Vitamin B12 Test

A vitamin B12 test analyses the levels of vitamin B12 in the blood. Having a vitamin B12 deficiency, or having a low level of this essential vitamin, may cause a series of health issues, including anaemia and nervous system problems.

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What is the Vitamin B12 test? 

A Vitamin B12 test analyses the amount of vitamin B12 in the blood. Having a vitamin B12 deficiency or a low value of this essential vitamin may cause several health issues, including anaemia and nervous system problems.

Vitamin B12 levels can be low for multiple reasons, including inadequate dietary intake, use of certain medications, advanced age, or conditions that make it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. 

What are the other names for the Vitamin B12 test? 

The other names are: VB12, cobalamin test, Vitamin B test.

What are the test parameters included in the Vitamin B12 test?

There is only one parameter.


What does the Vitamin B12 test measure?

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is important for many aspects of human health. An adequate amount of B12 is needed for your body to maintain a healthy nervous system, make red blood cells, and create DNA, the genetic material that is present in all of our cells. 


Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal proteins, such as red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Other foods, like breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, and some plant milks, might be fortified with vitamin B12. This vitamin is also available as a supplement. 


In food, vitamin B12 is bound to protein. In order for your body to absorb it, vitamins must be released from the protein. As your body digests food, enzymes in the digestive tract separate B12 from these proteins. Freed vitamin B12 then combines with a protein made by your body called intrinsic factor and is absorbed in the lower end of the small intestine.    


What’s the normal range? 

239–931 pg/mL

Who should get a Vitamin B12 test? 

Vitamin B12 test is usually performed when you have symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, such as anaemia or nervous system problems. Many people are at a risk of having a vitamin B12 deficiency due to their age or preexisting health conditions and should undergo regular vitamin B12 tests to find out whether their B12 values are normal.

The following information describes various circumstances in which vitamin B12 testing may be recommended by the doctor.


Anaemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells (RBC). These red blood cells carry oxygen to the body tissues. When you do not have enough healthy, properly functioning red blood cells, you might have symptoms like:

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • pale skin

  • Shortness of breath

  • Diarrhoea

  • nausea or vomiting.

  • Loss of appetite


A vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a type of anaemia known as megaloblastic anaemia. In megaloblastic anaemia, the red blood cells (RBC) are large, underdeveloped, immature, and abnormally shaped. These abnormal red blood cells are called megaloblasts, and they will not function normally. 


Megaloblasts can be detected through routine blood testing before a person develops the symptoms of anaemia. When this happens, follow-up testing is performed, including a vitamin B12 test.

Nervous system symptoms


The healthcare provider can recommend a vitamin B12 test to determine if a low level of vitamin B12 is causing nervous system symptoms. These symptoms can include the following:

  • Neuropathy is a nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle problems.

  • Weakness

  • Poor balance

  • Confusion

  • Changes in the way a person walks

  • Dementia is a condition that affects mental functions such as memory and language skills.


Risk factors

There are certain factors that make an individual more likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency. The doctor can recommend vitamin B12 testing for you if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Age over 75 years

  • The decreased intake of animal proteins, including vegetarian or vegan diets

  • Medication and interactions with drugs that interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, including histamine blockers, proton pump inhibitors, metformin, and nitrous oxide

  • decreased nutrient absorption is due to the stomach or intestinal surgery, including surgery for weight loss or cancer.

  • decreased absorption due to diseases of the stomach and small intestines, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. 

  • Pancreatic insufficiency is a condition that may affect how well enzymes are able to separate vitamin B12 from food proteins.


Are there any preparations needed for the Vitamin B12 test?

No special preparation is required and fasting is not required.

What is the cost of a Vitamin B12 test?

What is the type of sample required? 

This test requires a blood sample.

Who will perform the Vitamin B12 test?

A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for a Vitamin B12 test, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. These samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.

What should I expect during my Vitamin B12 test?

You may expect to experience the following during the blood test or a blood draw:

  • You have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. It is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.

  • Once the phlebotomist has located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.

  • They will insert a needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. They may feel like a small pinch.

  • After they insert the needle, the required amount of blood is drawn into a test tube.

  • When they have drawn enough blood for the test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the pricked site to stop any bleeding.

  • They will apply a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.

This process takes less than five minutes.

What should I expect after my Vitamin B12 test?

Once the phlebotomist has collected the blood sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing or testing. When the reports are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.

What is the risk of the Vitamin B12 test?

These blood tests are very common, and they don’t carry any significant risks. You can have a slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise might develop there.

When can I expect my Vitamin B12 test results?

This report is available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of a Vitamin B12 test mean?

Interpreting test results

The test report will indicate the blood value of vitamin B12 as well as the laboratory reference range. Reference ranges are the test result ranges that are considered normal.


Reference ranges may vary slightly depending from lab to lab used. A normal vitamin B12 level generally falls between 239 and 931 picograms per millilitre (pg/mL).


If the result is between 200 and 300 pg/mL, the result is considered borderline, and the doctor may ask you to repeat the vitamin B12 test or undergo additional testing.


If the values fall under 200 pg/mL, it indicates a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency may be due to known causes such as a vegan diet, medications, problems with the pancreas, surgery, or diseases affecting the digestive system. Deficiency might also be a result of: 

  • Inability to produce intrinsic factor: The intrinsic factor is normally secreted by the cells in the stomach. An inability to produce this protein may be caused by a weakening of the stomach lining or an autoimmune condition leads to a condition called pernicious anaemia.

  • Overgrowth of bacteria or fish tapeworm infestation in the digestive system: These disorders, caused by bacteria or parasites, consume vitamin B12 and leave less for the infected person to absorb.

  • Poor absorption of vitamin B12 due to low stomach acid: Low stomach acid may be due to age, diseases that cause low stomach acid, or repeated use of drugs to decrease stomach acidity.

  • Other autoimmune problems: These may include thyroid disease or vitiligo. 


Usually, higher vitamin B12 levels are uncommon since excess vitamin B12 is usually removed in the urine. However, some conditions, like liver diseases and myeloproliferative disorders, can cause an increase in vitamin B12 levels.


What are normal Vitamin B12 test results?

239–931 pg/mL

Normal ranges might vary slightly among different laboratories. Some of the labs use different measurements or might test different samples. Speak to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.


What other tests might I have along with this test?

Methylmalonic acid (MMA), Folate (Folic acid) test, Homocysteine


How do I book a Vitamin B12 test at home?

Log on to and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

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