Vegan & Vegetarian Blood Test
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Individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can have different nutritional needs than those who consume meat and other animal products. As a vegetarian can be lacking in certain nutrients commonly found in animal products, it is important to check these levels and make changes accordingly through diet or taking supplements. This blood test measures key nutrients that people who are vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based often are deficient in.
Test Method: Finger prick test
What do we test for?
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. This allows your body to use iron when it needs it. The body needs iron for the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in your blood from your lungs to the rest of your body. If your ferritin levels are low, it can be a sign of iron deficiency. In severe cases, or left untreated, this can lead to anemia – a reduced level of hemoglobin or red blood cells.
Iron is a mineral your body needs to create hemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body. Iron is also needed for enzyme function, for growth and development, and for a healthy immune system. Without sufficient iron, the production of red blood cells decreases and iron-deficiency anemia can occur. This can cause breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. An iron test measures how much iron is in your blood. By testing your iron level you can know whether changes in your diet or iron supplements are needed.
About Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various bodily processes. It is essential for the production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and proper functioning of the nervous system. The human body cannot produce vitamin B12 on its own, so it must be obtained from dietary sources or supplements. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. People who do not eat animal products may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, as plant-based foods generally do not contain sufficient amounts of this vitamin. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, neurological problems, and other health issues. Common symptoms of B12 deficiency include weakness, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, memory problems, and difficulty with balance.
About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that plays a role in calcium and phosphate absorption in the body. Most vitamin D is produced by the human body itself. This happens when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. Vitamin D can also be found in a number of foods of animal origin, such as egg yolks, fatty fish, and dairy products. Vitamin D can also be found in mushrooms and fortified foods. Vitamin D plays an important role in your body. It ensures the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, ensures the functioning and recovery of your muscles, and promotes proper functioning of your immune system.
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About the test
Why are people who follow at plant-based diet at risk of certain vitamin and iron deficiencies?
People who are vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise plant based tend to obtain lower amounts of iron, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D through their diets. This is because the foods with the highest quantities of these nutrients are animal products, such as meat, eggs, or dairy products. It is completely possible to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iron with a plant-based diet- however, it may require paying extra attention to the types of foods you eat or taking supplements.
Following a specific diet can sometimes mean that certain nutrients need to be obtained through an alternative source. Obtaining the correct amount of vitamins and minerals can be difficult sometimes, and a deficit can cause health problems. In addition to the Vegan & Vegetarian Blood Test, it is also advised to consider our Preventive Health Screening self test from our Preventive Health Tests category.
What is the Vegan & Vegetarian Blood Test?
This test measures Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Iron and Ferritin. The test is a finger prick test that you can easily take from home. Your sample will then be examined by a certified laboratory and you will receive the blood test results within a matter of days. It couldn’t be easier!
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Muscle pain and loss of strength in muscles
- Shortness of breath and tightness
- Depression and confusion
- Concentration and memory problems
- Aphasia: not being able to find the right words
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:
- Problems sleeping
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Hair loss
Iron and Ferritin
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency/Anemia:
- Pale skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
Summary of Biomarkers
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that plays a role in calcium and phosphate absorption in the body. Most vitamin D is produced by the human body itself. This happens when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. Vitamin D can also be found in a number of foods of animal origin, such as egg yolks, fatty fish, and dairy products. Vitamin D can also be found in mushrooms and fortified foods.
Vitamin D plays an important role in your body. It ensures the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, ensures the functioning and recovery of your muscles, and promotes proper functioning of your immune system.
Iron is an essential mineral your body needs to create hemoglobin, which plays an essential role in oxygen transport. An iron test measures how much iron is in your blood.
About ten percent of people living in Western countries suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is expected to be increasingly associated with the growing number of people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, such as milk, meat, fish and eggs. Because your body stores vitamin B12, you often only notice after a few months that you have a possible deficiency. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you can develop a form of anemia with symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and a lack of appetite. Elderly people with a vitamin B12 deficiency may also have problems with their memory. If you want to test specifically for anemia, you can do so with Homed-IQ’s Anemia Blood Test. .
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in your body. The amount of ferritin in your blood says something about the amount of iron in your body. The body requires iron for the production of hemoglobin (Hb). Hb carries oxygen in your blood from your lungs to the rest of your body.
How does it work?
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Frequently asked questions
How often should vegan or vegetarian people have a blood test?
For most people it is sufficient to check vitamin and mineral levels annually. However, this is something that can be discussed further with your GP.
When do I need supplements?
You should take supplements at the advice of your doctor, if it is confirmed you cannot obtain adequate quantities of a nutrient from diet alone. If your test result shows low levels of certain nutrients, supplements may be an option to improve your levels.
How reliable is this vegan blood test?
At-home blood testing is a safe, reliable way to complete a wide range of diagnostic and preventative health screening tests without needing to leave your home. All blood tests sold by Homed-IQ are just as effective as the tests you’d do in-person at your physician, medical clinic, laboratory or hospital. This means they have been scientifically validated to perform as well as an in-office test. All our home test kits come complete with everything you need to perform the sample, including a comprehensive step-by-step guide to ensure your sample is collected correctly. Blood tests are used to check for many common conditions, such as diabetes, viral and bacterial infections, anemia, and some types of cancer.
What vegan foods contain calcium?
Vegan foods that are high in calcium include dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, bok choy), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts), soy products (soybeans, tempeh, tofu), legumes (beans, lentils, peas), almonds, and fortified plant milks and juices.
What vegan foods contain iron?
Vegan foods that are high in iron include legumes (beans, lentils), quinoa, spinach, tofu, tempeh, dark leafy greens (swiss chard, kale, arugula), molasses, and seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame, flax).
What vegan foods contain vitamin D?
Vegan sources of vitamin D include mushrooms, fortified plant milk or orange juice, as well as fortified breakfast cereals. Furthermore, an excellent source of vitamin D for anyone is sunshine. It is recommended that 5-30 minutes of sun exposure to the face, arms, hands, and legs at least twice a week is sufficient for vitamin D synthesis.
What vegan and vegetarian foods contain vitamin B12?
Vegan sources of vitamin B12 include tempeh, fortified plant milks, nutritional yeast, and fortified breakfast cereals. If you are vegetarian, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and milk are good sources of vitamin B12.
How can I use the results of this Vegan and Vegetarian Blood Test?
The results of this test indicate the level of iron, ferritin, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 in your blood. You can use the results to guide changes in your diet or to discuss options for supplementation with your doctor.
What is the harm of a vitamin deficiency?
Deficiency in essential nutrients your body needs to function can make you feel unwell and fatigued, as well as compromise your overall health. Your body requires iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D for many different processes, and a deficiency can affect your bones, muscles, brain, and other organs. Next to a vitamin D deficiency, it also can happen to have too high vitamin D level! We wrote an article about how much vitamin D is too much, in case you would like to learn more about this!
Why is it important for people who follow a plant-based diet to check their iron and vitamin levels?
It is important that people who consume little or no animal products regularly check their iron and vitamin D/B12 levels regularly, as they are more likely to be deficient due to their diets. Deficiency in essential nutrients your body needs to function like vitamin D, B12, and iron can make you feel unwell and fatigued, as well as compromise your overall health.
What should vegetarian or vegan individuals check for in blood tests?
Individuals who follow a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet are at an increased risk of anemia. Homed-IQ’s Vegan and Vegetarian Blood Test measures the level of iron and ferritin in your blood, which will indicate if you have an iron deficiency that could cause anemia. Additionally, the test measures Vitamin D and B12, two essential vitamins that are often lower in people who follow a plant-based diet.
I am not a strict vegetarian/vegan. Can I take this test?
Yes- this test is for anyone who eats a low amount of animal or dairy products and wants to ensure they are getting the correct amount of nutrition from their diet.