Indian scientists from CIMAP develop Ayurvedic herbal extract to improve Vitamin B12 uptake

New Delhi: A common concern with oral vitamin B12 therapy is absorption, especially in people suffering from anemia and gastrointestinal diseases. Now, researchers at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) have identified a plant extract that has shown potential in enhancing absorption of vitamin B12 through in vitro and in vivo bioassays.

Vitamin B12 cannot be synthesized in the human body and must be regularly obtained from ingestion of animal proteins or fortified cereal products. There are no naturally occurring bioactive forms of vitamin B12 from plant sources. Some plant foods contain added vitamin B12 and others, for example seaweed and mushrooms, contain its analogues that are inactive in humans.

“The name of the plant has not been disclosed due to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issues but it is a frequently used Ayurveda and traditional system of medicine. No oral sub-acute toxicity of this plant extract was observed at the highest dose up to 2,000mg/kg body weight in small animal model. A cost effective oral formulation in capsule form has been developed with a standardized plant extract that has various advantages,” said Dr. Mahendra P. Darokar, Senior Principal Scientist and Head, Molecular Bioprospection Department CSIR-CIMAP.

According to Dr Darokar, the formulation releases the Vitamin B12 in a controlled manner. It provides pH dependent solubility (soluble in alkaline/intestinal pH) due to which the acidic gastric environment is bypassed and it releases intestinal pH. It also reduces the dosing frequency and thereby improves patient compliance.

No other product as a bioenhancer of vitamin B12 absorption is available. It is based on a plant that is known for its consumption by humans for many years, and it reduces the dose of Vitamin B12 to meet RDA.

However, Dr Darokar said, further pre-clinical and human studies are required before the formulation is licensed to the interested industrial partner for commercial utilization.

Jyoti Singh is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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