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Vitamin B12 levels are tested in different ways with different accuracies.
Serum B12 by radioimmune assay (RIA) is less accurate than microbial assay since it picks up all forms of cobalamin including those that are inactive. Serum B12 by microbial assay appears to be the most widely used and is considered accurate. However, pregnancy, large doses of vitamin C, and folate deficiency may result in a falsely reduced B12 microbial assay. A 24 hour urine MMA (Methylmalonic acid) test is claimed to be very sensitive but is also more expensive. Without B12, MMA increases in the urine.
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Antibody: A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.
Cobalamin: Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).
Hydrochloric Acid: (HCl): An inorganic acidic compound, excreted by the stomach, that aids in digestion.
Pernicious Anemia: Anemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Serum: The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.