vitamin B12

Get the Right Laboratory Test for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 by: Kerri Knox, RN
Tags: vitamin B12, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Vitamin B 12 Deficiency is a very common cause of fatigue in certain population groups. While many doctors miss the obvious signs of vitamin B12 deficiency or require a condition called macrocytic anemia to be present first in order to justify further testing, there ARE doctors that are clued in to the symptoms of this common vitamin deficiency. Unfortunately, most of these doctors will almost always miss the diagnosis because they use the WRONG test for vitamin B12 deficiency- leaving thousands of people every year without treatment for often debilitating problems with an incredibly easy and inexpensive solution.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency, also called Cobalamin deficiency, is a big problem with an easy solution. This deficiency can cause EXTREMELY COMMON symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, depression, brain fog and many other problems- yet it goes undiagnosed most of the time due to clinicians not recognizing its common symptoms. However, even the clinicians that DO recognize these symptoms as possibly being from vitamin B12 deficiency will most often do the wrong test to find it- leaving thousands NOT ONLY without a reason for their problems, but with a FALSE belief that they do NOT have vitamin B12 deficiency when they actually do!

Most doctors have a vague understanding of vitamin B12 deficiency and will screen patients for 'macrocytic anemia', a condition caused by vitamin B 12 deficiency, before they do more testing. But macrocytic anemia often doesn't occur for up to 2 years AFTER the onset of deficiency. More proactive doctors, however, may see a patient with symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency and will order a vitamin B12 level. This is a simple blood test that can be done in many labs and most doctors are aware of this test. Logically, it would seem that a blood test for vitamin B12 would be accurate and effective at finding vitamin B12 deficiency; unfortunately, it's not. When a vitamin B12 level is in normal or high normal range, then this test is generally accurate at determining that the patient does NOT have vitamin B12 deficiency. But when the patient is 'low normal' most doctors will do no further testing and will not do any vitamin B12 supplementation, but a low normal on a vitamin B12 blood test is NOT normal and SHOULD prompt the clinician to do further testing.

"a clinically justified suspicion of deficiency must
be pursued, whatever the cobalamin level."

Ralph Carmel,MD- Vitamin B12 Researcher

Even better, if the clinician were to follow Dr. Carmel's advice in the quote above, then he SHOULD have skipped the inaccurate vitamin B12 test and instead asked for a Methylmalonic Acid test. This accurate vitamin B12 deficiency test not only comes in a simple blood test, but can also be done using a urine sample that can test children and even infants without the need for a blood sample. It could even be used to test housebound, handicapped or elderly without the need for them to come into the office. The MMA, as this test is often called, is a MUCH more accurate test for vitamin B12 deficiency than Cobalamin Levels and can detect low vitamin B12 levels as soon as 10 DAYS after the deficiency actually starts. Yet this test is hardly ever used despite its availability, low cost and despite the fact that it would catch far more people with this devastating deficiency earlier than any of the other markers of vitamin B12 deficiency. In fact, it's possible that traditional testing is missing up to 98% of Cobalamin Deficiencies.

"Many surveys, using homocysteine and MMA assays, soon proved
subclinical deficiency to far outnumber clinical deficiency:
10% to 25% of the elderly had mild biochemical changes without
macrocytosis, neutrophil hypersegmentation, or Schilling test
abnormality, whereas only 1.9% had PA [Pernicious Anemia-
advanced stage vitamin B12 deficiency]"

How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency

And this is 98% of people who are being TESTED for vitamin B12 deficiency; this does not even include those in whom vitamin B12 deficiency isn't even SUSPECTED, such as otherwise healthy vegetarians or the elderly with health problems that have simply been attributed to 'old age'. If everyone at high risk were screened for vitamin B12 deficiency EARLY and treated with this extremely inexpensive over the counter supplement, millions of PEOPLE could be saved from needing to be treated for 'late stage' conditions like macrocytic anemia, peripheral neuropathy, dementia and chronic fatigue syndrome- not to mention the millions of DOLLARS saved as well. Unfortunately, in the "reactive" world of traditional medicine, true prevention that includes finding and treating nutritional deficiencies early is not the 'standard of care'; waiting until those nutritional deficiencies become disease IS.

Resources:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/1...

http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cg...

http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abs...


About the author

Kerri Knox, RN is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner.
With over 14 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in Conventional Medicine and being well versed in Alternative Medicine.
She can help you to to find and repair the UNDERLYING CAUSES of illness using cutting edge in home lab testing that finds nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections and chemical and metal toxicities that contribute to ill health.
She can be reached through her websites at:
Easy Immune System Health.com
Side Effects Site

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