I'm all signed up to get my bloods taken for the first time evah! At least my doctor recognizes that me changing my diet to vegan doesn't increase my risk of being low in b12, she was a bit iffy about me going vegan, saying it was extreme. I know some people would have me change my doctor, but she's actually just misinformed, and I see this as an opportunity to educate each other.
Anyway! She is doing a hemoglobin count to test for b12, I did as for UMMA/MMA/Homocystine, but she said she doesn't usually check like that. I was wondering if anyone could provide me with some detailed info on why those testing methods are more appropriate, and also, if I can't get them here in the UK on the NHS, where can I buy B12 in the UK?
P.s, came across this on a bodybuilding forum, what do you guys think of buying this stuff? It's meant for cattle??
Hey Lyra. Thought I'd reply to this as no-one else has. If only to stop you from buying pet medication! :o Feel free to message me if you've any questions.
I get B12 shots on the NHS and have self-injected briefly. I wrote a bunch of stuff on this thread about buying and testing for B12 in the UK. There's a lot of contradictory stuff written about B12, including on this site. This is my take on B12 supplementation.
W/ regard to your doctor's visit - a hemoglobin test (presumably as part of a complete blood count?) is not sufficient to diagnose B12 deficiency. If you are suffering from anemia as a result of B12 deficiency then the CBC should pick up on that, but it can't tell you your B12 status. The symptoms of B12 deficiency aren't limited to anemia and neurological symptoms may occur before the onset of anemia (many GPs aren't aware of this).
There are HUGE issues with testing and prescribing injections on the NHS. The standard serum 'total B12' test has recently been labelled as unfit for purpose by UK blood testing authorities, but alternatives aren't readily available and most doctors are unaware of the complications of B12 testing. You CAN now get MMA/holoTC/homocysteine tests on the NHS but only by referral to a specialised testing centre. As of six months ago the only test centre was St Thomas' phlebotomy clinic in Lambeth, and most GPs required you to physically go to Lambeth for testing and pay for the tests yourself (things might have changed in the last few months though).
I wouldn't get hung up on B12 though. The symptoms you mentioned in your other thread are non-specific. Wait and see what the results of your CBC are. Make sure to get a printed copy and also ask your GPs for a printed copy of your previous CBC, if you've had one before.
The B12 issue seems to have a variety of different viewpoints. I'm in the UK and am thinking of asking my doctor for a test. Guess I'll just go down and ask and then 'wait' for the lecture about the dangers of veganism!! (I was a little low on iron a couple of years ago and I was told it was important to increase red meat!!)
Anyway, Nathan seems to give good advice. All I'd like to add is that there is a video on this site with Doug Graham talking about the B!2 issue and he says that all the tests for B12 seem to have their problems. He recommends getting some B12 and taking it and if you feel an improvement after a couple of weeks then to continue taking it - if not? then you're obviously ok and stop taking it. I was thinking of doing this rather than face my GP.
Here's the link to the Doug Graham video :)