Active B12 (holotranscobalamin)
Besides the facilitation of cell regeneration and DNA synthesis, vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) plays an important role in the proper functioning of the human central nervous system and brain. With the help of its biologically active fragment (holotranscobalamin, holoTC), the body’s vitamin B12 supply can be determined more accurately than with the serum total vitamin B12 level, as it shows the early deficiency state.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is the most common among vegans, pregnant women, and elder people. In their case, early detection of vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to the prevention and slowdown of irreversible neurological damage, cognitive impairment, and the development of dementia. Cognitive disorders (memory loss, language, and mental disorders) are a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and like this, the body’s vitamin B12 levels also indirectly affect its progress.
What does the test show?
By determining the level of active vitamin B12, vitamin B12 deficiency can be detected in time.
In what cases is it recommended to perform the test?
Determination of holotranscobalamin (active B12) level is recommended for high-risk groups:
- for those on a vegan diet, as vitamin B12 normally can be found only in animal source foods
- for elder people, due to decreased intake, to prevent cognitive impairment
- for patients with malabsorption (alcoholism, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
The test may also be requested:
- in case of complaints referring to nerve damage (burning sensation, numbness of the limbs) to find out the causes
- to determine the cause of cognitive disorders (memory disorders, mental disorders), especially in elder people
- to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of diagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency
- for pregnant women with suspected vitamin B12 deficiency
What kind of sample is needed for the test?
A blood sample, taken from a vein, is needed to perform the test.
Having an empty stomach is not necessary for the test for the test. Some medicines may affect the results of the test, but always consult your doctor before leaving them.
What could the result refer to?
If the value is lower than the normal reference range, there is a deficiency of vitamin B12 in the body. The result of the examination indicates the deficiency, but not its severity.
As vitamin B12 dissolves in water, an overdose could not occur.
What to do after the test?
The result in itself is not a diagnosis, therefore always consult your doctor or the specialist who ordered the examination to set the diagnosis and determine the required treatment.