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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

News: A Simple Blood Drop Test for B12 Deficiency

A new test for Vitamin B12 Deficiency may soon be beneficial to weight loss surgery patients who are at risk of vitamin b deficiency due to compromised nutrient absorption and low dietary intake. A study out of the University of British Columbia identifies Vitamin B deficiency with a simple blood drop test. In a report released today researchers indicate large portions of the population may benefit from this simple test. Below we share the article as published in Medical News Today.

Refresher: The B vitamins are eight water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. B vitamins are found in all whole, unprocessed foods. B vitamins play a key role in supporting and increasing the rate of metabolism; maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone; enhancing the immune and nervous system; promote cell growth and division; including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia; and may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Read a previously published LivingAfterWLS article detailing each B Vitamin:
LivingAfterWLS Blog: Vitamin B Refresher Course

The B vitamins are: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B12, and Folic acid. These vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells. You can get B vitamins from proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas also have B vitamins. Many cereals and some breads have added B vitamins. Not getting enough of certain B vitamins can cause diseases. A lack of B12 or B6 can cause anemia. B Vitamins: Wikipedia

Simple new test developed to detect vitamin B12 deficiency

University of British Columbia. "Simple new test developed to detect vitamin B12 deficiency." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 29 Oct. 2014. Web.

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Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a novel method to test for vitamin B12 deficiency that is sensitive enough to work on anyone, including newborn babies and large swaths of the general population.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be tested with a single drop of blood collected from a finger prick, then blotted and dried overnight on a card consisting of filter paper. The UBC study made dried blood spot card analysis sensitive enough to measure the amount of methylmalonic acid (MMA), an indicator of a person's B12 level.

"This minimally invasive approach helps us measure deficiency in an easier and more convenient way, especially in large samples of people," says study author Yvonne Lamers, a professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism. "Our method is the first to make dried blood spot analysis sensitive enough to test healthy people for B12 deficiency."

The method simplifies blood sample collection for researchers in rural or remote areas where sophisticated lab equipment is unavailable. It's currently being used in a research project in rural Indonesia.

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The method could also have a significant clinical application. It has the potential to be added to the BC Newborn Screening Program. The program tests for treatable disorders in all infants born in the province. B12 deficiency, if not detected and treated early, can cause delayed brain development, slow learning and digestion problems in babies.

"We are interested in Dr. Lamers' method, which may be sensitive enough to detect and confirm B12 deficiency using the blood spot cards currently collected on B.C. newborns," says Hilary Vallance, director of the BC Newborn Screening Program.

About vitamin B12

Found in meat and dairy products, vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and is vital for a healthy nervous system. Roughly five per cent of Canadian adults are B12 deficient and 20 per cent show marginal sufficiency, according to Statistics Canada. In developing countries, deficiency is as high as 50 or 80 per cent of the population. Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency includes injections, supplements, or dietary change.

Get the details: B Vitamin Refresher Course

University of British Columbia. "Simple new test developed to detect vitamin B12 deficiency." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 29 Oct. 2014. Web.  29 Oct. 2014.

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