The Crucial Role of At-Home Blood Tests in Identifying Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Testing for vitamin B12 deficiency can help you ensure you maintain optimal nutritional levels of this essential nutrient and contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. However, some nutrient deficiencies, like vitamin B12 deficiency, can be difficult to detect and often overlooked, leading to potential long-term health complications.

In this guide, we explain why at-home blood tests are a reliable way to identify B12 deficiency and by using one of our tests, we can give you the tools required to know if you need to increase your vitamin uptake, fast and effectively.

Table of Contents:

Understanding the Insidious Nature of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Nutritional symptoms, particularly stemming from B12 deficiency, possess a subtle nature, often mistaken for other underlying factors. 

Classic symptoms can add to the complexity of accurate diagnosis. Symptoms include:

  1. Brain fog 
  2. Lack of concentration
  3. Extreme tiredness or fatigue
  4. Pins and needles
  5. Glossitis (red and sore tongue)
  6. Unbalanced mood
  7. Pale skin

Consequently, such misidentification can cause delays in diagnosis and treatment, leading to needless patient distress and the potential for irreversible harm.

Recently, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has provided their first-ever draft guidelines for B12 deficiency, including blood testing if patients have one symptom and at least one risk factor.

Vitamin B12 supplements and intramuscular injections are the common remedies to raise levels after identifying a B12 deficiency. 

Can You Test For Vitamin B12 Deficiency At Home? 

Yes. Regular blood tests are an easy and accurate way to monitor your overall health and wellbeing. Our Vitamin B12 At-Home Health Check helps you quickly identify your B12 levels without the need to wait for a GP appointment.

How Does Testing for Vitamin B12 Deficiency Work?

Vitamin B12 tests measure the amount of biomarkers available in the blood to determine overall levels. Although the boundaries for low, high, and sufficient levels of B12 vary depending on the lab, indicating levels may be:

  • Insufficient - 100-180 pg/mL or less
  • Potentially insufficient - between 180 pg/mL and 250 pg/mL
  • Unlikely levels of deficiency - more than 250 pg/mL

Excess vitamin B12 is usually removed in urine, so having too high a level is rare.

Pg represents a “picogram” which is one-trillionth of a gram.

If you see a Doctor regarding this, they may arrange a test for B12 deficiency for you. 

How to Test for Vitamin B12 Deficiency with BetterYou

To complete a vitamin B12 test with BetterYou, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Order your vitamin B12 test online.
  2. Provide a wet sample of blood by filling a small vial using a quick prick of the finger once your test arrives.
  3. Use the prepaid envelope to send to our UKAS accredited lab partners - who will analyse your sample.
  4. Receive your results via email within 5 working days of the lab receiving your sample.
  5. After your results have been sent we’ll provide a bespoke supplementation plan to help you increase or maintain your nutrient levels. 

Our vitamin at-home test kits arrive in the post. Then all of the steps for testing can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

At BetterYou, we work in partnership with UKAS accredited labs to analyse our at-home tests. Our vitamin B12 test is provided in collaboration with our trusted partners at Medichecks. They assess your blood and determine the levels of vitamin B12 in your sample. We will also provide a clear explanation of your results when you complete our vitamin B12 test. 

Benefits of Testing For B12 Deficiency with BetterYou

Testing for B12 deficiency is important to identify if you are at risk of the damaging side effects of low levels. There are many benefits of our vitamin B12 at-home test:

  • Convenience: With our vitamin B12 testing kit, you can collect a small blood sample in the comfort of your home. We’ll post the kit directly to you, all you need to do is return the sample back to our lab and we’ll handle the rest.
  • Fast results: We understand the importance of understanding your diagnosis as soon as possible. Once you post your sample to the lab, we’ll have your results to you in a matter of days.
  • Actionable supplementation plan: Once processed, one of our team will send your results to you via email and provide you with a personalised supplementation plan based on your results.
  • Free Oral Spray with every test: Once you’ve received your results, you’ll also receive a free Vitamin B12 Oral Spray through the post so you can start your supplementation plan right away.

Why Is Vitamin B12 Difficult to Absorb? 

Obtaining the required amount of vitamin B12 through regular tablet supplementation can be difficult. This is due to the nature of vitamin B12 absorption. Obtaining B12 from your diet and tablet supplementation requires sufficient presence of an enzyme called intrinsic factor. This enzyme aids absorption of nutrients in the gut. 

Unfortunately, due to the prevalence of processed foods in modern diets, experts believe the levels of intrinsic factor have been decreasing, making traditional oral supplementation via the digestive system unreliable.

It is therefore important to test for B12 deficiency in order to ensure you are not at risk of health concerns due to low levels, or missing out on the benefits of B12

Who Should Test for Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Whilst everyone should ensure they are intaking sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, there are certain groups that may be more at risk. The following people should consider testing for B12 deficiency:

  • Older adults - B12 requires stomach acid to be released from food. As we age, the lining of the stomach gradually loses its ability to produce this acid. NICE suggests deficiency “is more common in older people and is thought to affect around 5% of people aged between 65 and 74 years and more than 10% of people aged 75 and over.” Since older adults may be more at risk of low B12 levels, it is important for them to test for a B12 deficiency.
  • Those with dietary restrictions - B12 is produced by animals, and not found naturally in plant foods. So those who exclude meat, fish, and other animal products from their diet may wish to take a Vitamin B12 test and include B12 in their vegan supplements.
  • Those with digestive issues - Those with a compromised digestive system may wish to take a vitamin B12 test because their ability to absorb nutrients may be affected. Those who suffer from IBS, IBD and coeliac disease, for example, are at a potentially higher risk of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
  • Pernicious anaemia - The autoimmune condition affects the stomach lining. This therefore impacts your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Pernicious anaemia is one of the primary causes of B12 deficiency in the UK. 
  • Those taking certain medications - PPI medication, such as omeprazole, can reduce acid production in the stomach. This may mean the essential nutrients are not released from food sources. If you take these medicines, you may wish to ask your doctor for a vitamin B12 test.

Our Innovative Pill-Free Solution to B12 Supplementation

Over the past two decades we’ve been on a mission to provide a fast, effective, and convenient alternative to traditional supplementation, scientifically formulated to deliver maximum nutrient absorption – That resulted in us developing our award-winning Vitamin B12 Oral Spray

This vitamin B12 supplement delivers a high-dose of vitamin B12 directly into the bloodstream through the inner cheek, bypassing the gut's primary processing. This pill-free supplementation method ensures maximum absorption and bioavailability, making it an effective alternative to traditional tablets and capsules.

Supplementing with BetterYou

Our mission has been to provide hassle-free supplementation to assist modern lifestyles. From sleep supplements to help support our rest, to energy supplements to help us feel our best when we need a boost. With a commitment to sustainability, and absorption testing from top universities, trust us to help support your health. 

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