Smoking Discriminately Changes the Serum Active and Non-Active Forms of Vitamin B12

Acta Med Iran. 2017 Jun;55(6):389-394.


Smoking may modify the appetite, and consequently affect nutrient intake and serum micronutrients. The effect of smoking on vitamin B12 status has been considered in several studies. The research proposed that organic nitrites, nitro oxide, cyanides, and isocyanides of cigarette smoke interfere with vitamin B12 metabolism, and convert it to inactive forms. This research was carried out to determine the serum level of active and inactive forms of vitamin B12 in male smokers in comparison with male nonsmokers. This is a case-control study, in which the participants were 85 male smokers and 85 male nonsmokers. The serum levels of total and active form of vitamin B12 were measured. Dietary intake was recorded by a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and one-day 24-hour dietary recall method. Independent two sample T test was used to compare quantitative variables between the case and control groups. The serum level of total vitamin B12 was not significantly different between two groups, but serum level of active form of vitamin B12 in the smoking group was significantly lower than non-smoking group (P<0.001). This is one of the first studies that evaluated the serum level of active form of vitamin B12 in smokers in the Iranian community. The results of this study identified that serum level of total vitamin B12 might be not different between smoking and non-smoking people, but the function of this vitamin is disturbed in the body of smokers through the reduction of serum level of active form of vitamin B12.

Keywords: Active form; Non-active form; Smoking; Vitamin B12.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin B 12