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HomeTrendingHow To Test For Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency

How To Test For Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency

What Is The Vitamin D Deficiency Test

Micronutrient Testing For Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies That Cause Migraines

Vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle health. It supports your immune system. About 1 billion people worldwide do not get the required vitamins D. Vitamin D deficiency has symptoms like muscle pain, anxiousness, tiredness, or weak bones. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight.

Vitamin D level is best measured with a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. A range between 50-175 nmol/L is normal. A range between 75-100 nmol/L is optimal. Some foods to gain vitamin D include fatty fish, mushrooms, and egg yolks.

Additional Read:Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Best Labs To Check Magnesium Levels

Red blood cell magnesium This is the best way to measure magnesium levels. In the very rare instance that your doctor orders a magnesium level for you, it will most likely be serum magnesium. This test is practically useless in determining magnesium deficiency unless it is significantly deficient. This is because the body will borrow magnesium stores from other areas of the body, such as the bones and muscles, to maintain a normal serum level.

We believe optimal levels of RBC magnesium are between 50-70 mcg/g or 5-7 mg/dL, depending on the labs reference range.

How Are Vitamin B12 Levels Checked

Vitamin B12 helps in the proper functioning of your nervous system. This vitamin is widely responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells. The symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, weight loss, nausea, dizziness, and pale skin. A lack of stomach protein known as the intrinsic factor is the most common cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

An active B12 blood test measures the amount of vitamin B12 available in your body for use. You can also opt for a total B12 test. An active B12 range between 37.5-188 pmol/L is normal. The normal range for the total B12 test is between 300- 569 pmol/L.

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Is There Anything Else I Should Know

Trace minerals are found in varying concentrations in a wide variety of foods. Some forms of minerals are more “bioavailable” from an animal source than from a plant source, such as heme-iron found in meats versus non-heme iron found in vegetables, grains, and beans. Minerals are also added to foods to make them more readily available, such as “fortified” grains and cereals, fluoridated water, and iodized salt.

How To Use Your Results

How to Test for Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

If your at-home test results reveal a possible vitamin deficiency, its important to make an appointment with your doctor so you can discuss next steps. They can help you determine the causes of any nutritional deficiencies, such as your diet or any underlying medical conditions.

Your doctor may also refer you to a nutritionist who can help design meal plans to fit your dietary needs. In some cases, you may need specific vitamin or mineral supplements, such as a multivitamin with iron, or vitamins D3, B6, or B12. However, you shouldnt take supplements without talking with your doctor first.

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Vitamin And Mineral Test Result Ranges

Iron normal ranges

There are several tests to check your iron levels. The ideal ranges for each test are:

  • serum ferritin 13-150 ng/l for women and 30-400 ng/l for men
  • haemoglobin 120-160 g/L for women and 130-170 g/L for men
  • transferrin saturation 20-55% for both women and men
  • total iron-binding capacity 45-72 umol/L for both women and men
  • Unsaturated iron-binding capacity 24.2-70.1 umol/L for women and 22.3-61.7 umol/L for men
Vitamin D normal ranges

A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the best way to measure your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D reference range:

  • between 50-175 nmol/L is normal
  • between 75-100 nmol/L is optimal
Vitamin B12 normal ranges

An active B12 test is the best way to measure your levels. This measures the amount of vitamin B12 thats available for your body to use. You can also do B12. Vitamin B12 reference ranges:

  • active B12 between 37.5- 188 pmol/L is normal
  • total B12 between 300- 569 pmol/L is normal
Folate normal ranges

Folate reference range

  • Between 8.83-60.8, nmol/L is normal

When to take supplements?

Most people can get the nutrients they need from diet alone. So if you dont have a nutrient deficiency, you shouldnt take a supplement just for the sake of it. Synthetic nutrients dont always match up to those found naturally in foods.

A good approach is to monitor your vitamin and mineral levels with a blood test. If youre low in a certain nutrient, you can up your intake of foods rich in these nutrients. However, supplements are necessary sometimes.

How Common Are Nutrient Deficiencies

Truth be told, not everyone maintains a healthy and balanced diet, and often a stressful life, bad habits or allergies and intolerances can get in the way. Diseases or lifestyle choices can also mean that we dont absorb an adequate amount of certain vitamins and minerals.

For example, if you do a lot of sports, your body usually uses up more minerals. With magnesium serving as fuel for muscles and with zinc lost through sweating, athletes need to increase their mineral intake more than other people. They can address this need through nutrient supplements for athletes. Vegetarians and vegans often consume too little vitamin B12, which is mainly found in animal products.

A particularly important vitamin for our bodies is vitamin D. Our body needs the UVB radiation present in sunlight to produce this vitamin. Since we spend a lot of time indoors these days and, especially in winter, receive only a small amount of sunshine, vitamin D deficiency is widespread in our society.

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How Do You Know If You Have A Nutrient Deficiency

A lack of nutrients is only very clearly apparent in rare cases for example, when an acute magnesium deficiency leads to painful leg cramps. Often symptoms such as a headache, fatigue, dry skin and hair loss occur. We often dont associate these symptoms with a nutrient deficiency until serious health problems arise.

For example, a vitamin B12 deficiency develops over years while vitamin B12 reserves are slowly depleted. We usually dont notice this, but over time, this deficiency can lead to anaemia, nerve damage and depression. This is the case for many other deficiency symptoms.

Best Labs To Check Vitamin B12 Levels

Dr. Osborne on vitamin and mineral deficiencies – Lab testing

Serum Vitamin B12: This is a simple and fairly reliable way to measure vitamin B12 levels. Many doctors believe they can surmise B12 deficiency by looking at the shape of red blood cells. While this test a complete blood count can indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is not very reliable and does nothing to detect a functional deficiency. A functional deficiency is when you have a nutrient level that is considered normal by conventional standards, but the nutrient is not at an adequate level to do its job in the body optimally.

We like to see serum B12 levels at a minimum of 500 pg/mL, but prefer it to be above 900 pg/mL. We will often cross-reference this number with a urine MMA test.

Urine Methylmalonic Acid : MMA is a marker that, when elevated, indicates a vitamin B12 deficiency. We love to use this test in our practice because it shows if B12 is doing its job adequately. We have many patients who have normal serum B12 levels but an elevated MMA, meaning that they are functionally deficient.

Optimal urinary MMA levels should be below 1.0 mmol/mol. Some patients have serum B12 levels that are above the normal reference range, yet their MMA was elevated, indicating a functional deficiency. This is why functional tests like urinary MMA are so important.

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Best Comprehensive Test: Baze Vitamin Test Kit

  • Time for Results: about 3 weeks

Bazes Vitamin Test Kit assesses your levels of nine different micronutrients: choline, chromium, selenium, copper, vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc, omega-3, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and magnesium.

  • More expensive than other tests

  • May take 3 weeks for results

  • Some measurements only disclosed in ranges

Baze is another individualized supplement service. Like Rootine, its supplements are specially formulated for each customer based on their test results. Baze offers the most comprehensive test, checking for nine different nutrients: choline, magnesium, chromium, selenium, copper, vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc, omega-3, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

The Baze blood test can be ordered online for about $199 and shipping is free. Subscribers to the Baze service get discounted retests at roughly $149. The company recommends repeating the blood test every three months, but youre able to push this back to every 12 months if you wish. Note that you cant use FSA or HSA funds to pay for Bazes test right now.

The kit features an easy-to-use device that can be placed directly on your arm to collect your blood sample. However, results take roughly three weeks. Their lab protocols meet International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use guidelines.

Reviewers like the customization provided by Baze, but do express frustration at how long it takes for the blood test results to be returned.

Mineral Blood Tests In A Professional Lab

To get a blood test for a mineral deficiency, you will need to make an appointment at a professional lab that offers testing. If you need to fast, its often best to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning. Show up for your scheduled time and show your insurance information .

In some cases, youll have to fast before getting your blood drawn. While you will be able to have water before the test, you should avoid all other drinks and food. And if it turns out that you will need a test fast, its often best to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning.

At the appointment, a technician will draw blood, likely from your arm. The blood is stored in tubes that are sent to a testing lab, which is where theyll actually analyze your blood.

Each test requires a specified amount of time to get results. Once the blood has been analyzed, the results will be sent back to the lab or directly to you. With these results, it will be clearly marked what levels are not within the optimal range so that you can make the appropriate adjustments.

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Types Of Mineral Deficiency Tests

As far as how to test for a vitamin and mineral deficiency, youll find several different options.

A venous blood test is done by a trained professional. A needle is used to puncture your vein, typically in the arm. This blood sample is then sent to a lab for evaluation.

There are also blood tests that only require a finger-prick. Instead of collecting blood from your arm, a small amount can be collected with a lancet to your finger. However, this style of testing wont supply enough to do a comprehensive pane of vitamins and minerals.

If you dont want to go to the lab or doctor, you can also use an in-home test for mineral deficiencies.

And, just like with lab tests, you have several options when looking at home tests for mineral deficiency.

One of the popular options is an at-home hair test. All you have to do is collect a hair sample and ship it to the lab for testing. The results are typically emailed or mailed back to you.

You can also choose from several urine tests. The first requires a specimen taken first thing in the morning. The sample is sent to the lab for analysis and the results are sent back to you.

Its also possible to simply use a dipstick urine test for quick answers. However, these strips arent always the most accurate and often dont test for every vitamin or mineral. Most strips only test a few specific minerals, like sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphate.

How To Correct A Mineral Deficiency

Finding A Blood Test For Vitamins and Minerals Deficiencies

Treatment for a mineral deficiency depends on how severe the deficiency is. If you have an extreme deficiency, you may require more tests to find out whether or not its affected your overall health.

But in many cases, its possible to treat a mineral deficiency with dietary changes. For example, if you lack iron, you may simply need to add more iron-fortified foods, like meat and eggs, to your diet.

Research the mineral you are deficient in and look for ways to add foods that contain high amounts of that mineral to your diet. Then, get another test done to see how those changes affected the results.

If you are unable to keep up with what your body requires through diet alone, you may need to add supplements to your daily regimen. You can choose a high-quality multivitamin that includes the minerals youre deficient in or choose a standalone supplement that includes exactly what you need.

Just make sure you take the recommended amount, minus what youre already getting through your diet. You can find the recommended values from the Office of Dietary Supplements.


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Best For Ease Of Use: Everlywell Folic Acid Test

  • Time for Results: 57 business days

EverlyWell is a widely known home health testing company that offers clear instructions for its simple sample collection process.

  • Good choice if you suspect folic acid deficiency

  • One of the least expensive home nutrient tests available

  • CLIA-approved lab

  • Only tests for one B vitamin

  • Some reviewers say results are slow

  • High price per biomarker

EverlyWells Folic Acid Test measures your blood levels of folic acid. Inadequate levels may be linked to fatigue, as well as birth defects in infants.

The test costs $49 with free shipping when you order online. Alternatively, you can join the EverlyWell membership program for $25 per month to receive one health test each month. You can also pay with FSA or HSA funds. Note that EverlyWell doesnt offer tests in New York.

After you return your finger-prick blood sample, you should receive results in about seven business days, though reviewers have reported that sometimes results can take longer though test itself has excellent reviews.

What Is Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency occurs when you have a chronic lack of a specific vitamin. If the deficiency is caused by poor nutrition then it is called primary deficiency but if its caused by an underlying condition, its known as a secondary deficiency.

Secondary deficiencies can be caused by things such as malabsorption, chemotherapy, or diseases such as HIV.

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Why Are Minerals And Vitamins Important

Nutrients from foods and supplements help your body maintain a healthy balance. That is why minerals and vitamins are necessary for your overall health. For example, calcium is used for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling, as well as hormonal secretion . Magnesium helps with the production of energy, in addition to oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis .

Most minerals can be found in everyday food, so check the nutrition labels to determine the amount of vitamins or minerals that are present in your favorite foods. Zinc can be found in oysters, red meat and poultry in large amounts. Smaller amounts can be found in beans, nuts, whole grains, as well as other common breakfast foods . Most people know that bananas contain potassium and are usually prescribed for certain deficiencies and conditions that are caused by a lack of this mineral, such as hypokalemia .

You can learn more about the importance of vitamins and minerals in books such as Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, which describes all of the nutrients your body needs, where to find them, how much you need and the results of deficiencies. If you have a deficiency, you can take supplements on a regular basis as prescribed by your doctor. Be sure to keep track of the vitamins and minerals you intake by checking nutrition labels.

How You Can Test For Mineral And Vitamin Deficiencies

Testing Your Vitamin Levels Osborne discusses nutritional deficiencies and laboratory testing to help identify what supplements you should take to maintain health..*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This video is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Additionally, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. Dr. Osborne is not a medical doctor. He does not treat disease. He offers nutritional support to people seeking an alternative from traditional medicine. Dr. Osborne is licensed with the Pastoral Medical Association.

Video taken from the channel: Dr. Osborne

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You can perform a test at home, get a blood test at the doctors, or head to a laboratory for a test. Each of these test have their own pros and cons. Read more to find out which test is right for you.

List of related literature:

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What A Mineral Deficiency Test Will Tell You

Now that you understand the benefits of a mineral deficiency test, you know to understand how to conduct the test. You also need to know what sort of information you can expect to get from the test.

While there are plenty of tests available, the biggest difference is typically the comprehensiveness of the tests measurements. If you only want to measure a few key vitamins and minerals, you can, but you can also opt for a test that measures nearly every important vitamin, macro mineral and micro mineral.

Many of these tests are also available individually. If your symptoms indicate a possible deficiency in one vitamin or mineral, in particular, you may only need to test for that one vitamin or mineral.

That being said, a more in-depth test will provide a lot more information. However, if you are paying for the panel out of your own pocket, you will pay substantially more than doing individual tests. Thats why it is valuable to look at the various types of tests offered and see what works best for you.


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