What is the role of vitamin B-12 in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis?

Updated: Jul 15, 2019
  • Author: Jason L Huffman, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Cobalamin or vitamin B-12 is absorbed complexed to intrinsic factor in the terminal ileum. Some vitamin B-12 absorption that is independent of intrinsic factor occurs throughout the small bowel. When vitamin B-12 enters the stomach, it binds to a protein known as haptocorrin or R-protein. The haptocorrin is proteolytically degraded in the small intestine by pancreatic enzymes, and the released vitamin B-12 then binds to intrinsic factor. In patients with pancreatic insufficiency, vitamin B-12 can remain bound to haptocorrin and is not available for absorption by the terminal ileum. Although vitamin B-12 malabsorption can be demonstrated in patients with chronic pancreatitis, it rarely causes clinical vitamin B-12 deficiency.


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