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Feeling Tired All The Time? Get Yourself Tested For Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 12 May 2022, Updated on - 02 November 2022

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Nothing can be more complex than the nutritional requirements of humans. The nutrients that our bodies require are usually obtained from different food sources. However, sometimes our diet fails to deliver the required amount of nutrients, resulting in a deficiency. One such micronutrient deficiency that is pretty common, especially in vegans, is vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in several health complications, including mental and neurological problems. Therefore, it is important to detect the deficiency in the early stages. This is possible only through a vitamin B12 level test. The article explains the role of vitamin B12, the symptoms of its deficiency, and the significance of the vitamin B12 level test in detail below.

Some Basic Facts About Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for the formation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA.
  • It also plays an essential role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
  • Dairy products, eggs, red meat, fish, fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast are the primary dietary sources of vitamin B12.

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  • The recommended dietary intake of this micronutrient varies from 2.4 mcg (microgram) for adults aged 14 years and above to 2.8 mcg for lactating women.
  • While your liver can store vitamin B12 for upto four years, you can still develop its deficiency if your daily diet lacks enough of this micronutrient.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Mild deficiency of vitamin B12 rarely causes any problems. However, chronically low levels of this vitamin can make you anaemic. Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can trigger symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Pale skin
  • Sore mouth
  • Smooth (depapillated) tongue
  • Upset stomach
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Menstrual problems
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat

Severe deficiency of vitamin B12 may result in vision loss, depression, loss of memory, seizures and nervous problems.

Who Is At Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Anyone lacking enough vitamin B12 in their diet can develop a deficiency, however, children, older adults, people following a vegan diet, and pregnant or lactating women are at a higher risk. Having a medical condition such as pernicious anaemia, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastritis, and inflammatory bowel disease can also lower the absorption of vitamin B12 in the body, resulting in a deficiency. People with diabetes who take metformin to manage their blood glucose levels can also be at risk of deficiency as the medication is known to reduce the absorption of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Level Test

A vitamin B12 test is a diagnostic test that measures the levels of vitamin B12 in the blood or urine sample. The test helps in the estimation of overall levels of the micronutrient in the body. The test can help in diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia, a condition caused by low levels of red blood cells.

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Understanding The Test Report

The test may yield the following results:

  • Low- Vitamin B12 level below 200 pg/mL: In such cases, the result may indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anaemia, or a thyroid disorder. Very low levels may be associated with neurological problems.
  • High- Vitamin B12 level above 900 pg/mL: This may indicate liver disease, type 2 diabetes, or certain types of blood cancer.

The range of test results can differ from lab to lab, therefore it is important to discuss the test results with your physician.

How is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treated?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated easily. People who have a medical condition that inhibits the absorption of vitamin B12 may need to take injections of this vitamin on a regular basis. While you can also take oral or nasal vitamin B12 supplements, injections are believed to be more effective. If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you can add more vitamin B12-fortified foods.

Concerned about your vitamin B12 levels? Get yourself tested!

Book Your Vitamin B12 Test Now

**Blog Medically Reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt**

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