vitamin B12 deficiencymedical dictionary

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of vitamin B12 in the diet, characterised by megaloblastic anaemia.

This vitamin is not present in plants so humans obtain their intake from animal products, from multivitamin supplements and as additives to food preparations.

It produces a form of anaemia as the bone marrow fails to produce adequate numbers of red blood cells due to a deficiency in vitamin B12. Intrinsic factor is necessary for normal B12 absorption and failure of gastric glands (in the stomach to produce sufficient can result in reduced absorbtion and thefore deficiency of B12.

A wide variety of neuropsychiatric and neurological abnormalities are seen in vitamin B12 deficiency due to a defect involving myelin synthesis.

(27 Feb 2009)

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