Vegan Vitamin B12 Panel

Why do a special Vegan Vitamin B12 Panel?

Measuring Vitamin B12 alone may not be a reliable measure of B12 status for vegans, particularly if using any form of algae. Algae and plant foods contain B12-analogues (false B12). False B12 can imitate true B12 in blood tests. B12-analogues can interfere with B12 metabolism.

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Blood counts are also unreliable as high folate intakes suppress the anaemia symptoms of B12 deficiency that can be detected by blood counts. Blood homocysteine testing is more reliable, with levels less than 10 mmol/l being desirable.

Elevated Homocysteine (above 10mmol/l) may indicate Vitamin B12 deficiency. Elevated homocysteine levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke and pregnancy complications. Total plasma homocysteine levels rise quickly as vitamin B12 status declines. A serum homocysteine level higher than 10 micromol/L, is suggestive of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Risks of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency can have serious health risks. Risks include anaemia or nervous system damage. Nervous system damage can’t be reversed.  These risks can be eliminated by daily B12 supplementation.

Risk Groups

  • Children. Infants typically show more rapid onset of symptoms than adults. B12 deficiency may lead to loss of energy and appetite and failure to thrive. Infants are more vulnerable to permanent damage than adults.
  • Pregnant and Lactating Women
  • Vegan’s who don’t take daily B12 supplementation
  • Long Term Vegans

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Failure to Heal
  • Sore Tongue
  • Reduced sensitivity to pain
  • Rapid heart rate

Sometimes these can be subtle changes. The good news is, that if detected early by testing, any damage can be reversed.

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