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Indian Express
24 September 2010

Vitamin B–12 is usually found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products
head of World Heart A day (September 26), bariatric surgeon Dr Shashank Shah has urged people to focus upon Vitamin B–12 as deficiency of this nutrient – which is a a crucial cardio–protective factor in the body – is one of the reasons why most Indians are predisposed to cardiac diseases from a very young age.

Pointing out the example of 24–year–old IT professional Tejas who was mildly obese at 105 kg , Shah said that it came as a shock for his family when the youngster had to undergo an angioplasty. A series of tests revealed that he was suffering from Vitamin B–12 deficiency and had high homocysteine levels. Tejas had put on a lot of weight and had developed diabetes, said Shah, who along with Dr Jayashree Todkar de cided to perform sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Tejas recovered after the surgery and his weight dropped to 70 kg. Shah who has a laparo obese centre in the city said they also embarked upon a study that showed sleeve gastrectomy was the best surgery for obese patients as their diet made them deficient in Vitamin B–12.

"We are aware that obese patients are predisposed to metabolic syndrome like high blood pressure and other cardio vascu lar risk factors. However lack of Vitamin B–12 is another contributory factor for the disease and some 300 vegetarian and nonvegetarian obese patients were studied for Vitamin B–12 levels.

The levels were high even among non–vegetarian patients who due to certain health fads were on an improper diet, saidShah.

In the study, they found that obesity itself meant improper nourishment or mal–absorbtion. . The results showed that after proper education and monitoring, although the non–vegetarians showed a marked improvement in their Vitamin B–12 levels, there was no improvement among the vegetarians. Shah presented the study findings at the World Congress for Obesity in Los Angeles in September this year.

He pointed out that various studies have identified that it is the diet of Indians that contribute to this deficiency. Vitamin B–12 which is usually found in food that come from animals like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products are consumed in insufficient amount by Indians because of their dietary and cooking patterns, he said.

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