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Schillings Test
June 2003

Q. I would like to know what a Schillings Test is for? I understand that I must fast for 12 hours, get an injection, then collect my urine and return it to the lab. What is this test used for?

A. The Schillings test is used to check for the ability of the body to absorb vitamin B 12, an important nutrient. Vitamin B 12 is abundant in foods of animal origin such as meat, milk, and eggs. The stomach has a substance called "intrinsic factor" which allows the B 12 to be absorbed.

Lack of B 12 results in anemia, a low red blood count, and is called pernicious anemia if the inability to absorb B 12 is the cause. Blood tests may be used in addition to or in place of the Schillings test. These include measurement of intrinsic antibodies, gastrin, and MMA, all of which can help diagnose pernicious anemia. Vitamin B 12 injections can be given to individuals who are unable to absorb it from the diet.




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