Amongst the 8 “B” vitamins, vitamin B12 is essential for the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system which occurs through the synthesis of myelin and the formation of red blood cells. It is a water-soluble vitamin that also goes by the name of Cobalamin.
The designated purpose of B12 vitamins comes into play when other blood tests suggest the presence of megaloblastic anemia.
When the stomach is incapable of retaining B12 vitamins due to the lack of substance formation in the stomach, it leads to a condition known as Pernicious anemia (a form of megaloblastic anemia). This results in the necessity of B12 vitamins in an individual.
10-12 hours prior to the test, food and drinks (other than water) must not be consumed.
The test can be done through a urine test of a blood draw.
Two major test outcomes are expected through a B12 test.
- Folic acid: A deficiency of B12 can lead to an increase in the level of folic acid due to which many times, a folic acid test is also done during a B12 test.
- Methylmalonic acid (MMA): When B12 levels are low; there is an increase of methylmalonic acid in the blood. A methylmalonic acid (MMA) blood test may also be done in order to better evaluate the vitamin B12 test results.