vitamin b12 (cyanocobalamine) Test

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamine)

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clinical definition of vitamin b12 (cyanocobalamine)

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the brain & nervous system, and blood formation. It aids in the metabolism of all human body cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to pernicious anaemia, a condition marked by the production of fewer, but larger RBCs (red blood cells) and a reduced ability to transport oxygen. Vitamin B12 can also be produced through bacterial fermentation-synthesis. 

what is vitamin b12 test?

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin required for many bodily functions. A deficiency of excessive amount of the vitamin in the blood can hamper the overall functioning of the body. Hence it is important that regular investigation of the vitamin levels in the blood is carried out. A Vitamin B12 test helps in screening the vitamin levels in the blood. The test basically measures the concentration on vitamin B12 and folate in the serum that is the liquid portion of the blood. The word cyanocobalamin finds a reference concerning vitamin B12. Now, what is cyanocobalamin? It is nothing but the man-made form of vitamin or to be precise is vitamin b12 supplement helpful in treating its low levels in the blood.

why do i need this test?

Vitamin B12 is required for normal blood cell formation, tissues, cellular repair and DNA synthesis. The Vitamin B12 test checks for the quantum of Vitamin B12 present in the blood. Vitamin B12 is administered to persons suffering from:

• Weak bones (osteoporosis) 

• Male infertility

• Swollen tendons

• Heart disease

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Malabsorption

• Inflammatory bowel disease

• Asthma

• Prevention of cervical and other cancers

• Sleep and Mental disorders

• Diabetes

reason to take vitamin b12 (cyanocobalamine) test

• Common symptoms associated with Vitamin B12 deficiency are:

• Tingling, numbness and/or burning of feet, hands, arms and legs

• Dizziness, Fatigue and weakness 

• Difficulty in breathing 

• Ringing in the ears

• Diarrhoea

• Loss of appetite

• Paranoia

• Malabsorption

• Rapid heart rate

• Sore tongue and mouth

• Paleness

preparations needed for vitamin b12 (cyanocobalamine) test

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparation required.

sample required?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample), Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

when do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

what other tests might i have along with vitamin b12 test?

When the blood sample is taken to measure the vitamin B12 levels, the doctor might also prescribe to measure other markers like holoTC. Ideally, the holoTC should be 23–100 pmol/L and anything lower than the interval indicates B12 deficiency.

what do my test results mean?

A typical vitamin B12 test report will indicate if there is any abnormality in vitamin b12 levels in your body. The vitamin b12 normal range that is taken as a reference is 211 to 911 pg/mL. These reference intervals may vary from a lab to another. Hence it is important to consult your doctor.

how is vitamin b12 test done?

The test is carried out by inserting a needle into the vein on the arm to draw the blood sample. After which it is sent to the lab for further testing.

can i do the vitamin b12 test at home?

There are vitamin b12 home test kits available today that makes it possible to test your B12 levels at home. These are available online but ensure that the ones you purchase are of a reputed brand for improved accuracy of the result. The kit is designed to test a urine sample for the presence of MMA, found in the early stages of vitamin B12 deficiency. These kits either have a sample collection jar or include test strips. In case of the former, there are mailing instructions also available for these to be sent to the lab. The vitamin b12 test price carried out in a diagnostic centre or hospital could be different from the cost of a home test kit.

does vitamin b12 test pose any risk?

This is a simple blood test and does not involve any significant risk. There is only a slight pricking sensation while the sample is drawn. Only in rare cases, there is any bruising or infection that occurs. But if you have any bleeding disorder inform the doctor before the test.

what might affect my test results?

If you have consumed any over the counter drugs before the test, there is a possibility that the test results could be compromised. Ensure that your doctor is well informed about your pre-existing medications.

what are the effects of vitamin b12 deficiency?

B12 is an important vitamin that plays essential roles in the proper functioning of the body. Vitamin b12 deficiency causes symptoms like

1. Pale skin: The vitamin plays an important role in the production of DNA for the red blood cells. Its deficiency implies that the cells are incomplete and do not divide. Lack of B12 in the body makes the skin pale or yellowish.

2. If you feel the sensation of pins and needles, there might be a possible deficiency of the vitamin. This is because due to the deficiency a substance called myelin is not produced which makes protection around the nerves.

3. In extreme cases of deficiency, one may even suffer from nervous system damage thereby hampering mobility.

4. The vitamin deficiency is also a cause for mouth ulcers in many.

5. Mood swings, disturbed vision and dizziness are some of the other vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms.

It is important that the effects of vitamin b12 deficiency are diagnosed at the earliest to carry out the further course of treatment. It is also equally important to understand what causes low vitamin b12 so that corrective actions are taken at the earliest.


1. Not getting enough nutrients is one of the major cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.

2. The inability of the body to absorb the vitamin B12. This malabsorption restricts the body to utilise sufficient b12.

3. Other possible causes of b12 deficiency could be medical conditions like atrophic gastritis, pernicious anaemia or immune system disorders like graves disease.

how to substitute for the vitamin b12 daily requirement?

A well-balanced diet is the first step towards vitamin b12 deficiency treatment. The foods that can make up for the vitamin b12 daily requirement are as under;

1. Dairy products like yoghurt, low-fat milk, cheese are some of the ideal sources of vitamin B12.

2. One large hard-boiled egg provides 0.6 micrograms of the vitamin. Making them a regular feature in your diet is a good idea.

3. Some of the fortified cereals are amazing sources of the vitamin. A healthy breakfast with cereals and eggs can do the trick.

4. Fish, meat products like poultry, lamb, pork and ham are also excellent sources of the vitamin.

5. Some of the nutritional yeast products are also known to be good sources of vitamin b12.

Understanding results ofVitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamine)

Reference RangeInterpretation
211 to 911 pg/mL **Normal

 ** pg/ml - picograms per milliliter

*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges.



The vitamin B12 tests are ordered as a part of the routine health checks, pre-pregnancy health screening or to have conclusive evidence of an underlying problem. The vitamin b12 test cost is quite affordable and is carried out at both hospitals and diagnostic centres.