This test is used to find out the conventional Vitamin-B12 levels in the blood.
What is Vitamin-B12?
Vitamin-B12 is an essential vitamin which is naturally present in milk, fish, meat, eggs, poultry etc. It is also known as cobalamin. Vitamin-B12 is required for the body for good health of the blood and nerve cells. It also helps in the synthesis of DNA which is a genetic material in all cells.
Vitamin-B12 is absorbed by the body in 2 steps. At first hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates Vitamin-B12 that is attached to the food. Then it combines to the transcobalamin (TC) and haptocorrin (HC) which are proteins made by the stomach and forms complexes called as holotranscobalamin (HoloTC) and holohaptocorrin (HoloHC). HoloTC is also known as active-B12 as this is the only form of vitamin-B12 that is taken up and used by the cells of the body.
Why this test is performed?
The Vitamin-B12 Conventional Blood Test is performed to check whether an individual is having normal or abnormal levels of Vitamin-B12 in the blood. The doctor may ask to perform this test if an individual is suffering from conditions like pernicious anemia (decrease in red blood cells as the body cannot absorb enough vitamin-B12), inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation of the digestive tract), Crohn's disease (redness and swelling in the lining of the digestive tract), chronic alcoholism (heavy drinking of alcohol), liver disease, heart failure, obesity etc. This test is also done to determine the risk of developing anemia. If symptoms like decreased appetite, trouble walking, weak muscles, weight loss, fast heart rate, irritability, lack of energy etc are seen in an individual then the doctor may prefer to do this test. If an individual is on the treatment of vitamin-B12 then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and vitamin-B12 levels in the body. This helps the doctor to rule out the patient disease condition.
Generally, when a patient is diagnosed with liver disease, intestinal disorders or malnutrition visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the conventional vitamin-B12 blood test which gives a better status of the condition. This test is also performed to provide a clear idea regarding the malnutrition, liver disease of an individual. Mostly, this test is done along with other vitamin tests to confirm the diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with pernicious anemia, your doctor may advise you to get this test done once in every 3 months to once in a year based on your clinical condition.
Drugs containing estrogens, vitamin-A, and vitamin-C may affect the test results. Hence, you are advised to inform your doctor about all your current medications before undergoing this test.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Serum B12. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Serum B12.
This test is done after you fast (without eating anything) for a whole night or for 8 to 12 hours. Usually, the blood is drawn in the morning after an overnight fasting.
There is no need for medical interventions if test results are in normal range. If the test results are more than the normal range then there may be a chance for Diabetes mellitus, heart failure, AIDS, severe liver disease, obesity etc.
If test results are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for pernicious anemia (decrease in red blood cells as the body cannot absorb enough vitamin-B12), Crohn's disease (redness and swelling in the lining of the digestive tract), inflammatory bowel disease, chronic alcoholism (heavy drinking of alcohol), low consumption of the diet containing vitamin-B12, malabsorption etc.