While nearly all infectious diseases, once common among Americans have been eliminated thanks to medical advances, U.S. rates in non-communicable diseases have risen sharply in the last three decades. In fact, now more than half of all American adults suffer from at least one or more preventable, chronic, medical conditions, compromising quality of life and shortening lifespan. Approximately 117 million adults currently live with cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Many of theses diseases can be directly linked or associated with unhealthy diet and lack of proper nutrition.
Need For Nutritional Deficiency Testing
Globally, billions of adults and children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies that cause serious birth defects, learning disabilities, immune system disorders, blindness, developmental difficulties and even premature death.
- Approximately 38% percent of pregnant women, and 43% of children, aged 5 are anemic and suffering from iron deficiency, worldwide.
- Around the world, 2 billion individuals do not get sufficient iodine in their diet, and 18 million babies are born mentally impaired because their mothers were iodine deficient during pregnancy.
- Approximately 1 in 3 children of pre-school age are deficient in vitamin A, across the globe.
- In some regions of the world, up to 30% of the population is zinc deficient due to an inadequate diet.
- Between 50% and 70% of neural tube defects can be prevented with 400 mcg of folic acid during pregnancy.
- Over 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese as determined by a Body Mass Index of 25 or greater. Nearly 1 in 5 children, ages 6-19 suffer with obesity as well. Obesity puts adults and children at risk for a number of serious, even life-threatening medical conditions.
Nutrient Deficiencies—Symptoms and Conditions Found With Nutritional Deficiency Testing
Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals that cannot be manufactured by the body, and must be obtained from diet alone. Though they are only needed in small amounts, micronutrients are critical to human health and development, the prevention of disease, and for overall energy and well being.
Micronutrient deficiencies including iron, iodine, vitamin A, folate and zinc are common worldwide, affecting over 2 billion people. This is especially true for children under the age of 5.
Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a number of common symptoms and conditions including:
- Poor concentration
- Compromised immune systems
- Alopecia (loss of hair)
- Loss of Libido
- Decreased sexual performance
- High blood pressure
- Chronic IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Migraine headaches
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Type II diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
Lack of proper nutrition has also been associated with:
- Certain cancers
- Liver disorders/poor liver function
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Geographic tongue
- Tissue inflammation
- Swelling of extremities
- Skin sores
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Achy joints/arthritis
How do I know if I am nutrient deficient?—Should I get nutritional deficiency testing?
Through a thorough physical examination, health practitioners may suspect nutrient deficiencies if any of the following are present.
- Red, blotchy skin, severe acne
- Swelling of extremities including hands and ankles
- Dry skin
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Inability to become pregnant
- Brittle hair/nails
- Changes in body temperature (feeling cold when hot outside and hot when cold outside)
- Insomnia/inability to stay asleep
- Unexplained body odors
- Unexplained taste in mouth
- Chronic ringing in ears
- Severe acne
Nutrition Test For Deficiencies
While physicians and other healthcare providers may suspect diet-related disease processes in individuals, nutritional deficiency testing provides the only definitive answers for proper diagnosis.
The non-fasting, micronutrient blood test examines the body’s ability to absorb 32 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential nutrients into white blood cells. Individual nutritional deficiency testing can also isolate specific nutrient deficits that may need support from diet or natural supplements.
Essential Nutrients For Life— Identifying Possible Deficiencies With A Nutrient Test
Most Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients necessary for optimal health and wellness. Lack of proper nutrition is responsible for a number of diseases, birth defects, and medical conditions. Fortunately, simple blood tests can help identify many nutrient deficiencies. A fast, easy nutrition test will determine if it’s time to consult a medical professional or nutrition and wellness expert about your diet, and possible supplementation for missing nutrients.
What Your Body Needs For Optimal Function
Fat-Soluble Vitamins—Nutrients stored deep within fat accumulate over time and are available for regular use by the body. The most common fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. Because of low fat intake, certain medications or medical conditions, the body may not be able to effectively absorb these nutrients. It is also possible to have too much A and D, resulting in toxic levels.
Vitamin A—This is necessary for healthy vision and skin, as well as immune system function. In excess, vitamin A could cause changes in vision, and liver damage. The optimal range of Vitamin A is 30-95 mcg/dL.
Vitamin D—This vitamin is necessary to help the body effectively absorb calcium for strong bone health, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Too much vitamin D can cause toxicity leading to nausea and vomiting. Levels below 20 ng/mL signal deficiency.
Vitamin A and vitamin D both work to strengthen immune health.
Water-Soluble Vitamins—Each of these nutrients is flushed through the body continuously through urination and must be replenished daily. It is also easy to become deficient in water-soluble.
B vitamins are necessary to help form red blood cells, create energy, provide nervous system support, and for cell metabolism. Some also aid in the synthesis of fatty acids, and amino acids.
Vitamin B1— This is also known as thiamine and works by aiding in the release of energy from carbohydrates. It also plays a part in RNA and DNA production as well as the function of nerves in the body.
Vitamin B6—Referred to as pyridoxine, B6 is a coenzyme and is responsible for several enzymatic reactions in metabolism. Vitamin B6 levels should remain between 5-24 mcg/mL.
Folate—This B vitamin is needed for cell division and growth for infants in-uetro. It is needed for DNA production and repair and especially important for women in the early stages of pregnancy. Folate is directly associated with spina bifida, a serious birth defect. It has also been linked to the medical condition known as anencephaly. The chances of spina bifida in babies can be reduced by 95%, through supplementation with folic acid. Folate has also been associated with the prevention of colon and breast cancer. Optimal levels of folate should be between 5.4-40 mg/mL.
Vitamin B12—This coenzyme aids in the metabolic process of every human cell, affecting the synthesis and regulation of DNA, as well as the metabolism of fatty acid and amino acid. B12 cannot be provided through plant-based food. Ideal Vitamin B12 ranges should be between 200-800 pg/mL.
Macro Minerals—Macro minerals are necessary in large quantities. The body needs three main minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The standard American diet is lacking in macro minerals.
Calcium—This macro mineral helps create strong bones and teeth. Healthy calcium levels range from 5-10.3 mg/dL.
Magnesium—This is necessary to help regulate many chemical reactions within the body. These include cell signaling, and the production of energy. Magnesium levels are optimal from 5-2.4 mEq/L.
Potassium—Potassium regulates the balance of fluid within cells. It helps with blood pressure maintenance as well. Healthy potassium levels range from 3.6-5.2 mmol/L.
Micro (Trace) Minerals—Micro minerals are necessary to maintain proper health, and are required in small amounts. Deficiency in micro minerals is common in iron and zinc.
Iron—This helps build healthy blood and is necessary for a normal energy levels. An overabundance of iron can contribute to heart disease, however. Iron levels from 25-170 mcg/dL are considered normal.
Zinc—Zinc helps the body maintain a strong immune system. Too much zinc may lead to immune system dysfunction, however. Zinc levels between 60-130 mcg/dL are optimal.
Omega-3s—Omega 3s are comprised of fatty acids, necessary for metabolism. They are also essential for cardiovascular health, cognition and mental health. The average American diet leaves most people deficient in omega 3s. Blood levels of omega 3s should constitute 8 percent (or greater) of total fatty acids.
What type of nutrition test should I take?
That depends. A full panel nutrition test may be needed if several symptoms point to nutrient deficiencies. This blood test is extensive and can help detect and diagnose diet-related medical conditions or diseases based on values for vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, amino acid, and omega 3 levels.
Individual nutrient testing, such as the omega-3 index test can be done if specific deficiencies are suspected. Many tests are available through direct access testing laboratories that do not require a physician’s order or pre-authorization. Some nutrient tests may even be taken at home via “finger stick” methods.
Customized Nutrition Support—The Answer to Nutrient Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiency testing is the first step to healing nutrient-related diseases and conditions in the body. Once you know which vitamins, minerals, and fats you lack, you can begin to build your body and replenish precious nutrients with specific foods and nutritional supplements. Everything you need to regain the health you once had, and the vitality and energy you deserve is provided through targeted nutritional supplementation, as well as proper diet and exercise.
Find out what you’ve been missing and what’s been holding you back from living your best life now. Make an appointment with a physician or health and wellness provider, or order a nutrition test today.