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H. pylori Eradication Reverses B-12 Deficiency in Elderly

Long-term effects also include significantly decreased serum levels of homocysteine

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly patients with vitamin B-12 deficiency, the eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection increases serum levels of B-12 and decreases serum levels of homocysteine, according to a study published in the April issue of Gut.

Maria Magalhaes Queiroz, M.D., of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and colleagues studied 62 patients at baseline and at six and 12 months after H. pylori eradication.

The researchers found that mean levels of B-12 increased from 145.5 pmol/L at baseline to 209.8 pmol/L at six months and to 271.2 pmol/L at 12 months. They also found that mean levels of homocysteine decreased from 41 μmol/L at baseline to 21.6 μmol/L at six months and to 13.1 μmol/L at 12 months.

"There is increasing evidence linking H. pylori infection to cobalamin deficiency in the elderly," the authors write. "The rationale is that long-term H. pylori infection may alter various gastric functions such as acid/pepsin secretion, which is essential for releasing cobalamin from the food protein to become available for absorption mediated by the intrinsic factor."

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