DEAR DR. GOTT: I had my vitamin B12 level tested and found it to be over 2000 and the normal level should be around 200-900. I do not believe this to be caused by over supplementation, though I do take vitamins on a regular basis. I was taking a B-complex but, as of the last month, I have not been taking regular daily doses of vitamins. Should I be concerned? Articles that I have read state that B12 is a water soluble vitamin and one can’t overdose. Articles do lean toward signs of problems with the liver linked with elevated vitamin B12. Please advise as my doctor tells me that I do not need to do anything or be concerned.
DEAR READER: Vitamin B12 is considered one of the most safe. It is water soluble, meaning excesses are typically eliminated in the urine; however, it may take an extended period of time. The recommended daily allowance for those 14 and older is 2.4 mcg (micrograms); no tolerable upper intake level has been established because of the low toxicity risk. No toxicity or adverse effects have been reported from food or supplements.
According to the National Institutes of Health, high blood levels of B12 are very uncommon but may signify liver disease such as cirrhosis, or myeloproliferative disorders such as polycythemia vera. In this instance, I have to disagree with your physician and recommend that you undergo testing to determine why your levels are so high. If your physician will not help, make an appointment with another primary care physician such as an internist or recommend a referral to a hematologist (blood specialist) or other appropriate specialist.
Readers interested in learning more can order my Health Report “Vitamins and Minerals” by sending a self-addressed, stamped number 10 envelope and a $2 US check or money order to Dr. Peter Gott, PO Box 433, Lakeville, CT 06039. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form from my website, www.AskDrGottMD.com.