Vitamin B12 Deficiency: What are the consequences?

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Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis 

Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis are two closely related chronic inflammatory condition that involving the lining of the small and large intestine (Crohn’s Disease) or the large intestine alone (Ulcerative colitis). Together, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are frequently referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have no medical cure. Persons with IBD often experience stomach cramps, diarrhoea and weight loss. 

Vitamin B12 and Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

During the course of IBD, the wall of the intestine becomes inflamed and is no longer able to absorb vitamin B12 via the VB12-intrinsic factor mediated uptake system. As a result patients with chronic IBD, such as those with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis soon become deficient in vitamin B12 This vitamin B12 deficiency in turn can lead to even less control of the inflammation, thus exacerbating the disease. Dietary supplements containing vitamin B12 can no longer be absorbed and so vitamin B12 must be given either by injection or some other route. 

Treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency in IBD 

The very condition that causes vitamin B12 deficiency in IBD also means that vitamin B12 supplementation by traditional means is largely ineffective. Furthermore, once deficiency has manifested itself high dose supplementation is required to reverse the progression of the deficiency and associated conditions. Recently a topical form of vitamin B12 has been developed which is a specially formulated preparation that is an easy to apply, needle-free delivery system to the skin of the IBD patient. This pain-free form of delivery greatly increases the patient comfort experienced during the administration of the medication and allows for self-medication without the need for medical staff or any special training. In addition, the topical formulation is particularly suited to patients who may have gastro-intestinal problems, such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis which often lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Further Information on Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Further Information on Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can be found at the following web-sites:

http://www.angelfire.com/ga/crohns/faq.html

http://www.ccfa.org/

http://www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au/

 

Scientific publications on IBD can be found at this site

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