Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be manufactured in a laboratory and is frequently combined with other B vitamins. This is an important vitamin that is essential for the functioning and development of many body parts.
Where is vitamin B12 used?
It is used by people for a lot of reasons:
- It is used to treat deficiency in Vitamin B12
- It can be used to treat cyanide poisoning
- It is used to treat Canker sores
- It is also believed to be used to treat other diseases like Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease
Why is vitamin B12 important for older adults?
In older adults especially seniors, it can help for the following reasons:
- It can help generate and boost cell growth
- It is seen to boost cognition
- It is also believed to support the immunity systems in seniors
- It also helps with maintaining bone health
How does a deficiency of Vitamin B12 affect older adults?
Older adults who have low levels of Vitamin B12 face the following issues:
- Anemia: Anemia is a condition that results in the lack of healthy RBC to carry oxygen to the various body tissues. It can cause fatigue or in some cases, it can lead to shortness of breath.
- Neuropathy: This can be caused due to the deficiency of Vitamin B12. This means that the nerves in the body don’t function properly. It can result in numbness, and poor balance, and in some cases, some people have some trouble walking.
- Cognitive impairment: This deficiency can result in the damage of the nerve cells which can lead to memory problems and in some cases, dementia.
Due to the possible deficiencies mentioned above, it is important to get a Vitamin B12 test done.
What is a Vitamin B12 test?
It is a test done to measure the levels of Vitamin B12 in the body. It plays an important part in the overall functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Why do we need the Vitamin B12 test?
It is recommended that you get the test done if you face the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Racing heart
However, if you have pernicious and amnesia, your doctor might recommend a Vitamin B12 test. The symptoms of this condition are:
- Skin turning pale
- Bleeding gums
What does the Vitamin B12 test include?
A B12 test comprises the patient visiting a diagnostic center or a clinic. The health professional may follow the following procedure:
- The health professional identifies an area on your arm to draw blood.
- Once the area has been located, he or she will draw blood using a syringe into a vial.
The B12 test to summarize is a simple blood test done that can be used for other purposes apart from understanding the levels of Vitamin B12 in the body. This blood test can be used to check the levels of cholesterol, and glucose among other markers.
Do I need to do any preparation?
There is no need to do any preparation of any sort before you appear for a B12 test. You are not expected to undergo fasting before the test. However, if you have any other conditions, it is best if you consult with your doctor before you appear for the Vitamin B12 test.
If you wish to have the Vitamin B12 test done at home, it can be done. There are various home kits meant for this purpose available in the market. However, on some occasions, you may have to send a sample of your urine to the laboratory. These kits test the urine for the presence of MMA which is an indicator of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- If the B12 test results show that the levels of Vitamin B12 are normal. Normal values can differ from one lab to another. If the values are between 190 pg/ml and 950pg/mL, the levels of Vitamin B12 are normal.
- If the B12 test results show that the levels of B12 are between 200pg/ml to 300pg/ml, it is considered a borderline reading.
- If the reading is less than 200pg/ml, further testing is required. In some labs, if the levels are above 800pg/ml, it is considered high.
Having high levels of B12 can indicate underlying problems like:
- A possibility of liver diseases
- Types of leukemia
- Failure of the kidney
However, the problems mentioned above are in some extreme cases. It is also possible to have high readings but not have any medical-related issues as well.
Vitamin B12 test is an important test to consider if you find the symptoms mentioned in the article above. Especially if you are an older adult, it is important to keep a track of the symptoms. Vitamin B12 is super essential for the overall functioning of the body and ensuring the levels are normal is necessary to lead a healthy life.