Vitamin B12 - Deficiency Test
The vitamin B12 radioisotopic assay of competitive binding is a quantitative analysis of serum levels of vitamin B12 (also called cyanocobalamin, antipernicious anemia factor, or extrinsic factor). This test is usually performed concurrently with measurement of serum folic acid levels.
A water-soluble vitamin containing cobalt, vitamin B12 is essential to hematopoiesis, deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis and growth, myelin synthesis, and central nervous system (CNS) integrity. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, such as meat, shellfish, milk, and eggs. (See Cobalt: Critical trace element.)
COBALT: CRITICAL TRACE ELEMENT
A trace element found mainly in the liver, cobalt is an essential component of vitamin B12 and therefore is a critical factor in hematopoiesis. A balanced diet supplies sufficient cobalt to maintain hematopoiesis, primarily through foods containing vitamin B12.
Normal cobalt reference values range from 0.007 to 6 ug/dl.
Procedure and posttest care
Normally, serum vitamin B12 values range from 190 to 900 ng/L.
Decreased serum levels may indicate inadequate dietary intake, especially if the patient is a strict vegetarian. Low levels are also associated with malabsorption syndromes (such as celiac disease), isolated malabsorption of vitamin B12, hypermetabolic states (such as hyperthyroidism), pregnancy, and CNS damage (posterolateral sclerosis or funicular degeneration, for example).
Elevated levels of serum vitamin B12 may result from excessive dietary intake; hepatic disease, such as cirrhosis or acute or chronic hepatitis; and myeloproliferative disorders such as myelocytic leukemia.
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