There are several different tests in which your Vitamin B 12 Levelsmight be checked, but there is only one test that you SHOULD have checked in order to find out your b12 levels- and it’s not what you (or your doctor) probably think.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency, also called Cobalamin deficiency is a big problem with an easy solution- if it is actually diagnosed. But unfortunately, it is not diagnosed in the majority of cases. In fact, Vitamin B12 deficiency is so prevalent that it's estimated to be present in almost 40% of the population, yet it is very rarely diagnosed. The extremely common Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms include problems such as:
Yet clinicians almost never suspect these common symptoms as being from B12 Malapsorption, instead often calling them Early Symptoms of Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. But if you are lucky enough to have your doctor suspect vitamin B12 deficiency and actually test your Vitamin B 12 Levels, it’s likely that he will often do the wrong tests to find it!
And unfortunately, when these tests come back normal, it will give you and your doctor a false belief that you do NOT have Vitamin B12 deficiency, or that you cannot benefit from taking Vitamin B12, particularly in the form of Methylcobalamin B12, when you actually still might!
The first and most common Vitamin B12 blood test that is done is actually not for Vitamin B12 at all. When laboratories do a regular Complete Blood Count or ‘CBC’, they further categorize this test by measuring the size of the red blood cell and the number of them on the portion of the test called an MCV Blood Test. If the cells come back larger than normal with fewer of them, you will be said to have Macrocytic Anemia- which is often caused BY vitamin B12 deficiency. But macrocytic anemia often won’t occur for up to 2 years after the onset of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
So, even if you are severely deficient, if you haven’t been that way for up to 2 years, you won't show macrocytic anemia. Therefore, IF you have macrocytic anemia, it's extremely likely that you do have Vitamin B12 Deficiency, but if you do not have macrocytosis, you can still have Vitamin B12 Deficiency.
If you have severe symptoms and your doctor is more proactive, he MAY test your Vitamin B 12 Levels. While it seems logical that a Vitamin B12 blood test, also called a Cobalamin Level, would accurately test Vitamin B 12 levels, that assumption is VERY wrong. In fact, this simple blood test, much like the test for your Magnesium Level, is inaccurate much of the time. Especially when your Vitamin B 12 levels are low or high, a Vitamin B 12 level is completely unreliable- even though they may provide some valuable clues to health problems.
"Metabolic tests, such as serum methylmalonic acid
(MMA) or plasma homocysteine, can be useful
when the clinical picture is equivocal but
are sometimes unreliable themselves."
How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency
If you are Understanding Blood Test Results properly, you'd understand that the 'normal' level on a Vitamin B12 blood test is fairly useless. While a low level DOES mean that someone is deficient, someone can still be deficient with both a normal level, and even a high level!
Sadly, a high vitamin B12 level will almost certainly be ignored. However, a high level, in the absence of vitamin B12 supplementation, is a huge red flag that you might have the very common MTHFR Genetic Mutation that might be the underlying cause of your chronic health complaints!
If you are persuasive or you happen to have an excellent clinician, they might do a Methylmalonic Acid Test, also called an MMA. This test is better than the Vitamin B 12 levels, and can detect low vitamin B12 levels as soon as 10 DAYS after the deficiency actually starts!
"Health care strategies... should consider
the advantages of including methylmalonic acid...
in the early evaluation of patients
with suspected deficiencies of vitamin B12..."
Cobalamin and Folate Evaluation: Measurement
of Methylmalonic Acid and Homocysteine
vs Vitamin B12 and Folate
Unfortunately, even the MMA has its downsides. It might be able to tell if you have outright Vitamin B12 Deficiency, however, it can't tell you if you will BENEFIT from taking Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a complex substance that can effect many body functions, and one doesn't necessarily need to have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency in order to benefit from taking Vitamin B12. Methylcobalamin B12, in particular is a complex substance that has a variety of functions necessary to human functioning.
So, what are you to do if you suspect Vitamin B12 Deficiency? Well, the best test is just to do a trial of Methylcobalamin B12 and see if it helps! Really, there is no better test. If you are not Vitamin B12 Deficient, you should feel nothing. If you ARE Vitamin B12 Deficient, you will either feel better or worse. If you feel better, then you've found your problem, and you're on your way to getting better. If you feel WORSE, then you should suspect that you have the MTHFR Gene and get tested for that.
Keep reading to find out about the Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treatment that you can use even if you simply SUSPECT vitamin b12 deficiency...
Vitamin B12 Resources
Click below to see already answered questions about Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B-12 Level High While Taking Supplements
My fathers B-12 was low back in Seotember 2015 and his caretaker started supplementing 5000 mcg daily. The doctors never did a follow up until I requested …
How quickly do MMA levels return to normal values after administering b-12?
My mother's rapidly increasing neurological problems seem to be indicative of b-12 deficiency. Simple blood tests do however not fully support this. There …
High MCV During Pregnancy
I recently had blood work done and discovered that my MCV is 101. I am 27 weeks pregnant and wondering how concerned I should, or should not be about this. …
mcv level high
sir MY MCV level is slightly high. I am taking metformin 850 mg twice daily for sugar treatment. My hb level is 14.5 My Calcium level is 9.70 (slightly …
High MCV result
My MCV is 104.1 My doctor says this must be normal for me! A previous doctor in 2003 when I first developed ME/CFS said I "have the MCV of an alcoholic" …
B12 Levels are too high
My b12 blood test levels came back over 2000. I have MS and have been taking b12 supplements for three years. If I stop taking them, will my levels come …
Low levels even on B-12 injections
Hi I give myself B-12 injections once a month but my levels keep being low. My lelel was at 600 a few days after an injection. My doctor asked me to give …
Stopped taking B12 pills due to my B12 being high .
I have been taking B12 for years. However due to the results of my last blood work my B12 was elevated quite a lot. Therefore I was instructed by my doctor …
Elevated blood b12 levels and supplementation
My husband started taking sub-lingual methylcobalamin (1000 mcg/day) about a year and a half ago, per my recommendation. We had no idea if his levels …
B12 levels dropping after initial injections?
I was diagnosed B12 deficient as well as Vitamin D deficient. My b12 level was below 200 and when I went to the doctor it was because of symptoms I was …
B12 Deficiency Symptoms but B12 Level is High
My B12 level test done by Dr. is 912. I have been on PPIs for 12 years and the last 3 years my feet have been getting more numb by the month as well as …
MCV Result Consistently on the High Side
I am 71 year old male, and during check-up doctor ordered cmp14, cbc etc tests. All my tests are wonderful, right in or close to the middle of the range, …
MMA Urine Test
After reading the details on your website, I want to get a "Methylmalonic Acid" (MMA) test done to confirm my B12 deficiency and read it together with …
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