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The role of Vitamin B12 in the critically ill—a review

Medical Intensive Care Unit, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem Israel

Summary

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient, as humans have no capacity to produce the vitamin and it needs to be ingested from animal proteins. The ingested Vitamin B12 undergoes a complex process of absorption and assimilation. Vitamin B12 is essential for cellular function. Deficiency affects 15% of patients older than 65 and results in haematological and neurological disorders. Low levels of Vitamin B12 may also be an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. High levels of Vitamin B12 are associated with inflammation and represent a poor outlook for critically ill patients. Treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency is simple, but may be lifelong.

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