Pernicious Anaemia Society

Vitamin K deficiency doesn't cause PA

I was just reading this webpage:

and I came across this sentence: "Vitamin K deficiency is behind internal bleedings, pernicious anemia, inoperable ulcers, and strokes."

While I'm not entirely familiar with the properties of vitamin K, I did recognize immediately that a vitamin K deficiency is not a cause of pernicious anemia. I have emailed the author and asked him to correct the mistake.

Sometimes it seems like misinformation is the hardest thing to correct, but imagine if someone believed that statement and took a bunch of vitamin K instead of B12!

8 Replies

I find the author's response to my email to be very frustrating. Here is the email I sent him:

"I was reading your gutsense ibs webpage and I came to this statement: "Vitamin K deficiency is behind internal bleedings, pernicious anemia..." and then I stopped reading. Pernicious anemia is caused by an autoimmune response to intrinsic factor resulting in the malabsorption of vitamin B12. (Pernicious anemia of pregnancy is caused by a folic acid deficiency, but I don't think you were referencing that form.) Could you please correct the error on your webpage? Thank you."

And here is his response:

"The term "pernicious" is used to describe any anemia that isn't specifically related to the deficiency of iron. You rely on a very narrow interpretation of what causes "pernicious" anemia because vitamin B-12 is only one of the factors. Anemia (whatever label you want to put on it) may also be related to the deficiency of vitamin C, folate, essential fatty acids, primary amino acids, and so on.

In case of vitamin K and vitamin C deficiencies, the connection is indirect. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, vitamin K deficiency causes coagulation problems. Both deficiencies may cause hard to stop bleeding. These, in turn, result in anemia. You can't fix a resulting anemia with vitamin B-12 (a factor in the blood's structural metabolism) until you also stop these bleedings by administering vitamin K and vitamin C in therapeutic doses.

That most medical doctors and nutritionists may not know this isn't my fault because these basics are the 101 of human biochemistry, and a part of any medical school curriculum."

Is this a language problem? Does he just not know that Pernicious Anemia is a specific disease?


And it continues. Clearly this author believes everyone is deluded about the causes of Pernicious Anemia. I responded to his response with this:

"If you are going to use the term so broadly, then I would ask that you please clarify on your webpage that you are not referring to the autoimmune disease known as Pernicious Anemia. The current wording causes immense confusion, since the autoimmune disease of Pernicious Anemia is not related to vitamin K."

His reply back to me was this NONSENSE (can you tell I'm getting very frustrated?) He's even quoting the Merck Manual to me while denying the cause of Pernicious Anemia as it is stated in the Manual:

""Pernicious Anemia" is not an autoimmune condition, meaning a "quantitative deficiency of the hemoglobin, often accompanied by a reduced number of red blood cells" as an outcome of your immune system "attacking" your body's red blood cells or hemoglobin.

This confusion exists from a superficial understanding of its causation. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy explains this common misunderstanding:

"Pernicious anemia is often used synonymously with vitamin B12 deficiency. However, pernicious anemia specifically refers to anemia resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency caused by an autoimmune metaplastic atrophic gastritis with loss of intrinsic factor (see Autoimmune Metaplastic Atrophic Gastritis). Patients with classic pernicious anemia, most commonly younger adults, are at increased risk of stomach and other GI cancers.""

I can't think of any response to him that might make him grasp reality, so I think I'll just not reply to his absurd response. But now that we know this false information is out there, we need to be vigilant to combat anyone mistaking it for truth. (And I wouldn't put much trust in the rest of what he's written either.)


Best ignoure, that person is not willing to listen/ read up I think. There is a lot of nonsense on the web...


Agree with Marre - obviously doesn't know what he is talking about and isn't willing to listen to anyone who tries to explain to him. Unfortunate but there is an awful lot of garbage and misinformation on the web.


Pretty unimpressed without someone who claims medical understanding referring to "K" without distinguishing between K1 and K2 - very different beasts.


Give him a headache:

Go back and tell him that PA is actually a neurologically degenerative illness and the anaemia is one resulting symptom due to DNA changes caused by malabsorption of vitamin b12.

The knowledge has changed, the name has not.


I think I'll wait a bit to respond. Right now there's just too much I'd like to say to not garble it if I tried to write it out. One thing that I can't fathom is, if he thinks the Merck manual is over simplified, how does he not realize that saying 'vitamin K deficiency is behind pernicious anemia' is an even more drastic over simplification (not to mention entirely unproven)?

I think he also suffers from the common malady of writers; he is so attached to his own words that any suggestion that they be changed is met with extreme resistance. First he argued that the term pernicious anemia is used for all anemias (it isn't) and then he claimed that the merck manual definition of pernicious anemia is wrong. It sounds like he is just searching for any excuse he can think of to not change anything.


Ah yes. The writer who is 'precious' about his words. A dangerous creature indeed.

Bad enough when it's fiction - when it's medicine it's positively harmful.


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