SPECIAL EXAMINATION

VITAMIN B12 / HOLOTRANSCOBALAMIN.

Holotranscobalamin is an important parameter in the accurate diagnosis of a vitamin B12 deficiency (cobalamin).

How does a vitamin B12 deficiency arise?

The most frequent causes for a vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • insufficient reabsorption from the stomach and/or intestine
  • reduced absorption
  • increased vitamn B12 requirement

Absorption can be reduced, for example, if the pancreas is chronically inflamed, if there are intestinal parasites or after the stomach has been surgically removed. Certain medications and some genetic defects may also cause reduced reabsorption. It frequently occurs if nutrition is inadequate, and especially when adhering to a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 requirements can increase if a person suffers from AIDS or if red blood cells are being destroyed.

Who can be affected by a vitamin B12 deficiency?

In some parts of Africa and Asia, up to 80% of the population is affected.

A vitamin B12 deficiency is more widespread in our region that one would expect. It is estimated that 5-6% of people under 60 years old and upto 20% of the population over 60 years old have such a deficiency.

The reduced reabsorption of animal products most often leads to a vitamin B12 deficiency in vegans, and – to a lesser extent – vegetarians. Therefore, it is very important to determine holotranscobalamin levels on a regular basis.

Signs and symptoms

A slight deficiency may not produce any symptoms. A severe deficiency leads to symptoms such as anaemia, pale skin, weakness, tiredness, drowsiness, a racing pulse and quickened breathing. It can also cause minor bleeding, including bleeding gums. Side effects that can affect the digestive tract include a sore tongue, stomach problems, weight loss and diarrhoea or constipation.

If the vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated, this can result in damage to nerve cells (indicated, for example, by tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes), difficulties walking, mood swings, depression and confusion. Severe and irreversible damage (especially to the brain and the nervous system) is possible. It is not always possible to heal this nerve damage, even if blood values are corrected. The longer the neurological symptoms are left untreated, the lower the probability of a full recovery.

No appointment required:
The level of holotranscobalamin is determined as part of a blood test. You do not need to make an appointment to have a blood sample taken.

Blood sample collection:
Mon-Fri 7am – 2pm, Sa 8am – 10am

Costs:
EUR 32

Payment options:

  • Cash
  • Debit card
  • Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, V-Pay)

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