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What causes a body to not absorb vitamin B?

Answered by
Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash


Practicing since :1969

Answered : 12613 Questions

Posted on Tue, 5 Aug 2014 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I have receiving vitamin infusions for the past 7 months - I go twice a week.
My blood tests show that my body is still refusing to absorb riboflavin.

No one knows what to do, because no one has come across this before. Do you know what would cause a body to not absorb vitamin B (my body easily absorbs all the other vitamins - just not ANY of the Bs).
With the infusions, it has started to absorb B1, B6 & B12 - but NONE of the others.
I have been told by 2 medical researchers that there is no way I could be alive, yet here I am.
However I am barely hanging on - and my eyes are starting to go because of it.

Is there ANY Doctor out there who knows why?
Other things going on in my body -

Convulsive syncope
Psoriatic Arthritis
Low sodium level - 128-132
Low BP - 90/60, when I was pregnant it went down to 60/40 - on the 'good' days when I could actually make it to the midwives' office.

Thank you for your time.
Answered by Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
riboflavin deficiancy.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your query.

Try to eat food rich in B complex,green vegetable. Animal fat may also help. Also take hygienic food and cleaner drinking water.

Pernicious anemia affect the mucosa of abdomen, which prevent absorption of vit-B complex. It is the deficiency in intrinsic factor, so if vita b12 is taken body condition will improve to absorb b complex.

Natural source of riboflavin are green vegetable, dairy product, lean meat, egg, bread, nuts etc. After improving your body to absorb b complex, you can take riboflavin rich food.

Hope it helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
Follow up: Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash 29 minutes later
I thought I made it Quite Clear that I was eating a diet Rich in B Vitamins for over a year and then some.
This might be a good time to point out that I am a Registered Dietitian - I have a good understanding of how the digestive system works.

You Never actually answered my original question.

What is keeping my body from absorbing ANY riboflavin for over an year.
Oh - my bad - my B12 is the only B vitamin that has been in my system.

I don't have pernicious anemia. Good try though.
So, what else could it be?

Keep in mind I work in the medical field - none of the specialists that I have seen have been able to figure this out, so please, I ask you.

Do not take this as a no big deal thing.

Thank you for going back and trying to figure out another possible cause -
Thanks again!
Answered by Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash 11 hours later
Brief Answer:
riboflvin deficiency.

Detailed Answer:
Since you are in-medical field you must know that riboflavin which is a water soluble vitamin is absorbed in the same manner as other vitamin b complex. Scientifically, isolated riboflavin deficiency when all other vitamin levels are normal is not commonly found. In other words, I have not read or heard about conditions that can explain this isolated riboflavin deficiency.

In such cases, I look for investigation report to help me understand the cause. Endoscopic procedures (colonoscopy) is one test that should be performed to look for features such as inflammation inside the gut. A gastroenterologist evaluation is important.

Hope this helps. If you are not satisfied with the reply please indicate to the customer support team.

Good luck!!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash 14 hours later
Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

I apologize in that I forgot to mention that I have had numerous endoscopies and colonoscopies in the pass 12 years - I get both every 3 years to check on my inherited Barrett's Esophagus, which is holding steady at 'moderate'.

I have been tested for the 'normal' gut illnesses, no food allergies - other than ginger, and no infections were present.

My Gastroenterologist has been stumped for the past 3 years and has contacted other specialists - no one knows what to do, because no one has ever heard of someone not being able to absorb riboflavin wether it be through food, injections or infusions.

Obviously the infusions bypass the digestive system, and I've been getting them at the hospital infusion center (my hematologist is also stumped, so is my neurologist, my rheumatologist, my family doctor, my acupuncturist, and my endocrinologist).

As I've said, no one has come across a patient with my inability to absorb a most necessary nutrient.

Are there other options to take in B vitamins, not counting diet, injections or infusions, because I am doing all of those to no effect. Are there riboflavin patches available, and if not - I call patent on the idea.

Thank you all for your help.
If I seem short or snarky, please understand that it is my fear.
Especially given that I have tried everything I can think of, as well as things my friends/doctors/nurses have suggested - all to not avail.
I am losing my eyesight because of this, and my nervous system is all messed up.

Could this be the result of having Lyme disease for 8 months before getting a blood test, (my fault) - could I have one of those spore illnesses that are becoming more widespread?

Thank you for the previous answers, and while helpful, I have 'been there, done that' with both.

I am reaching out to whatever this is, because I need all the help I can get. My many specialists have also reached out to colleagues, and NO ONE has ever heard of someone in my situation.

We need to think outside of the box on this one.

Let me know if you require more information.

Thank you for your time, wishing you all a lovely day.
Answered by Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
riboflavin deficiancy.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for giving complete information. You should have given all information from the beginning.
I hope you are giving complete information to other treating doctors also. I have tried to search for cause of riboflavin deficiency. Nothing is available except pernicious anemia causing b complex absorption problem. If there is a problem in Riboflavin absorption from supplements and iv infusions then there is no point in supplementing it with them, in my opinion it is better to continue only on Ribo rich food. I think you are concentrating only on a focal point about inability to absorb Riboflavin than the other hidden reasons. Did the doctor ascertain that your problems are only because of Riboflavin deficiency. If yes, I think I do not have an answer. You should take iron preparation before taking riboflavine rich food.

No harm in your consulting alternative medicine like Ayurveda. Body does not have capacity to produce any vitamin except vitamin D with help of sunlight. For other vitamins body can retain only required amount and rest is excreted out. Till such time you get satisfactory remedy continue to take from available source.

I am not sure about Lyme disease because I do not see such patients regularly in my practice.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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