Vitamin & Nutrient Deficiency Testing

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Do You Have Nutrient Deficiencies?

90% of the time the answer is YES, you do have vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
Scientists estimate that between 90 and 92% of the US population has a nutritional deficiency.
Even more astonishing is the fact that over 200 medical conditions are caused by nutritional deficiencies.
Optimal vitamins and minerals are required by the body to under thousands upon thousands of cellular functions.
This can include properly eliminating toxins, promoting the health needs of your digestive system, cardiovascular system, metabolism and total body strength.
Signs can be both external and internal and can be caused by the over consumption of one vitamin or mineral which can leave your body out of balance and deficient in another mineral.

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4 Primary Causes of Nutritional Deficiencies

There a dozens of reasons why someone can have vitamin and or nutritional deficiencies.

However, we can narrow the vast majority of those reasons down to four:

1. The Standard American Diet

Let's face it, The Standard American Diet is not a diet that humans were designed to thrive on.

No, humans thrived on a diet that was selected hundreds of thousands of years ago.

It consisted of plants, tubers, meat, poultry, fish and occasionally fruit.

It did not consist of fast food, packaged food, industrial seed oils and artificial ingredients.

2. Lifestyle & Environment

4% of the entire worlds population lives in the United States, yet we consume over 50% of the worlds medications.

Sadly, this is our current way of life and lifestyle.

While these medications certainly play a role in fighting disease, they tax our bodies and begin to actually contribute to the development of disease.

For example, antacids such as Pepcid, Tagamet, Prevacid and Prilosec all contribute to Vitamin B12, Folate, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Zinc deficiencies.

Birth control blocks all B vitamins.

Antihistamines for allergies and sinuses can impact your brain chemistry and alter the production of powerful neurotransmitters essential for overall well being.

3. Gut Health & Food Sensitivities

If you have followed me for some time then you should understand the role that our gut plays in overall health.

I know you've heard the saying, “You Are What You Eat.” – but it's more like “You Are What You Absorb.” and the gut plays a major role in nutrient absorption.

This means you can be eating all the right foods but not absorbing those nutrients. So in order to optimize your health, the gut needs to be properly evaluated.

When the gut is not healthy, then your immune system is on red alert and this results in food allergies and sensitivities; which further causes nutrient absorption issues.

4. Genetics & Individuality

Finally, your nutritional needs and susceptibilities ultimately come down to your genetics, lifestyle and environment.

What you need at the age of 10 is going to be completely different in your 20's, 50's and beyond.

This is why we recommend customized testing based on YOUR needs, not someone else.

In Functional Medicine We don't guess… We TEST!

How to Check Vitamin Levels In Blood Tests

The first thing to understand with testing vitamin and nutrient status is that just because your blood work does not show that you have a nutrient deficiency, does not mean you are getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals you need.

There is a big difference between deficiency, insufficiency, optimal and toxic levels of nutrients in the body.

So someone could not be officially deficient in any particular nutrient, but still insufficient, meaning they may be getting enough to survive, but not enough to thrive or experience optimal health.

On the other hand, more isn’t always better.

It’s possible — although rare — to get too much of a nutrient, especially the fat-soluble vitamins.

So how can you find out the optimal levels of various nutrients — and how you stack up?

The good news is that there are blood tests you can have done.

It's also important to know that measuring vitamins and nutrients in your blood is not black and white.

When we test our blood, we are measuring the serum levels of vitamins. This is how much of the vitamin is circulating in your blood, not necessarily how much is inside of your cells.

For example, you could have normal levels of magnesium in the blood (Magnesium Serum), but low levels in the red blood cells (Magnesium RBC).

In addition, blood testing is only good for a select few vitamins and minerals.

Here's a short list of what you can have measured from blood:

  • Vitamin A — Measures the amount of vitamin A, an important factor in eye health
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) — The Vitamin B1 blood test measures the levels of Thiamine in the blood.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) — The Vitamin B2 blood test measures the levels of Riboflavin in the blood.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) — The Vitamin B3 blood test measures the levels of Niacin in the blood.
  • Vitamin B6 — The Vitamin B6 blood test measures the levels of Pyrodoxine in the blood.
  • Vitamin B12 & Folate — Measures the amount of B12 and folate (folic acid) to screen for nutrition or absorption issues and certain types of anemia
  • Vitamin C — The Vitamin C blood test measures the levels of Vitamin C in the blood.
  • Vitamin D, 25 Hydroxy — Measures the amount of vitamin D, an important factor in bone strength
  • Vitamin E — Measures the amount of vitamin E, an important factor in overall health
  • Vitamin K1 — This Vitamin K blood test measures the level of Vitamin K in the blood.
  • Beta Carotene — Measures the amount of beta carotene, a factor in vitamin A levels
  • Ferritin — Measures level of ferritin to assess iron deficiency or iron overload.
  • Iron & Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) — Measures the amount of iron available to bind to proteins, providing additional information about possible iron deficiency or iron overload
  • Calcium — Measures the amount of calcium in the blood.
  • Magnesium (serum and RBC) — Measures the amount of magnesium in the blood (serum) and the amount that's inside the cells (RBC).
  • Phosophorus — Measures the amount of phosphorous in the blood.
  • Zinc — The Zinc blood test measures the level of zinc in your body.
  • Copper — Measures the amount of copper in your blood.
  • Selenium — Measures the amount of selenium in your blood.

Micronutrient Blood Testing

In Addition to the conventional labs that test for vitamin and nutrient status, there are specialty labs such as Genova Diagnostics, that have kits specifically for nutrient testing.

My favorite test is the ION Profile.

The ION profile is a nutritional analysis that measures over 125 key nutrient biomarkers and ratios that can help identify nutritional deficiencies at the root cause of complex chronic health conditions.

The ION profile tests for various organic acids, fat soluble vitamins, oxidative stress markers, toxic elements, minerals and amino acids.

The complete ION Profile includes:

  • 20 Amino Acids
  • Nutrient and Toxic Elements
  • CoEnzyme Q10 plus Vitamins
  • DNA/Oxidative Stress Markers
  • Vitamin D
  • Fatty Acids
  • Organic Acids

Micronutrient Urine Testing

Using the first void or urine sample of the morning, the NutrEval FMV is a test that is designed to assist with the management of symptoms related to nutritional deficiencies.

This profile assesses numerous metabolic pathways and synthesizes this complex biochemistry into actionable treatment options.

Critical nutrients that are functionally assessed on Genova's nutritional profile includes:

The Complete Test includes:

    • Metabolic Analysis Markers (urine organic acids)
      • Malabsorption and Dysbiosis Markers
        • Malabsorption Markers
        • Bacterial Dysbiosis Markers
        • Yeast/Fungal Dysbiosis Markers
      • Cellular Energy & Mitochondrial Metabolites
        • Carbohydrate Metabolism
        • Energy Metabolism
        • Fatty Acid Metabolism
      • Neurotransmitter Metabolites
      • Vitamin Markers
      • Toxin & Detoxification Markers
      • Tyrosine Metabolism
    • Urine Amino Acid Analysis
      • Nutritionally Essential Amino Acids
      • Nonessential Protein Amino Acids
      • Intermediary Metabolites
      • Dietary Peptide Related Markers
    • Essential and Metabolic Fatty Acids
      • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
      • Omega 6 Fatty Acids
      • Omega 9 Fatty Acids
      • Saturated Fatty Acids
      • Monounsaturated Fats
        • Omega 7 Fats
        • Trans Fat
      • Delta-6 Desaturase Activity
      • Cardiovascular Risk – featuring key ratios: Omega 6/Omega 3, AA/EPA, and the Omega 3 Index
    • Oxidative Stress Markers
      • Glutathione (whole blood)
      • Lipid Peroxides (urine)
      • 8-OHdG (urine)
      • Coenzyme Q10 (plasma)
  • Elemental Markers
    • Nutrient Elements
      • Copper
      • Magnesium
      • Manganese
      • Potassium
      • Selenium
      • Zinc
    • Toxic Elements
      • Lead
      • Mercury
      • Antimony
      • Arsenic
      • Cadmium
      • Tin

Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency Testing Costs

When it comes to vitamin and nutrient testing, I personally wouldn't put a price tag on the value of knowing your status.

That said, I totally understand the need to be conscious of vitamin deficiency test cost.

There are 3 Options that I like to discuss when we are concerned with money.

Option 1 – The Most Comprehensive and Expensive Approach

If you really want to know what your nutrient status is, I would undergo a

Comprehensive blood chemistry panel ($425 out of pocket with no insurance or 80-90% covered with insurance)

NutrEval FMV ($379-$599) or ION Profile ($429-$529)

Personal Nutrient Tracking ($0, just your time)

Option 2 – Quick and Expensive

Comprehensive blood chemistry panel ($289 out of pocket with no insurance or 80-90% covered with insurance)

ION Profile ($429-$529)

Option 3 – Takes Time & Least Expensive

This is the right option if you want to be conservative about lab testing for any reason, including financial costs.

With this option you skip the lab tests and begin with personal dietary analysis and self health tracking measurements.

Taking that data into account, along with the signs and symptoms of nutritional imbalances, you can then begin to understand what vitamin and nutritional deficiencies you have.

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