One of the most important vitamins in the body is Vitamin B12 because this is one of the vital ingredients of cell renewal.
If your vitamin B12 levels are deficient that can result in symptoms such as headaches and tiredness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.
We are offering all of our clients a vitamin B12 test with an extended B12 test available.
What does vitamin B12 do?
Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 Is what our body uses to renew cells and maintain nerves or blood cells and bone marrow. It also has a part to play in memory retention.
Vitamin B12 is not made in the body so it has to be absorbed through food that we eat or by regular supplementation.
Vitamin B12 is essential for:
- the production of red blood cells
- maintaining a healthy nervous system
- It will help to release energy from the food that we eat
- Vitamin B12 will help to make DNA and RNA, the essential building blocks of all body cells
- Vitamin B12 will maintain skin nails and hair helps to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair
- This vitamin will help guard against the development of anaemia and against feelings of weakness and tiredness.
What dose of vitamin B12 should I take?
The NHS states that an adult aged between 19 years of age and 64 years of age should take about 1.5 microgram of this vitamin per day. These levels would not apply to children, to a woman who is pregnant or to those in older age groups. A low level of B12 is considered to be a reading of less than 200 nanograms/L
How can I ensure that I get enough B12 in a natural way?
Some foods that contain high levels of B12 are:
- meats, particularly beef, liver and chicken
- shellfish and fish including sardines clams and tuna
- milk products like cheese and yoghurt
- any breakfast cereal that has been fortified with vitamin B12
Fruits and vegetables as well as grains do not contain B12 so for those who eat a vegan diet, deficiency in this vitamin is a very real possibility and supplements are usually advised.
What will happen if I don’t have enough vitamin B12?
Without enough vitamin B12, the ability of your body to make healthy new cells will be compromised. If your blood is tested you may be found to have a low red blood cell ratio and may be diagnosed with anaemia. Mostly the symptoms, again, will consist of things like shortness of breath and tiredness.
How is vitamin B12 deficiency caused?
A deficiency in vitamin B12 deficiency might be caused by:
- Pernicious anaemia which is an immune system condition. With this condition, your body will develop antibodies to fight against the proteins produced by stomach cells which are needed to absorb B12. Because they have been destroyed by the antibodies, B12 absorption will not be possible. As a result, red blood cells will be found to be abnormally large and will not be able to do their job of carrying oxygen effectively around the body.
- If the diet that you’re eating is lacking in the foods that contain B12 then you will eventually develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vegans or non-meat eaters are more likely to suffer from this and there are certain medications that can reduce the effectiveness of absorption and make deficiency worse. metformin that’s used to treat diabetes is one such medication as is HRT, (hormone replacement therapy), antipsychotics and some drugs that are used in the treatment of acid reflux.
- Pregnancy is another precursor for B12 deficiency because the vitamin is transferred to the baby so less will be available for the mother.
- Having major surgery such as a gastrectomy where part of the stomach is removed might also heighten the risk of the development of vitamin B12 deficiency because the required absorption is not possible.
- Patients who suffer from Crohn’s disease have digestive track inflammation which can affect absorption of B 12.
Is it possible for me to have my vitamin be 12 levels assessed?
Yes it is, you can come and visit us at Private Blood Tests London where we can offer you two different types of vitamin B12 tests.