Proportion and associated factors of vitamin B12 deficiency- A retrospective laboratory-based study

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Vitamin B12 is a vital micronutrient involved in the hemopoetic, neurologic and cardio-metabolic function. Various factors are responsible for B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia and irreversible neurological manifestations. The proportion of deficiency is not well known and hence studied in the hospital setup. The associated factors of B12 deficiency were also deduced in different age groups. Laboratory data of the past two years on vitamin B12 (B12), folate and red blood cell (RBC) indices were compiled. Based on B12 values, subjects were grouped as deficient, subclinical deficiency and normal. RBC indices especially, Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was compared among all three groups. The deficient group was further categorized based on age to know the associated factors as per the diagnosis or medical impression recorded. The frequency of B12 and folic acid deficiency was found to be 28% and 18.8% respectively. The deficiency was more frequently detected in the younger age group (18-30 years) with inadequate nutrition, pregnancy and vegetarian diet being the most frequently associated factors. Hyperthyroidism was an add-on in the mid-age group. In subjects aged 51-70 years, disorders of intestine, gastric surgery, cancer and pernicious anemia were the attributing factors. MCV > 100fL was found only in 4.8% of the B12 deficient population. Only 28% of B12 deficiency could be conclusively detected. Pregnancy and nutritional status were the most commonly associated factors of B12 deficiency. The use of MCV for the detection of B12 deficiency did not seem reliable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-677
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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