Optimal Result: 232 - 1245 pg/mL, or 171.22 - 918.81 pmol/L.

Vitamin B12 and folate are separate tests often used in conjunction to detect deficiencies and to help diagnose the cause of certain anemias, such as pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease that affects the absorption of B12. B12 and folate are two vitamins that cannot be produced by the body and must be supplied by the diet. They are required for normal red blood cell formation, repair of tissues and cells, and synthesis of DNA. B12 is also essential for proper nerve function. B12 and folate levels may be ordered when a complete blood count is done as a part of a routine health checkup. Testing for B12 and folate levels may be appropriate when a person has signs and symptoms of deficiency, such as:

- Diarrhea

- Dizziness

- Fatigue

- Loss of appetite

- Pale skin

- Rapid heart beat

- Shortness of breath

- Sore tongue and mouth

- Tingling or numbness in the extremities

- Confusion

- Paranoia

What does it mean if your Vitamin B12 result is too low?

A low B12 or folate level in a person with signs and symptoms indicates that the person has a deficiency but does not necessarily reflect a medical condition. Some causes of low B12 include:

- Dietary deficiencies (although this is rare in America due to our fortified food products, vegans can experience issues as most B12 dense foods are animal products)

- Malabsorption in the small intestine due to

    - Pernicious anemia

    - Celiac disease

    - Inflammatory bowel disease

- Heavy drinking / chronic alcoholism

- Certain medications

- Pregnancy, all women need increased B12 and folate for proper fetal development

What does it mean if your Vitamin B12 result is too high?

Although high values of vitamin B12 can occur in liver diseases (like cirrhosis or hepatits) and some types of leukemia, but the vitamin B12 test is not usually used to diagnose or monitor these conditions.

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