How to Detect Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

Overview

It’s easy to think you’re nutritionally whole. However, nutritional deficiencies are far more common than you think. Poor vitamin absorption, medications, and health conditions can lead to long-term illnesses. How does one find if they’re nutrient deficient? There are a couple ways to test for deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3’s. 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.

In-Home Test

If you’re interested in getting a specific vitamin level tested, consider an in-home test kit. While you can ask your doctor to test for a specific vitamin, some laboratory tests offer the convenience of a finger-stick test you can administer at home and send back through mail. There are many types of in-home tests. For example, technologies like VitaScan allow you to test and track key vitamins and micronutrients from the comfort of your own home by placing a drop of blood into the VitaScan test strip. Results are sent to your phone in just minutes.

Pros

Vitamins like D and B12 may be tested for deficiency in the safety and privacy of your home. Taking a vitamin level tested at home offers you the convenience of your own space and privacy. The costs of in-home kits range depending on the kind of vitamin or test you choose.

Cons

You can only test for specific vitamins at home. You also won’t be able to have comprehensive blood work completed nor a doctor’s consultation and recommendation. Most in-home kits are expensive and sometimes require you to mail in a sample.

Laboratory Test

Direct access testing laboratories are labs that test for deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3s. How reliable are laboratory test methods? All commercial tests in the United States must ensure rigorous scientific criteria with the Food and Drug Administration before the clinical process. Direct access labs offer a couple of options to test your blood. You can visit a clinician to draw your blood and send it to a laboratory for testing. Another option is to order a testing kit through the mail, take the test at home, and then send your sample to the lab.

Pros

These labs do not require your doctor’s involvement and allow you to choose from testing one nutrient to a complete panel. You’ll be able to speak with a physician about your results and depending on the lab, you may even be able to call in for a consultation and recommendation. You’ll also be able to schedule the test whenever you’d like to follow up on your vitamin level.

Cons

Blood test from laboratories testing for a specific vitamin deficiency won’t be able to diagnose diseases and conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Most tests are costly and require time for processing.

Blood Test

Blood tests help doctors evaluate your entire health. Blood test give doctors a medical snapshot of how your body is performing and how your organs are functioning. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or see signs symptoms of vitamin deficiency. Routine blood tests are on the lookout for problems, so you’ll be sure to be notified about your results by your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse.

Pros

Blood tests help doctors screen for diseases and conditions as well as enable them to make a proper treatment. Your blood work provides a holistic picture of your health that is then analyzed in way that is actionable and scientific. Most insurance plans cover an annual blood test so you won’t have to worry about costs and fees.

Cons

If you don’t have insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for your blood test. You’ll also have to fast before your certain blood tests to give doctors a baseline result of your body.

Conclusion

Vitamins are essential to living a healthy life. If undetected early, depleted levels of nutrients can lead to life threatening conditions. Blood tests can help determine if you are deficient in any vitamins. Do not blindly take supplements: find out which vitamins you lack and which supplements you should be taking. While your doctor may recommend a registered dietitian or supplements, direct access testing laboratories may offer a convenience to your lifestyle and health. Annual blood testing is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent life-threatening disease.

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by Insider Envy Staff

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