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Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that are needed in small doses; however, if there is not enough in your system naturally, you can develop a deficiency. Vitamins and minerals have a large effect on nearly all of the processes of your body and are an essential factor in your health, therefore testing vitamin levels are important.
What is Vitamin Deficiency?
Introduction to Blood Tests for Vitamin Deficiency
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies typically stem from not providing your body with a balanced diet. A balanced diet will usually provide your body with enough vitamins and minerals that you need to lead a healthy life; however, deficiencies can happen for a number of reasons. Some common causes of vitamin and mineral deficiency are a diet that lacks intake of fruits or vegetables, overconsumption of alcohol, poor absorption of nutrients from diseases such as Chron’s or celiac, a poorly executed vegan or vegetarian diet, medications, and during pregnancy. Regularly testing for vitamin and mineral levels in your body is important for your overall health, especially if you are more at risk due to a health condition or lifestyle/diet transition.
Most tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies are administered through blood tests – a venous blood test taken by a healthcare professional, or a finger-prick at-home blood test will typically offer fast and accurate results.
Some common deficiencies that blood tests will look for include B-12, folate (B9), and vitamin C deficiencies. When getting tested for vitamin deficiency anemias, doctors are looking at the number and appearance of red blood cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with anemia are said to have fewer red blood cells than they should. In B-12 and folate deficiencies, red blood cells appear larger and underdeveloped, and in advanced deficiencies, the white blood cell and platelet count may also appear abnormal under a microscope and numbers may be decreased. Additional testing for B-12 deficiency is done through antibody tests or methylmalonic acid tests.
Other vitamin and mineral tests that can be administered look for deficiencies in vitamin D and magnesium. When labs test Vitamin D levels, they look at 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which offers insight into the vitamin D count in your blood, and 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D, which also tests for vitamin D count in your blood but can also be useful for indicating a possible infection and autoimmune disease. Testing for magnesium levels requires a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test, and this test only determines if your magnesium levels are significantly deficient.
California Recovery Center Labs provides blood tests for vitamin deficiency, and we also offer at-home testing kits for people who are interested in administering their own finger-prick tests. Our at-home tests for vitamin and mineral deficiency are convenient for those who are most comfortable testing from the comfort of their own home, and the instructions are simple and easy to follow. Our expert medical staff will evaluate your results in a timely manner, and the same goes for those who prefer to visit our facilities in person.
What Are the Signs You Need a Test?
Signs You Need to Get a Blood Test for
Vitamins and Mineral Deficiencies
There are plenty of symptoms and signs that you may be vitamin or mineral deficient, but it is also important to test for these deficiencies regularly. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are typically a result of lacking specific nutrients in your diet, and therefore this can change rather frequently depending on your lifestyle.
There are different signs and symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency depending on what you are deficient in. Below are a few common deficiencies and their symptoms.
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
A major cause of iron deficiency is blood loss, and therefore women who experience heavy periods or are pregnant may be at risk for iron deficiency. Additionally, people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets are also at risk for iron deficiencies because plant-based items are more difficult for our bodies to absorb.
Folate (Vitamin B9) Deficiency
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shortness of Breath
- Heart Palpitations
Folate is a B vitamin that is required in the body’s creation of red blood cells. Since folate is not stored in your body, you can become deficient in folates in a matter of a few weeks.
Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
- Extreme fatigue
- Mouth Ulcers
- Pins and needles sensations
- Swollen or sore tongue
- Blurred vision
- Depressed feelings
- Difficulty remembering certain things
The most common cause of B-12 deficiency is the lack of an intrinsic factor, which is a stomach protein. This is typically caused by medications, such as PPIs, or this can occur in vegans or vegetarians because B-12 is not found in plant-based foods. Additionally, if you are over the age of 50, your body may also produce less B-12 and therefore you’ll need to custom supplements.
Vitamin D Deficiency
- Frequent sickness
- Weak bones
- Muscle pain
- Anxious and depressed feelings
Vitamin D is most commonly found in the sunlight, and it can also be found in foods such as eggs, fish, dairy, and liver. Lack of sun exposure is typically what causes vitamin D deficiency.
Other signs and symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency are brittle hair and nails, mouth ulcers, cracks in the corner of your mouth, bleeding or extra sensitive gums, poor vision or white growths on the eyes, scaly patches and dandruff, hair loss, red or white bumps on the skin and restless leg syndrome.
Despite some of the signs and symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency, blood tests should be administered regularly by your doctors. California Recovery Center Labs offers blood tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies on a regular basis for all of our patients. At-home blood tests are also a provided option for those who would like to test from their homes as opposed to our labs in Northern California. Visit us at CRC Labs for quick and accurate results.
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What to Do After You Get the Results From Your
Vitamin Deficiency Test
Most people can receive the nutrients they need from food and diet alone and incorporating more of certain foods in your diet can be a great solution for someone with vitamin or mineral deficiencies. However, if you are lacking a significant amount of vitamin or mineral, supplements are available and will be recommended by your medical practitioner.
Once you receive results for your in-person or at-home blood test for vitamin or mineral deficiency, you will receive recommendations on whether you should or should not incorporate supplements into your daily routine. Additionally, if your tests come back and you do not have a deficiency, you should not take a supplement just for the sake of taking it. There are ways to receive vitamins and minerals naturally through diet alone, and that is always the recommended way of receiving nutrients.
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Our At-Home Test for Vitamin Deficiency
California Recovery Center Labs is able to evaluate your vitamin and mineral levels with either an in-person or an at-home blood test for vitamin or mineral deficiency. Our at-home test is simple to use and requires you to administer your own finger-prick test. Testing at home promotes social distancing, saves time in travel, and provides quick and accurate results. There is no downside, however, we are always available to administer blood tests intravenously at our blood testing lab in California.
If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the signs or symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency, it is important that you get tested regularly. Getting tested will offer you further insight into the level of exposure you have experienced and how you can treat the deficiency and correct your diet. CRC Labs in Northern California is here to offer at-home testing, in-house testing, and even drive-thru testing.
Signing up for California Recovery Center laboratory services in Northern California is easy. Patients can schedule their testing services through our website by booking an online appointment, or patients can reach us to book an appointment or inquire about at-home testing at (916) 566-5856. We look forward to hearing from you.
419 Oak Street, Roseville, California 95678