The Vitamin B12 Level Test
This test provides information on the amount of B12 that is present in the body by taking a blood sample, usually from the back of the elbow or the back of the hand.
Preparations before the test
Fasting should be done 6-8 hours before the scheduled test. This means no eating or drinking before that.
In addition, you should also make sure that you communicate with your physician any medications or supplements you are currently taking. This includes all herbal medicines, over-the-counter or any other prescribed drugs.
The reason for this is because some drugs may affect test results in some degree that may lead to misdiagnosis.
What drugs can affect the test results?
• Colchicines (found in gout medicines)
• Neomycin (found in eyedrops, and other topical medications)
• Para-aminosalicylic acid (used to treat tuberculosis, Chron's disease, and ulcerative colitis)
• Phenytoin (anticonvulsant)
Decrypting the Results
A test result's normal value somewhat varies depending on the laboratory that took the test. The standard values considered to be normal range from 200-900 µg/ml. Any values below 200 µg/ml show signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in the bloodstream. In older people, however, values between 200 and 500 µg/ml may also show indications of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Your medical practitioner will be able to determine what the test results point to.
Accuracy of the test
The blood test results alone do not automatically indicate that the tested individual has B12 deficiency. Sometimes, even though a patient is found to have low amounts of cobalamin in the body, it cannot be concluded that he/she has Vitamin B12 deficiency because many factors can obscure the test values.
Unlike Garcinia, there are currently no known adverse effects for taking in too much B12. However, it may still be found in some cases;
• High levels of vitamin B12 can be found in individuals with liver disease, like cirrhosis or hepatitis, though this test is not employed to detect such cases.
• High levels of Vitamin B12 may also be found in people who are obese or are diagnosed with diabetes.
• Low value in a vitamin B12 test may mean a patient has pernicious anemia which poses probems with vitamin B12 absorption
• It may also be a sign of a presence of a parasite in the body
• A low value may also be a side effect of post-gasterectomy where cobalamin is absorbed
• Hyperthyroidism is also linked to low B12
What are the causes of Vitamin B deficiency?
• Inadequate amounts of vitamin B12 intake
• Lack of intrinsic factor that is usually caused by megaloblastic anemia
• Excessive heat production i.e. with hyperthyroidism
• Diseases that cause inadequate absorption of B12 in the body, such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease.
What are the possible risks for testing Vitamin B12 deficiency?
While possible, these risks are extremely uncommon. Some risks associated with taking blood samples may include:
• Excessive bleeding