Just a heads-up about changes to B12 testing in Australia. Since November 1st 2014, you can only get the B12 test ONCE every 12 months. This is the standard test that doctors use measuring B12 in the blood. Apparently the government is cracking down on people getting multiple tests per year (ie, me) and will not pay for more than one test per year. I spoke to someone at Healthscope as well as someone from Medicare, and I am getting conflicting information about whether that means Medicare will only pay for the B12 test once per calendar year (1st Jan - 31st Dec), or whether the 12 months starts from the last time you had your B12 test. I was told, I think it was a girl from Medicare, that it's from when you last had the test done, but I'm not 100% sure. I don't want to get tested for it again and have to pay for a useless test when I already know I have B12 troubles. So I need to wait until July, which is when I last had the blood test. So I'm still confused as to whether the regular B12 test is for once per calendar year, or since it was last tested... I also couldn't get a straight answer from the lady I spoke to at Medicare about whether Medicare will pay for an Active B12 test if I've already used up my regular B12 test for that year. I know Medicare has stopped people from going overboard with the regular B12 test, but does that mean that Active B12 is included in that? So that if I've already gotten a regular B12 test within the last 12 months, will Medicare pay for the Active B12 test? Or is it included generally as B12 so they won't pay for it again? They are two different item numbers so I'm guessing they are different and that Medicare has only put a limit on the regular B12 test... But I don't know. Please let me know if you get a straight answer from anyone. In other news, Healthscope DOES test for intracellular B12 also known as holotranscobalamin. You can find it under "A" for "Active B12" on Page 13 of the Healthscope Pathology collection guide - http://www.healthscopepathology.com.au/index.php/download_file/view/326/97/ If your doctor or healthscope nurse says that can't do that test, refer them to the guide because it is in there. The lady I spoke to on the phone said they didn't do it and she had never heard of it (and if she hadn't heard of it, it musn't exist, right? ) But when I got off the phone, after searching for it, I found it in the document... Active B12 is more accurate because while you may have B12 floating around in your blood, it doesn't necessarily represent that B12 is in your cells, where it is needed. The regular testing that doctors get (the one you now can only get once per year paid by Medicare) only tests B12 in the blood. But the Active B12 test, also known as Holotranscobalamin, is more accurate. I myself haven't asked for the holotranscobalamin test yet, and I think it could be reserved for people who have chronic issues with low B12. You might need to write this information down and explain it to your doctor who may not be aware that this test is available in Australia now. My doctors always bulk-bills and you need to make sure the "bulk bill" checkbox is checked so that it is billed to Medicare. I haven't yet rang up Medicare to see whether Holotranscobalamin is bulk-billable, but my guess is that if it is requested by a doctor that generally bulk-bills all of your tests, then Medicare should pay for it. Here's a PDF with the new Item Numbers for the two separate B12 tests - http://www.nps.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/265325/Fact-sheet-vitamin-B12-tests.pdf In case you can't see the PDF, the item numbers are regular B12 test (66838) and Active B12 test (66839.) They are two completely different tests and have two item numbers. If your doctor simply writes "B12" on the pathology request form, you may need to handwrite that you want the "Active B12" test or "Holotranscobalamin." In my experience Healthscope, Medicare and doctors can all have varying information and knowledge about these tests, so you might get conflicting information like I did when calling around. Healthscope should also test B6, if you are curious about your B6 levels. It is on Page 152 of this document under "Vitamin B6" - http://www.healthscopepathology.com.au/index.php/download_file/view/326/97/ B6 is hidden in MANY supplements and long-term use, as little as 20 mg per day over a few weeks can cause neuropathy in individuals, which can resemble low B12. You can read more stories here - http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Nutrition/B6-Toxicity/show/2642 So if you have neuropathy, please get tested for high B6 too. You should also note that from what I've read of others' experiences, B6 can go down rapidly once you stop taking it, or stop taking the supplements that had it hiding inside, but the neuropathy after stopping B6 can take years to heal completely. The B6 is not in the blood anymore, but it is still in the muscles and cells. So even this test isn't perfect. But don't let a doctor say "Oh, well, your levels of B6 have gone down in your blood, so things should be fine now." No. That's not true at all. Neuropathy from high B6 toxicity does its damage long after the levels in the blood have gone down. I haven't gotten my results for B6 yet so fingers cross it got accepted into Healthscope ok, but when I got my blood taken to test B6, the healthscope lady who took my blood didn't even know whether they tested for B6, but she eventually found it on the Collection Guide I linked to and tested for it. So insist that they do test for it and get them to look at the collection guide if they say they don't test for it.