What is an MCV Blood Test and What Does it Mean if it’s High?

Blood tests are crucial in the world of modern medicine for understanding the complexities of human health. Even though the MCV blood test has significance, it remains a mystery to many people.

MCV stands for mean corpuscular volume, a measurement of red blood cell size, and can offer significant clues about human health. Proactive health management requires knowledge of what an MCV blood test includes and the relevance of its results. This article demystifies the MCV blood test, highlighting its importance and how you can use it to help maintain good health.

What is an MCV Blood Test?

The complete blood count (CBC) panel includes mean corpuscular volume (MCV) blood. This examination provides important information on your red blood cell size, a key indicator of your general health.

MCV measures your red blood cells’ average volume or size and is expressed in femtoliters (fL). Your red blood cells transport oxygen around your body, which is essential for healthy cells. The MCV test will show whether your red blood cells are larger or smaller than normal or if they are the proper size.

A small blood sample is taken from your arm to conduct the test. The sample is subsequently delivered to a lab for evaluation. The volume of your red blood cells is measured using automated lab analyzers, yielding an accurate MCV number.

MCV is an important factor in evaluating a number of medical diseases, including anemia and other blood disorders. Healthcare professionals can learn important information about the underlying causes of health problems and develop tailored treatment approaches by measuring the size of red blood cells. An MCV blood test is frequently combined with other blood parameters to get a complete picture of your general health. Understanding your MCV results might aid you in identifying potential health issues and directing you toward essential measures for enhanced well-being.

What Does it Mean if Your MCV Blood Test is High?

A high mean corpuscular volume (MCV) on a blood test indicates that your red blood cells are larger than average. Your red blood cells’ typical volume or size, or MCV, is measured. The normal range—which can vary slightly depending on the laboratory, but is commonly 80–100 fL—is typically stated in femtoliters (fL). A high MCV number typically denotes one of the following ailments or circumstances:

Macrocytic anemia is the most frequent cause of a high MCV. Red blood cells in this kind of anemia are larger than usual and frequently in lower numbers. It can be caused by such things as Vitamin B12 deficiency, poor diet, malabsorption problems, and specific medical diseases like pernicious anemia.

Macrocytic anemia may also be caused by vitamin B9 insufficiency. Another potential cause is a liver disorder, such as cirrhosis or alcoholic liver disease. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid function, can also contribute to a high MCV.

Why MCV is High (the Cellular Explanation) – Official Dr. Bryan Walsh

A raised MCV can be brought on by some prescription medications, including some cancer therapies and HIV antiretroviral drugs. In some circumstances, elevated MCV levels can be attributed to other conditions such as hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells), myelodysplastic syndrome, or excessive alcohol intake.

Preventing issues linked to high MCV levels and their underlying causes requires early detection and care.

Consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive review if your MCV level is high. They’ll probably perform additional blood tests and a physical examination to identify the underlying problem. Depending on the precise diagnosis, the course of treatment may include controlling any underlying medical issues, addressing nutritional deficiencies, or changing medications.

Treatment and Management

Effective management begins with locating and addressing the underlying reasons behind elevated MCV levels. This may involve treating nutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of folate or vitamin B12, or treating underlying medical disorders that are causing elevated MCV.

Diet to Normalize MCV Levels

The primary goals of a diet that lowers high MCV levels should be to treat dietary shortages that may be present and to promote general health. Take into account the following dietary recommendations:

  • Increase Your Intake of Folate: High MCV levels may indicate a folate deficiency. Citrus fruits, legumes, fortified cereals, and leafy greens like kale and spinach are all good choices.
  • Take More Vitamin B12: Get it from breakfast cereals, eggs, dairy products, chicken, and fish.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Your diet should include a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats.
  • Reduce Your Alcohol Intake: High MCV levels might result from excessive alcohol consumption. MCV levels may be lowered by consuming less alcohol or refraining altogether.
  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is made possible by maintaining a healthy blood volume and avoiding elevated MCV due to dehydration. Sip on water throughout the day.
  • Consider the Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet has proven itself to be a great choice to improve cardio health and may promote restored MCV levels. This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats. It limits the intake of red meat.
  • Reduce Sugar and Highly Processed Food Intake: Cutting back on sugar and highly processed foods can help reduce MCV levels while also improving overall health.

Treating Underlying Medical Disorders

Increased MCV levels may be a sign of a number of diseases and disorders, including hypothyroidism, anemia, liver illness, and vitamin deficiency. Successful management entails:

  • Diagnosis: First, healthcare specialists must correctly identify the underlying medical issue by extensive evaluations, such as blood tests, physical exams, and assessments of medical histories.
  • Medical Intervention: Treatment frequently necessitates certain medical procedures designed to address the identified ailment. This can include prescriptions for drugs like hormones for hypothyroidism or iron supplements for anemia.
  • Lifestyle Changes: In addition to medical therapies, a change in lifestyle may be required. These include dietary adjustments, exercise regimens, and stress reduction strategies as a supplement to medical treatments.
  • Regular Follow-Ups and Monitoring: Patients with aberrant MCV levels brought on by underlying medical illnesses should experience routine follow-ups and monitoring in order to evaluate therapy effectiveness and make any necessary modifications.


MCV blood tests are crucial to regular health evaluations, revealing red blood cell size and any underlying health issues. When you are aware of the importance of MCV levels, both high and low, you are better equipped to take preventative measures for achieving optimal health.

Addressing aberrant MCV levels can result in increased well-being and the early identification of underlying medical issues, whether through dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, or medication therapies. So, if you haven’t had your levels tested in the past 12 months, why not make an appointment this week?