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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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...