What causes elevated MCV levels?

Posted on Mon, 31 Jul 2017 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: how much/often alcohol does it take to cause a raised MCV level? My ALT, AST were normal in April, but I dont understand MCV...does it relate to red blood cell count? If GGT is normal, will MCV be normal too? Pls clarify MCV on blood test
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 41 minutes later
Brief Answer:
it indicates RBCs size

Detailed Answer:
Dear Sir, I have gone through your question and I understand your concerns.

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is the average volume of red cells in a specimen. MCV is elevated or decreased in accordance with average red cell size; ie, low MCV indicates microcytic (small average RBC size), normal MCV indicates normocytic (normal average RBC size), and high MCV indicates macrocytic (large average RBC size).

The normal value for MCV is 80-96 fL/red cell in adults.

The common causes of macrocytic anemia (increased MCV) include Folate deficiency anemia, Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, Liver disease, Hemolytic anemias, Hypothyroidism, Excessive alcohol intake and Aplastic anemia.

Heavy alcohol intake over a long period of time is toxic to the bone marrow where the red blood cells are made. This makes the RBCs produced larger than normal and increases the MCV level.

Usually stopping the alcohol intake will allow the bone marrow to recover and the MCV level returns to normal over a period of two to three months.

I hope I answered your question.
Feel free to ask further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
Follow up: Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 2 hours later
thanks for your reply - my question is what kind/volume/frequency of alcohol consumption can cause a rise in MCV? IS it more of a daily consumption issue, or will occasional/weekend consumption (5-8 pints beer) cause a rise? I had a blood test in mid april which only reported ALT and AST (normal)...
Also, last test reported a low B12...im vegetarian, and dont consume a lot of dairy...
Pls advise.


...sorry. My test in April did test MCV as normal (93 fl.)..my question is could occasional alcohol consumption as described above cause a significant rise? Considering that by the time of my next blood test I will have abstained for over a month ?

THX and sorry
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 22 hours later
Brief Answer:
Recovery after two months

Detailed Answer:
Dear sir, the bone marrow susceptibility to being affected by alcohol is different from one individual to another but on average 2 standard drinks per day or 12-14 standard drinks per week is considered to be overdrinking and can cause various damages to your body organs .
the recovery is expected to be full after 2 months from stopping the alcohol intake but after one month you should expect some improvement as well. I hope you find this helpful
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Answered by
Dr. Salah Saad Shoman

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2126 Questions


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