Vitamin B 12 Test is one of the common tests to check for anemia. It is a simple blood test that can help diagnose anemia caused by Vitamin B 12 deficiency. However, there are other causes of anemia, and a Vitamin B 12 Test is not always necessary. In this blog post, we will explore whether a Vitamin B 12 Test is required for anemia or not.
Let us start!
What is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia?
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. The Vitamin B12 is a nutrient found in animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Vitamin B12 helps your body make red blood cells and keeps your nervous system functioning properly.
If you don’t have enough vitamin B12, you may develop anemia. Vitamin B12–deficiency anemia can cause fatigue (tiredness), weakness, lightheartedness, and pale skin. In severe cases, it can lead to neurological problems and even death.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12–Deficiency Anemia
The symptoms of vitamin B12–deficiency anemia can be subtle at first and may develop slowly. You might experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- A smooth tongue or sore mouth
- Appetite loss or weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause nerve problems like numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. It can also cause depression, memory loss, and other neurological problems.
Causes of Vitamin B12–Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by:
- Lifestyle habits
One major cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is following a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is because Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy. Some plant-based foods are fortified with Vitamin B12, but it is important to note that the body absorbs this form of the vitamin less efficiently.
- Insufficient intrinsic factor
Intrinsic factor is a protein produced in the stomach that is essential for absorbing Vitamin B12. If you don’t have enough intrinsic factors, your body can’t absorb Vitamin B12 properly, even if you get enough of the vitamin from your diet.
Over time, using some medications may make it more difficult for your body to take vitamin B12. Some of them include pills for heartburn and the diabetic medication metformin.
Do Doctors Prescribe Vitamin B12 Test for Anemia?
If you have anemia, your doctor may recommend a vitamin B12 test to see if you are deficient in this nutrient. Vitamin B12 deficiency is treated with supplements or injections of this nutrient. Most people who take these treatments improve within a few weeks.
If you don’t get treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency, it can lead to serious health problems, such as neurological damage and memory loss. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have vitamin B12 deficiency.
Cost of Vitamin B 12 Test
The Vitamin B 12 Test Price in India differs based on the location. Vitamin B 12 tests are not expensive and cost between Rs.400-800. However, the cost may increase if you get it done from a better lab.
Who is at Risk of Vitamin B-12 Anemia Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia risk factors include:
Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the intestines. People with HIV and other conditions that damage the intestines may have trouble absorbing enough vitamin B12.
- Crohn’s disease
Those who have chronic inflammation of the intestines from Crohn’s disease may not be able to absorb enough vitamin B12.
- Strict vegetarian diet
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, so vegetarians who don’t eat eggs or dairy products are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 supplements or fortified foods can help prevent a deficiency.
- A family history of the illness
You may be at increased risk if you have a family history of the illness. It is especially true if the family member developed the disease at a young age.
- A few medications
Different medicines have a different impact on Vitamin B12 levels. For instance, some drugs for stomach acid can reduce the amount of Vitamin B12 in your body. If you take any medications regularly, ask your doctor whether you should also take Vitamin B12 supplements.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin B 12 is an important nutrient that helps keep your nerves and red blood cells healthy. A vitamin B12 test is the best way to determine if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. If you have a deficiency, you can treat it with supplements or injections.
Furthermore, it would be best to consult your physician regarding the test and what might be the best course of treatment for you.