Intrinsic factor is a protein produced by cells in the stomach lining. It is needed for the intestines to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently.
Immune system damage to the stomach lining can cause a lack (deficiency) of intrinsic factor. This can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and low red blood cell count (anemia), which is called pernicious anemia . Intrinsic factor deficiencies can be caused by other reasons, such as surgical removal of the stomach, inherited conditions, and other diseases.
References: Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemia. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 170.
|Review Date: 11/23/2008|
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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