Pernicious Anaemia Society

MCV in Blood count outside range? B defficeny? What now?

Hi everyone.

I orgionally posted on here a while ago as Ive had a number of different symptoms and have thought it could be a B deficency.

Anyway, I had an Active B12 test and it came back within range so I thought nothing much else of it. Yet my symptoms remained. I then thought it could be iron (similar symptoms). Anyway I had a test which looks for various things and most came back ok. However, there were a few things that were out, but the important one was from the Full Blood Count. My MCV was out the range by 1 sitting at 100. Again, I thought nothing of it when I got the results, and thought 1 is nothing. But from what ive read and been told, 1 on that blood test scale is a lot and indicated large blood cells (larger than they should be). After talking with two ONLINE doctors, they've both said they believe its related to a B deficency, maybe B1 or B2 I think?

Anyway. I thought why might I be deficent? I drink around 40-50 units a week, over two nights. So this would be the obvious reason as otherwise I have a good diet and dont smoke. I have a high protein diet.

Anyways some of the symptoms include restless legs (something that come on in the last 2 years).

Grey hairs appearing (last 6 month)

Nail lunas gone and ridges now forming


Poor memory

No sex drive or erections

Depression / Anxiety at times

Have had sleeping problem (magnesium has helped with this though)

Stiff hands

I also have vitiligo (but have had it since young)

And more...

Anyway, its been frustrating that I've been doing these tests knowing something was clearly wrong and didnt know what, at least this seems to point to which although not exactly which of the B's it is. I can rule out B12 I guess as that seemed ok.

So, what next? Im not taking 2 B complex supplement per day. I will try to limit my beer also, although its something I enjoy.

I was told that the symptoms should go away after around 5 or 6 months? Ive been taking the B complex for about 2 months so far.

Will appriciate some advice and tips and more.

14 Replies

Most symptoms you listed are neurological. You may have a folate deficiency from the alcohol. B12 is not directly impacted by alcohol but all the other B vitamins that B12 needs to interact with in order to do its job are eliminated by alcohol.

What was your B12 reading? Here in the USA some labs add the following caveat: "10% of the population exhibit neurological symptoms when results are under 400 pg/ml " (range is approx 200 to 900)


Beer has a lot of folate in it.


Yes, but i've read that the consumption of alcohol prevents the absorbtion?


This MCV indicator is a real problem. Apparently at one time some scientists were suggesting that 95 should be the beginning of the high end. Which would have been great for me since I've got records going back to the 80s showing my MCV at somewhere between 95-99. But then you get others saying it has to be around 105-110 to indicate anaemia.

Thing is, you don't need anaemia to be suffering neuro damage linked to a B12 deficiency. Bloods in many, many, cases are not reflective of the injury you are suffering.

If you drink then it can cause B12 deficiency. What it also does is make it more difficult to establish if the cause of your deficiency is due to that or to something else related to malabsorption.

Unfortunately it's a similar situation with vegetarians or vegans because a lot of them, sensibly, supplement with B12 anyway to one extent or another, so it pushes up their serum B12 levels even if the supplement isn't of a large enough dosage to stop their deterioration.

Plus, if you have a dietary restriction or if you drink, nine times out of ten doctors will put this down as being the cause of your problems.

And, if you are drinking beer, which unlike many other alcohols does contain folate, this will bring down your levels of homocysteine (another possible indicator) and remedy your MCV range because folate works on the same metabolic pathway as B12.

Double whammy.

So if we track it back a bit - Did you go to the docs with the above symptoms originally? Do you know what your B12 level was at that time other than 'normal?' Did you supplement with anything prior to the blood tests? What are you supplementing with now - the B complexes - how much is in them, is there anything else in them?

1 like

Hi, im supplemeting with this, i've started taking it twice a day since getting my mcv result

I fasted for 20 hours with the blood tests.


Hi, I'm coming back to this because I've just read through your old posts...

Your cortisol was over the top end of the range. Did you inform your doctor about this and did he do anything about it?

Oh, and I'm also going to ask - do you feel 'super' sensitive to situations which you would normally not find stressful?


Haven been to the doctors because think they'll say they're all ok results, even though ive been told me two online ones they arent ok for the MCV. But they recommended to supplement (which ive been doing now for 2 month and wait for 5 months before seeing the most noticable effects).

This is the supplement im taking


Yes, alcohol affects B12 absorption but beer has folate in it which makes some readings, including the MCV look more normal.

So that's what I meant by double whammy.

Plus you have this cortisol thing and I'm thinking you should get your GP to clarify why this doesn't need acting on. It can be an adrenal thing - and I would just want to put my mind at rest on the issue.

It's highly unlikely that most doctors will act on an MCV which is 1 point higher than normal. They like the MCV to be around 105-110 before they consider anaemia. But you could have many things masking your blood test results here and you need to sift the wheat from the chaff.


Yes, I am seeing a dermatolist soon about my vitiligo (autoimmune) condition and will show him the results of the blood tests.

Would 1 point higher MCV indicate borderline anemia?

My DHEAs where elevated and the cotisol were elevated slightly.

The thing is, many of my symptoms point towards a B deficency.

My Active B12 Results were 73 pmol

range - 25 to 165. I'd had a week of b complex supplement but didnt take one the morning of the test.



Re:"My Active B12 Results were 73 pmol range - 25 to 165. ", you could consider MMA and homocysteine testing, its just not cheap, so I do not wish to guide you to spending more money than is needed. You can also wait something like 4-6 months and have a retest, but again it will cost you and you would have to make sure you do not supplement with B12 in any form. Its just that you are now still borderline, in time that could change.

Weird thing is my MCV was 105.5 but GP said you are not anaemic, as in HB was OK..

Kind regards,



The symptoms you describe could also indicate a thyroid issue. If you haven't been tested for this lately, I'd recommend doing so.


I've had thyroid checked a number of times. Tyroid is fine.


So do you think I should supplement for 4-5 month of b complex and put down a bit on the beer and then retest full blood count?


Stop supplementing with anything, and cut back on the beer for 4-5 months then retest FBC, serum B12, or only active B12. If active B12 is low MMA.


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