The Vitamin B12 assay is an in vitro test used for the quantitative determination of Vitamin B12 in human serum and plasma. Vitamin B12 is necessary for DNA synthesis, cellular energy production, and red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 deficiency was introduced in 1849 and was originally thought to be fatal. This changed in 1926 when it was discovered that a diet high in B12 could combat the disease process. Vitamin B12 is produced by gut bacteria in animals and then absorbed by those animals. As a result, Vitamin B12 is found in animal tissues and a diet high in B12 includes foods like liver, eggs, and dairy.
High levels of vitamin B12 may be due to multivitamin consumption or even pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, and myeloproliferative disease including chronic granulocytic leukemia and myelomonocytic leukemia. Low levels of vitamin B12 may aid in the diagnosis of vitamin-dependent anemia. Vitamin B12 monitoring is typically used for individuals with vitamin B12 deficiency, as high levels of vitamin B12 are not known to be harmful. In addition to a diet lacking vitamin B12, a deficiency may be caused by pernicious anemia, a disease in which a lack of Intrinsic Factor causes deficiency, and other intestinal diseases that affect absorption including celiac disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency is seen more often in the elderly, as well as vegetarians. A deficiency has also been linked to cognitive decline, bone health, and vision loss in the elderly.
At Solaris Diagnostics, Vitamin B12 is measured using direct chemiluminescent technology. The test method requires an assay-specific reagent, acid, and base in order to generate a chemiluminescent reaction. During analysis, a luminometer measures the light emitted from the reaction as Relative Light Units (RLUs) and the software converts the RLUs to results. Solaris Diagnostics can provide results within 24 hours from the time the sample is received in the laboratory.
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