Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin which plays an essential role in maintaining normal cell function – most noticeably though in red blood cell activity and in nerve function. Interestingly, complex organisms (animals, plants and fungi) cannot make B12. The vitamin has to be extracted from the diet, and is manufactured only by some species of bacteria.
In Vitamin B12 deficiency the red blood cells are enlarged (if the deficiency is severe and longstanding), leading to a rise in the MCV. The threshold for diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency is a matter for debate. Some experts believe levels of 400-500 pmol/L are desirable and that levels below this may lead to symptoms. A level which is sustained below 140 pmol/L will ultimately result in megaloblastic anaemia (or Pernicious Anaemia (PA)), in which there is reduced quality and number of red blood cells. Deficiency may be the result of either low intake of the vitamin or from impaired absorption from the gut. Poor absorption owing to a deficiency of Intrinsic Factor (IF) is generally the underlying reason for PA – and usually this is caused by an autoimmune action, in which antibodies (manufactured by the body’s immune system) mistakenly attack and destroy IF. Vitamin B12 deficiency in the longer run can lead to nervous system disorders – with sensation changes, loss of power or co-ordination, gut disorders and (rarely) dementia or mental illness. Lower level deficiency has been associated with a range of symptoms such as fatigue, memory impairment, irritability, depression and personality changes.
The answer to this question is dependent on how much help you are getting from your own doctor, but if you are looking to have a quick private test conducted then the new Advanced B12 profile below looks at most of these factors and is available as a finger prick kit. You will have to select a vacutainer option if you need Intrinsic Factor looking at also. Need to know more about finger prick blood testing? Download my free finger prick blood testing guide here! If you have any questions, call "Team Blue" free of charge at Blue Horizon Medicals on 0800 999 1110 or email email@example.com - Paul Harris, Founder of Blue Horizon Medicals.
This profile is a little gem, giving so much information about red blood cell health including normal AND active B12. Be more confident of your true B12 status with this profile through finger prick or vacutainer.
Sample Required: Blood .
Turnaround time: 3 working days.
Laboratory code: IFAB
As part of an investigation, when you have anemia and/or neuropathy that may be due to a vitamin B-12 deficiency: when you have red blood cells that are much larger than normal (macrocytic)..
You save £33.00
A highly relevant set of blood tests looking at adrenal fatigue, investigating pituitary and hormonal inputs, which if not related directly to adrenal function, are definitely interlinked.
You save £30.00
You can Trust
Blue Horizon with
your Blood Tests.