Research Article

Effect of bile on vitamin B12 absorption.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 27 September 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:831
  1. N H Teo,
  2. J M Scott,
  3. G Neale,
  4. D G Weir


    The standard double-isotope Schilling test was used to study vitamin B12 absorption in seven patients with obstructive jaundice and 10 with T-tube bile duct drainage after cholecystectomy and bile duct exploration. In three and five of these patients respectively absorption was impaired. In the second group six patients were restudied after removal of the T tube, and in each case absorption was improved. Similar results were obtained after bile duct ligation in rats. Bile exclusion produced a 50-60% reduction in renal and hepatic uptake of vitamin B12 from the intestinal lumen. The malabsorption was corrected by replacing bile. These studies suggest that bile plays a part in the normal absorption of vitamin B12.