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Definition:

Intrinsic factor is a protein produced by cells in the stomach lining. It is needed for the intestines to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently.



Information:

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.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional 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. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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