Can PA effect the absorption of other vitamins?

Hi everyone, 

I've had Pernicious Anemia for approx ten years now, just turned 30 and experienced the same problems most of you had with getting a diagnosis. What I'd like to know is if you take other vitamins e.g ones to help with skin like vitamin A for acne or even something like a berocca, are they not absorbed as easily as someone without PA? 

I wanted to try some skin vitamins to improve mine and just wondering would I be wasting money as they will be in tablet form thus absorbed in the stomach. 

Any advice or experience is much appreciated. 



13 Replies

  • If your B12 problems are caused by malabsorbtion there is a good chance you might have a problem with other vitamins too. As with many B12 related things it is a case of trial and error. So worth a try. Incidentally I read an article yesterday which said that buying expensive brands of vitamins is a waste of money and it recommended a very inexpensive multi vitamin from Tesco! Best wishes.

  • Thank you for your response! Guess you are right it is trial and error. I have to inject directly into blood stream and have had the intrinsic factor test to show that I can't absorb it. So was thinking it might have knock on effects for other vitamins. 

  • Be careful with Tesco vitamins - many of them contain aspartame....

  • It's very unlikely that PA will affect the absorption of or vitamins. B12 is a fairly large molecule that needs help to pass from the gut to the blood. PA is a deficiency in hte molecule (IF) that helps it pass across. IF isn't involved with the absorption of anything else's.

    The condition that causes PA - autoimmune gastric atrophy - can affect the absorption of several minerals because it causes low stomach acid and many minerals, like iron, are absorbed much better in an acidic environment.  

  • Thanks fbirder. Should you take something like digestive enzymes to improve the acidity in the stomach? I think I might try the skin vitamins as at 30 I'm still getting spots on face, neck, chest and back. Just didn't want to spend money on expensive vitamins if they had no chance of working. Thanks for the advice.

  • There is a possibility that the spots are because of the b12

  • I don't think so, I've had spots since I was ten, early developer! They aren't bad, which makes me think they are more hormonal than anything. My mother used to get the same and my sister still does. Although, my sister has been low on B12 but has yet to be tested for PA. 

  • If you're not suffering from gastric symptoms then I'd stick with taking iron with vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

  • It could be worth trying organic sauerkraut - more effective than any other digestive enzyme/probiotic I've ever tried.

    After years of gastritis, gall bladder symptoms, IBS, H/pylori, heartburn, etc. all digestive problems disappeared after avoiding gluten and daily spoonfuls of sauerkraut.

    Researchers believe 'leaky gut' is the ground zero of autoimmune disease so, hopefully, this is healing the micro villi in my gut and enabling better absorption of all nutrients.

  • Did the gluten free diet make a big difference?

  • Yes Robson, for me personally, it is definitely a combination of gluten free and sauerkraut. Autoimmune disease is in my family and I am hypothyroid.

  • Hi miriamobrien 

    I take a fistful of vitamins and apart from Vitamin D (which I currently am low on due to lack of exposure to the sun - I don't get out much) all my levels are good so I guess they must be working.

    1 – Cod Liver Oil

    1 – Over 70 Multivitamin

    1 – Q10

    1 – Zinc

    1 – Pro 5 

    1 – Iron Ferrous Fumerate 210mg 

    1 – Folic Acid

    6 – Brewers Yeast

    I had two thirds of my stomach removed in 1959 and have had P.A. since 1972 and am still "clivealive" coming up to 75.

  • Wow Clivealive that is a long time to have it. Thanks for the reply. 

    Do you feel any of the symptoms have changed as you got older? I often wonder as I age will I still be able to manage it myself. 

    As many of you I also took matters into my own hands as the doctors in Ireland are still very much in the dark about PA, so I bought my own B12 from the German Pharmacy and inject when I need it. 

    Thank you to everyone for your replies. I read this forum almost daily and it has helped me figure PA out much more than any doctor ever has!

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