Vitamin B12 (Active) Folate and Ferritin
- You don't think you get enough vitamin B12 and folate in your diet
- You have symptoms which are consistent with deficiencies in B12, folate or ferritin
- You have raised homocysteine and want to know whether you are getting enough of these important vitamins
- You are pregnant or planning a pregnancy want to ensure your levels are normal.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in virtually all meat products and certain algae such as seaweed that helps maintain healthy nerve cells, red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, yeast extract and some fortified breakfast cereals. As this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal-based products, those who cut out animal products from their diet are at risk of B12 deficiency so checking their B12 levels is very important.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms usually develop gradually but can worsen if the condition goes untreated, they include headaches, fatigue, pale skin and palpitations. Pernicious anaemia (an autoimmune condition) prevents absorption by stopping the production of intrinsic factor and is the leading cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin 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).
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