The MCV Blood Test
What Other Sites Won't Tell You

An MCV Blood Test, a  a measure of the mean corpuscular volume of individual red blood cells is a test that measures the number and the different types of cells in your blood. Specifically, it is actually a measure of the average VOLUME of Red Blood Cells, also called Erythrocytes. The word MCV stands for Mean Corpuscle Volume- as red blood cells are also sometimes referred to as corpuscles.



The normal mean corpuscular volume is between 80 to 100 fl.(there are ALWAYS slight variations between different labs) and the two possibilities for abnormal levels are:

  • Macrocytic Anemia: Or a high MCV, is when the number is BIGGER than it should be, this means that the cell is LARGER than normal. This is a condition called Macrocytic Anemia or Macrocytosis. 
  • Microcytic Anemia: Or a low MCV, is when the number is SMALLER than normal, the cell is too SMALL and this is a condition called Microcytic Anemia or Microcytosis.

While the term 'anemia' or 'anaemia' by itself is a well known condition that usually means too few red blood cells, low iron, or too little hemoglobin; microcytic and macrocytic anemia mean something different.

Macrocytic Anemia or Macrocytosis

When the MCV blood test has a HIGH number- even slightly- this means that the blood cells are too large and is called macrocytosis or Macrocytic Anemia. This SHOULD trigger a further workup from your doctor to find out why they are too large, but mild macrocytosis is very often overlooked as not being important. Macrocytic Anemia is, however,  an extremely important finding and could mean a few different things that are very significant to your health.



The first and most obvious thing that your doctor should suspect- especially if you have fatigue or a condition called Hyperhomocystemia- is Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Vitamin B12 Deficiency affects MILLIONS of people and very often goes undiagnosed. When macrocytosis occurs as a Sign of Vitamin B12 Deficiency, you have most likely already had Vitamin B12 deficiency for at LEAST 2 years- the amount of time that it takes to noticeably affect the red blood cells.

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This can be caused by poor diet, excessive alcohol intake, Vitamin B12 Malabsorption, gastrointestinal problems, and sometime from drugs, such as the:

When the MCV Blood Test 
Shows a Low Number

A low MCV, also called microcytic anemia or Microcytosis, occurs when the MCV blood test number is lower than normal. What this means is that the average VOLUME of the red blood cells is SMALLER than normal. Microcytosis is also a common occurrence on blood tests, especially in menstruating women, but this condition usually gets looked into by doctors. This is because one of the most dangerous reasons that microcytic anemia occurs is a 'sub clinical' slowly bleeding ulcer or other bleeding problem.

If you have an abnormal MCV blood test, don't let your doctor tell you it's not important! A low mcv and high mcv indicate macrocytosis, microcytosis, microcytic anemia and macrocytic anemia

Most often these slow bleeding conditions occur in the digestive tract and could be very dangerous if left untreated. But if you have a low MCV blood test and your doctor has determined that you are NOT bleeding then the other possibilities for a low MCV blood test result are:

  •  Low intake of Vitamin B6 
  •  Heavy metal excess
  • Gastrointestinal Malabsorption Problems such as Gluten Sensitivity
  • Low Intake of Iron- common in vegetarians and vegans, or those with poor nutrition

If you have microcytosis, you should be getting further testing. And those tests SHOULD include iron and ferritin levels, and potentially even Testing For Gluten Sensitivity. Gluten Sensitivity, also called Celiac Disease in its most severe form, occurs in about every 1 in 100 people- that's pretty frequent, but it is RARELY diagnosed because it doesn't always have the classic Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance that it is 'supposed' to have.

While your doctor is probably not aware of this, the Celiac Disease Research is VERY clear that anyone who has anemia without there being a good reason- should be tested for celiac disease.

Why is Your MCV Blood Test Abnormal?

Whether your MCV is too high OR too low, there should be a 'good reason' for it to be abnormal. You should not allow your doctor to say that it is not significant because it is almost always very significant. If you have ANY chronic health problem, then finding out WHY you have an abnormal MCV test could be the key to uncovering the underlying CAUSE of your health problems.

Whether you need further testing of your Vitamin B12 Level and other vitamin testing, such as your Vitamin D Level, or Testing for Gluten Sensitivity, you should get your doctor to answer the question of WHY your MCV Blood Test is abnormal.



If you are otherwise extremely healthy, a vague answer and another test a few months later is probably sufficient. But for those of you suffering from chronic health problems, use this opportunity to take control of your own health and get a test for the MTHFR Gene, perhaps do a trial of Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 Supplements, or try out a Gluten Free Diet and see how you feel. Few doctors will ever address issues like an abnormal MCV Blood Test, for most of us, we have to learn to be our own doctors and find solutions that work for us.

Keep reading to find out more about Vitamin B12 Malabsorption.

Next --->
Vitamin B12 Malabsorption

Already Answered Questions about this Laboratory Test

Click below to see already answered questions about this laboratory test

High MCV level after a Gluten Free Diet 
If I had been omitting Gluten for 5 weeks to see if it would lower my MCV level, and then the two days prior to my blood draw, I went off my GF diet very …

MCV blood count 
My MCV blood count is at 98.4 which my lab report claims is high... normal range being 80 to 95, yet your site suggests that 80 to 100 is normal. I do …

High MCV count  
Dear, I have had 3 folliculitis within a few months (each time on my right leg, 1 large boil). Last time I went to see a doctor because I wanted to …

MCV is 108 
MCV count is 108. Looking at my past blood counts it has always been in the normal range (80-90). I have surfacing veins everywhere (chest, arms, legs, …

High MCV with High Vitamin B12 Levels 
My blood results for MCV were 100.4 H. Is that high enough to be concered about? My B12 results were high also at 1180. It doesn't make sence that my …

High MCV with low B12 
I recently had a blood workup, and my MCV and MPV levels were both high. 94 on the MCV. I'm 60 years old, and looking back over the years since 1995, …

High MCV levels 
I recieved the results of my general lab results today and noticedthat my MCV levels are high. Test result was 97.1 cu micr. I have made an appointment …

Should I Be Worried About a High Hematocrit 
I just received my blood test results and it shows Hematocrit to be high, 50.1%. MCV high, 103.1fl. MCHC low, 29.3 g/dL. RDW high, 15.3%. My doctor never …

My doctor saw my test results uMMA and my CBC which my MCV bordering high and did not try to help my B12 issues 
My CBC test showed that my MCV was high normal, 99.1. My urine test, uMMA is 1.8 which is considered high per the organix test. I have pernicious amenia …

Multiple Sclerosis with a High MCV 
back in March of 2013, my blood test showed MCV too high, is this because I have MS ? should I look into this further.?

MCV Blood Test of 103 
I had extensive blood work today and am trying to understand. Is MVV of 103 normal?

Is an "almost high" MCV result significant? 
My doctor circled my MCV Blood Test result of 93. The report indicated 79-97 is normal but said my Vitamin B 12 Level is "fine." (Not sure why it …

My test result from MCV is 101.1 I have fibromylgia could this be why the test is high? My B12 is 223.

MCV slightly high, but B12 is normal 
I had a blood test and my MCV came back at 101, which is slightly above normal, but my B12 within range at 635. What does this mean? My doctor says elevated …

MCV 112 Blood Test 
I have had several blood tests taken and my MCV results have always been high (112). My doctor put me on vitamin D3 (4,000) units per day and my MCV blood …

My MCV test came back at 103  
My MCV test came back at 103 but B-12 was normal. All the screens were normal as well. What does this indicate?

I have a slightly result above normal range of MCV. What does this indicate?  
I will be 72 in October, am 152 pounds and 5' 8" tall. Was 152 when I graduated from college in 1962. Do not smoke and do not drink (except for an occassional …

g6pd deficiency 
if the MCV is a little high, would that conclusively indicate the patient does NOT have Microcytic Anemia since their erythrocytes are larger (but the …

High MCV level symptoms 
What symtoms are seen when a person has a high MCV level? What should I be concerned about this condition?

High MCV and MCH for the First Time 
My MCV result came out 102.6 and my MCH 34.5 and my doctor did not point this out but I saw it when I asked for a copy of my results. Is this result high …

Rheumatoid Arthritis and MCV 
I have been diagnssed with RA. They out me on folic acid, methotrexate, and 5mg prednisone. Before I started the medicine my MCV was 100.0 my MCH was 33.2. …


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