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Long-Term Metformin Treatment Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

May 2010 — In type 2 diabetes, long-term metformin treatment is linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, according to the results of a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial reported Online First May 20 in the BMJ.

”Metformin is considered a cornerstone in the treatment of diabetes and is the most frequently prescribed first line therapy for individuals with type 2 diabetes,” write Jolien de Jager, from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues. “Metformin does, however, induce vitamin B-12 malabsorption, which may increase the risk of developing vitamin B-12 deficiency — a clinically important and treatable condition.”

“Long term treatment with metformin increases the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency, which results in raised homocysteine concentrations,” the study authors write. “Vitamin B-12 deficiency is preventable; therefore, our findings suggest that regular measurement of vitamin B-12 concentrations during long term metformin treatment should be strongly considered.”

Dr. Tucker’s comments: Dietary counseling should be considered with every person on Metformin. I know eating a low-sugar diet can be difficult. A new formula called Glucorest contains touchi extract which has been shown to blunt the glycemic response and supports healthy glucose and triglyceride metabolism – without reported adverse effects. Order Glucorest from the Metagenics link.

BMJ. Published online May 20, 2010.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=20488910&dopt=Abstract

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