The Diabetes Drug Metformin Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Most of the doctors tend to ignore the importance of the Vitamin B12 levels in the body. Even when tested, the “normal” levels of Vitamin B12 may still be low.

Normal levels of Vitamin B12 are from 200pg/ml to 1100 pg/ml. However, many people have between 200-350 pg/ml which is the lowest end of the spectrum, and this is considered vitamin B12 deficiency.

So, if you’re levels of Vitamin B12 are below 600 pg/ml, you may experience vitamin B12 deficiency.

According to Chris Kresser, the integrative medicine practitioner, in Europe and Japan, the lower limit of this vitamin is between 500-550 pg/ml. This level can bring about many behavioral and psychological conditions such as dementia, cognitive decline, and memory loss.

Jeffery Stuart and Sally Pacholok, experts, specialized in diagnosis and treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency recommend that all patients with less than 450 pg/ml of B12 in their body should be treated.

Also, patients with elevated urinary methylmalonic acid, holo transcobalamin, and homocysteine but normal levels of B12 should undergo certain treatment.

The Role of Vitamin B12
Proper digestion
Food absorption
Iron use
Regulate the formation of red blood cells
Adrenal hormone production
Mood regulation
Healthy nervous system function
Cell formation and longevity
Healthy immune system function
Mental clarity
Normal nerve growth and development
Proper circulation
Support of pregnancy and female reproductive health
Emotional, physical and mental energy
Additional Roles of Vitamin B12
Bone Health
According to some researchers, vitamin B12 deficiency can seriously affect people’s bone health. Also, low level of vitamin B12 can increase the risk of bone fractures in older men while older women experienced rapid bone loss in the hips.

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Mental and Cognitive Health
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to some neurological disturbances that promote dementia, depression and other mental illnesses.

The journal Neurology has published a small Finnish study which found that foods rich in B12 can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B12
People who fail to consume animal products have a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency since it is available in the animal food sources. Other foods rich in B12 include grass-fed dairy products, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, organic free-range eggs, and chicken.

It’s highly important that children receive plenty of vitamin B12 in order not to experience impaired cognitive performance as adolescents.

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Factors That Can Affect the Absorption of Vitamin B12
As people get older, the stomach produces less hydrochloric acid and in turn less vitamin B12. However, the absorption of vitamin B12 can be influenced by other factors, such as:

Pernicious anemia
Intestinal dysbiosis
Exposure to nitrous oxide
Gut inflammation
Usage of acid-suppressing drugs and metformin
Metformin and Vitamin B12
According to a three-year study conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program, lifestyle changes have proved more effective than the use of metformin in the prevention of diabetes development. After 15 years, the follow-up study has shown that lifestyle changes are still more effective than the use of metformin.

So, those participants in the study who made some lifestyle changes have 58% lower risk to develop diabetes than the placebo group. The participants who used metformin had 31% lower risk of diabetes.

Also, these lifestyle changes help people treat and reverse diabetes. So, these are excellent news for those people who use metformin and thus experience vitamin B12 deficiency.

To sum up, the longer the person takes metformin, the higher the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency development.

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