Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis brings with it lots of changes, including new medications. Metformin is one of the most widely used medications prescribed to help with glucose control.

It has long been known that this drug can sometimes can carry with it the side effect of intestinal upset, but did you know that it may also be hindering your thought processes?

A recent retrospective study led by Eileen Moore, PhD, discovered that people who were taking metformin had “worse cognitive performance than those not taking the drug.”

This loss in cognitive ability was linked to low levels of vitamin B12. In fact, those participants with low B12 levels showed the lowest performance in the tests. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), metformin has been shown to deplete vitamin B12 in some people, as found in some small studies.

What you can do

There is something you can do to counteract the effects. The researchers found that supplementation of vitamin B12 helped to alleviate some of the deficiency. In other words, taking a supplement or increasing the B12-rich foods you eat can keep you from losing your ability to think straight if you are taking metformin. The NIH says that it’s best to get your daily dose of B12 from healthy foods as opposed to supplements.

Red meat, fish, poultry, and eggs all contain vitamin B12.

It’s never fun to hear that you may develop another issue in your life with type 2 diabetes, but it helps to hear that there is something you can do about it. Be proactive and ask your doctor to check your B12 levels, and be sure to eat a healthy diet filled with fresh, whole foods.