Ensuring proper levels of vitamins and minerals in your body is integral to optimizing your health. To get the best read on your vitamin levels, your vitamin levels can be measured via blood tests.
Vitamin tests can reveal either vitamin deficiencies or vitamin abundances in your blood. It’s important to know which vitamins you should be testing for to get an idea of what’s going on in your body. Vitamin deficiencies are the root cause of many medical concerns, and the first step to identifying these problems is by getting your levels tested.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an important micronutrient. It’s a water-soluble vitamin and is integral for different body functions. Because of its solubility, it’s distributed to body tissues easily, but difficult for the tissues to store. For that reason, vitamin C must be ingested via food or supplements. Vitamin C is known for common immunity support like healing wounds, controlling infections, and neutralizing harmful free radicals in your body.
High Vitamin C Foods
- Bell Peppers
- Citrus Fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi)
- Brussel Sprouts
How to test vitamin C levels in the blood
To test vitamin C levels in the blood, you will have to get a simple blood test done. Vitamin C is tested by taking the patient’s blood and drawing it into a chilled tube. The serum will then be separated from the blood cells immediately after collection and stored on ice. The specimen will then be frozen and kept in an amber tube to keep the vitamin C stable.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is another water-soluble micronutrient that our bodies need in order to function properly. The different B vitamins act as coenzymes for different bodily functions. The active coenzyme in vitamin B6 is called pyridoxal 5’ phosphate (PLP) which is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. PLP is also an important contributor to supporting healthy immune and brain functions. Additionally, vitamin B6 also helps with red blood cell formation.
It is unlikely to be deficient in vitamin B6 without being deficient in other B vitamins. If you are deficient in B vitamins, you may notice signs of skin dermatitis, confusion, depression, anaemia, and/or a swollen tongue. Vitamin B6 can be tested with a simple vitamin test and should be checked regularly.
High Vitamin B6 Foods
- Starchy Vegetables
- Whole Grains
How to test vitamin B6 levels in the blood
The vitamin B6 levels test is a specific blood test. Vitamin B6 is tested by collecting your blood via venipuncture. It is then stored in a lavender-top tube containing EDTA. Immediately after that, it goes through a gentle inversion and is mixed six times. It will then be separated and stored in an amber tube to avoid light exposure.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an important micronutrient for your overall health. Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA. It is also necessary for brain and nerve function and development. Vitamin B12 is best consumed naturally from foods, but taking supplements is an effective way of getting your daily dose of B12. When high-B12 foods are ingested, the B12 vitamin must be broken down to its free form before absorption.
High Vitamin B12 Foods
- Dairy Products (cheese, milk, yogurt, cream)
How to test vitamin B12 levels in the blood
To test for vitamin B12 levels in the blood, you may be surprised to know that a regular vitamin B12 test is not the most accurate. You may be B12 deficient while showing normal B12 levels from a blood test. It is important to get a vitamin B12 test, alongside a methylmalonic acid test to best determine your B12 levels. The CPT codes for a vitamin B12 and methylmalonic acid test are 82607 and 83921 respectively.
Approximately 42% of the American population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium and phosphorus retention. These two minerals are necessary for strong bones. Vitamin D has also been known to reduce the growth of cancer cells, infections, and inflammation. Most vitamin B consumption is through ultraviolet B rays (UVB), supplements, and fortified foods.
Not many foods naturally contain vitamin D, which is why you will often see beverages like orange juice, milk, and milk alternatives with vitamin D added to them. There are two forms of vitamin D needed by the human body – D2 and D3. Both can be absorbed by sunlight exposure.
How to test vitamin D levels in the blood
Testing for vitamin D levels in your blood requires two different blood tests. The most common and accurate is the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy test. Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy tests are done by a doctor by making a small puncture to the vein (venipuncture) and withdrawing the blood sample to test levels of vitamin D.
The final vitamin test you should consider getting done is for vitamin K. Like vitamin D, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. The first form of vitamin K is called phylloquinone and the second is menaquinones. Phylloquinone is found in your favorite leafy greens. Vitamin K is essential for making proteins that support strong bones and blood clotting.
High Vitamin-K Foods
- Vegetable Oils
- Soy Beans
How to test vitamin K levels in the blood
To determine vitamin K levels in the blood, you will require a blood test. This blood test is done by a small needle puncturing the vein by a doctor. The blood specimen will then immediately be put in a chilled tube and kept frozen. Another way doctors get information about vitamin K levels is through a test called the prothrombin time (PT) test. This test assesses the time it takes for your blood to form a blood clot.
The Bottom Line
Getting vitamin tests done is important for preventative health. You can get blood work done at most laboratories and clinics near you. Contact our team to book an appointment today.