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Intrinsic factor


Definition:

Intrinsic factor is a protein that helps your intestines absorb vitamin B12. It is made by cells in the stomach lining.

Information:

Intrinsic factor is an important protein that helps your body absorb vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is needed for red blood cells to form and grow.

Some people do not make enough intrinsic factor or have a condition that destroys it. If your body does not make enough intrinsic factor, you can develop a type of vitamin B12 deficiency called pernicious anemia.

Surgical removal of the stomach and certain other health conditions can also cause you to stop making intrinsic factor.

References:

Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 167.

Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 39.


Review Date: 2/25/2014
Reviewed By: Diane M. Horowitz, MD, Rheumatologist and Continuing Medical Education Director, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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