Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin. This means that the body cannot produce it or cannot produce it to a sufficient degree by itself. Tiredness, exhaustion, headaches, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems and depression can all be signs of a low vitamin B12 level. People with high stress levels, vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women and elderly people all have an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is involved in cellular energy production and can thus support physical performance.
- Simple and convenient sample collection at home
- Professional analysis in a medical laboratory
- Save time: no doctor’s visit, no waiting time
- Receive recommendations that can be implemented easily
The cerascreen® Vitamin B12 Blood Test is a sample-taking kit you can take at home. The test is used to determine the concentration of vitamin B12 and to monitor the holotranscobalamin vitamin B12. The Vitamin B12 Blood Test includes a free return envelope, a sample analysis in our specialised diagnostics laboratory as well as a detailed results report. Receive your results within three to four business days after the sample has arrived in the laboratory.
Information about the Vitamin B12 Blood Test
Take a blood sample
With one of the lancets included in the Vitamin B12 Blood Test kit, take a few drops of blood and collect them in the sample tube.
Activate the test
Enter the test ID of your Vitamin B12 Deficiency Test in your secure My cerascreen® user account on our website or in our My cerascreen® app. You will be asked to answer a few questions, so that we can provide you with personal recommendations.
Send your blood sample
Send the blood sample by mail to our partner laboratory free of charge by using the prepaid envelope.
In one of our medical laboratories within our network of partner labs, your sample will be analysed for the concentration of holotranscobalamin; this is the active form of vitamin B12.
You will receive your personal results report that gives you your holotranscobalamin levels and reference values by which you can see what optimal levels look like.
High quality standards
The samples taken with the send-in kits from cerascreen® are evaluated in specialised diagnostic laboratories with which doctors and clinics work as well. All of our partner laboratories meet our high quality standards.
Advantages of the Vitamin B12 Blood Test
Vitamin B12 can be produced in very small amounts by bacteria in the small intestine. Without a regular supply of vitamin B12 via our diets, our health can be adversely affected.
For the cerascreen® Vitamin B12 Blood Test, you do not have to go to a doctor’s surgery or clinic and do not have to wait for appointments. You will receive detailed and illustrated instructions and can easily and discreetly take the sample safely at home. Our medical diagnostic laboratories then analyse your blood for the concentration of 26 amino acids in your blood.
Take advantage of our expertise: cerascreen® is market leader for at-home medical sample-taking and send-in kits in Europe, with eight years of experience in the development and analysis of tests. We have developed more than 50 different approved sample-taking and send-in kits (medical products), analysed 250,000 samples and serve 19 different European countries.
Your test results
As soon as your sample has been analysed, you will be able to view your individual results report in the My cerascreen® mobile app or our secure online customer area where you can also print the report.
With the laboratory analysis, you will find out your blood levels of holotranscobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12. You will also learn how to counteract a vitamin B12 deficiency through diet and supplements with clear recommendations. With the extensive health information we provide, you can read how vitamin B12 supports nerves and blood formation and why a deficiency is so dangerous.
Frequently asked questions about the Vitamin B12 Blood Test
Why test for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is a vital vitamin that is essential for blood formation and to protect nerve cells, among other things. If you lack vitamin B12, it is highly likely that you will not even notice it for a long time. It takes years for the body’s vitamin reserves to empty. But once this happens, it can have serious health consequences.
That’s why it makes sense to check your levels of the vitamin regularly, especially for those at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, including:
Vegetarians and vegans
Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Vegetarians and vegans
How does the Vitamin B12 Blood Test work?
For the vitamin B12 test, take a small blood sample from your fingertip using a lancet. The sample is sent to a specialist diagnostic laboratory in a tube via a return envelope.
The laboratory then analyses the concentration of holotranscobalamin (holo-TC) – that is, the active vitamin B12, in your blood.
What will the test results tell me?
With your detailed result report, you will receive your value of holotranscobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12. The report also helps you to classify whether your vitamin B12 level is in the optimal range – that is in the recommended reference range.
You will also receive recommendations on how to improve your vitamin B12 levels, such as a change in diet or dietary supplements.
What is holotranscobalamin?
Holotranscobalamin, also called holo-TC, is the active form of vitamin B12. In this form, the vitamin is transported through the body. Holo-TC can be detected in the blood.
Holo-TC is considered to be the measured value with which vitamin B12 deficiency can be recognised at an early stage. If the holo-TC is lower than the reference value, this is an indication that the vitamin B12 reserves are emptying and there is thus a risk of deficiency.
Doctors can also determine other parameters (MMA and homocysteine) – they usually do this to clarify whether there is a clinical vitamin B12 deficiency if the Holo-TC value is very low.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for up to three years. The body can also use these reserves in the event of a deficiency. In the meantime, a deficiency usually becomes noticeable through non-specific symptoms, such as:
impaired mental and physical performance
tiredness and fatigue
headaches and difficulty concentrating
In the long run, however, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to serious health problems. Studies suggest that it makes the following diseases more likely:
nervous disorders and depression
- Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for up to three years. The body can also use these reserves in the event of a deficiency. In the meantime, a deficiency usually becomes noticeable through non-specific symptoms, such as:
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, also called cobalamin. It belongs to the essential vitamins – that is, those that your body cannot produce itself, meaning that our intake usually comes from the food we eat. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that the human body can store for a long time. The vitamin comes in different forms. The active forms that work in the body are methylcobalamin and 5-adenosylcobalamin.
Why do I need vitamin B12?
In the body, vitamin B12 is involved in folic acid metabolism, among other things. Folic acid also belongs to the B vitamins and works together with vitamin B12 in many places.
Vitamin B12 also plays a role in numerous other metabolic processes. Among other things, it contributes to the following key processes in the body:
Protection of nerve cells
What is a good source of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in certain animal foods, especially offal, but also in other meats, fish, cheese and dairy products, as well as in eggs. You can cover your daily requirement with 100 grammes of tuna, 100 grammes of lamb, 100 grammes of natural yogurt or two chicken eggs, for example.
Researchers are currently investigating whether plant-based foods can also serve as a source of vitamin B12. So far, however, they have only found the vitamin in nori algae – but this in a form that the human gastrointestinal tract cannot absorb.
People who eat a vegan diet therefore currently only have the option of covering their needs with vitamin B12 supplements.
How much vitamin B12 do I need?
The recommendations on the daily requirement of vitamin B12 vary considerably in some cases. In January 2019, the German Nutrition Society adapted its recommendations and now advises adults to consume four microgrammes of vitamin B12 per day.
The US National Institutes of Health, on the other hand, recommends only 2.4 microgrammes. However, people generally have different needs – for example, depending on their age and life situation.
Food supplements must nevertheless be taken in much higher doses – also because your body can only absorb and process part of the vitamin. The general recommendation here is 500 microgrammes a day to counteract a deficiency. In the case of a severe deficiency, even significantly higher doses can be useful, which doctors sometimes administer by injection.
For whom is the test not suitable?
The cerascreen® Vitamin B12 Blood Test is not suitable for or is only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
- People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not take the Vitamin B12 Deficiency Test.
- People with haemophilia should not take the test.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the Vitamin B12 Blood Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
- The Vitamin B12 Blood Test is not intended for children under the age of 18.
The test is not intended for diagnosing diseases. For example, if you suffer from unexplained weight loss or severe obesity, consult a doctor.