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How to use at home blood tests for vitamin deficiency

blood test

Feeling slightly under the weather and want to find out why? A vitamin deficiency test may highlight that your body is low on certain vitamins and minerals.

Thankfully, at home blood tests mean you can find out this information without having to go to the doctors in person.

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What are home blood test kits?

Generally speaking, at home blood tests are small kits that you can purchase to test for a range of different biomarkers. One of the most popular types are vitamin deficiency tests, so you can find out if your body is lacking in key vitamins or minerals, which could have a knock-on effect on your overall health.

Also, at home tests are administered by yourself, so you can complete the test in a comfortable, familiar environment.

What vitamin deficiency tests are out there?

The most common tests available are for vitamin B12, Folate and vitamin D.

General test for vitamin deficiency

If you don’t suspect you have a specific vitamin deficiency, then a general test for vitamin levels may be the way forward. These kits state which vitamins they’ll be testing for, one of the most popular combinations is folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D as all three are essential for your wellbeing.

 

Vitamin B12 blood test kits

A lot of people test their B12 levels as this deficiency can leave you feeling extremely tired, breathless and faint – just to name a few symptoms.1

Do you follow a plant-based diet? If so, it may be worth doing an at home test for your B12 levels as it is usually only found in animal foods, meaning it’s common for vegans and vegetarians to have this deficiency – especially if you don’t take a specific B12 supplement.2

 

Symptoms of vitamin deficiency

Depending on the type of vitamin deficiency, your symptoms may vary. For example, one of the main signs of a vitamin D deficiency in adults is osteoporosis.3

As we mentioned earlier, another common deficiency is a vitamin B12 deficiency or folate deficiency anemia, which can present itself in a variety of ways.

As well as the symptoms we touched on before, the NHS also lists the following key signs to look out for:

  • A slight yellow tinge to your skin
  • A sore and red tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pins and needles
  • Changes in the way that you walk and move around
  • Disturbed vision
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Changes in the way you think, feel and behave
  • A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement1

How to use at home blood tests

So you’ve got your at home blood test at the ready, but how do you use it? Thankfully, using these kits are pretty straightforward, just be sure to follow the instructions exactly as stated in the information leaflet.

Usually, at home blood kits use the finger prick method for extracting the blood, but some offer the option of the venous method where you can organise a for a medical professional to do the test for you.

1

Prep

Make sure the finger you’ll be taking blood from is clean and dry.

2

Prick

Using the tools in the kit, prick your finger and drip it into the sample tube.

3

Collect

Once you’ve filled the tube up to the line, secure the lid as per the instructions.

4

Post

Ensure you’ve packaged everything correctly, then pop it in the post for it to be processed.

The final say

At home blood tests are a quick and easy way to find out whether there are any key vitamins or minerals your body is missing out on.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. 

Last updated: 5 January 2023

Sources

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia/symptoms/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188422/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/
 
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