The Diabetes Drug Metformin Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency | Diabetes Health Page

The Diabetes Drug Metformin Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

By NeNa | Articles

Jan 14

People with diabetes know Metformin pretty well. It’s the most popular drug used in the treatment of diabetes management. However, what’s concerning about this drug is that it’s linked to vitamin B12 deficiency.

According to researchers, taking Metformin might contribute to a lack of vitamin B12. They discovered that 40 percent of the participants with type 2 diabetes who were using this drug were in the low-normal range for vitamin B12, or they had a vitamin deficiency.

What’s more, 77 percent of type 2 diabetes patients who used the drug had the common form of nerve damage linked to diabetes called peripheral neuropathy.

The most common symptoms of this type of nerve damage include pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet.

In fact, it’s one of the more serious diabetes complications, which is why researchers suggest metformin users be screened for lack of vitamin B12. Another option for them would be to be supplemented with the vitamin.

They also suggest every metformin user diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy to be screened for lack of this vitamin.

You can find vitamin B12 in dairy products and meat since it’s bound to protein in food. Some of the best food sources include clamps, cooked liver, and beef, trout, etc, according to the National Institutes of Health.

One of its major roles in the human’s body is to contribute to the production of red blood cells and ensure the nervous system is working properly. Some of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are depression, anemia, and dementia. However, low levels of this vitamin won’t cause these symptoms.

Metformin Users Urged to Screen for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The research was presented at the 69th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, analyzing the commonness of vitamin B12 deficiency in 76 type-2-diabetes-patients who’d been using the drug for at least a year.

They found out evidence of peripheral neuropathy in over ¾ of the patients who had low levels of vitamin B12.

The lead researcher Mariejane Braza and her team were surprised to learn how many people with vitamin B12 deficiency had peripheral neuropathy.

Although they need more research to prove that the lack of this vitamin may cause or contribute to peripheral neuropathy, they recommend those taking metformin to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Also, they suggest supplementing the vitamin to cut the risk for nerve damage.

The above video shows Dr. Crandall explaining the link between metformin and vitamin B12 deficiency for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.