Sioux Falls, SD—OmegaQuant has launched a new Vitamin B12 Test,with a sample collection kit that allows for testing at home, according to a press release.

Vitamin B12 supports red blood cell production, nerve function, and brain and heart health, to name a few of its functions. It is found in animal-sourced products and some fortified foods, meaning that vegans and vegetarians typically have a low B12 intake. Diabetics who take Metformin and those who have undergone bariatric surgery are also at risk of deficiency. Plus, pregnant people have higher needs for this nutrient.

The press release notes that people are often unaware that they are critically low until they develop major health issues including jaundice, joint pain, deep depression, memory loss, incontinence, and more. It points to a 2000 study published inThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that up to 39% of Americans could be B12 deficient—which, scaled to the population of the U.S., would be 80 million adults.

The test measures a substance called methylmalonic acid (MMA) in the urine. The more MMA an individual has, the more likely they are to be low in B12: When there isn’t enough B12 for cells to perform all the functions that require it, MMA accumulates in the cell and spills out into the blood, where it eventually gets filtered by the kidney into the urine, where it can be measured. The device that comes with the kit, the press release says, “allows for safe, easy, seamless sample collection.” The sample is then mailed back to the lab. Three to five days after OmegaQuant receives the sample, the company will provide results, as well as personalized, actionable health information.

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Test results are reported in mmol MMA/mol creatinine. Optimal vitamin B12 status is indicated when the result is below 2.0 mmol MMA/mol creatinine, while a result above 3.8 means B12 status is very low, and warrants further testing and a consultation with a healthcare provider in order to confirm diagnosis and treatment.

"Vitamin B12 is an incredibly important nutrient for people of all ages," said Kristina Harris Jackson, Director of Research at OmegaQuant, in the press release. "And knowing your status early on can help you avoid major health issues down the road. Our goal at OmegaQuant is to give consumers safe, easy tools that can help them approach their nutrition with a bit more precision. Our new Vitamin B12 test is the latest tool in our toolbox."