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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Higher In Individuals Who Take Metformin

According to researchers at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, use of the drug Metformin in the treatment of diabetes is associated with lower levels of vitamin B12.

Recommended consumption of vitamin B12 for individuals over the age of 50 is 2.4 mcg daily. The researchers believe that the current recommendation is not sufficient for individuals with diabetes who are taking Metformin.

Their findings will be published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

The researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conducted from 1999 to 2006. Participants in the study included 1,621 adults over the age of 50 who had diabetes and 6,867 individuals of the same age without the disease.

After adjusting for age, race, and gender the researchers discovered that the highest deficiency in vitamin B12 was present in individuals with diabetes who were taking Metformin. 5.8% of the individuals taking Metformin showed vitamin B12 deficiencies, compared to 2.4% of individuals with diabetes who were not taking Meftormin and 3.3% of individuals without diabetes.

The researchers noted that this data is important because Metformin is one of the most popular drugs used to treat diabetes, and a drop in vitamin B12 levels can create health problems for diabetes patients.

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is essential in the proper function of the brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Deficiecies in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, depression and memory lapses. Food sources of vitamin B12 include liver, turkey giblets, oysters, clams, king crab and whole milk. If your diet is not rich in these products, you should consider supplementing with a high quality multivitamin or vitamin B12 supplement.

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