In two separate studies, slow-release potassium chloride caused vitamin B12
malabsorption in heart patients (Palva et al. 1972). The interference with
vitamin B12 absorption may be secondary to slight acidification of the contents
of the ileum.
Potassium supplementation is rarely of sufficient duration to cause vitamin
B12 deficiency (Palva et al. 1972). However, low vitamin B12 levels could
increase the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction, birth
defects, and irreversible neuropathy (Ames 2000; Covington 1999). Irritability,
weakness, numbness, fatigue, glossitis, anorexia, headache, palpitations, and
altered mental status, including personality and behavioral changes, are some of
the signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 depletion (Covington 1999). Prolonged
deficiency leads to pernicious or megaloblastic anemia that may be associated
with leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.
Doses of 25 to 250 mcg/day of vitamin B12 have been used to correct
nutritional deficiency (Covington 1999). Oral doses between 500 to 1000 mcg/day
have been recommended for the treatment of pernicious anemia (Carmel 2000).
Replacement therapy should be based on the patient's individual needs,
considering the clinical presentation, serum B12 levels, age, gender, dietary
habits, and medication regimen.
This information is intended to serve as a concise reference for healthcare
professionals to identify substances that may be depleted by many commonly
prescribed medications. Depletion of these substances depends upon a number of
factors including medical history, lifestyle, dietary habits, and duration of
treatment with a particular medication. The signs and symptoms associated with
deficiency may be nonspecific and could be indicative of clinical conditions
other than deficiency. The material presented in these monographs should not in
any event be construed as specific instructions for individual
Ames BN. Micronutrient deficiencies: A major cause of DNA damage. Ann NY
Acad Sci. 2000;889:87-106.
Carmel R. Current concepts in cobalamin deficiency. Ann Rev Med.
Covington T, ed. Nonprescription Drug Therapy Guiding Patient
Self-Care. St Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons; 1999:467-545.
Palva IP, Salokannel SJ, Timonen T, Palva HLA. Drug-induced malabsorption of
vitamin B12. IV. Malabsorption and deficiency of B12 during treatment with
slow-release potassium chloride. Acta Med. Scand.
Copyright © 2000 Integrative Medicine
CommunicationsThis publication contains
information relating to general principles
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