Hitchin Bloodwork

  Private Blood Tests and Health Checks

Vitamin B12 and Red Cell Folate ¬£POA

This blood test measures Vitamin B12 and Folate (Folic Acid) in the blood.

This blood test measures both Vitamin B12 and Red Cell Folate (Folic Acid) which are essential water-soluble vitamins. Lack of these vitamins can cause anaemia.

Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is found in virtually all meat products and certain algae such as seaweed. Good sources of Vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, yeast extract, and some fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

The human body stores several years' worth of vitamin B12, so nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is rare. Vegans are most at risk of B12 deficiency because they eat no animal based products.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also result from being unable to use vitamin B12. Inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract can be caused by a disease known as pernicious anaemia.

Red Cell Folate (RBC Folate) is a measure of the body's store of the vitamin Folate also known as Folic Acid.

Folate is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you need it in your diet every day because it can't be stored in the body.

Folate is important for the normal production of red blood cells, and in 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).

Most people should be able to get the amount they need by eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables.

Both Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid are necessary to help break down homocysteine in the body. High levels of Homocysteine are thought to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Who this test is for

This test is for individuals who believe that they mgiht not be getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid in their diet or who have symptoms which are consistent with deficiencies in these vitamins. In addition, individuals with raised homocysteine levels may wish to test whether they are getting sufficient amounts of these important vitamins. Women who are planning a pregnancy or are pregnanat may wish to take this test to make sure that they have sufficient levels prior to conception and during pregnancy.


Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, breathing difficulties, dizziness, sore tongue, bruising easily as well as irritability and depression.

Signs of Folic Acid deficiency include fatigue and lethargy, mouth sores, swollen and sore tongue and growth problems.