The Intrinsic Factor

Vitamin B12.

Heard of it?

Okay, so it’s called Cobalamin, but can you tell me what it does?

No? Me neither but it is one of the many things that I shall no longer produce enough of myself since having part of my stomach removed meaning that there will be regular supplements having to be injected on a quarterly basis.

That is along with a daily regimen of multi vitamins, minerals and iron that I shall have to suck down. Not literally iron filings but a manufactured supplement to improve my insides and relieve any borderline anaemia.

It’s a wonder I’m still in one piece…

What’s more of a wonder is the fact that we take all of these things for granted with many of us not even considering them in our daily diet regimen. I know I have been guilty of eating a good deal of supposed healthy food whilst on a diet of chicken, fish, pasta and pulses and the like only to start feeling tired and sluggish before realising that I had not been taking on enough Iron minerals or the like. I have also found the same with a lack of Vitamin C and a lack of Folic acid (yes folks, Folic acid, it turns out it’s not just for pregnant people)

I suppose in the past my hit and miss attitude toward my food intake was that as I ate a great deal of most things (some vegetables aside) I pretty much on the whole covered all of my options but now my calorie intake is massively reduced due to the reduction in the size of my portions now having to relate directly to my new stomach size. This means that as much as I will eat only the good and nutritious from now on I will be missing out on a great deal and required therefore to take on board these supplements for the rest of my days lest their lack absolutely bring me to my knees, or worse still just make me feel off-colour (tired) as I have done for a few days now.

Yesterday I decided enough was enough, I felt fine but I had no energy and absolutely no motivation which was odd because since my op, I had been feeling better by the day. I sat at my desk and decided to google the symptoms – lack of energy, listless, tiredness and a slow if not complete lack of memory. Well it all pretty much pointed to a B12 deficiency and it made me recall a conversation I had with the Dietician on the Monday after my operation when she informed me that I was drastically low on B12 and would need a shot sooner than later. You see, it turns out they watch out for a reduction of B12 vitamin in the post operative care, but it appears mine had drastically plummeted prior to the surgery and I was in need of a boost long before the first of my three monthly shots were to be administered.

The reason for the reduction is because B12 is taken from eggs, shellfish, poultry, meat, liver, milk, cheese and fortified cereal. Now bear in mind the only things I can eat of these in the first two weeks is the milk and then the next two weeks I can the eggs some very soft cheese and the meat if it is pureed. Things start going back to normal after a month or so of this but you then realise that its the lack of quantity that becomes the issue because you simply cannot fit enough of the correct foodstuff in at your daily sittings, alongside the physical change in your body.

Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. The first being, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates the B12 from the protein to which the vitamin is attached in food. After this, the B12 combines with a second protein made by the stomach called (believe it or not) intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. Now that I have a greater percentage of my stomach missing, I do not produce enough of the required intrinsic factor (it really sounds like a racehorse in the Grand National) and as a result, I will have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements going forward.

So, I gave the GP a call and a after a bit of running around trying to find out the reading of my low B12 the Nurse was able to administer a dose in the shoulder. I now have to return five more times to get a further five shots in something called a “B12 Loading” and if the difference of how I feel from yesterday to today is repeated each time, I’ll feel bloody bionic by the time its all done, even if a little pin cushionesque 😉

‘Till tomorrow,

Stay out of the fridge

4 thoughts on “The Intrinsic Factor


    Many people have injections for B12 after WLS – I have been fine without but do take a daily B12 spray vitamin to ensure that I get enough. Thankfully you can’t overdose on Vit B12 so it’s good to eat rich food sources too. However never forget to take your supplements, many WLS patients are notoriously bad at this, and suffer the consequences further down the road. Sadly some deficiencies only present themselves when it is too late. Glad you’re on the ball and have researched this well. C x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thepaleosleeve says:

    I only had the shots while I was at the hospital. I now take a B12 sublingual supplement….. Along with D3, Calcium citrate w/magnesium, iron and my multivitamin. It’s freaking disgusting but I do notice a HUGE difference in my energy if I don’t take it. It’s amazing what a difference these supplements make.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s