Learn all about your B12 vitamin values
What is the normal range for Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is essential for our bodies. It protects our nerve functions, helps the healthy production of blood cells, and promotes brain functions. Making sure you are getting enough B12 into your system will ensure that your body is functioning at its best, allowing you to focus on achieving your goals and leading a healthier lifestyle!
It’s important to check that your vitamin B12 levels are within the normal range. If you have a B12 deficiency, this can be extremely damaging for your vital organs – particularly in the long run.
You can read up on the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in our article B12 deficiency. If you’re experiencing tingling sensations in your extremities (hands, legs, toes, fingers – there’s a song in here somewhere…), confusion, a rapid heartbeat or changes in your mood, it’s best to contact your doctor and consider being tested for B12 deficiency.
Be careful to watch for symptoms, however minor they are. Detecting vitamin B12 deficiency at an early stage will help prevent further complications – and we all want to avoid those!
How to check vitamin B12 levels
In figuring out whether your vitamin B12 levels are within the normal range, you first have to actually work out what those levels are. Here’s how you can do it.
Visit your doctor for a blood test. This option is relatively simple, as you don’t have to fuss about with home testing kits; they do all the work for you, right there in the doctor’s office.
Your doctor will take a sample of your blood to be sent to the lab for testing. They will look at your blood count and work out how much vitamin B12 is in your system. It shouldn’t take too long to get your results back and they’ll usually call you to collect your results.
Take a home test. These can be ordered online for around $50.00. A home test involves collecting a sample of your urine. Each kit will have specific instructions for you to follow, so instructions may vary.
You may be provided with a testing strip to detect any MMA in your urine sample. MMA levels can help detect the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. Or, the kit may provide instructions telling you to send off your sample to a laboratory for testing. Sending off to a lab may take a little longer, whereas the strip test can give instant results.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine the reliability of home testing kits, so you may prefer to simply make a visit to your doctor’s office.
Is my vitamin B12 level low, normal or high?
Normal (average) range
Medical professionals have determined that the normal range for vitamin B12 levels within the blood is between 200 – 900 ng/mL. That’s nanograms per milliliter, but we’ll go with the abbreviated version.
An important thing to note, is if your results show you are only just within the normal range for vit B12, but you are exhibiting symptoms of B12 deficiency, your doctor may advise that you take vitamin B12 supplements. This will boost the amount of B12 in your system and reduce symptoms.
Your B12 levels are considered to be low if you have less than 200 ng/mL present in your blood. If your levels are low, you may be experiencing the symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and feeling the negative consequences of this. Getting a low result may also suggest that you have other underlying conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or pernicious anemia.
If your result is low, your doctor will probably advise that you take vitamin B12 supplements for a certain period of time. These could be given in the form of either a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, which can help bypass any issue with B12 absorption that might be caused by underlying conditions. Which is any condition that prohibits oral B12 supplements from absorption.
When it is determined that you are suffering from a condition that has caused your low B12 levels, you should ensure that your doctor provides you with a treatment plan.
If your results show that your blood contains any amount of B12 over 900 ng/mL, you are considered to have high vitamin B12 levels. A high result could suggest that you are suffering from other medical conditions. It can indicate that you have diabetes, issues with your kidneys or other undiagnosed diseases. Speak to your doctor about treating the condition that may have led to your body producing higher levels of vitamin B12.
Taking different ethnicities into account
The ‘normal’ range for vitamin B12 within the body may vary depending on your ethnicity. Our bodies all work differently, so it’s important to consider your ethnic background when determining what your ideal B12 range should be.
African Americans to have higher concentrations of B12 than Caucasians and Mexican Americans. This suggests that Caucasians and Mexican Americans may need to adjust their intake of vit B12 to be higher, perhaps taking supplements or eating more foods containing B12.
One study discovered that the risk of being B12 deficient was 50% lower in Southeast Asians than in people of European descent. This is quite a significant finding, supporting the idea that Europeans may benefit from using vitamin B12 supplements on a regular basis in order to avoid deficiencies.
It was also found that the majority of South Asians (particularly from India) within the study were B12 deficient. This may be linked to certain cultural practices within countries, such as the prevalence of vegetarianism, rather than just ethnicity alone.
This same study also found out that the odds of being B12 deficient were 69% lower when the participant stated they were taking vitamin B12 supplements.
Despite these findings, ideal vitamin B12 intake is not solely based on ethnicity. Underlying medical conditions, dietary and lifestyle choices, and gender also play a role. Each individual may have different requirements, so it’s important to tailor your B12 supplement intake to suit your own needs.
If you have found that your vitamin B12 levels are low, or if you simply feel you need to add an energizing boost within your everyday routine – you can shop our range of vitamin B12 injection products here, Buy B12 injections
More information on B12 levels and testing? Can You Have Normal B12 Levels and Still be Deficient?