There are 13 essential vitamins, which our body requires for proper functioning. These vitamins are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and vitamin B complex. Vitamin B complex is one of the most important nutrients that our body needs to perform a variety of important functions including metabolism, producing healthy blood cells, supporting the nervous system, promoting cardiovascular health, etc. Vitamin B complex is not one, but a set of eight vitamins. They are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. Each of these eight B vitamins is responsible for performing certain essentials bodily functions. Among these, vitamin B12 is one of the vital nutrients and its deficiency can cause anaemia, fatigue, headache, etc. However, these could be signs of other health conditions as well. That’s why a blood test is conducted to check the levels of vitamin B12 in our body and it is known as vitamin B12 test.
Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for our health, which is responsible for many bodily functions, such as brain health, proper functioning of the nervous system and blood cellproduction. Hence, it is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin B12. And this can be checked by undergoing a vitamin B12 test. This is basically a blood test to measure vitamin B12 levels in our body.
Vitamin B12 test checks certain things, such as whether the haemoglobin levels are lower than normal, whether the red blood cells are larger than normal, the level of vitamin B12 and folate or vitamin B9 in the blood. Haemoglobin is basically the protein molecule in red blood cells, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of our body and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. The lower level of haemoglobin indicates anaemia. If the red blood cells appear larger and underdeveloped, it is a sign of vitamin deficiency anaemia, which is caused by low levels of vitamin B12 and folate. This test also checks the levels of vitamin B12 and folate at the same time, because the deficiencies of both these vitamins can cause similar symptoms.
The normal range of vitamin B12 in the blood is between 200 and 900 nanograms/millilitre. If vitamin B12 levels are below 200 nanograms/millilitre, it indicates vitamin B12 deficiency. Anything higher than 900 nanograms/millilitre is considered abnormally high levels of vitamin B12.
Why get Tested for VITAMIN B12 Test
Vitamin B12 test checks the level of vitamin B12 in our body. This test result helps to determine whether abnormal levels of vitamin B12 in our body are causing any symptoms. There are certain symptoms that are linked with low vitamin B12 levels. They are – fast heartbeat, numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet, poor memory, sudden confusion, difficulty in maintaining balance, dementia, depression, etc. As you can see, these are mostly neurological problems, which means vitamin B12 is very important for the proper functioning of our brain and nervous system.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the reason can be vitamin B12 deficiency. However, these symptoms can be caused by other factors as well. To make sure, whether these signs and symptoms are linked with vitamin B12 deficiency or not, vitamin B12 test should be done. One of the major symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is pernicious anaemia. This anaemia results in a low count of red blood cells. The main cause of pernicious anaemia is the inability of our body to absorb vitamin B12 from our diet. The intestines help absorbing vitamin B12 from food. There is a protein, which is produced in our stomach, helps our body to absorb the vitamin. This protein is called ‘intrinsicfactor’.
If our body is low in this protein, it can cause pernicious anaemia. Few other factors, such as eating a vegetarian diet, age, any disease of the intestines, certain bad bacteria in the intestines, certain specific medications, being infected with tapeworm, etc can also cause low levels of vitamin B12 in our body, which can further cause pernicious anaemia. Symptoms of this anaemia include loss of appetite, weakness, pale skin, weight loss, constipation, fatigue, etc.
If you have been noticing any of these symptoms, it can be linked with vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. A vitamin B12 test is mandatory in such situation because the test report will be useful to start immediately and the most appropriate treatment to cure pernicious anaemia as well as address the factors that are causing vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. Furthermore, vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes cause temporary infertility. Lack of vitamin B12 during pregnancy can cause serious birth defect for the baby. Also, vitamin B12 deficiency can increase the risk of stomach cancer. To avoid all these serious health conditions, it is important to get vitamin B12 test done to check the levels of vitamin B12 in our body. High levels of vitamin B12 can be an early sign of liver disease, diabetes and certain types of leukaemia. Vitamin B12 test reports can help the doctor to detect the early signs of those diseases and start the treatment on time.
When to get Tested for VITAMIN B12 Test
Your doctor might ask you to get vitamin B12 test done if You have been diagnosed with anaemia, If the doctor suspects any health condition which can affect your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the food sources If you are taking certain medications that can interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, There are certain symptoms in you which can be the results of low vitamin B12 levels.
Vitamin B12 test is recommended for those who follow a strict vegetarian diet. Since the most common food sources of vitamin B12 are fish, eggs, meat, etc, hence those following a vegetarian diet can be found vitamin B12 deficient. Our vitamin intake gradually comes down with age. Therefore, a vitamin B12 test is recommended for older adults to check vitamin B12 levels and, further take immediate steps to reduce the health risks associated with low vitamin B12 levels.
Preparation for VITAMIN B12 Test
Any special preparations is not required for a Thyroid blood test. Fasting is not essential for thyroid test.
Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient for our body. It is particularly required for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 in our body is mandatory. Vitamin B12 test is done to check the levels of this vitamin in our body. This test is recommended for those who show symptoms of low levels of vitamin B12 or those who are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. However, the good news is that vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated effectively by including vitamin B12 rich foods in the diet, along with taking vitamin supplements.
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