Monthly Archives: September 2012

Vitamin B12 Symposium 2012

Vitamin B12 Symposium 2012
Nancy, France, September 20th-22nd 2012

This scientific congress reviewed current findings in the field of Vitamin B12. The added utility of Active-B12 was reviewed and discussed in several sessions and was once again shown to be the best single marker of B12 status. Some of the topics are shown below with a summary of the presentations:

The Application of serum holotranscobalamin, supported by methylmalonicacid as a front-line test to assess vitamin B12 status in a mixed patient population.

A. Sobczynska-Malefora, Nutristasis Unit, GSTS Pathology, London, UK

“Assays for holotranscobalamin and MMA can be successfully utilised in tandem to define vitamin B12 status in large mixed patient populations. Initial automated screening by holotranscobalamin identifies an indeterminate cohort who benefit from confirmatory testing by MMA”

Is HoloTC a more valuable biomarker of Vitamin B12 intake and status?

CF Hughes, Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster

“These results support the conclusion that holoTC is a more sensitive biomarker of vitamin B12 status than the more traditional biomarker, serum total B12. HoloTC was more strongly correlated than serum total B12 to dietary intakes in both younger and older adults. HoloTC was able to detect small changes in vitamin B12 intake that were not detected by serum total B12”

HoloTC, the active B12

E. Nexo, Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

“HoloTC or Active-B12 denotes the part of circulating plasma cobalamin available for cells of the body. Current data supports holoTC as a promising biomarker for vitamin B12 status, both when holoTC us used alone or in combination with other biomarkers. Notably holoTC is the biomarker of choice in situations where measurement of total cobalamin is inadequate. During pregnancy total cobalamin declines despite a normal vitamin B12 status while holoTC remains unchanged. In children severely vitamin b12 deficient because of a lack of transcobalamin (total TC), total cobalamin may remain within the reference interval while no holoTC is detected. Finally, newly absorbed vitamin B12 occurs as holoTC, and therefore an increase in holoTC upon oral loading with vitamin B12 can be used to judge the capacity for uptake of the vitamin”

MMA, Hcy and other metabolic markers of vitamin B12 deficiency

W.Herrmann, Dept of Clinical Chemistry, Saarland University, Germany

“Vitamin B12 deficiency is more widespread in the population than has been assumed so far. Measurement of total vitamin B12 has limited diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, especially in the concentration range <400pmol/L…..a lowered serum holoTC concentration (but normal MMA) is the earliest marker of vitamin B12 deficiency and signals that the body does not have sufficient available vitamin B12…Lowered holoTC combined with raised MMA and homocysteine levels are indicative of metabolically manifest vitamin B12 deficiency. The new markers enable the detection of vitamin deficiency notably more often.”

 

BBC Radio 4 Inside Health

The failings of current tests and treatment for Vitamin B12 deficiency were discussed on Radio 4’s Inside Health program on 4th September 2012.

Professor John Hunter of Cranfield University and Martyn Hooper, Chair of the PerniciousAnaemia Society discussed how current practices are not meeting patient needs due to the poor performance of existing blood tests and the out-of-date guidelines provided to doctors.

Listen to the discussion here