vitamin B12

Metformin causes vitamin B12 deficiency

Sunday, October 31, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Metformin, vitamin B12, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads
Ben and Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders
Right to farm being stripped from Americans: Michigan to criminalize small family farms with chickens, goats, honey bees and more
Delicious
(NaturalNews) Long-term use of the popular diabetes drug metformin (originally marketed as Glucophage) may cause patients to develop a steadily worsening vitamin B12 deficiency, Dutch scientists have found.

"Our study shows that this decrease is not a transitory phenomenon, but persists and grows over time," wrote the Maastricht University Medical Center researchers in the British Medical Journal.

This is an issue of particular concern given the prevalence of diabetes and the popularity of metformin as a treatment.

"Metformin is considered a cornerstone in the treatment of diabetes and is the most frequently prescribed first line therapy for individuals with type 2 diabetes," the researchers wrote. "In addition, it is one of a few ... associated with improvements in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, which is a major cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes."

Earlier, short-term studies had found that use of the drug might lead to insufficient levels of the vitamin in the body. The new study confirmed this trend over the long term.

"Metformin does ... induce vitamin B12 malabsorption, which may increase the risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency -- a clinically important and treatable condition," the researchers wrote.

The researchers assigned 390 Type 2 diabetes patients at the outpatient clinics of three nonacademic hospitals to take either metformin or a placebo pill three times per day for more than four years. The average study participant had been diagnosed with diabetes 13 years prior and had been undergoing insulin treatment for seven years. Average participant age was 61.

Among those taking metformin, vitamin B12 levels began to steadily drop relative to those who were taking a placebo pill. The biggest drop occurred in the first few months, but the decrease continued over the course of the study.

After four years, participants in the metformin group had undergone a 19 percent relative reduction in their levels of the nutrient. They were 11.2 percent more likely than placebo participants to suffer from B12 insufficiency and 7.2 percent more likely to suffer from deficiency.

For every 8.9 patients treated with metformin, one would develop insufficient vitamin B12 levels. This increased risk remained after researchers adjusted for other risk factors including age, duration of diabetes, insulin dose, sex, smoking status and previous treatment with metformin.

"Our study shows that it is reasonable to assume harm will eventually occur in some patients with metformin-induced low vitamin B12 levels," the researchers wrote.

The researchers found that metformin seems to inhibit the intestine's absorption of vitamin B12. Fortunately, calcium supplements appear to reverse this effect.

Vitamin B12 is critical for maintaining nerve and red blood cell health. It can be found in animal products, nutritional yeast and fortified breakfast cereals. Symptoms of deficiency include anemia, fatigue, nerve damage and cognitive changes. Because similar symptoms often occur in diabetics and the elderly, deficiency may be hard to detect in such populations. Yet while B12 deficiency can carry severe consequences, it is relatively easy to correct with supplementation.

The researchers suggested that all patients taking metformin have their vitamin B12 levels tested regularly to avoid potentially severe consequences.

"Vitamin B-12 deficiency is preventable; therefore, our findings suggest that regular measurement of vitamin B-12 concentrations during long-term metformin treatment should be strongly considered." the researchers wrote.

Nearly 11 percent of the U.S. population, or 24 million people, suffer from diabetes. Of these 5.7 million are undiagnosed. In addition, 57 million people in the United States alone are estimated to be pre-diabetic, or at imminent risk of developing the disease.

Worldwide, an estimated 246 million people suffer from the disease. Prevalence is only expected to increase as the spreading Western diet and lifestyle lead to increasing rates of obesity.

Sources for this story include: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64J7BF... http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/722267; http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Di....

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.