Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Do I have a vitamin B problem? Or should I just keep taking vitamins from the health food shop?


I've hopped over here from the ThyroidUK forum on Healthunlocked as I recently had a vitamin B test and would like to ask you about it.

Recently I'd been taking an Adrenal supplement which I found immediately reduced the severity of my anxiety. I looked at the label and it had high doses of vitamin B. So I tried a high dose of vitamin B complex tablet instead (from local health food shop) and it had the same effect.

Roughly 10 days after I started taking any vitamin B I had a vitamin B test from my endocrinologist and it came back as 261 out of a range of 180 - 2000.

So, before I took the high dose vitamin B I must have been lower than that. Someone on my thyroid forum said you should be at least 500.

Since I found out the test came back as 261 I've started taking another vit B pill before bed and it's helped anxiety at night time.

What do you think? Should I just keep taking these over the counter tablets? What level of vitamin B is optimal?

Extra info: I'm on thyroid medication, not yet stable, still lots of tiredness and I'm trying very hard to get well as soon as possible so I can work again.

Thanks for any help x

5 Replies

Your level is not high, even without taking supplements and the fact that you can feel a benefit form them suggests that you do need them. Very few people seem to be able to manage on supplements alone but it depends on how deficient you are and whether you still have a reduced ability to absorb it normally.

Thyroidism and B12 def. are very common co-existing conditions and some of the symptoms are shared by both conditions. What particular supplement are you taking and how much B12 is in it? Is there folic acid in it too and how much?

You cannot go on the B12 serum level alone. It is not a reliable indicator of true functional status. However, since you also have thyroidism, it is difficult to know which condition your symptoms are related to.


Thank you for your reply,

I'm taking Holland and Barrett B-100 timed release vitamin B complex.

I was taking the B-50 timed release but when my results showed up low I decided to take the B-100 ones too.

I started taking one in the morning after I have my museli and coffee. Then I started taking one late in the evening too and that lowered the severity of my evening/night anxiety.

I don't know if Holland and Barrett ones are good quality or if I should take vitamin C with it too?

My thyroid is slowly getting sorted out, been almost 2 years since diagnosed and now getting better on T3. I never used to have big anxiety problems until my dad was very unwell in hospital (stroke and heart attack) and was touch and go whether he lived or not for months. My stress went through the roof and it's never been the same since.

I thought it might improve with getting my thyroid sorted but it hasn't changed at all on thyroid meds. The only thing that's made a difference is taking vitamin B.

Could you tell me a bit about functional status?

Thanks again x


These supplements are okay for the other B vits but there isn't enough B12 in them. Also, you shouldn't take more than one of them because of the B6. 100mg is the daily maximum daily for that. I'd suggest you only take one B-100 and also get some higher strength B12. You could maybe try their Boost spray which has 1200mcg of Methyl B12.

Functional status is how much B12 is getting through to your cells and it can be very different to what is showing in your blood serum level, for various reasons. The process by which B12 gets absorbed is very complex and there can be problems at any stage. Some will probably show in a depleted serum level but others won't. There is also problems with the reliability of the serum test itself. It can only detect how much B12 is in your bloodstream but it cannot differentiate between inactive and active B12. At least 3/4 of it is inactive but it may be much more in some people so you cannot rely on the serum test as a good indicator of true functional status.


Thank you I'll definitely be getting that spray and looking into those B12 tests more.


I must say thank you too! :) :)

Am also on Thyroid UK and have been investigating why i am still not feeling OK. Once I started taking 1000mcg of B12 sublingual tablets perday my temperature improved by half a degree -amazing as i suffer with hypothyroidism and on meds and my temperature has remained stubbornly low. This has caused me to investigate further and have looked at your symptoms and signs for PA -am wondering if this might be my problem....i have extremely ridged weak nails, vitligo, continuous fatigue (despite being well medicated for my thyroid) etc.. I was shocked to see that doing your PA checklist of symptoms gave me a score of 61. I will be asking my GP for a blood Test!! Your comments about the serum not indicating what is getting into the cells is the same as we say about the blood serum for hypothyroidism so struck many chords with

I have been working along the lines that I am gluten sensitive as I do find it hard to tolerate grains.....and am in the process of investigating this -soon to be evaluated -if this is the case could it be the damage to my guts causing low B12? Am grateful for any feedback? x


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