BLOOD - Red Cell
Optimal Result: 0.13 - 1.7 ug/L.


Cobalt is a hard silvery-bluish metal widely dispersed in nature in low concentrations. Diet, environment and supplements are the main sources of cobalt for the general public. The highest cobalt concentration in foods include chocolate, butter, coffee, fish, nuts, green leaf feed, vegetables, and cereals. Vitamin B12 (contains cobalt) is found in meat and dairy. Cosmetics, jewelry and electronics may be other sources of exposure.


Cobalt binds to albumin. iron deficiency can be associated with increased absorption of cobalt. The G.I. absorption of cobalt is approximately 25%. Once absorbed, cobalt disseminates to serum, whole blood, liver, kidneys, heart, and spleen, and to a lesser extent, bones, hair, lymph, brain and pancreas.

Biochemical Actions:

Cobalt is a necessary element for the formation of vitamin B12. The B12 RDI is 2.4 mcg/d and contains 0.1 mcg cobalt.

Cobalt is an essential trace element that is part of the NutriStat Basic Profile by US BioTek, and it plays a crucial role in our overall health. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which is vital for red blood cell production, nerve function, and DNA synthesis. When you see cobalt levels measured in your profile, it’s usually reflecting your body's intake and utilization of vitamin B12. Elevated levels of cobalt can occur from excessive vitamin B12 supplementation or from high dietary intake, which is generally not a cause for concern unless it leads to toxicity. Conversely, low cobalt levels might indicate a deficiency in vitamin B12, which can result in symptoms like fatigue, weakness, memory problems, and anemia. It's also important to consider environmental exposure, as cobalt can be found in industrial settings, and chronic exposure may lead to respiratory issues or other health problems. Understanding your cobalt levels helps in assessing your nutritional status and potential exposure risks, and it is often best interpreted with the help of a healthcare provider who can provide personalized advice based on your overall health, diet, and lifestyle.

What does it mean if your COBALT result is too high?

Elevated cobalt can result in generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation, interruption of mitochondrial function, alteration of calcium (Ca) and iron (Fe) homeostasis, interactions with body feedback systems triggering erythropoiesis, interruption of thyroid iodine uptake, and induction of genotoxic effects and possible perturbation of DNA repairprocesses.

Excessive administration produces goiter and reduced thyroid activity. Industrially, exposure can cause a contact dermatitis or occupational asthma. Polycythemia has been observed in some studies.

Cobalt toxicity from a hip prophesies is determined by monitoring blood measurements. Symptoms include peripheral neuropathy, neuropathy, sensorineural hearing loss, cognitive decline, visual impairment, hypothyroidism, and cardiomyopathy.

One common reason for elevated cobalt levels is excessive intake of vitamin B12 supplements, as cobalt is a key component of this vitamin. This can occur if someone is taking high doses of B12 supplements without medical supervision. Elevated cobalt levels might also suggest dietary habits that include foods fortified with B12 or naturally high in cobalt, such as certain seafood and organ meats. Another potential cause is environmental or occupational exposure to cobalt, particularly for individuals working in industries such as mining, metallurgy, or manufacturing, where cobalt is used. Chronic high levels of cobalt can be concerning because they may lead to toxicity, presenting symptoms like cardiomyopathy, thyroid dysfunction, or neurological problems. However, mild elevations might not necessarily indicate a health issue but could reflect recent dietary intake or supplement use. It is essential to interpret elevated cobalt levels in the context of the individual's overall health, diet, and potential exposure risks, often with the guidance of a healthcare professional to determine if any action is needed.

What does it mean if your COBALT result is too low?

Decreased levels of cobalt on a NutriStat Basic Profile by US BioTek typically signify a potential deficiency in vitamin B12, since cobalt is an integral component of this essential vitamin. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a range of health issues, as it is crucial for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency may include fatigue, weakness, memory problems, anemia, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and even mood disturbances like depression. Low cobalt levels could result from inadequate dietary intake of B12-rich foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fortified cereals, which is particularly common in vegetarians and vegans. Additionally, poor absorption of vitamin B12 due to gastrointestinal issues, such as pernicious anemia, celiac disease, or Crohn's disease, can also lead to decreased cobalt levels. Certain medications that affect stomach acidity or gut health might further contribute to poor B12 absorption. Recognizing low cobalt levels is important for diagnosing and addressing potential B12 deficiency, and it is usually advised to consult with a healthcare provider to determine appropriate dietary adjustments or supplementation to correct the deficiency and avoid long-term health complications.

Frequently asked questions

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