Vitamin help needed!

Hi everyone,

I was looking for some advice on the supplements I should be taking as the ones I'm taking at the moment clearly aren't adequate!

My last full blood work was done in March but I recently obtained a print out of my results. My serum folate was 2.96 ug/L (4.6-18.7) "low" and serum vitamin B12 was 198 ng/L (191-663). I was prescribed 3-months worth of folic acid supplements and since then have taken the Holland & Barrett Complete B Vitamin B Complex once daily.

At the beginning of this month I had a small amount of blood work done (folate, B12, TSH and free T4) and found that my serum folate had gone up to 13.3ug/L (4.6-18.7) but my vitamin B12 had only gone up to 206 (191-663), which still seems low to me, though it wasn't flagged up as low. I was just wondering what this means? Should I be taking the B Complex vitamin? Or should I take it with something else? Every day I take it I have quite bright yellow wee which I was under the impression meant that I was taking more than enough and the yellow was excess. Is this totally wrong?

I've seen the word methylcobalamin come up a lot ... is that one I should be taking?

Another thing that came back from my March blood tests was that my unsat iron binding capacity was 73.7 umol/L (45-70) "high" and my iron saturation was 17.4% (20-50) "low". What does this mean? Why would I not have been told about this before finding it myself after getting it printed off? The only thing they mentioned was the low serum folate. Should I have been prescribed something for this? What supplement would you recommend?

Another thing from the March bloods was my Vitamin D came back as 26.1 nmol/L (50-125) "low". Again, never told and never prescribed anything. I've also been taking a daily vitamin D3 tablet of 25ug for around 2-3 years, so I'm worried that it came back as low. Should I be taking more?

One more thing, everything else looks to be in the "normal" range except for a couple seem low. Serum total bilirubin is 5umol/L (0-20) and serum alkaline phosphatase is 36 u/L (30-130). I have no idea what either of these are/mean. Help!

Like I said, these are all from March and I don't have anything more updated than that (although my vitamin D should be back by the time I go in for an appointment on Thursday). What should I say to the Dr about these results? And please send me your advice with what supplements you would recommend! Tired of having no energy!

Thanks for reading :D sorry it was long.


16 Replies

  • Katie, as long as results are in range ('normal') supplements aren't prescribed on the NHS but they can and should be when results are deficient (below range).

    In range isn't the same as optimal so I'd recommend 5,000iu daily vitD3 softgel capsules for 6/8 weeks to build levels and then cut back to taking it alternate days. Have a repeat blood test 4-6 months later.

    For B12 take 1,000mcg B12 methylcobalamin sublingual lozenges, spray or patches. B Complex isn't sufficient to raise low B12 but you should continue taking it for the other B vitamins it contains.

    I can't help with the iron binding and iron saturation. Your GP probably isn't worried as they are slightly above and below range respectively but you could ask her what it means, whether it has any bearing on your lack of energy and whether it should be retested in due course.

    Bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase are liver tests and low levels mean liver dysfunction is unlikely.

  • Thanks :)

  • I was taking H & Barratt B complex thinking I was doing the right thing until I read on here that some B12 supplements are cyanoccobalamin which isnt absorbed so easily as B12 methylcolbamin. So I found and ordered some methyl b12 lozenges from amazon and they arrived today so hopefully they will be better. Most of my vits came back low despite a well balanced diet so I started supplementing recently and am still trying to get my head around it all. Not easy with brain fog though. Gentle hugs Joolz.x

  • It is difficult. My methylcobalamin B12 and 5,000 iu Vitamin D arrived today so fingers crossed they help get my levels up! :D

  • Peeing fluorescent yellow usually just means that you have enough B2 (or aren't absorbing it). No over the counter B complex will have enough B12 to raise you levels and all the non-specialist ones have the wrong type of B12. You need methylcobalamin - Jarrow formulas do a 5000 iu one which should help raise your levels. You might do better with methyl folate rather than folic acid, too. To get your vitamin D levels up, you need at least 2000iu a day (double what you have been taking), probably 10000 for a short period of time.

  • Thanks for your advice :)

  • To decide the relevance of your iron test results - the UIBC and the iron saturation - take a look at these links : *UK based site* *US based site*

    The info is similar on each link, but not identical - read them both.

  • Hi Kate, first of all we have to educate the medical world that if our body is deficient in minerals the best vitamins in the world won't work as they can't be assimilated. This sadly is something not recognised by many GP's. Secondly, according to the National Cancer Institute, instead of increasing health & longevity, synthetic multivitamins are jeopardizing our health & longevity.

    Why would this be? Well, supplements are so varied in quality. Manufacturers bulk them out with fillers and what you end up with is a poor quality pill that often doesn't dissolve and passes straight through. The profit margins can be extremely high. I remember an article 7-8 years ago in the Telegraph saying that Holland & Barrett were the most profitable business on the high street and often the label would cost more than the contents in the bottle.

    We are suffering with all these modern ailments because today's food is not sustaining our nutritional requirements. Yes, we are eating plenty but to quote a headline from 2006, "Crazy relationship with food is killing us" and that was from a warning from Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the Food Standards Agency.

    The minerals bought in the high street are in general, metallic, i.e. ground rocks. Our body craves plant based minerals, yet we're sold metallic. Why? Again it is because they are cheap and have high profit margins.

    I can be found on many social media platforms if you want to know more, as I'm not sure how far I'm permitted to reveal here.

  • MineralDoc, Posting guidelines #18 and #21 prohibit advertising, selling and soliciting members to other sites for such purposes

  • OK, I was not advertising or selling and in no way soliciting members to a website. The mere mention that I can be found if people want to take the trouble should be a matter of choice. This is why I concluded with "I'm not sure how far I'm permitted to reveal here."

    So, if I have testimonials that people could benefit to read, how can they be made available to view them?

  • MineralDoc, you said you weren't sure how much you could reveal so I posted the guidelines for your information.

    Members can exercise their choice by Googling or finding you on one of the many social media platforms you mentioned.

  • Thanks for clearing that up.

    Yes, members can exercise their choice of tracking me down. I didn't actually mention any social media platforms by name.

  • Your quote of Dame Deirdre Hutton really does not appear to back up your argument.

    This is a link that I could freely access:

    It doesn't seem to relate to the quality of vitamins sold by H&B. Rather the choices people make both for themselves and those for whom they are responsible, the quality of processed foods, the lack of home preparation of fresh ingredients, and related issues. Anyone seriously trying to improve their intake, and taking enough notice to bother trying supplements, is likely doing more than many of those referred to by the Dame.

    You appear to use the word "metallic" to mean something other than any dictionary definition I have seen.

  • If you read my post again it said "I remember an article 7-8 years ago in the Telegraph saying that Holland & Barrett were the most profitable business on the high street." This was not referred to by Dame Deirdre Hutton and I never suggested it had been. In fact it is two separate paragraphs.

    I'm sorry you don't get it about the huge difference between plant v metallic minerals. Mind you, many nutritionists admit to not knowing. I was at a meeting where a clinical pharmacist & naturopathic nutritionist told us that in her years of training, they were never told of the difference. It just goes to show the huge education task we have.

    "Not all minerals are equal" - Steven E. Whiting, PhD

  • I've been on thyroxine for 16 yr and in the last 5 months I've been taking b6 50mgs daily and I've felt so much better. I'm not as tired and I've lost weight although I've not changed my diet or anything else. It worked for me so give it a try.

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