Research Article

Malabsorption of protein bound vitamin B12.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 03 March 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:675
  1. D W Dawson,
  2. A H Sawers,
  3. R K Sharma


    Patients with subnormal serum vitamin B12 concentrations were tested for absorption of protein bound vitamin B12 and compared with controls. Absorption of the protein bound vitamin appeared to decrease with increasing age in healthy subjects. Differences between the result of this test and the result of the Schilling test in patients who had undergone gastric surgery were confirmed; such differences were also seen in some patients who had iron deficiency anaemia, an excessive alcohol intake, or folate deficiency. Defective absorption was also found in six patients with an adequate dietary intake of vitamin B12, normal Schilling test results, low serum vitamin concentrations, and tissue changes responding to treatment with vitamin B12. Malabsorption of the vitamin from protein bound sources, which is not detected by the Schilling test, may produce vitamin B12 deficiency of clinical importance.