The Many Faces of Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) Deficiency

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Abstract

Although cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency was described over a century ago, it is still difficult to establish the correct diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment. Symptoms related to vitamin B12 deficiency may be diverse and vary from neurologic to psychiatric. A number of individuals with vitamin B12 deficiency may present with the classic megaloblastic anemia. In clinical practice, many cases of vitamin B12 deficiency are overlooked or sometimes even misdiagnosed. In this review, we describe the heterogeneous disease spectrum of patients with vitamin B12 deficiency in whom the diagnosis was either based on low serum B12 levels, elevated biomarkers like methylmalonic acid and/or homocysteine, or the improvement of clinical symptoms after the institution of parenteral vitamin B12 therapy. We discuss the possible clinical signs and symptoms of patients with B12 deficiency and the various pitfalls of diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings. Innovations, quality & outcomes
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2019

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