Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Dr. David Brownstein, M.D.

Diabetes Drug Depletes Vitamin B12

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 10:25 AM

By David Brownstein, M.D.

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Question: My doctor has prescribed Metformin for my diabetes, but I understand it can affect vitamin B12 levels. What do you recommend?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

Metformin is a medication that is commonly prescribed for diabetes. In 2010, there were more than 48 million prescriptions written for this drug.

However, according to a study published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), for every 14 patients treated with Metformin for four years, one will have severely low vitamin B12 levels (less than 150 pmol/L). Furthermore, 1 in 9 will have moderately low vitamin B12 levels (50 to 220 pmol/L).

If you are taking Metformin, you should talk to your doctor about beginning B12 injections. Oral versions of B12 will not work with Metformin. What's more, there are other medications that interfere with B12 absorption including antibiotics and potassium supplements.

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David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is author of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter.
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