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What if your Vitamin B12 is high and how much do you need?

What do you do when is Vitamin B12 is high?

An elevated vitamin B12 level on a blood test may be rare but must be addressed as it can be life-threatening.  It can result in diabetes, impaired kidney function, leukemia, liver disease (cirrhosis, etc.), and carcinoma cancer diagnosis.


If one has a mega dose or long-term overuse when it is not needed, it may lead to an occurrence of rosacea causing redness with pus-filled bumps as well as acne.


Although B vitamins are typically water-soluble, B12 can store in the liver for up to 5 years!  Due to the B12 being stuck in the liver, a thorough diagnostic blood panel should be done.  The less than desirable form of Vitamin B12 cyanocobalamin is more likely to be stuck in the liver as the conversion doesn’t happen easily if even one mineral or element is lacking.

If you are supplementing and eating plenty of high B12 foods, you may be building in toxicity.


What should my B12 be on a blood test?

The normal range for vitamin B12 total is 350 – 850 pg/mL.  Values between 200-300 may be on the edge of too low but all labs vary.  The average is taken of all of the people who come in to set the low and high range.  Depending on where the control group is measured will dictate the ranges.


A blood serum above 900 pg/ml is considered high so it is important to work with your practitioner regularly.[i]  It may also be measured for the active form which is around 20-134 pml/L.


Folate levels being low can cause the same symptoms and signs as low vitamin B12.  After ruling out a folate deficiency which also presents with larger than usual red blood cells, a B12 deficiency will be the next blood test to do.


Which drugs have interactions with Vitamin B12?

There are different kinds of medications that can reduce the absorption of B12.  You should always check with your pharmacist to ask if there might be alternative drugs.


Here are a few medications that decrease your body’s ability to use B12:
  • Diabetes drugs – Metformin, Colchicine, Glumetza, and Fortamet.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs for prevention or treatment of gout – Colcrys, Gloperba, and Mitigare.
  • PPI or Proton Pump Inhibitors for reducing stomach acid which also depletes your body’s stores of Magnesium causing muscle cramping– Omeprazole, Prilosec, and Prevacid.
  • Heartburn medications such as Cimetidine, Ranitidine, or Famotidine.
  • Drugs used for digestive issues – Aminosalicylic acid, Paser.
  • Anti-seizure medications such as Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, and Primidone.
  • Extended-release potassium medication.
  • Antibiotics such as Neomycin, Gentamicin, and Tobramycin.  If you are taking an antibiotic when testing your vitamin B12 such as amoxicillin, Erythromycin, Pyrimethamine, or Methotrexate you will want to remind your doctor as they can cause false results.


One supplement that may interfere with absorption if taken with supplementation is Vitamin C.  You will want to leave 2 hours or more of a gap after taking a vitamin with B12.  Vitamin C is however very helpful with absorbing Iron if you need to pull more into your body.


What are the symptoms of high Vitamin B12?

Although it is rare, one could suffer from nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea, headaches, and tingly/pin-like sensations in the hands or feet.


How much Vitamin B12 do I need?

Typically needs 2.4 – 6 mcg daily is more than enough to cover the average adult.  If you are rebuilding levels, 500 mcg may be necessary for a couple of months.[ii]


If a repeat blood test shows an ongoing deficit, you may need 1,000 mcg or 1 mg daily for a month or until the level is ideal.  Once in the “average” range, your practitioner may recommend 125-250 mcg a day until your next recheck.[iii]


Vegans do not consume foods that are higher in B12 so they should supplement with 250 mcg a day and keep up on retesting as to not become deficient quickly.


How much Vitamin B12 can I absorb?

Our body is only capable of absorbing 10 mcg if you take a 500 mcg supplement.  This is why you need higher doses to keep consistent amounts available in the blood.  It will help to restore cellular reserves of this water-soluble vitamin.


What are some recommended foods that are high in Vitamin B12?

  • Beef
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Spinach
  • Poultry
  • Nori
  • Eggs – yolks have more
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese
  • Avocado – only 2X a week
  • Fish -Salmon, boneless/skinless Atlantic sardines
  • Milk
  • Greek Yogurt

How can Hair Analysis help with Vitamin B12 toxicity?

Finding the cause and stopping the toxicity is the first step to restoring a healthy balance.  Along with adequate hydration to flush the excess B12, detox modalities, and precise supplementation we can help the liver in the clearing process.  We work by removing the excess through internal and external practices to aid healing quickly.


As the storage level accumulates in the liver, a Hair Analysis is the perfect tool to look into the long-term storage inside of the cells.  It can show you what is trending long before it produces symptoms or appears high on a blood test.  Your body will always do what is necessary to maintain balance until the storage is full then the blood will show the issues.


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