Vitamin B12 diagnostic use and therapeutic considerations in pets
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is a water-soluble, cobalt-containing vitamin with an important role in biochemical processes referred to as single carbon transfers. During these reactions, functional units such as methyl groups (-CH3) are transferred onto or between biologically important compounds. Cobalamin is a co-factor for at least three enzymes that carry out these types of reactions, acting as a transitional carrier of the single carbon group. A typical reaction catalyzed by a cobalamin dependant enzyme, methionine synthase, is illustrated in figure 1. Single carbon biochemistry is an area of great interest in the human population, as deficiencies in the activity of these enzymes may be associated with hyperhomocysteinemia. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Deficiency in cobalamin may also be associated with demyelinating neuropathies, dementia and megaloblastic anemia (Pernicious Anemia) in human patients.
In companion animal medicine, most attention to cobalamin has been directed towards its use as a diagnostic marker for gastrointestinal disease. Recent evidence from studies at the Gastrointestinal Laboratory have also shown that supplementation of cobalamin is important to get the best response to therapy for gastrointestinal disease.
NB: I find the combination of homeopathic care and nutritional support to be very effective in managing IBD and other chronic gastrointestinal problems. Vitamin B12 injections and specific nutritional supplementation can be useful adjuncts along with homeopathy.