Are you getting enough vitamin B and D? Take this simple test to find out
Folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin D are essential vitamins that have several important functions in the body. Folate and vitamin B12 are needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis, while vitamin D is essential for proper bone growth and maintenance. All three vitamins also have important roles in the nervous system and immune system.
The primary clinical sign of folate and vitamin B12 deficiency is megaloblastic anemia -a form of anemia characterized by abnormally large red blood cells and a low red blood cell count. These large red blood cells cannot function properly to deliver oxygen around the body, commonly resulting in a fatigue and muscle weakness.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It affects the immune system, resulting in frequent illnesses and tiredness, and the skeletal system, causing bone and joint pain. Longterm vitamin D deficiency, particularly in children, can result in skeletal and dental issues and developmental delays.
Why consider this test?
Vitamin B and D deficiencies are common around the world, particularly in:
- Women during pregnancy due to the increased demands required for the developing fetus
- People who have digestive disorders like Crohn’s or Celiac disease
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Older adults
- People with poor diets and/or high alcohol intake
- People with limited sun exposure (required for vitamin D synthesis)
Identifying deficiencies early enables you to make dietary and supplement changes to improve your levels of these essential vitamins and your overall health and wellbeing.
Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Bone & joint pain
Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Bone & joint pain
What’s included in the Vitamin Deficiency Test?
Folate is an important nutrient that functions as a coenzyme or cosubstrate in various reactions, including the formation of DNA and RNA, and metabolism of amino acids.
Folate is naturally present in a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, seafood, eggs, dairy products, poultry, and grains. Folic acid is obtained as a dietary supplement and also from enriched bread, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pastas, rice, and other grain products.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.
Many animal products contain vitamin B12, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products, but it is generally not present in plant foods. Fortified food products include breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast. Dietary supplements containing vitamin B12 are also available, usually containing the cyanocobalamin form.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for normal bone growth and remodeling, and plays a role in the reduction of inflammation, cell growth, immune function, and glucose metabolism.
Only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D (e.g. fatty fish) and most of the vitamin D from food sources is through the consumption of fortified foods (e.g. milk and cereals). Vitamin D is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight trigger vitamin D synthesis.
How It Works
Step 1. Order your test.
Choose the test that matches your need from our large array of tests. The kit will be delivered to your doorstep. There is no need to leave the comfort of your home.
Step 2. Collect your sample.
Collect your sample using the included instructions. Return your sample using the prepaid, pre-addressed packaging provided.
Step 3. Access your results online
Your sample will be tested as soon as it arrives at our lab. Access your results securely online via TherizonConnect.
Use TherizonConnect to view your test results quickly and easily
The results are only available through TherizonConnect, a free, secure patient portal that you can access on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. You can also share your results with your doctor, family, or friends.
Vitamin Deficiency FAQ
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about this test. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.
How does the Vitamin Deficiency Test work?
Self-collect your sample following the detailed instructions included in the kit. Place your sample in the specimen bag provided and mail it back to the lab using the prepaid envelope inside the kit.
Our lab uses verified and approved chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassays (CMIAs) to accurately measure the three biomarkers included in this test. Your results are available through our online portal as soon as testing is complete.
Will I receive any guidance with my results?
All result reports will include brief and easy to understand interpretations of each of the biomarkers tested. Background information is also available, but we recommend that you share your test results with your healthcare provider to obtain the most benefit from your test results.
Are there medical professionals involved in the process?
All of our tests are developed with advice and input from medical professionals.
How much of each vitamin do I need?
- Folate requirements vary depending on age and pregnancy/breastfeeding status. Infants under 6 months require 65 mcg dietary folate equivalents (DFE) and 80 mcg DFE for infants 7-12 months. The recommended dietary allowance for 1-3 years is 150 mcg DFE, with gradually increasing recommendations until the adult value of 400 mcg DFE by 14 years of age. Pregnant women should obtain 600 mcg DFE each day, while breastfeeding women should obtain 500 mcg DFE each day. It is recommended that this added requirement be obtained from dietary supplements as folic acid alone or as part of a prenatal vitamin.
- Vitamin B12 requirements vary depending on age and pregnancy/breastfeeding status. Infants require 0.4 mcg/day (0-6 months) and 0.5 mcg/day (7-12 months). The recommended dietary allowance for children is 0.9 mcg/day (1-3 years), 1.2 mcg/day (4-8 years), and 1.8 mcg/day (9-13 years). Adults require 2.4 mcg/day, except for 2.6 mcg/day during pregnancy and 2.8 mcg/day while breastfeeding.
- Recommended dietary allowances for vitamin D are based on the assumption that individuals are receiving minimal sun exposure, although sunlight is the major source of vitamin D for some people. Infants require 10 mcg/day, while children and adults from 1-70 years require 15 mcg/day. The recommended dietary allowance for seniors over 70 years of age is 20 mcg/day.
What are considered deficient vitamin levels?
- Folate deficiency is typically associated with serum levels less than 3.5 ng/mL or whole blood levels less than 150 ng/mL. This test measures serum folate levels. Folate deficiency usually occurs due to poor diet, alcoholism, or malabsorptive disorders.
- Serum vitamin B12 levels below approximately 170-250 pg/mL indicate deficiency in adults. Vitamin B12 deficiency is most often caused by malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that affects gastric mucosa), postsurgical malabsorption, and dietary deficiency. However, for many deficient individuals the cause is unknown.
- Serum concentration of 25-OH vitamin D is the main indicator of vitamin D status. Serum levels of 20 ng/mL or more are generally sufficient for most individuals. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency. Low dietary intake, limited sun exposure, and poor vitamin D absorption can result in vitamin D deficiency.
What are my options if I have abnormal results?
It is important to share any abnormal results with you healthcare provider, as they can take into consideration your medical history, any previous test results, physical examinations, and other factors to determine the best treatment option.