Vitamin B12 (Active)
Folate and Ferritin
This blood test measures active vitamin B12 (holotranscobalamin), folate (folic acid) and ferritin.
Vitamin B12 (Active) Folate and Ferritin
About this test
This blood test measures vitamin B12 (holotranscobalamin) and folate (folic acid) which are essential water-soluble vitamins. It also tests for levels of ferritin, an important measure of iron stores in the body. All these tests are helpful in the diagnosis of anaemia.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in virtually all meat products and certain algae such as seaweed. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, yeast extract and some fortified breakfast cereals.
Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. The human body stores several years’ worth of vitamin B12, so nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is rare. Vegans are most at risk of B12 deficiency because they don’t eat animal-based products. Deficiency can also occur if the body cannot process vitamin B12 – inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract can be caused by pernicious anaemia.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you need it in your diet every day because it can’t be stored in the body. It is important for the normal production of red blood cells, and in the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in unborn babies. Folate is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and brown rice. Other useful sources include fortified breakfast cereals, some bread and some fruit (such as oranges and bananas).
Most people should be able to get the required amount of folate by eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables.
Both vitamin B12 and folic acid are necessary to help break down homocysteine in the body. High levels of homocysteine are thought to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Who is this test for?
This test is for individuals who believe that they may not get enough vitamin B12 and folate in their diet or who have symptoms which are consistent with these deficiencies. In addition, individuals with raised homocysteine levels may wish to test whether they are getting enough of these important vitamins. Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy may want to ensure that their levels are normal.
Vitamin B12 is important for production of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body – low levels can cause anaemia with associated symptoms of lack of energy and fatigue. It is also important in metabolism and for the nervous system and prolonged lack of vitamin B12 may cause nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is almost entirely found in meat and animal food products.
Around 70% of vitamin B12 is bound to carrier proteins in your blood. This test measures the level of unbound or active B12 which is available for your cells.
A common reason for elevated B12 is over-supplementation. Raised levels of vitamin B12 may indicate a blood or liver disorder.
Low levels are seen in people with pernicious anaemia, an autoimmune disease which prevents the absorption of vitamin B12, or anyone who suffers from absorption problems such as the elderly, people with inflammatory bowel conditions and alcoholics. Vegetarians and vegans can also be low in vitamin B12, especially if they don’t consume foods which have been fortified with vitamin B12 or take B12 supplements.
Folate is a water soluble vitamin which is needed by the body in your diet every day. It plays a role in DNA replication and protection, it’s important for the production of red blood cells as well as in the prevention of neural tube defects in babies.
Low levels can indicate anaemia and can be implicated in raised homocysteine levels.
Ferritin is a protein which stores iron in your cells for your body to use later. Measuring ferritin levels gives us a good indication of the amount of iron stored in your body.
Low levels of ferritin can indicate anaemia which can be caused by excessive or chronic bleeding, poor absorption of iron or too little iron in the diet.
Raised ferritin levels can indicate iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis) or any kind of liver damage. It is also a marker of infection and inflammation.
How it Works:
Order your test. We will arrange for one of our trained phlebotomists to take your sample and send it to our accredited laboratory.
We will email you with your results within the specified turnaround times.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. We can arrange to have your results interpreted based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. (This incurs an additional cost and will need to be requested at time of ordering).
You will be advised to see your doctor.
The prices shown above do not include Phlebotomy fees.
If you would like to make an enquiry or arrange a blood test can you please fill in the contact form below or call us on 01633 718001