Vitamin B12 absorption and metabolism

A compound known as intrinsic factor which is secreted by the cells lining the stomach is necessary for absorption of vitamin B12 from the small intestine. Those with malabsorption problems; such as celiac disease, low stomach acid, or who have had stomach or intestinal surgery; may have problems absorbing vitamin B12. Calcium and iron assist with vitamin B12 absorption.

Vitamin B12 absorptionVitamin B12 is bound to proteins known as transcobalamins in the blood. It is excreted in the bile and re-absorbed. Those on diets which are low in vitamin B12 may obtain more from re-absorption than from food. Because of this re-absorption, vitamin B12 deficiency can take many years to become apparent.

The Schilling test, which uses a small dose of radioactive vitamin B12 and then a larger dose of normal B12 to flush this out, is used to measure the ability of a person to absorb vitamin B12.

 
 
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Vitamin B12
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