Vitamin B12 Levels, Substance Use Patterns and Clinical Characteristics among People with Severe Substance Use Disorders: A Cohort Study from Western Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNutrients. 2022, 14 (9), 1941. 10.3390/nu14091941
People with severe substance use disorder (SUD) have a higher burden of micronutrient deficiency compared with the general population. The aim of this study was to investigate vitamin B12 status and risk factors of deficiency related to substance use, opioid agonist therapy (OAT), as well as hepatitis C infection and liver fibrosis. In this prospective cohort study, participants were recruited from outpatient OAT and SUD clinics in western Norway, and assessed annually with a clinical interview and exam, including venous blood sampling. Data were collected between March 2016 and June 2020, and a total of 2451 serum vitamin B12 measurements from 672 participants were included. The median serum vitamin B12 concentration was 396 (standard deviation 198) pmol/L at baseline, 22% of the population had suboptimal levels (<300 pmol/L) and 1.2% were deficient at baseline (<175 pmol/L). No clear associations were seen with substance use patterns, but liver disease and younger age were associated with higher vitamin B12 levels. Although the majority of participants had satisfactory vitamin B12 levels, about a fifth had suboptimal levels that might or might not be adequate for metabolic needs. Future studies could investigate potential gains in interventions among patients with suboptimal but non-deficient levels.