MEASUREMENT OF VITAMIN B 12 CONCENTRATION: A REVIEW ON AVAILABLE METHODSThe IIOAB Journal
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It is one of the eight vitamins of vitamin B complex, needed for blood and cell maturation. It helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and it is needed in DNA replication. Its deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia (amidst others health issues). For these and many similar reasons, it sometimes becomes necessary to measure its concentration. This article has carefully reviewed the different methods used for measuring vitamin B12 concentration, and the unique principles involved. The principles, basically, depend on the molecular structure of Vitamin B12 and its reactions with other substances. The methods include microbiological assay and spectrophotometric methods – these are old methods: they were the first available methods, but they are still in use for reference purposes. Another method is electroluminescent (ECL) which involves highly reactive materials. However, inductive-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a very important method, which is used routinely, even in many research. On the other hand, atomic absorption spectroscopy depends on measuring the amount of energy involved in the reaction; while radioimmunoassay (RIA) is a highly sensitive immunoassay technique. In addition, there are different techniques for separating and preparing samples to be used in the various measurement methods. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is used for non-validate analyst, while capillary-electrophoresis (CE) that have high resolving power than traditional electrophoresis, which when they are coupled with certain detectors they afford us another principle for measuring this vitamin. Choosing the best method for measuring vitamin B12 concentration depends on many factors – including the type of sample, purpose of the test, necessity of pre-processing, time limitations, cost, sensitivity, specificity.