Metformin, Diabetes, Vitamin b12 Deficiency and you!
At present, there is an increasing concern about the risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency among patients who are taking Metformin. Cobalamin and cyanocobalamin are the other names of vitamin B12 that plays significant roles in the human body like maintaining the health of your blood cells and your nervous system.
Studies show that vitamin B12 can aid in the prevention of such conditions as heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and a range of other diseases. Vitamin B12 is mainly obtained from animal products like beef, eggs, seafood and dairy products; hence, vegetarians are at a higher risk of suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency. Often, older people are also at a risk of b12 deficiency due to the absorption problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
Anemia, memory loss, neuropathy, confusion, mood disorders, mental fog, and dementia are some of the symptoms of the lack of B12.
Along with insulin and other anti-diabetic medications, Metformin is usually the first drug to be used for patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. If you have diabetes and are taking a daily dose of Metformin, make sure to check your Vitamin B12 levels. Because metformin hinders absorption of nutrients in the GI tract, there is a definite association of taking metformin with the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. A contributing factor is calcium malabsorption. Studies show that taking supplemental calcium can help in reducing the induced malabsorption of B12.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should quit taking your Metformin, unless your vitamin B12 deficiency is severe, and not without consulting your doctor first.
Metformin does an excellent job when it comes to managing type 2 diabetes and the safety record of this medication is great. It’s just that, when taking Metformin, it is suggested that you have your B12 or cobalamin level checked annually. If you have a low B12 level you should consult your physician about B12 supplementation. It is usually very helpful to take a quality supplement (taken either orally or in the form of injections). You may also consider taking a B-complex (B100). This supplement complex may include all the needed B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B6 (Pyridoxine) which are required for good absorption of vitamin B12. A quality B-complex supplement should also contain folic acid.
If your health care provider suggests calcium supplementation in addition to B12, try to find a brand that uses certified pure or quality coral calcium. Certified pure suggests that the calcium is derived from coral using best methods preserving all important qualities of the mineral as well as protecting from the danger of heavy metals including mercury, lead, and aluminum.
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