B12 DEFICIENCY MAY BE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK
Clinical B12 deficiency affects approximately 48 million adults. It is a serious problem associated with hematological and neurological changes like megaloblastic anemia, irreversible nerve damage, memory impairment, early-onset dementia, and depression.
Low B12 can be caused in 2 ways: not getting enough B12 in your diet, or not absorbing vitamins in your diet correctly.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR CLINICAL B12 DEFICIENCY?
Patients who have these health conditions are at higher risk for dangerously low B12 levels:
- Chron’s Disease
- HIV Infection
- Acid-related stomach problems and take Proton Pump Inhibitors
- Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Parasites (fish tapeworm)
- Atrophic Gastritis or Inflammation of the Stomach Lining
- Pernicious Anemia
- Diabetes and/or Take Metformin
- Bacterial Overgrowth of the Small Intestine
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Celiac Disease
B12 deficiency can be caused by either malnutrition or inadequate absorption. People in these categories should be considered for their risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.1
Malnutrition can be based on demographic characteristics, such as age; and behavioral characteristics, such as vegetarianism or veganism.
Elderly people can be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because of a poor diet, often due to confusion, isolation, inability to get around, and financial hardship
Vegetarian and vegan diets lack animal protein, which is an important source of vitamin B12
TESTING FOR B12 DEFICIENCY
Initial laboratory testing could include:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Peripheral blood smear
- Serum cobalamin
- Patient image
Confirming the diagnosis should include testing for elevations in the following levels: