Pernicious Anaemia Society

Am I suffering from lack of Vitamin B12?

Hello everyone.

I have joined as I have a number of symptoms which show as possibly vitamin b12dificency. I've had my thyroid tested and it came back within the normal range. I suffer from an auto immune condition called vitiligo (which can be related to vitamin b12 issue). I haven't had my cortisol levels checked yet either. I had my hormones tested and all were in the normal range apart from the DHEAs which was higher and outside the range. My testosterone was within the normal range but a bit low for my age.

I've listed just some of the more obvious symptoms below:



Hard to Think clearly


Stiff Finger Joints

Slight Greying of hairs

No sex drive

Lack of erections

No morning erections

Whilst I’ve put my issues down to simply anxiety or depression – I’ve come to realise it could quite easily be a symptom from something physical.

I've also noticed that all of my finger nails don't show a moon (the lunula) – my thumbs show a tiny moon. Again, I’ve read this can be caused by B12 deficiency.

I would really appreciate any help and advice before I decide to get a private blood test.

17 Replies

There isn't a gold standard test for B12 - and reference ranges on current tests have huge grey areas that aren't acknowledged. Current advise in UK is to treat on basis of symptoms.

Symptoms vary so much from person to person - sort of unsurprising when you consider the role B12 plays in maintaining healthy nerve cells, producing new cells and clearing up some waste products.

Supplementing before diagnosis can make results of tests really difficult to interpret ... if not impossible. Best to look at a combination of B12 (Serum or Active - though active probably better), B9 (folate), MMA and Homocysteine - latter two are by-products that build up if B12 of B9(folate) aren't present.

Unfortunately it does look as if people with one auto-immune problem are at higher risk of others so worth getting checked out.

You could ask for IFA and PCA as well but this only rules out one absorption problem ... and even then the results are a bit hit and miss.


Hi HealthPort,

It sounds as though there is something wrong, even though your thyroid results said within the normal range. They told me that for ages, and then I paid to see an endocrinologist privately. He asked for more detailed blood testing, which showed my thyroid was struggling to produce enough to register on the tests. It's certainly worth looking at B12 too, as so often these autoimmune things go together (i.e. the vitiligo). My B12 levels were 176 when tested, and my GP treats anything under 500. However, not all GP's follow the same procedure. If you go ahead with the test privately you still need to find a GP to treat you. There are also a lot of ways of supplementing B12, nasal sprays, sublingual tablets & sprays, don't start with anything until you've had your test though. Any supplements used beforehand would mess with the results.

Good luck with everything. MariLiz


Your GP treats anything under 500!!! WOW. A GP who knows what he's doing. There's hope for the rest of us yet!!! Yeeeeeeey


He doesn't want to do more than three monthly injections though! I have been given another blood test form, but if the serum levels aren't below 500 I don't expect I'll get an earlier injection. MariLiz


Are you aware that if you have neurological involvement, I think it if the BNF, it states you are to be given injections every 8 weeks.


Thanks for all your replies. I do take a supplement multi vitamin which has some B in, but if im deficent i'd think it will show anyway. The test im looking at says just not to take supplement be 48 hour before doing the test.

Which test should I get?

I dont want to have to go and get a doctor to draw blood. Therefore I dont know of any other places - any recommendations appriciated.


There's no content in the FAQ on the first one so I think you are going to have to phone and ask if you need a professional to take blood etc - I would think so but you do need to speak to them.

I'd go for the first test rather than the second. But the second test would be more likely to convince your doctor IF it comes back saying you have the deficiencies.

Unfortunately for many it won't - and if you have been supplementing I would take the 2 day rule with a pinch of salt.

Wait to see what the others think...


Hi everyone a quick update.

I've ordered this test:

and for cortisol this test:

I should also mention i drink around 40 units of alcohol per week for years (5 years?) - i dont know if this can over time effect b12 levels? This test should let me know if my symptoms are to do with a B12 deficency? Should I stop taking my multi supplement now until after i've done the test?



To much alcohol depletes the body of B12 see:



Thanks, not sure if my 40 units is enough? I drink it all in one go over Friday and Saturday (but dont drink in the week). It will be interesting to see my B12 results.

My greying of hair (although I have a little vitiligo on my body) seems weird to me. And the crawling sensation on my scalp hair. Along with memory problems and lots more.

Maybe my drinking habit has over the years made my b12 deplete? I guess only the test will tell me. I'll have my drink as usual at the weekend to keep my results consistend and do the test on Monday or Tuesday.


Hi HealthPort.

If you've been taking a multivitamin containing B12 for some time, it will most certainly show up in a serum B12 test. This happened to me, and now my GP refuses to re-test me because I was 'in range'. Only the 'Active B12' test can discount all the useless, unprocessed, inert B12 that we've been swallowing.

No idea how long it will stay in your system, but personally I would wait a bit before taking the test.

1 like

Thanks for reply. I wont take the multivitamin containing Vitamin B for 5+ days before having the test. But if im ill due to lack of b it should still be ultra low if im ill by it?


I'm ok to take my COD Liver Oil vitamin still? It dosen't contain B only A.? And my zinc and magnesium?



Going to take the test tomorrow when i wake up - does anyone know how long i need to fast? Will 8 hours be ok?


Ive sent my sample off today should get results back by the end of the week. I will put results in here.


Ive got my results back for both the cortisol and b12.

B12 Range 25.1 to 165 pmol/l

My result: 73 pmol/l


Ref Range 9am 171 to 536: Midnight <140

My results - 622*

Please let me know if these are bad or good or w/e.


Hi, I read what you wrote, I think you need a blood test ASAP . That's the best way round it. Full blood count. Thyroid, liver. Sugar. I have these done every 6 months to keep an eye on everything.

Hope this helps



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