Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is another water-soluble essential B vitamin. It’s really important for the nervous system, energy levels, cardiovascular support, and the making of DNA in the cells.
The optimal range of Vitamin B12 levels is 800-1000 ng/L
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A Vitamin B12 deficiency can show up as one or more of these symptoms or conditions:
- Anemia called pernicious anemia
- Low energy
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Memory problems
- Vision problems
- Cardiovascular disease
How can you become deficient in Vitamin B12? You may not be eating enough folate-rich foods, like liver, seafood, red meat, milk, and eggs. Vegans are high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Again, you may also not be absorbing the B12 you’re consuming in food. Gastrointestinal disease like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, or Ulcerative Colitis, again come into play. Some patients with these diseases may even need to go to a clinic for vitamin B12 injections.
Pregnant women need higher levels of B12 to prevent birth defects. That’s why prenatal vitamins include B12 as well as folic acid.
Although it doesn’t happen too often, vitamin B12 in excess can also cause problems.
Vitamin B12 Excess
Potential symptoms of too much B12 include the following:
- Acne or rosacea
- Worsened kidney disease
- Increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or death
- Increased risk of Autism spectrum disorder in babies born to women taking B12 in excess.
If you’re concerned you might be either low or over-supplementing with these nutrients, you may be curious about testing.
Testing Folate and Vitamin B12
Should you test your levels of these two nutrients?
If you’re currently seeing a conventional medical doctor, chances are, your levels are in your records. These two vitamins are the most commonly checked through blood testing.
However, pay attention to your results. You may find that according to the report, you’re within “normal” range. However, “normal” may actually mean “common.” If you’re on the lower end, you might find that supplementation helps improve symptoms.
Clear Path Wellness offers lab testing for Folate and Vitamin B12. You can find out your levels by ordering a test here.
Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.
- 1 60-minute appointment to collect medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle data
Comprehensive assessment of blood work (using integrative lab ranges), cognitive functioning, and nutrient status
- 3 functional tests worth $350 (cognitive, oxidative stress, and omega3 index assessments)
- 1 60-minute appointment to review lab results and recommendations
- 1 30-minute follow-up appointment