Vitamin B May Relieve Ulcerative Colitis, Boost Tissue Repair: Study

New study shows vitamin B12 helps cell regeneration and reprogramming in ulcerative colitis models.

For the nearly one million Americans suffering from painful intestinal inflammation of ulcerative colitis, a simple vitamin supplement could offer hope.

New research reveals that vitamin B12 may play a pivotal role in regenerating damaged intestinal tissues in those enduring this chronic disease, providing less invasive treatment options.

What Exactly Happens?

In a study published in Nature Metabolism, researchers examined how vitamin B12 impacts cellular reprogramming and tissue regeneration after discovering a vitamin B12 shortage in the gut bacteria.

Cellular reprogramming allows mature cells to transform into embryonic cell layers that can generate any needed new cells or tissue. This process demands extensive energy and depletes vitamin B12 reserves in the body, the researchers found.

They also found that in mice models, inadequate vitamin B12 levels inhibited successful cellular reprogramming and tissue repair, disrupting gene function. However, supplying vitamin B12 supplements improved cellular reprogramming efficiency.

The researchers validated their findings in a model of ulcerative colitis.

They demonstrated intestinal cells undergo similar reprogramming which also depleted vitamin B12 reserves. When researchers provided a B12 supplement, cellular regeneration and reprogramming increased efficiency in intestines mimicking inflammatory bowel disease.

Why This Matters?

Nearly 1 million Americans live with ulcerative colitis, an unpredictable inflammatory bowel disease causing digestive tract inflammation and ulcers. It affects the innermost lining of the large intestine. While possible at any age, onset is most likely between ages 15–30. Symptoms like diarrhea, bloody stool, and abdominal pain. The exact cause is unknown but may involve genetics, immune reactions, gut microbes, and environment.

Doctors currently treat colitis with anti-inflammatory medicines and sometimes surgery. Regardless, ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition and patients experience periods with no symptoms and periods with flare-ups.

Vitamin B12 supplementation may enable patients to better manage their own condition. Rather than relying solely on prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery, or frequent doctor interventions, patients may be able to help manage flare-ups by taking over-the-counter vitamin B12 supplements as needed. This gives them more independence and flexibility in their treatment.

Vitamin B12 Recommendations

Diet plays a key role in managing the disease. Foods rich in vitamin B12 may help prevent flare-ups. Those seeking more B12 can eat beef, seafood, eggs, and dairy or take supplements.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends adults consume at least 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily. Pregnant women should consume 2.6 mg and lactating women should consume 2.8 mg. Excess B12 is not toxic but patients should consult doctors before taking new supplements, as some medications decrease B12 absorption.

Important Notice: This article was also published at by Amie Dahnke where all credits are due.


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