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The Importance of Regularly Monitoring Your Vitamin B12 Levels: Get Tested Now

Dr.Ayushi Bansal 1124 Views
Updated: 26 Mar 2024
Published: 29 Feb 2024
Vitamin B12 Test

Overview

A vitamin is an essential nutrient that our body needs to get from food, and without it, we may experience nutritional deficiencies in our body. Out of a total of 13 vitamins, vitamin B12 is vital for many bodily functions like brain health, nervous system and formation of red blood cells. Furthermore, to monitor the B12 levels in your body, you need to go through a vitamin B12 test. So, read on to learn about ‘how important is to monitor your vitamin B12 levels regularly’ in your body.

What is Vitamin B12?

One of 8 vitamins, vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy nervous system. Found in foods like poultry, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, vitamin B12 helps keep our hair, skin, nerve cells and red blood cells healthy. Besides, it also helps prevent anaemia that causes weakness and tiredness. A water-soluble vitamin, it plays a pivotal role in the development of brain and nerve cells.

Why Vitamin B12 Level Test is Important?

Vitamin B12 test is crucial to measure the levels of B12 in our blood. Usually, the normal levels of B12 in our body range from 160 to 950 pg/ml, depending on the laboratory. If a person’s B12 levels are outside the normal range, then he/she may need treatment. High levels of vitamin B12 may indicate health issues like liver disease, leukaemia, kidney failure and diabetes, while low levels of B12 may indicate a deficiency or anaemia. Hence, to regularly maintain adequate levels of B12 in our body, a vitamin B12 test is important.

A simple way to check your B12 levels is a blood test, which can show if you have normal, high or low levels of B12 in your body.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you have a B12 deficiency, then your doctor might recommend you a vitamin B12 test. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Moodiness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sore mouth
  • Having yellowish skin

When to Get This Test Done?

Usually, testing is done if you have any symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, like anaemia and nervous system. But, some people, who are older, vegans or have pre-existing health issues, are at higher risk of B12 deficiency. They may go for vitamin B12 test regularly to check whether their B12 levels are in the normal range.

One of the main factors associated with B12 deficiency is pernicious anaemia, with symptoms such as weakness, shortness of breath, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. If you have anaemia, then your body is unable to produce enough vitamin B12 from food. Hence, your doctor may recommend you take vitamin B12 supplements.

Another factor that may affect your B12 levels in your blood is if you are on different types of medications, such a proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists that are generally used to treat gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. 

Furthermore, whether you are on medications or have pernicious anaemia or any other health problems that might affect your B12 levels, your doctor may suggest you go for the vitamin B12 test based on the symptoms, dietary or any health history in the family.  

Vitamin B12 test requires a sample of blood for testing. You can get the test done anytime, and no fasting is required. The price of vitamin B12 test may vary, depending on the city and the laboratory. The test result helps your doctor detect a possible deficiency and recommend proper treatment. The treatment includes oral vitamin B12 supplements or vitamin B12 injections based on the test result.

Who is at risk?

Most people absorb enough B12 from a balanced diet, but certain people, who are vegans, older adults or have digestive tract issues that affect their ability to get enough vitamin B12 from food more efficiently, are at higher risk of deficiency than others.

Summary

Now that you know how important is to regularly monitor your B12 levels in your blood, get the test done now. A vitamin B12 test determines the high or low B12 levels in your body. A doctor may recommend this test if you have symptoms of deficiency or have a higher risk of low B12 in your body. You can prevent B12 deficiency by following a balanced diet or taking vitamin B12 supplements.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can vegans benefit from vitamin B12 supplements?

    Answer:- Yes! Vegans can benefit from B12 supplements since they do not eat animal products in which vitamin B12 is naturally found.

  2. How do I know whether my vitamin B12 tablets are working?

    Answer:- A blood test is a very simple way to know if your vitamin B12 tablets are working, which can be carried out about 7-10 days after the treatment starts.

  3. How long does it take for B12 supplements to work?

    Answer:- Generally, it takes a few weeks before your B12 levels start to improve. But, B12 injections may work faster than vitamin B12 tablets.

  4. Can I take B12 without consulting a doctor?

    Answer:- A variety of vitamin B12 supplements are available in the market, but it is recommended to consult your doctor first before consuming any supplements as they may intervene with some other medicines.

  5. What is the price of vitamin B12 test?

    Answer:- The price of vitamin B12 test may differ, depending on several factors such as location, labs and any existing discounts.

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