Impact of Cyanocobalamin and Methylcobalamin on Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Intestinal Microbiota Composition

J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Jan 23;67(3):916-926. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b05730. Epub 2019 Jan 8.


Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are usually advised to supplement various types of vitamin B12, because vitamin B12 is generally absorbed in the colon. Thus, in the current study, the influence of cyanocobalamin (CNCBL) or methylcobalamin (MECBL) ingestion on IBD symptoms will be investigated. Then, whether and how the application of various cobalamins would modify the taxonomic and functional composition of the gut microbiome in mice will be examined carefully. Dextran-sulfate-sodium-induced IBD mice were treated with MECBL or CNCBL; disease activity index (DAI) scores and intestinal inflammatory conditions of mice were evaluated. Fecal samples were collected; microbiota composition was determined with a 16s rRNA analysis; functional profiles were predicted by phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt); and short-chain fatty acids were measured. The consequence of higher relative abundances of Enterobacteriaceae and isomeric short-chain fatty acids by cobalamin treatment revealed that a high concentration of CNCBL but not MECBL supplementation obviously aggravated IBD. A microbial ecosystem rich in Escherichia/ Shigella and low in Lactobacillus, Blautia, and Clostridium XVIII was observed in IBD mice after a high concentration of CNCBL supplementation. In cobalamin-dependent enzymes, CNCBL was more efficient in the adenosylcobalamin system than MECBL and vice versa in the MECBL system. The distinct effects of various cobalamins were associated with the distribution and efficiency of vitamin-B12-dependent riboswitches. CNCBL had a strong inhibitory effect on all riboswitches, especially on btuB and pocR riboswitches from Enterobacteriaceae. CNCBL aggravated IBD via enhancing the proportion of Enterobacteriaceae organisms through riboswitch and enzyme systems. The present study provides a critical reference for offering a suitable amount and type of cobalamin during a symbiotic condition.

Keywords: Enterobacteriaceae; cyanocobalamin; gut microbiome; inflammatory bowel disease; methylcobalamin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phylogeny
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B 12 / analogs & derivatives*


  • mecobalamin
  • Vitamin B 12