Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus in a South Indian rural community

Shailendra D., Rizwan Kalani, K. M. Venkat Narayan, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Nikhil Tandon, Reddy P. S.


Background: To estimate the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in a rural south Indian community and to evaluate the association between metformin use and prevalent vitamin B12 deficiency in people with T2DM stratified by oral vitamin B12 supplementation.

Methods: Using a cross sectional study design, a random sample of people with T2DM (N=438) was recruited from a rural community. Vitamin B12 deficiency was defined as serum B12 ≤200pg/ml. Data on metformin dose, duration of use, oral vitamin B12 supplementation, and diet were collected. Laboratory measurements included complete blood count, tests for hepatic, renal, and thyroid function, as well as serum vitamin B12 levels and HbA1c.

Results: The prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in people with T2DM was 11.2% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 8.2%-14.1%). The odds of vitamin B12 deficiency in patients receiving a metformin dose of 2 grams/day were 4 times higher compared to those receiving ≤1 gram/day, after adjusting for oral B12 supplementation (odds ratio 4.2;95% CI 1.5-11.8). The odds of vitamin B12 deficiency in those taking metformin and receiving oral vitamin B12 supplementation were lower compared to those on metformin and not receiving vitamin B12 supplementation (adjusted odds ratio 0.20; 95% CI 0.06-0.70).

Conclusions: Vitamin B12 deficiency affects 1 in 10 people with T2DM, is associated with higher dose metformin use, and oral vitamin B12 supplementation mitigates B12 deficiency in this group.


Metformin, Oral B12 supplementation, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, Vitamin B12

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