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Gastroenterology Medicine & Research

Vitamin B12 Replacement Therapy After Gastrectomy

Yasushi Rino1*, Toru Aoyama1, Takanobu Yamada2, Yosuke Atsumi1, Hiroshi Tamagawa1, Takashi Oshima2, Tsutomu Sato3 and Norio Yukawa1

1Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, School of Medicine, Yokohama, 3-9, Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama city, 236-0004, Japan

2Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Kanagawa Cancer Center, Yokohama, 2-3-2, Nakao, Asahi-ku, Yokohama city, 241-8515, Japan

3Gastroenterological Center, Medical Center, Yokohama City, Yokohama, 4-57 Urafune, Minami-ku, Yokohama 232-0024 Japan

*Corresponding author:Yasushi Rino, Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-9, Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, 236-0004, Japan

Submission: March 03, 2021;Published: March 15, 2021

DOI: 10.31031/GMR.2021.05.000620

ISSN 2637-7632
Volume5 Issue4


Vitamin B12 absorption has two mechanism that are passive and active one. The active mechanism, controlled gastric intrinsic factor, occurs through the ileum and is efficient for small oral dose of vitamin B12. After gastrectomy, there is little intrinsic factor. Especially, after total gastrectomy (TG), intrinsic factor is lost. Cumulative vitamin B12 deficiency rate was 100% for TG after surgery. Usually, intramuscular injection of vitamin B12 for vitamin B12 deficiency after gastrectomy is performed. Recently, oral vitamin B12 replacement was reported. 500μg vitamin B12 replacement orally is maybe effective and necessary.

Keywords: Vitamin B12; Replacement therapy; Total gastrectomy; Gastric cancer; Oral vitamin B12 replacement

Abbreviations: TG: Total Gastrectomy; DG: Distal Gastrectomy


Mechanisms of vitamin B12 absorption

Mechanisms of vitamin B12 absorption has been known widely. The Mechanisms are classified into two mechanisms. One is passive, occurring equally through buccal, duodenal, and ileal mucosa; it is rapid but extremely inefficient, with <1% of an oral dose being absorbed by this process. The other one is active; it occurs through the ileum and is efficient for small oral dose of vitamin B12, and it is mediated be substance named gastric intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is produced in the gastric parietal cells of the fundus and body of the stomach. Between 0.5-5μg of cobalamin excreted with the bile each day. This binds to intrinsic factor, and a major portion of biliary cobalamin normally is reabsorbed together with cobalamin derived from sloughed intestinal cells. Because of the loss of these effective absorption and reabsorption mechanism, vitamin B12 deficiency develops more rapidly after gastrectomy [1,2].

Loss of vitamin B12 absorption mechanisms after gastrectomy

A variety of factors affects some patients after gastrectomy for gastric cancer. Some nutrition deficiencies result from disturbance of the normal anatomic and physiologic mechanism that control gastric function. After gastrectomy, patients commonly lose weight rapidly. The cause of weight loss, fat-soluble vitamin deficiency, and bone disorders after gastric surgery generally are decreased dietary intake or malabsorption [3-5]. Active mechanism of vitamin B12 absorption is almost lost after gastrectomy. Especially, after total gastrectomy (TG), patients have only passive mechanism of vitamin B12 absorption. Because of it, vitamin B12 deficiency after gastrectomy is common complication as malnutrition [6,7].

Frequency of vitamin B12 deficiency after gastrectomy

As above, cumulative vitamin B12 deficiency rates were 100% for TG and 15.7% for distal gastrectomy (DG) 4 years after surgery. The median time to vitamin B12 deficiency was 15 months after TG, whereas the median time was not reached after DG [8]. We reported that about 9 months was the median time to vitamin B12 deficiency after TG [9]. Normally, between 2-3mg vitamin B12 are stored in human body. Because of this, vitamin B12 deficiency would not be occured. May TG progress a daily choler excretion or a consumption of the vitamin B12? Most gastric cancer patients are complicated with atrophic gastritis. A severe lack of intrinsic factor due to gastric atrophy [1]. Vitamin B12 storage before TG would be decreased in gastric cancer patients with gastric atrophy. If this hypothesis is correct, it can be inferred that the median time to vitamin B12 deficiency after TG is shortened.

Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency after gastrectomy

In spite of vitamin B12 administration orally is not a reliable route after TG, Kim et al. [10] previously reported that serum vitamin B12 increased after oral and intramuscular administration of vitamin B12 in TG patients. In this report, for the oral vitamin B12 replacement, mecobalamin was administrated. The dosage comprised 1500μg mecobalamin daily [10]. But we reported that 500μg vitamin B12 replacement orally is maybe effective [9].

In the future

Even after TG, patients have passive mechanism and can absorb little of oral intake vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 replacement therapy should be necessary and continued routinely. IM is a reliable therapy. But IM needs to go to clinic a month and is painful. According to our results, one tablet PO a day is enough [9]. And now, we planned clinical study to clarify 500μg vitamin B12 replacement orally for TG patients.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in association with the present study.




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© 2021 Yasushi Rino. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.

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