As clichéd as it might sound, nutrients are essential for good health. Over the past few decades, clinical studies have proven time and time again that there is a correlation between nutrition and health. They go hand in hand.
When your body receives an adequate amount of essential vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients, you optimize your health and wellbeing, and the overall quality of your life.
On the flip side, a diet that isn’t well balanced. Most western diets are typically deficient in many vital nutrients, which can increase the risk of diseases and bring on various health concerns.
So how do you discover if you have a nutritional deficiency?
The answer lies in a simple blood test.
Blood tests can assess your nutritional status, calculate the levels of vital nutrients in your body. Inturn detecting where the deficiencies exist and provide with you information about which nutrients you needs.
At Personalabs, we are a privately held health care company who are committed to providing Americans with quick, simple, and affordable access to blood and lab tests. As well as medical consultations, if needed. And you don’t need to visit your doctor or secure insurance approval first either. It’s that easy!
Here, we’re taking a deep dive into the most common nutrient deficiencies and their symptoms. To increase your awareness so that problems, if any, can be identified in time and treated before any irreparable damage.
Iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that affect over 25% of the world’s population. It is a mineral that is responsible for producing red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body.
Two types of dietary irons are:
- Heme iron – which is found in animal-based food, particularly in red meat.
- Non-heme iron – which is more common in plant-based food
Blood loss causes iron deficiency, so naturally, women are more prone to it. While approximately 30% of women suffer from low iron levels because of their menstrual cycles, as high as 42% of pregnant women, face the same problem.
Plus, those individuals on a vegan or vegetarian diet are also more at risk as iron derived from plant-based sources, non-heme iron, is characteristically more difficult for the body to absorb.
So if you experience any of the following symptoms, you might want to consider having a Comprehensive Iron Profile Blood Test done to determine if you have a deficiency.
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Heart palpitations
- Headaches and dizziness
You mustn’t consume iron supplements unless you need them because high levels of iron can be very dangerous. Depending on your blood test results, your doctor will advise you on the best course of action.
Vitamin D Deficiency
In the U.S, it is estimated that approximately 42% of the population has a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is also referred to as a fat-soluble vitamin that is transported through your bloodstream into your cells and is essential for bone and muscle health. In addition to helping your body utilize more calcium, it also enhances your immunity as well.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, cholesterol present in the skin is responsible for manufacturing vitamin D. But it’s not the only source. Food such as eggs, oily fish, dairy, and organ meats like liver, are also rich in this essential vitamin, which is critical to skin, bone, and mental health.
On the flip side, according to a 2014 study conducted by a team of scientists from Harvard, Oxford, and other educational institutions, lower levels of vitamin D can point to cancer, heart ailments, and other major diseases. So a deficiency of this vitamin shouldn’t be taken lightly.
While about 74% of older adults have lower levels of vitamin D, as high as 82% of people with darker skin, have the same problem as well because their skin doesn’t produce as much of the vitamin when exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D symptoms are more subtle and hence, more difficult to detect. They can occur over years or even decades, so it is essential you consider having the Vitamin D, 25-hydroxy Blood Test done in case you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Low immunity
- Muscle weakness
- Bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis later on
Every cell in your body requires calcium. Which is why the levels are tightly controlled by the body. Excess calcium is stored in the bones, so when your body doesn’t get enough of this essential mineral, it takes the shortfall from the bones to ensure a normal, healthy function.
While calcium is essential for teeth and bone health, the heart, muscles, and nerves won’t be able to function properly without it either. Reason being that it serves as a signaling mechanism and is responsible for releasing hormones.
According to PubMed Central, a database from the National Institutes of Health, over 90% women, 85% teenage girls, and 78% men and teenage boys do not get their recommended daily calcium intake.
Even with supplements, most individuals do not get sufficient calcium. So if you have any of the following symptoms, get a Calcium Blood Test done to check if you have a deficiency so that you can seek appropriate treatment.
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Memory loss and hallucinations
- Osteoporosis (older adults)
- Soft and fragile bones – rickets (children)
- Numbness in hands, feet, and face
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. Also known as cobalamin, it is vital for the formation of blood and for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system so that they can function to their optimum best.
Again, every cell in our body needs B12, but some of us don’t get enough. It is estimated that anywhere between 80% and 90% of vegans and vegetarians may have lower levels of B12 because it is primarily found in animal-based food.
Plus, over 20% of older adults may also have this deficiency because as we get older, our bodies absorb less of this essential vitamin.
For people who have the below symptoms, it is highly recommended you get a Vitamin B12 Blood Test done to identify any potential deficiency, which can then be easily treated.
- Weakness and disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Constipation, loss of appetite, diarrhea or flatulence
- Muscle weakness
- Vision and/or memory loss
- Nerve problems that result in a tingling sensation
Iodine is a chemical element, typically found in seafood. It is essential for normal thyroid function and is utilized by the thyroid gland to produce hormones that are required for cell growth and repair.
In addition to fostering brain development and bone health, it also helps control our metabolic rate, thereby helping us maintain a healthy metabolism as well.
When iodine is deficient in our bodies, it can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), increase in the risk of thyroid cancer, cause autoimmune thyroid disease and can also lead to infertility in women.
It is a common health concern and affects up to 30% of the world’s population. So if you experience these symptoms, an Iodine Blood Test will determine if your levels are low so that you can seek medical advice.
- Hair loss
- Dry, flaky skin
- Swelling of the neck
- Memory loss
- Weakness and fatigues
- Massive weight gain
Vitamin A Deficiency
Also called retinol, Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin required for cell growth and development, reproduction, vision and to maintain a healthy immune system.
Found in meat, eggs, fish, dairy products and natural foods that are yellow, orange, red and green like carrots and citrus fruit, this essential nutrient is vital for healthy skeletal tissue, vision, skin, and teeth.
While about 75% of people who follow a western diet get sufficient levels of vitamin A, this deficiency is the primary cause of blindness in the world. So creating awareness about it is important.
One has to be cautious about taking vitamin A supplements though because too much of it is toxic, which is why before you consider taking any supplements, take a Vitamin A Blood Test to find out if your body is deficient in this nutrient before you decide to act on it.
The common symptoms are:
- Dry eyes
- Dry, itchy, flaky skin
- Night blindness
- Stunted growth in children
- Wounds not healing fast
- Regular chest and throat infections
- Frequent acne breakouts
- Trouble conceiving and infertility
Hypomagnesemia or a magnesium deficiency is often a neglected health concern. Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the heart, muscles, teeth, bones, and nerves.
A deficiency of magnesium can lead to many health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome.
According to the PubMed Central database of The National Institutes of Health, as many as 75% of Americans aren’t getting their recommended magnesium intake.
If you’re experiencing the below symptoms, you should consider having a Magnesium Blood Test done. These symptoms include:
- Muscles weakness, fatigues, cramps, and twitches
- Mental disorders
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
- Heart palpitations
At Personalabs, we have over 2,300 partner patient service centers spread all across the U.S. and over 400 lab tests to choose from.
If you are unsure about which blood test to take or if you require medical advice after the fact, you can consult with any of our highly experienced physicians through our efficient telemedicine service.
So, get in touch with us and fast track your way to good health.