What is Vitamin B12 test for?
A vitamin B12 test can be performed for a variety of reasons. You could require it to diagnose certain health conditions and to find the root cause of key symptoms. A change in dietary intake of Vitamin B12 can also lead some to get tested for their levels from a precautionary standpoint.
You can also get a Vitamin B12 test if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as anaemia. The test can also be recommended to measure levels of vitamin B12 over time. Test results can indicate a rise or decline in your blood levels of Vitamin B12 which can indicate positive recovery.
If you also have Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, or other GI conditions, then your absorption of B12 may be severely impaired. Your levels of vitamin b12 in the body may be inadequate leading to further issues with absorption. That is why B12 testing is vital for optimal health outcomes, longevity, and disease prevention.
Why we need Vitamin B12 in our body
The role of vitamin b12 (cobalamin) in our body is multifaceted, as it performs several functions from red blood cells to DNA production. B12 binds to the proteins we consume, which becomes free in the stomach through enzymes. Vitamin B12 then combines with proteins and is absorbed further in the small intestine.
It is an essential nutrient for health that is water soluble and is key for neurological functioning. A deficiency in the vitamin can lead to anaemia, hair loss, chronic fatigue and a range of other serious conditions. Symptoms of a vitamin b12 deficiency are also alarming and immediately made prominent, which is why a complete testing analysis is key.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 testing is essential for understanding the root cause of your symptoms. You can be experiencing a combination of issues, such as brittle nails, numbness, and chronic fatigue, without knowing the underlying cause.
Pale skin appearance
If you have anaemia caused by B12 deficiencies, then your skin may appear yellowish or pale. You can notice a distinct shift in the appearance of your skin, as there may be a lack of fully matured healthy RBCs in the body.
Chronic fatigue and headaches
If you are experiencing chronic fatigue and constant headaches, along with an inability to focus, then a vitamin test is important to conduct. B12 deficiencies impact individuals on a neurological level, making headaches and fatigue a key symptom.
Issues with mood regulation
Depression and other mental health conditions can emerge as key symptoms of B12 deficiencies. As B12 is a key vitamin involved in the proper functioning of the central nervous system, a dysregulation can cause short term depressive episodes. Elevated levels of homocysteine caused by low B12 can also contribute to the condition, adding oxidative stress.
Muscle cramping and weakness
Muscle cramping and delayed muscle repair can be key signs of Vitamin B 12 deficiencies, along with a D3 issue. This is a key reason why vitamin testing is a must if you are experiencing weakness and inability to effectively use your muscular system.
A chronic sensation of pins and needles, along with numbness can be a sign of B12 deficiencies. Since B12 is required for optimal neural development and CNS performance, a deficiency can manifest itself in multiple forms. You can get a prickly feeling in your fingers and numbness in your hands.
Sudden hair loss
Hair loss in patches or clumps can be a sign of a deficiency, requiring a complete Vitamin B12 test. You can also experience hair loss in other parts of your body, which may be as a result of poor B12 levels.
Risk factors of chronic Vitamin B12 deficiency
There are several risk factors associated with chronic B12 deficiencies, which is why it is one of the most important vitamins to track. This is also why many individuals opt for a vitamin test package which can help provide instant insights into key deficiencies. You can find what areas you need supplementation in, to avoid the risks of chronic issues developing.
When adequate levels of 2.4 micrograms (mcg) are not maintained over time, your risk for chronic illnesses rises. You may also be more at risk of nerve damage, brain impairment, memory loss, muscle atrophy, and temporary infertility. Your risk of secondary medication conditions also rises, as your sense of wellbeing deteriorates.
How to test for Vitamin B12
You can easily opt for a home testing kit to understand your complete vitamin profile. A deficiency in one vitamin generally is accompanied with another nutritional deficiency, which is why a complete panel is recommended.
You can opt for a Vitamin B12 test home kit, which will contain all instructions on how to collect a quality sample for the lab. You can then send the sample to the lab and have them perform QC on the sample and test vitamin levels.
You should receive your test results within 48 hours, which can help you determine your vitamin B12 and other vitamin levels at the current date. You can then consult with a doctor about improving your levels, and initiate a supplementation and dietary modification program.
Treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Depending on the level of Vitamin b12 deficiency in the body, your doctor may recommend treatment protocols. A deficiency of a vitamin is generally treated with supplementation as medication, which can help improve levels over time.
It is also important to continue with a diet that is high in Vitamin B12, enabling your body to start absorbing the vitamin naturally. Any symptoms of the deficiency will also be needed to be treated individually, such as hair loss, fatigue, autoimmune issue, anaemia, etc.
A daily supplementation routine is also the best way to improve B12 levels. You will need to track your intake of B12 over time, to ensure that you are in optimal levels. That is why you need a complete vitamin analysis to determine your risk factor of other conditions.
How to improve Vitamin B12 levels in the body
Supplementation through medication or injectables is the best way of improving B12 levels in the body. They are increasingly effective for low B12 levels, and can help improve B12 within a few weeks. This can lower your risk of anaemia, RBC issues, autoimmune problems, GI conditions, etc.
Ensuring adequate B12 through diet
Improving your dietary intake of B12 is a long-term solution to lower levels, as the body can absorb the vitamin through food. You can introduce green leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy, and other foods that are rich in Vitamin B.
Frequent testing of B12
By testing regularly for B12, you can help keep a better track of your levels. You can consult with your doctor about the extent of supplementation to ensure that you're not over-supplementing. By understanding your levels, you can consistently improve levels to avoid risks of high B12.
When do we need a vitamin B12 injectable?
In some cases, there is critical deficiency, such as after dealing with a medical condition. With Vitamin B12 being vital for DNA production, RBCs, and nervous system cells, doctors may prescribe an injectable form of the vitamin. If you experience numbness, tingling, chronic fatigue, brittle nails and hair, then an injectable form of vitamin b12 and folate may be given.