The ileum is the lowest and longest part of the small intestines. It is just before the cecum which is the start of the large intestine, and after the duodenum and jejunum.
It's responsibilities include absorbing vitamin B12 and the reabsorption of bile salts. It’s nearly 13 feet in length.
It is important to note that if you have surgery to remove the last part of it, you will not be able to reabsorb the bile or absorb B12.
If there is an imbalance in the components of bile because of the lack of absorption of bile salts, it can lead to the formation of cholesterol gallstones.
After the surgery a patient will need to get their Vitamin B12 in a different way. This is why it is not uncommon for people with Crohn's Disease need to get B12 shots or takes supplements that contain the B vitamin family.
The lack of B12 can cause fatigue and make you anemic (it can even cause problems with the heart because of the excessive formation of homocysteine (I've had 5-way bypass surgery. How much the condition was helped along from homocysteine, I have no idea).
There are tests you can have done to see if you are anemic. But if you end up having to have surgery, your surgeon will probably discuss the need for B12 with you.
If you would like to know more about a high quality nutritional supplement with B12 as well as a host of other essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients those with Crohns Disease may be lacking, click here.
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