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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 a 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 anemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, Anastasi J, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2013:chap 37.

      Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 164.