Metformin is the most prescribed medication for helping diabetics control their blood glucose levels. Since its adoption in the 1970’s in Europe and in the mid 90’s in the United States, it has in a real sense been used by millions. It is powerful and all around tolerated, and in one long-term study conducted in the United Kingdom (the UKPDS or the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study) its use was related with significant reductions in both generally speaking mortality and in coronary episodes specifically.
Individuals who experience difficulty with absorbing vitamin B12 from food should know that metformin interferes with the absorption of this vitamin as well. Adding to that the way that any problems associated with the stomach or the small intestine can also contrarily influence levels of vitamin B12 absorption and depletion, it is not surprising that there is a correlation between long-term use of metformin and vitamin B12 deficiency. These other problems can include having had bariatric surgery, being infected with Helicobacter pylorum, having ulcers or taking medication for stomach ulcers, or simply being beyond eighty years old years, as effectiveness of vitamin B12 absorption steadily lessens with age. In a Dutch study it was discovered that the risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency (less than 150 pmol/l) was 7% higher in metformin plus insulin users than in those who used insulin and a fake treatment. In addition, the risk of developing low vitamin B12 levels (somewhere in the range of 150 and 220 pmol/l, measuring serum B12 levels) was increased by 11%.
The manufacturers of metformin do give this information on the bundle insert, however just like we usually do not read the complete contract when another version of iTunes becomes accessible, we regularly do not read the small print information furnished with our medication, preferring instead to just depend on what the doctor told us. Regardless of whether the doctor advises them to take B vitamins, patients may purchase a multivitamin, not realizing that some multivitamin brands include next to zero vitamin B12 and visit website. This can even happen with B complex formulations. Taking supplements that include vitamin B9 (folic corrosive) yet not vitamin B12 can cause a further complication. Deficiencies in either vitamin B9 or B12 cause similar blood abnormalities, as megaloblastic paleness. Treatment with vitamin B9 and not B12 will address the megaloblastic sickliness (as viewed under a microscope, or in an automated blood test) yet would not assuage the underlying deficiency of vitamin B12, paving the route for more serious and possibly irreversible B12 deficiency symptoms.