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Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
Benefits of Blood Testing for Nutritional Deficiencies
You try to eat healthy. You may even be taking nutritional supplements. But how do you know you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals? This is where blood testing for nutritional deficiencies can help.
Sometimes physicians run diagnostic tests based on symptoms, but can’t diagnose the illness. Blood testing for nutritional deficiencies is sometimes overlooked by physicians, and may be a helpful diagnostic tool.
Symptoms of nutritional deficiencies can include:
- Hair loss
- Bone pain
- Slow healing wounds
- Burning sensation in the tongue or feet
- Poor vision at night
By contrast, if you’re taking nutritional supplements, a nutrient blood test can tell you if you’re getting too much of a certain nutrient.
For example, symptoms of zinc toxicity include vomiting, nausea and fatigue. Vitamin D toxicity can lead to hypercalcemia, nausea, vomiting, and frequent urination.
The most common vitamin and mineral shortfalls in the United States:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
So you can see, there are multiple reasons for blood testing for nutritional deficiencies.
What is Blood Testing for Nutritional Deficiencies?
The levels of macronutrients and micronutrients in your blood can be assessed with nutrition testing.
Macronutrients include the following:
Micronutrients include the following:
The results of the blood tests will tell you if any nutrients are inside the normal reference range or not. Make sure you go to a healthcare professional who is trained in nutrition and can interpret the results.
The nutrition blood test results will help your physician assess any problems you may be having.
Types of Nutritional Blood Tests
Depending on where you have your test done, blood testing for nutritional deficiencies varies in terms of what exactly is being tested.
A nutritional blood test panel may assess vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Commonly tested nutrients include:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D 25-hydroxy
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- RBC magnesium
Other types of nutritional tests may include a wider array of vitamins and minerals, as well as testing for anemia.
Minerals that are commonly tested:
An iron deficiency may cause anemia in which there are insufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen to the organs and tissue. Screening for anemia can also be done with a complete blood count (CBC).
Typically, a 12 hour fast will be required before most blood tests for nutritional deficiencies.
Assessing the Big Picture
Sometimes life gets in the way of eating a healthy diet, causing poor dietary habits that become long term.
The longer you eat poorly or inconsistently the more at risk you become for nutritional deficiencies.
If you’re already taking nutritional supplements, a nutritional test can inform you of any possible toxicities.
Where to go for lab tests? You have a number of options for places to go, including Life Extension and Personalabs.
Your physician may be able to give you a referral for a nutritional test.
Whatever your situation, a nutrition test can help you and your health care professional design a proper dietary and supplement plan.
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