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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353870

Research Project: Novel Functions and Biomarkers for Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Methods to assess vitamin B-12 bioavailability and technologies to enhance its absorption

Author
item Brito, Alex - University Of Moscow
item Habevch, Edwin - Nestle Research Center - Switzerland
item Silva-zolezzi, Irma - Nestle Research Center - Switzerland
item Galaffu, N - Nestle Research Center - Switzerland
item Allen, Lindsay

Submitted to: Nutrition Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2018
Publication Date: 6/20/2018
Citation: Brito, A., Habevch, E., Silva-Zolezzi, I., Galaffu, N., Allen, L.H. 2018. Methods to assess vitamin B-12 bioavailability and technologies to enhance its absorption. Nutrition Reviews. 76(10):778-792. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuy026.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuy026

Interpretive Summary: Vitamin B-12 (B-12) deficiency is common in low-, middle- and high-income countries mainly due to too little in the diet and to a lesser extent, malabsorption in the intestine. In this article, methods to assess B-12 bioavailability and technologies to enhance its absorption were critically evaluated through a systematic review of 2523 scientific articles and an exhaustive search of 1572 patents. Among the reviewed methods, Schilling’s test and/or its food-based version, the egg-yolk cobalamin absorption test in which B-12 absorption is measured by labelling the cobalt in the vitamin, were used for decades but are not used nowadays. The qualitative CobaSorb test, based on changes in circulating B12 bound to serum holo-transcobalamin before and after B-12 administration, and the quantitative low dose radioactive 14C-labelled absorption test are currently the best available methods. Various forms of B-12 linked with absorption enhancers (i.e. salcaprozate sodium, 8-amino caprylate), biotechnological approaches (i.e. B12-binding proteins expressed in plant cells), encapsulation techniques (i.e. emulsions, use of chitosan particles) and alternative routes of administration (i.e. through the nose or the skin) are potential technologies to enhance B-12 absorption in humans. However, in most cases the evidence of absorption enhancement is limited.

Technical Abstract: Vitamin B-12 (B-12) deficiency is still relatively common in low, medium and high-income countries, mainly due to dietary inadequacy and to a lesser extent, malabsorption. This narrative review is based on a systematic search of evidence on methods to assess B-12 bioavailability and technologies to enhance its absorption, and includes2523 scientific articles identified in PubMed and 1572 patents identified in Orbit Intelligence. Among the reviewed methods, Schilling’s test and/or its food-based version (using cobalamin labeled egg-yolk) were used for decades but have been discontinued, largely because they required radioactive cobalt. The qualitative CobaSorb test, based on changes in circulating holo-transcobalamin before and after B-12 administration, and the 14C-labeled B-12 test for quantitative measurement of absorption of a low dose radioactive tracer, are currently the best available methods. Various forms of B-12 co-formulated with chemical enhancers (i.e. salcaprozate sodium, 8-amino caprylate), or supplied via biotechnological methods (i.e. microbiological techniques, plant cells expressing cobalamin binding proteins), encapsulation techniques (i.e. emulsions, use of chitosan particles) and alternative routes of administration (i.e. intranasal, transdermal administration) were identified as potential technologies to enhance B-12 absorption in humans However, in most cases the evidence of absorption enhancement is limited.