Do you take metformin? Has your doctor ever tested your levels of vitamin B12?
Research has shown that metformin use can increase the risk of B-12 deficiency in patients taking insulin. It's not a simple matter of self treatment, however — before starting a supplement regimen, ask your doctor to test your vitamin B levels.
In one study, 390 participants, all of whom had diabetes, were divided into two groups: half were given 850mg of metformin three times a day for an average of 4.3 years, and the other half of the participants were given a placebo (a pill that looked the same but was inactive). B12 levels were recorded every 13 months. Researchers found that B12 levels in those taking metformin were 19 percent lower than those taking the placebo.
Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause fatigue and anemia, which can compound the difficulty of diabetes management. Symptoms or not, however, if you take metformin, ask your doctor for a test.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...