continue with a regimen of non-dietary vitamin B12 for life.

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey

Sources:

How Is Vitamin B12 Absorbed by the Body?

Vitamin B12

Parietal Cells in Health and Diseases

Image(s) courtesy of Piyachok Thawornmat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


6 Steps of Vitamin B12 Absorption, in a Nutshell

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

 

 

Patients of vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia often wonder exactly what gets in the way of vitamin B12 absorption- why is it that you can eat rich sources of vitamin B12 found in beef, fish, and chicken, and still suffer from chronic fatigue, muscle pain, memory loss, and disorientation from low vitamin B12 levels?

6 Steps of Vitamin B12 Absorption, in a Nutshell- B12 Patch

How do we absorb vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 absorption begins in the mouth. When you eat animal-based foods such as lean beef, fish, and poultry, an R-protein in your saliva called haptocorrin, also known as transcobalamin-1, binds to the vitamin B12, creating vitamin B12-haptocorrin complex.

Step 2 of vitamin B12 absorption takes place in the esophagus, where the new vitamin B12-haptocorrin duo travels to the stomach.

In step 3, the vitamin B12 you ate is protected from caustic elements of the stomach, such as hydrochloric acid, which is produced by the parietal cells of the stomach. The stomach also produces intrinsic factor (IF), a protein which will be crucial in binding and digesting vitamin B12.

Next, in step 4 of vitamin B12 absorption, intrinsic factor and vitamin B12-haptocorrin travel from the stomach to the duodenum, the uppermost section of the small intestine, where vitamin B12 then separates from the R-protein and binds with intrinsic factor, forming a new compound- IF-Vitamin B12 complex.

In step 5, upon reaching the bottommost part of the small intestines, the ileum breaks down intrinsic factor, and releases vitamin B12, which then binds to transcobalamin-2.

Finally, in step 6, vitamin B12 is directed to the blood supply, the liver, bone marrow, or to several other cells of the body which require vitamin B12 for healthy maintenance.

What causes vitamin B12 malabsorption?

This will be covered in the tomorrow’s post…

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey

Which Tests check Absorption of Vitamin B12?

Sources:

How Is Vitamin B12 Absorbed by the Body?

Vitamin B12

Parietal Cells in Health and Diseases

Image(s) courtesy of dream designs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Absorbing Vitamin B12

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

 

 

 

How do you know if you’re absorbing vitamin B12? Just because you eat plenty of foods that are rich in vitamin B12 (cobalamin), that doesn’t mean you’re getting all the B12 you need for great health. Sometimes, things happen that interfere with your ability to digest vitamin B12, creating an obstacle to absorbing vitamin B12 naturally. This happens more often than you realize…

Absorbing vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 Patch

Why you need to take vitamin B12

You may be asking yourself, “Doesn’t my body produce vitamin B12 on its own? It makes lots of other vitamins.”

The short answer is, “No.” While you are able to store plenty of vitamin B12 in your liver for years to come, your body relies on a constant influx of vitamin B12 from dietary sources like lean beef, chicken, fish, and dairy foods, which it then uses to sustain energy levels, maintain a healthy nervous system, and regulate hormones.

The long answer is more complicated. This constant replenishment of vitamin B12 into your blood supply relies on intrinsic factor for absorbing vitamin B12 and carrying it through the digestive system. As long as you are always able to break down vitamin B12, then you are all right. However, if you are among a large percentage of people who cannot produce the intrinsic factor enzyme, then you must supplement constantly with vitamin B12 supplements, in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

What is vitamin B12 deficiency?

Whenever you’re not absorbing vitamin B12, you’re drawing it from your liver. Eventually, this store of essential vitamin B12 runs out, and you begin to notice the effects of vitamin B12.

The initial symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • “Brain fog” disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Painful tingling and numbness in the extremities, such as hands and feet
  • Sore, red tongue

Over time, if untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe neurological damage and a gradual depletion of red blood cells. Also, since vitamin B12 helps to regulate homocysteine, a hormone linked with heart attack and stroke, your risk for cardiovascular disease may increase. In rare occasions, infants solely breastfed by vegan mothers not absorbing vitamin B12 show signs of failure to thrive and feebleness.

What causes vitamin B12 malabsorption?

Many different factors can keep you from absorbing vitamin B12 naturally from foods.

They include:

  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • History for autoimmune disorder, such as fibromyalgia or celiac disease
  • Damage to the digestive system caused by acid reflux, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Gastrointestinal surgery, such as bariatric surgery or ileostomy
  • Medications, such as PPIs for GERD, or metformin for diabetes
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey

Treating vitamin B12 malabsorption

If you’re not absorbing vitamin B12, then it’s important to understand which kinds of vitamin B12 supplements to take, and which ones to avoid.

Most likely, your doctor will prescribe vitamin B12 shots. These are helpful, as they dispense vitamin B12 directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the need for absorbing vitamin B12 in the stomach.

Certain side effects of vitamin B12 shots are, obviously, pain, as cobalamin requires insertion into the thick fleshy tissue behind the thigh. Sometimes, bruising may occur.

Vitamin B12 shots are also often impractical. In most states, vitamin B12 injections require a prescription, and doctors are sometimes hesitant to prescribe enough monthly doses to relieve all the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Instead, many patients opt to supplement with extra vitamin B12 on their own.  Certain inexpensive over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are helpful for “topping off” vitamin B12 between shots. For optimum health and relief from symptoms, find non-dietary vitamin B12 supplements that distribute cobalamin directly into the bloodstream, not through the digestive system.

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Like this? Read more:

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1

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