Intrinsic factor is a protein produced by cells in the stomach lining. It is needed for the intestines to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently.
In a disease called pernicious anemia, immune system damage to the stomach lining can cause a lack (deficiency) of intrinsic factor. Pernicious anemia causes vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to a low red blood cell count (anemia).
Intrinsic factor deficiencies can also be caused by other reasons, such as:
- Inherited conditions
- Other diseases
- Surgical removal of the stomach
Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemia. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 170.
Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 39.
|View Spanish Version|
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home
Care PointsRead More
Review Date: 1/31/2010
Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, 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- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.