B12 vitamin is essential for your wellbeing in several ways. This vitamin helps in the making of your DNA as well as red cells of blood. Your liver stores this essential vitamin in excess. But, intake of an imbalanced diet is likely to trigger an acute deficiency. However, your body does not produce it on its own; it is sourced from animal-based foods as well as through intake of supplements. Studies show that consumption of metformin may lead to deficiency of vitamin B12. So, is it safe to consume supplements of vitamin B12 while taking metformin? It is recommended to find out more about this.

Those who eat a vegan diet are more likely to develop deficiency of vitamin B12. Foods such as eggs, meats and dairy-based products are rich sources of this vitamin. So, apart from vegans, those who are vegetarians may also run the risk of this deficiency. In general, adults need this vitamin to the tune of 2.5 micrograms (mcg) per day. However, in case of women who are breastfeeding and those who are pregnant, the need is slightly more at 2.8 mcg and 2.6 mcg respectively.

You need to know that as you age, the ability to absorb B12 vitamin tends to slow down. The risks are equally high in those who have had a gastric bypass surgery or any such surgical procedure done to lose weight. If you are a habitual drinker, the risks are more pronounced. The signs of deficiency can be telling; chief among common signs are: inflammation of oral parts, being very tired, difficulties to pass stools, erratic heartbeats, respiratory troubles such as gasping for breath, etc. Other signs include blurring or loss of eyesight, severe mental ailments such as being depressed or memory lapses.

Intake of metformin and deficiency of vitamin B12

Metformin is administered for the effective control of blood sugar level in your body. Intake of this drug forms part of a comprehensive treatment plan; it includes regular workout sessions, consumption of a balanced diet and intake of drugs such as metformin. If left untreated, those with diabetes may develop other serious medical problems like renal dysfunction, heart-related ailments like cardiac failure. As an extended use, metformin is also prescribed for the treatment of neuritis, nerve damages as well as a few sexual health conditions.

It becomes important to know metformin is not an over the counter (OTC) drug and hence is never taken through self-medication mode. Dosages are administered under the guidance of a qualified medical specialist. No two people with high blood sugar are treated with the same medication plan. Your plan is customized based on your age, weight, how serious is your clinical condition and how well your body responds to initial doses. You are likely to witness lowering of blood sugar as metformin helps your body to respond well to insulin. Reduction of insulin resistance is an outcome. You are advised to check your blood sugar level on a regular basis.

Deficiency of vitamin B12 triggered by the intake of metformin

Users of metformin need to check for a possible deficiency of vitamin B12. If left unchecked, users are likely to develop neuropathy (of the peripheral genre) as well as nerve damages. It is essential to know that some forms of nerve problems may turn into permanent conditions. Hence, a timely diagnosis of B12 deficiency is essential among users of metformin. Your caregiver may prescribe a few forms of supplements of B12 vitamin.

In this light, it is important to know that B12 vitamin is soluble in water and plays a critical role in the making of red blood cells. Users of metformin need to check their B12 levels at least once each year. All it takes is a test done on your blood sample to know if your body has enough amount of B12 vitamin. If you are found to have a deficiency, daily intake of multivitamins to the tune of 100% daily intake value is recommended. However, those who take larger doses of metformin (and for a longer duration) may still find that their system is deficient of this essential vitamin form.

Supplements of vitamin B12

Your caregiver may advise you to add B12-enriched food products to your daily diet. It is a safe practice to get your blood tested for vitamin B12 levels on a regular basis. Women who are pregnant and are vegan / vegetarian may need to consult with their treating doctor about how to provide ample levels of this vitamin to their fetus. This also applies to women who are breastfeeding; babies breastfed by vegan / vegetarian mothers may have delayed development and / or other growth related problems.

Supplements of vitamin B12 are available in multiple forms such as injections (shots), oral tablets or as fortified food products. There are a few multivitamin supplements which contain a marked share of vitamin B12. Those who have acute spells of anemia or severe deficiencies of B12 are advised to take these supplements every day. You need to consume supplements at the same time each day; this practice is known to increase their efficacy. Also, in case of acute spells of deficiency, shots of supplements are administered.

You may also turn to natural sources to get vitamin B12; these include liver of lamb or veal, saltwater fishes such as sardines, beef (another great source of B12), freshwater fishes like trout, dairy-based produce, fortified and B12 enriched cereals, etc. Last but not least, poultry foods like eggs are useful sources of B12 (and B2 vitamin). Studies indicate that yolks of eggs contain more amounts of B12 than whites. Eggs can offer you with an added benefit of vitamin D.

In sum, metformin is likely to cause deficiencies of vitamin B12. Timely diagnosis of such deficiencies is essential. You may need to check B12 level at least once per year. If you have deficiencies, intake of multivitamins at 100% daily intake value is required. The caregiving team may prescribe B12-fortified foods to help meet your daily need. Other sources include liver and kidneys of lamb, veal or beef, eggs, dairy foods and fishes such as sardines, trout or salmon. Talk to your doctor and / or a diet specialist to know more on foods rich in vitamin B12. In this milieu, it becomes equally important to know how much of these supplements to take per day.

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