International Health News

Helicobacter pylori and vitamin B12 deficiency

ANKARA, TURKEY. It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of adults in developed countries are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. H pylori has been implicated in stomach ulcers, indigestion (dyspepsia), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), stomach cancer, and MALT lymphoma. About 10-15 per cent of adults over 60 years of age are affected by a vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency. Researchers at the Turkish Military Medical Academy now provide convincing evidence that the two are linked. A detailed study of 138 patients with vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia discovered that 77 (58 per cent) of the patients had a H pylori infection. Eradication of this infection successfully cured the anemia and reversed the vitamin B12 deficiency in 31 (40 per cent) of the 77 infected patients. The researchers conclude that a H pylori infection can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency and that this deficiency, in many cases, can be totally eliminated by eradicating the infection.
Editor's Note: Memory loss, fatigue, and mental confusion are often the first indicators of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Kaptan, Kursad, et al. Helicobacter pylori - Is it a novel causative agent in vitamin B12 deficiency? Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 160, May 8, 2000, pp. 1349-53
Stopeck, Alison. Links between Helicobacter pylori infection, cobalamin deficiency, and pernicious anemia. Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 160, May 8, 2000, pp. 1229-30 (editorial)

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