Everlywell Vitamin D Test
Everlywell is an online company that offers a variety of at-home test kits and ships within the U.S.
An Everlywell vitamin D test involves a person taking a finger-prick blood sample. Results will show whether a persons vitamin D levels are elevated, adequate, or suboptimal.
A person needs to create an Everlywell account to register their test kits and check their results.
A doctor within the users state reviews and approves the persons test and provides a personalized report with resources and health insights.
A person can also attend a live group webinar to get more information about their results and ask questions.
What Does It Test For
A vitamin D test kit is used to establish how much vitamin D is in your blood. The Harley Medic International at-home test kit will provide you with two separate results: vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 levels. The D2 results show how much vitamin D you are receiving from food, vitamins, and supplements. The D3 results highlight how much vitamin D is being produced by your body from contact with direct sunlight.
The method for determining whether you have a vitamin D deficiency from the results is the same for both D2 and D3. If either of the results is below 20 ng/ml you are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. A result that reads 20 ng/ml or above would be considered, by medical standards, to be a healthy level of vitamin D.
If you get a low result, it would mean that you are either not taking in enough vitamin D in food or supplements, your body is having difficulty absorbing vitamin D, or you are not getting enough direct sunlight.
A healthy level of vitamin D is between 30 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml. If your test results exceed 80 ng/ml, you should aim to cut down on vitamin D if possible. Anything over 100 ng/ml can be extremely detrimental to your health and can permanently damage your organs. An excessive level of vitamin D is likely caused by taking too many supplements, so an easy way to bring your ng/ml level down would be to reduce your intake or cut the supplements out completely.
How Often Should I Test My Vitamin D Levels
If you have a vitamin D deficiency, testing your levels after beginning treatment may help you and your healthcare professional determine if the plan is working or if it should be adjusted.
Otherwise, if your vitamin D levels typically fall within the recommended range, testing them twice a year in the spring and again in the fall can alert you to any changes and help ensure they continue to stay within a healthy range.
There isnt much research available on the benefits of screening for vitamin D deficiency, so its best to speak with your healthcare professional first before trying an at-home test.
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Two New Vitamin D Blood Tests Are Often Highly Inaccurate Researchers Say
- Endocrine Society
- Two new blood tests for vitamin D are inaccurate in at least 40 percent of laboratory specimens analyzed, a new study finds.
Two new blood tests for vitamin D are inaccurate in at least 40 percent of laboratory specimens analyzed, a new study finds.
The results were presented Monday at The Endocrine Societys 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.
Inaccurate results obtained from vitamin D blood tests could lead to misdiagnoses of patients, said Earle Holmes, PhD, professor of pathology and pharmacology at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. These inaccuracies also could confound efforts to identify the optimal levels of vitamin D for good health.
Doctors are increasingly ordering blood tests to measure vitamin D in patients, and these tests are now among the most frequently ordered medical tests, Holmes said.
The increase in orders likely stems from recent scientific reports that a growing percentage of the population has low vitamin D levels and that insufficient vitamin D may raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers as well as osteoporosis. To meet the growing demand, some manufacturers have developed fully automated immunoassays for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a precursor of vitamin D. Although it is the recommended test for evaluating vitamin D insufficiency, there is no universally accepted gold standard technique for measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D, Holmes said.
Vitamin D Test Results
Its surprising how fast I received my vitamin D test results. They allow for up to 10 days for you to receive the results but I received them within 3 days of posting the test. Really good! This is much faster than doing the test directly with NHS when blood test results could take around a week or even longer. So I guess when you do a private blood test at home, the results will be quicker since you are paying for it!
NHS laboratories measure both forms of vitamin D: Vitamin D3 and D2 giving a Total Vitamin D level figure once you receive your results. There is also a breakdown of D3 and D2 separately but the most useful indicator is 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. As BetterYou explain:
The blood spot kits measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which reflects body vitamin D stores. This is generally accepted to be the most useful indicator of vitamin D status.
See the difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 here.
My results were actually not bad this time and they showed that my vitamin D levels were adequate. Following the email from NHS, I also received an email from BetterYou, giving me a code for a complimentary spray bottle of vitamin D and advising me on supplementation.
So the recommendation from BetterYou was as follows:
The recommendation makes total sense. Of course, I need to continue supplementing otherwise my levels will drop.
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Can You Ever Have Too Much Vitamin D
Yes. You can get too much vitamin D if you overdo the supplements. Interestingly, you cannot get too much vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D toxicity is, thankfully, quite rare but can lead to hypercalcemia and together the symptoms can include:
- Ataxia .
Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor. However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly. Also, be cautious about getting large doses of vitamin A along with the D in some fish oils. Vitamin A can also reach toxic levels and can cause serious problems.
How Do I Prepare For A Vitamin Test
Since both vitamin D3 test and B12 test are simple blood tests, though B12 test can be done through a urine sample also, so you dont need much preparation whether you are taking the test in a clinic or hospital or taking a diagnostic test at home. However, you should keep in mind these points: If you are taking the vitamin D3 test at home, you need to prepare a comfortable corner for the phlebotomist to set her/his equipment and take your blood samples. Wear comfortable clothing for the test. For a vitamin B12 blood test, you may require to fast for a few hours before the test. For a vitamin B12 urine test, you may be asked for 24-hour urine samples. You should carry your prescriptions, medical history, and reports to the lab or clinic where your vitamin test is taking place. Check the vitamin D test cost and vitamin B12 test cost before you book the tests.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know
High levels of vitamin D and calcium can lead to the calcification and damage to organs, particularly the kidneys and blood vessels.
If magnesium levels are low, they can cause a low calcium level that is resistant to vitamin D and parathyroid hormone regulation. It may be necessary to supplement both magnesium and calcium to regain normal function.
Instructions And Test Kit Contents
The testing procedure is easy and you get all the instructions with your test so you really cannot get it wrong. You get two single-use lancets in the test kit, just in case one doesnt work or you need to prick your finger again. Ive never had to use the second lancet myself in the past but its a good thing its there, just in case.
Before you start with the finger prick test, familiarise yourself with all the contents in the kit. Spread it out onto the table and carefully read all the instructions. You should know exactly what to do before the test and not read the instructions during the test when you have to act quickly and squeeze the blood out of your finger before it clots.
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Why Is Vitamin D So Important
Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:
- Keeping bones strong: Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
- Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
- Working with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will borrow calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.
What Happens During A Vitamin D Test
A vitamin D test is a blood test. During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
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Benefits Of Home Vitamin D Diagnostic Kits
Benefits of home vitamin D diagnostics kits can include:
- No doctors appointment necessary
- Dont need to book off work / use holiday
- Do it whenever is best for you
- Quick and easy
However, it is important to keep in mind that these sorts of tests are no substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms, as these companies will not be able to diagnose, consult or provide any treatment.
But, if you just want to know for peace of mind or if you should be upping the vitamin D in your life, they can provide very useful.
Do You Need A Vitamin D Test
A vitamin D test can determine whether you have a vitamin D deficiency or excess levels in your body.
You may have excess vitamin D levels if youre taking large doses of vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is more . People who are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency include:
- people with limited sun exposure
- older adults
- people with chronic kidney disease or liver disease
- people with a history of bariatric surgery
- people with conditions affecting the intestines, such as Crohns disease or gastric cancer
Many people with a vitamin D deficiency dont experience any symptoms. However, a healthcare professional can identify the following signs of a vitamin D deficiency:
- low calcium levels
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Write Down Your Personal Details
Before you attempt to prick your finger, fill in your personal details on the collection device . Also, dont forget to write the sample date and time. At the same time, you can also fill in a consent form where you note down the same details, but also add your physical address and email address. This is important as you get your results and recommendations back via email. Make sure you write clearly!
What Is Being Tested
Vitamin D is a family of compounds that is essential for the proper growth and formation of teeth and bones. This test measures the level of vitamin D in the blood.
Two forms of vitamin D can be measured in the blood, 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the major form found in the blood and is the relatively inactive precursor to the active hormone, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Because of its long half-life and higher concentration, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is commonly measured to assess and monitor vitamin D status in individuals.
Vitamin D comes from two sources: endogenous, which is produced in the skin on exposure to sunlight, and exogenous, which is ingested in foods and supplements. The chemical structures of the types of vitamin D are slightly different, and they are named vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 . The D2 form is found in fortified foods and in most vitamin preparations and supplements. Vitamin D3 is the form produced in the body and is also used in some supplements. Vitamin D2 and D3 are equally effective when they are converted by the liver and the kidney into the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Some tests do not distinguish D2 and D3 forms of the vitamin and report only the total result. Newer methods, however, may report levels of both D2 and D3 and then add them together for a total level.
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What Is A Vitamin Deficiency
A varied diet usually includes all vitamins you need. However, in developed countries vitamin deficiency can occur in:
- people with alcohol and drug dependency
- the elderly
- those with a poor diet
- vegans – vitamin D and B12 may be lacking in vegans, who eat no animal products
- people with gut disorders
- people who don’t get enough sunlight.
Who Should Take The Vitamin D Test
Because of the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, taking the test can be worthwhile for almost anyone, especially those in the northern United States with longer winter months and less sun exposure. At these latitudes it can be difficult to get sufficient sunlight to produce enough vitamin D for the whole year.
For some people, the risk is increased. The test is particularly suitable for you if the following things apply:
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When Is It Ordered
25-hydroxyvitamin DWhen calcium is low and/or a person has symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as bone malformation in children and bone weakness, softness, or fracture in adults , 25-hydroxyvitamin D usually is ordered to identify a possible deficiency in vitamin D.
The test may be requested when an individual is known to be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Older adults, people who are institutionalized or homebound and/or have limited sun exposure, those who are obese, who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, and/or who have fat malabsorption are at an increased risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Also included in this group are people with darker skin and breastfed infants.
25-hydroxyvitamin D is often requested before an individual begins drug therapy for osteoporosis.
1,25-dihydroxyvitamin DThis testing may be ordered when kidney disease or abnormalities of the enzyme that converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is suspected. Rarely, this test may be done when calcium is high or a person has a disease that might produce excess amounts of vitamin D, such as sarcoidosis or some forms of lymphoma .
When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium supplementation is necessary, vitamin D levels are sometimes measured to monitor treatment effectiveness.
Treatment For Vitamin D Deficiency
Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves getting more vitamin D — through diet and supplements. Although there is no consensus on vitamin D levels required for optimal health — and it likely differs depending on age and health conditions — a concentration of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter is generally considered inadequate, requiring treatment.
Guidelines from the Institute of Medicine increased the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D to 600 international units for everyone ages 1-70, and raised it to 800 IU for adults older than age 70 to optimize bone health. The safe upper limit was also raised to 4,000 IU. Doctors may prescribe more than 4,000 IU to correct a vitamin D deficiency.
If you don’t spend much time in the sun or always are careful to cover your skin , you should speak to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly if you have risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.
What Are The Symptoms
Vitamin D deficiency is a common health problem. Not enough Vitamin D in your diet or not getting enough exposure to sunlight can result in you suffering from various symptoms including:
- Weakened bones
- Aches and pains in your bones and joints
- Weakened immune system, making you more likely to suffer from colds and flu.
There is also evidence that a lack of Vitamin D plays a role in the onset of Type 1 Diabetes, especially in children and young adults.
More worryingly, a study by the IMC Heart Institute in Utah, USA found that a Vitamin D deficiency can predict the risk of major cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and even death in an individual.
The need to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body is very important and with it being difficult to get enough from your food and from the sun, supplementing your diet with Vitamin D may be important. Care must be taken however, as excessive levels of Vitamin D can also cause you problems.
The only way to know if you have enough Vitamin D, or if you should take Vitamin D supplements or if you are taking too much, is to get a simple blood test.