What Are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

What Are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

What Are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

• Malabsorption. Malabsorption is the major cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. The absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines is unique. First, stomach acid is required to dissolve and release vitamin B12 from foods. The "free" vitamin B12 then binds the intrinsic factor in the stomach to form a complex that is absorbed by the intestines. Insufficient stomach acid or intrinsic factor could hinder the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines, resulting in vitamin B12 deficiency.

• Atrophic gastritis. About 10–30% of people aged 60 and older are afflicted by atrophic gastritis. Atrophic gastritis is caused by autoimmune disorders, resulting in immune cells wrongly attacking stomach cells. Atrophic gastritis lowers vitamin B12 absorption, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Furthermore, individuals age 60 and older have less stomach acid. Insufficient stomach acid affects the release of vitamin B12 from ingested foods, reduces the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines, and increases the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

What Types of Drugs May Interact with Vitamin B12?

• Drugs like omeprazole, ranitidine, colchicine, and metformin reduce the absorption of vitamin B12 through the intestines.

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