Vitamin B-12 - Tips for Supplementation
As usual, this vitamin can be procured by healthy adults from a balanced diet. One multivitamin daily containing Vitamin B 12 is highly recommended for healthy adults.
Risk or vulnerable groups include:
- All the elderly as atrophic gastritis is common among the elderly.
- Vegetarians may not be getting the required amount of vitamin B-12 as it is found in animal foods. Therefore strict vegetarians may need to take supplements to compensate the inadequacy of Vitamin B-12 in their diet.
Vitamin administration and Medical Supervision
Some individuals have to be administered the vitamin under medical supervision.
These include: -
- Patients suffering pernicious anemia are incapacitated to assimilate vitamin B-12 from food. Even oral supplements cannot be absorbed in the body. For such patients, B-12 injections are administered to rectify the condition and protect against neurological damage.
- Those patients whose stomach has been surgically removed are unable to produce stomach acids. Therefore in such cases, Vitamin B 12 in the diet is not assimilated into the body.
- Resection of the small bowel in patients results in malabsorption of vitamin B-12 from food and supplements.
- Patients suffering allergic condition to gluten could also eventually suffer atrophy of the lining of the small bowel. Medically termed as 'celiac sprue', this condition also causes the malabsorption of Vitamin B 12 from the food or supplements.
- Patients taking medicines like metformin, Glucophage which are beneficial in regulating the blood glucose levels in those with Type II diabetes, and also medications like cholestyramine, Questran to bring down blood cholesterol, can cause a dip in the absorption of Vitamin B 12 from food,
All the above require vitamin B12 supplementation additional to the diet.