Fatty Acids and Omega

Fatty Acids and Omega Deficiency Testing and health information

If you suffer from a dietary fatty acid deficiency, you can experience different debilitating effects. If that's the case, consider ordering fatty acid lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests today. We offer a highly accurate and reliable test to screen for abnormal levels of fatty acids along with other dietary deficiencies. 

At Ulta lab tests, we offer the omega-3 and omega-6 test to screen and diagnose deficiencies in the two forms of fatty acids that are considered essential to humans. These are Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid) and Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid).

SEE BELOW THE LIST OF TESTS FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT Lab Tests for Identifying Omega and Fatty Acids Deficiency


Name Matches

Clinical Significance

Peroxisomes play a vital role in several metabolic pathways, including the synthesis of plasmalogens and bile acids. They are also involved in the catabolism of Very Long Chain Fatty Acids (VLCFAs), phytanic acid, and pristanic acid. Defects in these pathways usually result in the accumulation in tissues and body fluids of one or more metabolites derived from the blocked metabolic steps. Specific accumulations are used for the differential biochemical diagnosis of numerous peroxisomal disorders. These disorders include (A) Zellweger spectrum disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis, (B) X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) and its adult form X-linked adrenomyeloneuropathy (X-AMN), (C) Refsum disease (Phytanoyl-CoA hydroxylase Deficiency), and (D) 2-methylacyl-CoA racemase deficiency.

Patient Preparation 

Avoid alcohol for 24 hours prior to collection. Draw sample in the morning following overnight fasting (12-14 hours)


Fatty Acid Profile, Comprehensive


Fatty Acid Profile, Essential (C12-C22)






Description: A CBC or Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets test is a blood test that measures many important features of your blood’s red and white blood cells and platelets. A Complete Blood Count can be used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide variety of conditions such as infection, anemia, and leukemia. It also looks at other important aspects of your blood health such as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. 

Also Known As: CBC test, Complete Blood Count Test, Total Blood Count Test, CBC with Differential and Platelets test, Hemogram test  

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Whole Blood 

Test Preparation: No preparation required 

When is a Complete Blood Count test ordered?  

The complete blood count (CBC) is an extremely common test. When people go to the doctor for a standard checkup or blood work, they often get a CBC. Suppose a person is healthy and their results are within normal ranges. In that case, they may not need another CBC unless their health condition changes, or their healthcare professional believes it is necessary. 

When a person exhibits a variety of signs and symptoms that could be connected to blood cell abnormalities, a CBC may be done. A health practitioner may request a CBC to help diagnose and determine the severity of lethargy or weakness, as well as infection, inflammation, bruises, or bleeding. 

When a person is diagnosed with a disease that affects blood cells, a CBC is frequently done regularly to keep track of their progress. Similarly, if someone is being treated for a blood condition, a CBC may be performed on a regular basis to see if the treatment is working. 

Chemotherapy, for example, can influence the generation of cells in the bone marrow. Some drugs can lower WBC counts in the long run. To monitor various medication regimens, a CBC may be required on a regular basis. 

What does a Complete Blood Count test check for? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test that determines the number of cells in circulation. White blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets (PLTs) are three types of cells suspended in a fluid called plasma. They are largely created and matured in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream when needed under normal circumstances. 

A CBC is mainly performed with an automated machine that measures a variety of factors, including the number of cells present in a person's blood sample. The findings of a CBC can reveal not only the quantity of different cell types but also the physical properties of some of the cells. 

Significant differences in one or more blood cell populations may suggest the presence of one or more diseases. Other tests are frequently performed to assist in determining the reason for aberrant results. This frequently necessitates visual confirmation via a microscope examination of a blood smear. A skilled laboratory technician can assess the appearance and physical features of blood cells, such as size, shape, and color, and note any anomalies. Any extra information is taken note of and communicated to the healthcare provider. This information provides the health care provider with further information about the cause of abnormal CBC results. 

The CBC focuses on three different types of cells: 

WBCs (White Blood Cells) 

The body uses five different types of WBCs, also known as leukocytes, to keep itself healthy and battle infections and other types of harm. The five different leukocytes are eosinophiles, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and monocytes. They are found in relatively steady numbers in the blood. Depending on what is going on in the body, these values may momentarily rise or fall. An infection, for example, can cause the body to manufacture more neutrophils in order to combat bacterial infection. The amount of eosinophils in the body may increase as a result of allergies. A viral infection may cause an increase in lymphocyte production. Abnormal (immature or mature) white cells multiply fast in certain illness situations, such as leukemia, raising the WBC count. 

RBCs (Red Blood Cells) 

The bone marrow produces red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, which are transferred into the bloodstream after maturing. Hemoglobin, a protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body, is found in these cells. Because RBCs have a 120-day lifespan, the bone marrow must constantly manufacture new RBCs to replace those that have aged and disintegrated or have been lost due to hemorrhage. A variety of diseases, including those that cause severe bleeding, can alter the creation of new RBCs and their longevity. 

The CBC measures the number of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood, as well as the proportion of RBCs in the blood (hematocrit), and if the RBC population appears to be normal. RBCs are generally homogeneous in size and shape, with only minor differences; however, considerable variances can arise in illnesses including vitamin B12 and folate inadequacy, iron deficiency, and a range of other ailments. Anemia occurs when the concentration of red blood cells and/or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood falls below normal, resulting in symptoms such as weariness and weakness. In a far smaller percentage of cases, there may be an excess of RBCs in the blood (erythrocytosis or polycythemia). This might obstruct the flow of blood through the tiny veins and arteries in extreme circumstances. 

Platelets 

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small cell fragments that aid in the regular clotting of blood. A person with insufficient platelets is more likely to experience excessive bleeding and bruises. Excess platelets can induce excessive clotting or excessive bleeding if the platelets are not operating properly. The platelet count and size are determined by the CBC. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Complete Blood Count test: 

  • Reticulocytes
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Von Willebrand Factor Antigen

Conditions where a Complete Blood Count test is recommended: 

  • Anemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Heart Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Leukemia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Inflammation
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Mononucleosis

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Complete Blood Count test? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a common, comprehensive screening test used to measure a person's overall health status.  

What do my Complete Blood Count results mean? 

A low Red Blood Cell Count, also known as anemia, could be due many different causes such as chronic bleeding, a bone marrow disorder, and nutritional deficiency just to name a few. A high Red Blood Cell Count, also known as polycythemia, could be due to several conditions including lung disease, dehydration, and smoking. Both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit tend to reflect Red Blood Cell Count results, so if your Red Blood Cell Count is low, your Hematocrit and Hemoglobin will likely also be low. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Differential results mean? 

A low White Blood Cell count or low WBC count, also known as leukopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, severe infection, and lymphoma. A high White Blood Cell count, or high WBC count, also known as leukocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including infection, leukemia, and inflammation. Abnormal levels in your White Blood Cell Count will be reflected in one or more of your different white blood cells. Knowing which white blood cell types are affected will help your healthcare provider narrow down the issue. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Platelet results mean? 

A low Platelet Count, also known as thrombocytopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, viral infection, and leukemia. A high Platelet Count, also known as Thrombocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including cancer, iron deficiency, and rheumatoid arthritis. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported. Certain biomarkers do not appear in healthy individuals. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

Description: A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP is a blood test that is a combination of a Basic Metabolic Panel, a Liver Panel, and electrolyte panel, and is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

Also Known As: CMP, Chem, Chem-14, Chem-12, Chem-21, Chemistry Panel, Chem Panel, Chem Screen, Chemistry Screen, SMA 12, SMA 20, SMA 21, SMAC, Chem test

Collection Method: 

Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: 

Serum 

Test Preparation: 

9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test ordered:  

A CMP is frequently requested as part of a lab test for a medical evaluation or yearly physical. A CMP test consists of many different tests that give healthcare providers a range of information about your health, including liver and kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. To confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, abnormal test results are frequently followed up with other tests that provide a more in depth or targeted analysis of key areas that need investigating. 

What does a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The complete metabolic panel (CMP) is a set of 20 tests that provides critical information to a healthcare professional about a person's current metabolic status, check for liver or kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and blood protein levels. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the CMP: 

  • Albumin: this is a measure of Albumin levels in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver that is responsible for many vital roles including transporting nutrients throughout the body and preventing fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. 

  • Albumin/Globulin Ratio: this is a ratio between your total Albumin and Globulin  

  • Alkaline Phosphatase: this is a measure of Alkaline phosphatase or ALP in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is a protein found in all body tissues, however the ALP found in blood comes from the liver and bones. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage, gallbladder disease, or bone disorder. 

  • Alt: this is a measure of Alanine transaminase or ALT in your blood. Alanine Aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the highest amounts in the liver with small amounts in the heart and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • AST: this is a measure of Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST. Aspartate Aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in the heart and liver, with smaller amounts in the kidney and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • Bilirubin, Total: this is a measure of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is an orange-yellowish waste product produced from the breakdown of heme which is a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The liver is responsible for removal of bilirubin from the body. 

  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.  

  • Calcium: this is a measurement of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most abundant and one of the most important minerals in the body as it essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function. 

  • Calcium: is used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. 

  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.  

  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels. 

  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Globulin: this is a measure of all blood proteins in your blood that are not albumin. 

  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy. 

  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells. 

  • Protein, Total: this is a measure of total protein levels in your blood. 
    Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of sodium in your blood's serum. Sodium is a vital mineral for nerve and muscle cell function.

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood UreaNitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test? 

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a broad screening tool for assessing organ function and detecting diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP test may also be requested to monitor known disorders such as hypertension and to check for any renal or liver-related side effects in persons taking specific drugs. If a health practitioner wants to follow two or more separate CMP components, the full CMP might be ordered because it contains more information. 

What do my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the CMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. A high result on one of the liver enzyme tests, for example, is not the same as a high result on several liver enzyme tests. 

Several sets of CMPs, frequently performed on various days, may be examined to gain insights into the underlying disease and response to treatment, especially in hospitalized patients. 

Out-of-range findings for any of the CMP tests can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related complications, to name a few. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis. 

Is there anything else I should know? 

A wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications can have an impact on the results of the CMP's components. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide a thorough history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

What's the difference between the CMP and the BMP tests, and why would my doctor choose one over the other? 

The CMP consists of 14 tests, while the basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a subset of those with eight tests. The liver (ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin) and protein (albumin and total protein) tests are not included. If a healthcare provider wants a more thorough picture of a person's organ function or to check for specific illnesses like diabetes or liver or kidney disease, he or she may prescribe a CMP rather than a BMP. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Please note the following regarding BUN/Creatinine ratio: 

The lab does not report the calculation for the BUN/Creatinine Ratio unless one or both biomarkers’ results fall out of the published range. 

If you still wish to see the value, it's easy to calculate. Simply take your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and divide it by your Creatinine result.  

As an example, if your Urea Nitrogen result is 11 and your Creatinine result is 0.86, then you would divide 11 by 0.86 and get a BUN/Creatinine Ratio result of 12.79. 


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Description: Copper is a blood test that measures the amount of copper in the blood's plasma. Copper levels in the blood can help to diagnose Wilson's Disease.

Also Known As: Cu Test, Blood Copper Test, Free Copper Test, Hepatic Copper Test, Copper Serum Test, Copper Plasma Test, Copper Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Plasma or Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Copper test ordered?

When a health practitioner suspects Wilson disease, excess copper storage, or copper poisoning, one or more copper tests are requested along with ceruloplasmin.

When copper and ceruloplasmin results are abnormal or inconclusive, a hepatic copper test may be conducted to further evaluate copper storage.

What does a Copper blood test check for?

Copper is an important mineral that the body uses to make enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the regulation of iron metabolism, the development of connective tissue, cellular energy production, the production of melanin, and nervous system function. This test determines how much copper is present in the blood, urine, or liver.

Nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, seafood, whole grains, dried fruits, and liver are all high in copper. Copper may be absorbed into drinking water as it passes through copper pipes, and copper may be absorbed into food as it is cooked or served on copper dishes. Copper is absorbed from food or liquids in the intestines, converted to a non-toxic form by binding it to a protein, and transported to the liver in normal circumstances. To make the enzyme ceruloplasmin, the liver saves some copper and binds the remainder to another protein called apoceruloplasmin. Ceruloplasmin binds about 95 percent of the copper in the blood, with the rest attached to other proteins like albumin. In a free condition, only a little amount is present in the blood. Excess copper is excreted by the liver in the bile, which is then excreted by the body in the feces. Copper is also excreted in the urine in small amounts.

Copper excess and deficiency are uncommon. Wilson disease is a rare genetic ailment that causes the liver, brain, and other organs to store too much copper. Excess copper can arise when a person is exposed to and absorbs high amounts of copper in a short period of time or little amounts over a long period of time.

Copper deficiency can arise in patients with severe malabsorption diseases such cystic fibrosis and celiac disease, as well as infants who are exclusively fed cow-milk formulas.

Menkes kinky hair syndrome is a rare X-linked hereditary disorder that causes copper shortage in the brain and liver of affected babies. Seizures, delayed development, aberrant artery growth in the brain, and unique gray brittle kinky hair are all symptoms of the condition, which mostly affects men.

Lab tests often ordered with a Copper test:

  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Heavy Metals
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Copper test is recommended:

  • Wilson Disease
  • Malnutrition

How does my health care provider use a Copper test?

Copper testing is largely used to detect Wilson disease, a rare genetic ailment in which the liver, brain, and other organs accumulate an excessive amount of copper. A copper test is less usually used to detect copper excess caused by another ailment, to diagnose a copper deficit, or to track treatment for one of these conditions.

Copper is a necessary mineral, but too much of it can be harmful. The majority of it is bound to the enzyme ceruloplasmin in the blood, leaving only a little quantity "free" or unbound.

A whole blood copper test is usually ordered in conjunction with a ceruloplasmin level. If the findings of these tests are abnormal or ambiguous, a 24-hour urine copper test to monitor copper elimination and/or a copper test on a liver biopsy to check copper storage in the liver may be conducted.

A free blood copper test is sometimes ordered as well. If Wilson disease is suspected, genetic testing for mutations in the ATP7B gene may be undertaken. However, these tests are only available in a restricted number of locations and are usually carried out in specialized reference or research laboratories.

A copper test may be used to identify Menkes kinky hair syndrome, a rare inherited copper transport failure condition.

What do my Copper test results mean?

Copper test findings are frequently linked to ceruloplasmin levels and considered in context. Copper results that are abnormal are not indicative of a specific illness; rather, they signal that more research is needed. Because ceruloplasmin is an acute phase reactant, it might be raised if inflammation or severe infections are present, making interpretation difficult. Ceruloplasmin and copper levels rise during pregnancy, as well as with the use of estrogen and oral contraceptives.

Wilson disease is characterized by low blood copper concentrations, elevated urine copper levels, low ceruloplasmin levels, and increased liver copper.

Elevated copper concentrations in the blood and urine, as well as normal or increased ceruloplasmin levels, may suggest excessive copper exposure or be linked to disorders that reduce copper excretion, such as chronic liver disease, or release copper from tissues, such as acute hepatitis. Chronic diseases can cause an increase in hepatic copper levels.

Copper deficiency is indicated by lower copper concentrations in the blood and urine, as well as lower ceruloplasmin levels.

A normal hepatic copper test could mean that copper metabolism is normal, or that the distribution of copper in the liver is uneven, and that the sample isn't reflective of the person's health.

If a person is being treated for Wilson disease or copper toxicity with copper-binding medicines, their 24-hour urine copper levels may be high until their body copper stores are depleted. Copper concentrations in the blood and urine should return to normal over time.

If a person is being treated for a copper deficient disorder and their ceruloplasmin and total copper levels start to rise, the condition is likely responding to the treatment.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Ferritin test is a blood test that measures Ferritin levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate the level of iron stored in your body.

Also Known As: Ferritin Serum Test, Ferritin Test, Ferritin Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Ferritin test ordered?

When a CBC test’s implies iron deficiency anemia due to small red blood cells or low hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, the ferritin test, and other iron tests, may be requested, even if other clinical symptoms have not yet arisen.

There are frequently no physical symptoms in the early stages of iron insufficiency. Symptoms rarely develop before hemoglobin falls below dangerous levels. However, when the iron deficit continues, symptoms emerge, prompting a doctor to order ferritin and other iron-related testing. The following are the most prevalent symptoms of iron deficiency anemia:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

Shortness of breath, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, and irritability may occur as iron levels are reduced. Chest pain, headaches, limb pains, shock, and even heart failure may occur as the anemia worsens. Learning impairments can occur in children. There are some symptoms that are specific to iron deficiency, in addition to the usual signs of anemia. Pica, a burning feeling in the tongue or a smooth tongue, ulcers at the corners of the mouth, and spoon-shaped finger- and toe-nails are only a few of the symptoms.

When iron overload is suspected, a ferritin level may be requested. Iron overload symptoms differ from person to person and tend to worsen over time. They are caused by an excess of iron in the blood and tissues. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Loss of weight
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Hair loss on the body
  • Congestive heart failure is an example of a cardiac issue

Other iron tests including a genetic test for hereditary hemochromatosis may be conducted to confirm the existence of iron excess.

What does a Ferritin blood test check for?

Ferritin is an iron-containing protein that stores iron in cells in its most basic form. The amount of total iron stored in the body is reflected in the little amount of ferritin released into the blood. This test determines how much ferritin is present in the blood.

About 70% of the iron consumed by the body is integrated into the hemoglobin of red blood cells in healthy humans. The remaining 30% is stored primarily as ferritin or hemosiderin, which is a combination of iron, proteins, and other elements. Hemosiderin and ferritin are typically found in the liver, although they can also be found in the bone marrow, spleen, and skeletal muscles.

Iron stores are depleted and ferritin levels fall when available iron is insufficient to meet the body's needs. This can happen owing to a lack of iron, poor absorption, or an increased need for iron, such as during pregnancy or if you have a condition that causes persistent blood loss. Before any indicators of iron shortage appear, significant loss of iron reserves may occur.

When the body absorbs more iron than it needs, iron storage and ferritin levels rise. Chronic iron absorption causes a gradual buildup of iron compounds in organs, which can eventually lead to organ malfunction and failure. Even on a typical diet, this happens in hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron.

Lab tests often ordered with a Ferritin test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Iron Total
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Transferrin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Ferritin test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Pregnancy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

How does my health care provider use a Ferritin test?

The ferritin test is used to determine the amount of iron a person has in their body. To determine the existence and severity of iron shortage or iron overload, the test is sometimes ordered in conjunction with an iron test and a TIBC test.

One source of iron overload can be the use of iron supplements.

What does my ferritin lab test result mean?

Ferritin levels are frequently measured alongside other iron tests.

Ferritin levels are low in iron deficient people and high in people who have hemochromatosis or have had several blood transfusions.

Ferritin is an acute phase reactant that can be elevated in persons who have inflammation, liver illness, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, or cancer. Ferritin isn't commonly utilized to detect or monitor these problems.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Folate test measures the levels of folic acid in the blood. These results can be used to determine a folate deficiency and evaluate a person's nutritional status. Anemia and Neuropathy can also be evaluated using the results from this test.

Also Known As: Folate Serum Test, Folic Acid Test, Vitamin B9 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Folate test ordered?

When a complete blood count and/or blood smear, performed as part of a health checkup or anemia evaluation, reveal a low red blood cell count with the presence of big RBCs, B12 and folate levels may be ordered. A high mean corpuscular volume, in particular, implies that the RBCs are enlarged.

When a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms of a deficit, testing for folate levels may be necessary.

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness, fatigue
  • Appetite loss.
  • Skin that is pale
  • Irregular heartbeats, rapid heart rate
  • Breathing problems
  • Tongue and mouth ache
  • In the feet, hands, arms, and legs, there is tingling, numbness, and/or burning 
  • Confusion or obliviousness
  • Paranoia

When a person is at risk of deficiency, such as those with a history of malnutrition or a condition associated to malabsorption, folate testing may be ordered.

Individuals being treated for malnutrition or a folate deficit may have these tests done on a frequent basis to see how effective their treatments are. This could be part of a long-term therapy plan for people who have a disease that causes chronic deficiency.

What does a Folate blood test check for?

The B complex of vitamins includes vitamins including vitamin B12 and folate. They are required for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material in cells. Both are nutrients that the body cannot make and must be obtained from the diet.

Vitamin B9 tests, also known as folate tests, diagnose vitamin deficiencies by measuring vitamin levels in the liquid section of the blood. The amount of folate in red blood cells is sometimes tested as well.

Folate is a naturally occurring form of the vitamin, whereas folic acid is a supplement that can be added to foods and beverages. Leafy green vegetables, dry beans and peas, citrus fruits, yeast, and liver all contain it. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, can be found in animal-based foods such red meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, and eggs. Fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products have become key sources of B12 and folate in recent years

A lack of folate can cause macrocytic anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are bigger than normal. Megaloblastic anemia is a kind of macrocytic anemia marked by the generation of fewer but larger RBCs known as macrocytes, as well as cellular abnormalities in the bone marrow. Reduced white blood cell and platelet counts are two more test results linked to megaloblastic anemia.

Folate is required for cell division, which occurs in the developing fetus. In a growing fetus, a lack of folate during early pregnancy can raise the chance of neural tube abnormalities such spina bifida.

Folate deficiency is most commonly caused by inadequate intake of the vitamin through diet or supplements, poor absorption, or increased bodily requirement, as observed during pregnancy:

  • Dietary deficiencies are uncommon in the United States since many meals and beverages are fortified with vitamins that the body stores. Adults normally have around three months' worth of folate stored in their liver. Dietary deficiencies normally do not manifest symptoms until the body's vitamin supplies have been exhausted.
  • Increased demand—this can occur as a result of a range of diseases and disorders. When a woman is pregnant or nursing, in early childhood, with malignancies, or with chronic hemolytic anemias, there is an increased demand for folate.

Lab tests often ordered with a Folate test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Methylmalonic Acid
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B7
  • Vitamin B12
  • Intrinsic Factor Antibody
  • Parietal Cell Antibody
  • Reticulocyte Count

Conditions where a Folate test is recommended:

  • Neural Tube Defects
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Celiac Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Neuropathy
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How does my health care provider use a Folate test?

Separate tests for vitamin B12 and folate are frequently used in conjunction to detect deficiencies and to aid in the diagnosis of anemias such as pernicious anemia, an inflammatory condition that inhibits B12 absorption.

B12 and folate are two vitamins that the body cannot generate and must be obtained from the diet. They're needed for red blood cell creation, tissue and cell repair, and DNA synthesis, which is the genetic material in cells. B12 is required for normal nerve function.

B12 and folate tests can also be used to assess someone who is experiencing mental or behavioral changes, especially in the elderly. A B12 test can be ordered with or without folate, as well as with other screening laboratory tests like a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, antinuclear antibody, C-reactive protein, and rheumatoid factor, to help determine why a person is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a nerve disorder.

B12 and folate tests can also be performed in conjunction with a variety of other tests to assess a person's overall health and nutritional status if they have signs and symptoms of substantial malnutrition or dietary malabsorption. People with alcoholism, liver disease, stomach cancer, or malabsorption diseases including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or cystic fibrosis may fall into this category.

Testing may be performed to assess the success of treatment in patients with known B12 and folate deficits. This is especially true for people who cannot absorb B12 and/or folate effectively and must be treated for the rest of their lives.

Folate levels in the blood's liquid part might fluctuate depending on a person's recent diet. Because red blood cells contain 95 percent of circulating folate, a test to evaluate folate levels inside RBCs could be employed instead of or in addition to the serum test. Some doctors believe that the RBC folate test is a better predictor of long-term folate status and is more clinically useful than serum folate, however there is no consensus on this.

Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are two more laboratory tests that can be used to detect B12 and folate deficits. In B12 deficiency, both homocysteine and MMA are high, whereas in folate deficit, only homocysteine, not MMA, is elevated. This distinction is critical because treating anemia with folate treats the anemia but not the brain damage, which may be irreparable.

What do my Folate Serum test results mean?

Normal folate levels may indicate that a person does not suffer from a deficiency and that the signs and symptoms are caused by something else. Normal levels, on the other hand, may indicate that a person's stored folate has not yet been depleted.

A low folate level in a person with signs and symptoms implies a deficiency, although it does not always indicate the severity of the anemia or related neuropathy. Additional tests are frequently performed to determine the source of the deficit. Low folate levels can be caused by a variety of factors.

Dietary folate deficiency is uncommon in the United States. It can be evident in people who are malnourished in general and vegans who do not eat any animal products. Folate deficiency has become extremely rare since the development of fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products.

Folate deficits can be caused by diseases that prevent them from being absorbed in the small intestine. These may include the following:

  • Pernicious anemia.
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Bacterial overgrowth or the presence of parasites in the intestines, such as tapeworms
  • Long-term usage of antacids or H2 proton pump inhibitors reduces stomach acid production.
  • Absorption can be considerably reduced by surgery that removes part of the stomach or the intestines, such as gastric bypass.
  • Insufficiency of the pancreas
  • Chronic alcoholism or heavy drinking
  • Some treatments, such as metformin, omeprazole, methotrexate, or anti-seizure medications like phenytoin.
  • Increased requirement for healthy fetal development, all pregnant women require an increased amount of folate and are advised to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. People who have cancer that has spread or who have chronic hemolytic anemia require more folate.
  • Smoking

If a person is taking supplements to treat a folate deficiency, normal or higher findings indicate that the treatment is working.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: Homocysteine is an amino acid that is present in every cell. There is a small amount present as it is an amino acid that changes quickly into other needed products in the body.

Also Known As: Homocysteine Cardiac Risk Test, Homocysteine Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting for at least 8 hours is preferred

When is a Homocysteine test ordered?

When a doctor feels a person may be deficient in vitamin B12 or folate, he or she may request this test. At first, the signs and symptoms are vague and ambiguous. People who have an early deficit may be diagnosed before they show any visible symptoms. Other persons who are impacted may experience a range of moderate to severe symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Appetite loss
  • Paleness
  • Heart rate that is quite fast
  • Breathing problems
  • Tongue and mouth ache
  • In the feet, hands, arms, and legs, there is tingling, numbness, and/or burning

Depending on an individual's age and other risk factors, homocysteine may be requested as part of determining a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It may also be ordered after a heart attack or stroke to aid in treatment planning.

When newborn screening identifies an increased level of methionine or if an infant or kid shows signs and symptoms of homocystinuria, this test may be ordered. Babies with this illness will appear normal at birth, but if left untreated, they will develop symptoms such as a displaced lens in the eye, a long slender build, long thin fingers, and skeletal abnormalities within a few years.

What does a Homocysteine blood test check for?

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in trace amounts in all of the body's cells. The body generally converts homocysteine to other compounds fast. Because vitamins B6, B12, and folate are required for homocysteine metabolism, elevated levels of the amino acid could indicate a vitamin deficit. The level of homocysteine in the blood is determined by this test.

Increased homocysteine levels have also been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and artery hardening. Homocysteine has been linked to cardiovascular disease risk through a variety of processes, including damage to blood vessel walls and support for the production of abnormal blood clots, but no direct linkages have been established. Several studies have also found no benefit or reduction in CVD risk with folic acid and B vitamin supplementation. The American Heart Association does not believe it to be a significant risk factor for heart disease at this time.

Homocysteine levels in the blood can also be dramatically increased by a rare genetic disorder known as homocystinuria. In homocystinuria, one of multiple genes is mutated, resulting in a defective enzyme that prevents the normal breakdown of methionine, the precursor of homocysteine. Methionine is one of the eleven necessary amino acids that the body cannot make and must therefore be obtained from food.

Homocysteine and methionine build up in the body without the necessary enzyme to break them down. Babies born with this condition appear normal at birth, but develop symptoms such as a long slender build, a dislocated lens in the eye, long thin fingers, osteoporosis, skeletal abnormalities, and a significantly increased risk of thromboembolism and atherosclerosis, which can lead to premature CVD within a few years.

In addition to intellectual disability, mental illness, a little low IQ, behavioral issues, and seizures, artery blockages can induce intellectual disability, mental illness, and seizures. Some of them can be avoided if homocystinuria is diagnosed early, which is why all states screen neonates for the disease.

Lab tests often ordered with a Homocysteine test:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate
  • MTHFR Mutation
  • Intrinsic Factor Antibody

Conditions where a Homocysteine test is recommended:

  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke

How does my health care provider use a Homocysteine test?

The homocysteine test can be used in a variety of ways, including:

A homocysteine test may be ordered by a doctor to see if a person is deficient in vitamin B12 or folate. Before B12 and folate tests are abnormal, the homocysteine level may be raised. Homocysteine testing may be recommended by some health professionals in malnourished people, the elderly, who absorb less vitamin B12 from their diet, and people who have poor nutrition, such as drug or alcohol addicts.

For those at high risk of a stroke or heart attack, homocysteine testing may be requested as part of a health screening. It could be beneficial for someone who has a family history of coronary artery disease but no other recognized risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity. However, because the specific role of homocysteine in the course of cardiovascular disease is unknown, the screening test's efficacy continues to be questioned.

If a health professional believes that an infant or kid has homocystinuria, tests for both urine and blood homocysteine can be utilized to assist diagnose the genetic condition. As part of their newborn screening in the United States, all babies are regularly tested for excess methionine, a symptom of homocystinuria. If a baby's test results are positive, urine and blood homocysteine tests are frequently used to confirm the results.

What do my homocysteine test results mean?

Homocysteine levels may be high in cases of suspected malnutrition, vitamin B12, or folate insufficiency. If a person does not consume enough B vitamins and/or folate through diet or supplements, the body may be unable to convert homocysteine into forms that the body can use. The level of homocysteine in the blood may rise in this scenario.

According to studies conducted in the mid- to late-1990s, those with high homocysteine levels have a substantially higher risk of heart attack or stroke than those with normal levels. The study of the relationship between excessive homocysteine levels and heart disease is still ongoing. However, considering that multiple trials studying folic acid and B vitamin supplementation have found no benefit or reduction in CVD risk, the use of homocysteine levels for risk assessment of cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke is now questionable.

A 2012 research study using various datasets, including 50,000 persons with coronary heart disease, called into question the possibility of a cause-and-effect relationship between homocysteine levels and heart disease. Although the American Heart Association recognizes a link between homocysteine levels and heart attack/stroke survival rates, it does not consider high homocysteine to be a major CVD risk factor.

While the AHA does not advocate for widespread use of folic acid and B vitamins to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, it does advocate for a balanced, nutritious diet and advises doctors to consider total risk factors as well as nutrition when treating cardiovascular disease.

Significantly elevated homocysteine concentrations in the urine and blood indicate that an infant is likely to have homocystinuria and need additional testing to confirm the reason of the increase.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Iodine is an essential element that is required for thyroid hormone production. The measurement of iodine serves as an index of adequate dietary intake.

Description: Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity is a blood panel used to determine iron levels in your blood, your body’s ability to transport iron, and help diagnose iron-deficiency and iron overload.

Also Known As: Serum Iron Test, Serum Fe Test, Iron Binding Capacity Test, IBC Test, Serum Iron-Binding Capacity Siderophilin Test, TIBC Test, UIBC Test, Iron Lab Test, TIBC Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test ordered?

When a doctor feels that a person's symptoms are caused by iron overload or poisoning, an iron and TIBC test, as well ferritin assays, may be done. These may include the following:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Problems with the heart

When a child is suspected of ingesting too many iron tablets, a serum iron test is required to detect the poisoning and to determine its severity.

A doctor may also request iron and TIBC when the results of a standard CBC test are abnormal, such as a low hematocrit or hemoglobin, or when a doctor suspects iron deficiency based on signs and symptoms such as:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

What does a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity blood test check for?

Iron is a necessary ingredient for survival. It is a vital component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds and releases oxygen in the lungs and throughout the body. It is required in small amounts to help form normal red blood cells and is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body.

By detecting numerous components in the blood, iron tests are ordered to determine the quantity of iron in the body. These tests are frequently ordered at the same time, and the data are analyzed together to determine the diagnosis and/or monitor iron deficiency or overload.

The level of iron in the liquid component of the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin.

The percentage of transferrin that has not yet been saturated is measured by the UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

Low iron levels can cause anemia, resulting in a decrease in the production of microcytic and hypochromic RBCs. Large amounts of iron, on the other hand, might be hazardous to the body. When too much iron is absorbed over time, iron compounds build up in tissues, particularly the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Normally, iron is absorbed from food and distributed throughout the body by binding to transferrin, a liver protein. About 70% of the iron delivered is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The rest is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the tissues, with minor amounts being utilized to make other proteins like myoglobin and enzymes.

Insufficient intake, limited absorption, or increased dietary requirements, as observed during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss, are all signs of iron deficiency. Excessive intake of iron pills can cause acute iron overload, especially in children. Excessive iron intake, genetic hemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions, and a few other disorders can cause chronic iron overload.

Lab tests often ordered with a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Ferritin
  • Transferrin
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test?

The amount of circulating iron in the blood, the capacity of the blood to carry iron, and the amount of stored iron in tissues can all be determined by ordering one or more tests. Testing can also assist distinguish between different types of anemia

The level of iron in the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin. The TIBC test is a useful indirect assessment of transferrin because it is the predominant iron-binding protein. In response to the requirement for iron, the body generates transferrin. Transferrin levels rise when iron levels are low, and vice versa. About one-third of the binding sites on transferrin are used to transport iron in healthy humans.

The reserve capacity of transferrin, or the part of transferrin that has not yet been saturated, is measured by UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

The iron test result, as well as TIBC or UIBC, are used to calculate transferrin saturation. It represents the proportion of transferrin that is iron-saturated.

Ferritin is the major storage protein for iron inside cells, and serum ferritin represents the quantity of stored iron in the body.

These tests are frequently ordered together, and the results can assist the doctor figure out what's causing the iron deficit or overload.

Additional information about iron

A balance between the quantity of iron received into the body and the amount of iron lost is required to maintain normal iron levels. Because a tiny quantity of iron is lost each day, a deficiency will develop if too little iron is consumed. In healthy persons, there is usually enough iron to prevent iron deficiency and/or iron deficiency anemia, unless they eat a bad diet. There is a greater need for iron in some circumstances. People who have persistent gut bleeding or women who have heavy menstrual periods lose more iron than they should and can develop iron deficiency. Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding lose iron to their babies and may develop an iron shortage if they do not consume enough supplemental iron. Children may require additional iron, especially during periods of rapid growth, and may suffer iron shortage.

Low serum iron can also arise when the body is unable to adequately utilize iron. The body cannot correctly utilize iron to generate additional red cells in many chronic disorders, particularly malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic infections. As a result, transferrin production slows, serum iron levels drop because little iron is absorbed from the stomach, and ferritin levels rise. Malabsorption illnesses like sprue syndrome can cause iron deficiency.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Magnesium test is a blood test that measures magnesium levels in your blood’s serum and is useful in determining the cause of abnormal levels of magnesium, calcium, and or potassium, and is useful in the evaluation of a wide variety of disorders such as diabetes, kidney disease, and malabsorption.

Also Known As: Magnesium Serum Test, Mg Test, Mag Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Magnesium test ordered?

Magnesium tests may be requested by health professionals as a follow-up to chronically low calcium and potassium levels in the blood. It may also be ordered if a person is experiencing muscle weakness, cramping, twitching, disorientation, seizures, or cardiac arrhythmias, which could be caused by a magnesium deficit.

As part of an evaluation of malabsorption, malnutrition, diarrhea, or alcoholism, a health practitioner may prescribe a magnesium level to check for a deficit. Testing may also be done if someone is taking drugs that cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium. When magnesium and/or calcium supplementation is required, the level of magnesium in the blood can be measured at regular intervals to ensure that the medication is working.

A magnesium test, along with kidney function tests such as a BUN and creatinine, may be given on a regular basis when someone has a kidney problem or uncontrolled diabetes to help monitor renal function and ensure that the person is not excreting or retaining excessive quantities of magnesium.

What does a Magnesium Serum test check for?

The magnesium test measures the amount of magnesium in your blood’s serum. Magnesium is a mineral that supports healthy bones, neuron function, muscle contraction and energy production. It enters the body through the diet and is then processed by the small intestine and colon. Tissues, cells, and bones all contain the element magnesium. It is challenging to determine the total magnesium content from blood tests alone since only 1% of the magnesium present in the body is accessible in the blood. However, this test is still useful for figuring out a person's magnesium levels.

Small levels of magnesium can be found in a range of meals, including green vegetables like spinach, whole grains, and nuts. Magnesium is commonly found in foods that contain dietary fiber. The body regulates how much magnesium it receives and excretes or conserves in the kidneys to keep its magnesium level stable.

Magnesium deficiency can occur as a result of malnutrition, malabsorption-related disorders, or excessive magnesium loss via the kidneys. Magnesium overload can occur as a result of taking magnesium-containing antacids or a decrease in the kidneys' ability to eliminate magnesium.

There may be no or few nonspecific symptoms in someone with mild to severe magnesium insufficiency. Loss of appetite, nausea, muscle cramps, confusion, exhaustion, seizures, changes in heart rate, and tingling or numbness are all symptoms of persistent or severe deficits. They can also wreak havoc on calcium metabolism and worsen calcium deficiency. Muscle weakness, nausea, loss of hunger or cravings, and an erratic heart rate are some of the symptoms of excess magnesium, which are similar to those of deficiency.

Lab tests often ordered with a Magnesium test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Calcium
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Potassium
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Phosphorus
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Glucose

Conditions where a Magnesium test is recommended:

  • Hypomagnesemia
  • Hypermagnesemia
  • Kidney Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Parathyroid Diseases
  • Addison Disease
  • Adrenal Insufficiency

How does my health care provider use a Magnesium test?

Magnesium levels in the blood are measured with a magnesium test. Atypical magnesium levels are most frequently found in conditions or illnesses that result in insufficient or excessive renal excretion of magnesium or impaired intestinal absorption of magnesium. Magnesium levels can be measured to determine the severity of kidney issues, uncontrolled diabetes, as well as to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases.

Because a low magnesium blood level can lead to chronically low calcium and potassium levels over time, it may be tested to help diagnose calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and/or parathyroid hormone – another component of calcium regulation – problems.

Magnesium levels can be checked on a regular basis to monitor the response to oral or intravenous magnesium supplements, and calcium supplementation can be monitored using calcium and phosphorus tests.

What does my Magnesium test result mean?

Low magnesium levels in the blood can suggest that a person isn't getting enough magnesium or is excreting too much. Deficiencies are most commonly encountered in:

  • Low nutritional intake 
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Diabetes that is uncontrolled
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Use of a diuretic for a long time
  • diarrhea that lasts for a long time
  • Following surgery
  • Burns that are severe
  • Pregnancy toxicity

Magnesium levels in the blood are rarely elevated as a result of food sources, but rather as a result of an excretion problem or excessive supplementation. Increased levels can be cause by:

  • Failure of the kidneys
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetic acidosis
  • Addison's disese
  • Use of antacids or laxatives containing magnesium

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Magnesium test is a blood test that measures magnesium levels in your blood’s serum and is useful in determining the cause of abnormal levels of magnesium, calcium, and or potassium, and is useful in the evaluation of a wide variety of disorders such as diabetes, kidney disease, and malabsorption.

Also Known As: Magnesium RBC Test, Magnesium Red Bood Cell Test, Mg Test, Mag test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Magnesium RBC test ordered?

Magnesium tests may be requested by health professionals as a follow-up to chronically low calcium and potassium levels in the blood. It may also be prescribed if a person exhibits symptoms of a magnesium deficiency, such as twitching, muscle weakness, cramping, disorientation, seizures, or cardiac arrhythmias.

As part of an evaluation of malabsorption, malnutrition, diarrhea, or alcoholism, a health practitioner may prescribe a magnesium level to check for a deficit. Testing may also be done if someone is taking drugs that cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium. When magnesium and/or calcium supplementation is required, the level of magnesium in the blood can be measured at regular intervals to ensure that the medication is working.

A magnesium test, along with kidney function tests such as a BUN and creatinine, may be given on a regular basis when someone has a kidney problem or uncontrolled diabetes to help monitor renal function and ensure that the person is not excreting or retaining excessive quantities of magnesium.

What does a Magnesium RBC test check for?

The magnesium test measures the amount of magnesium in your blood’s serum. Magnesium is a mineral that supports healthy bones, muscle contraction, neuron function, and energy production. It enters the body through the diet and is then absorbed by the small intestine and colon. Bones, cells, and tissues all contain the element magnesium. It is challenging to determine the total magnesium content from blood tests alone since only 1% of the magnesium present in the body is accessible in the blood. However, this test is still useful for figuring out a person's magnesium levels.

Small levels of magnesium can be found in a range of meals, including green vegetables like spinach, whole grains, and nuts. Magnesium is commonly found in foods that contain dietary fiber. The body regulates how much magnesium it receives and excretes or conserves in the kidneys to keep its magnesium level stable.

Magnesium deficiency can occur as a result of malnutrition, malabsorption-related disorders, or excessive magnesium loss via the kidneys. Magnesium overload can occur as a result of taking magnesium-containing antacids or a decrease in the kidneys' ability to eliminate magnesium.

There may be no or few nonspecific symptoms in someone with mild to severe magnesium insufficiency. Nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion, confusion, muscle cramps, seizures, changes in heart rate, and numbness or tingling are all symptoms of persistent or severe deficits. They can also wreak havoc on calcium metabolism and worsen calcium deficiency. Nausea, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and an erratic heart rate are some of the symptoms of excess magnesium, which are similar to those of deficiency.

Lab tests often ordered with a Magnesium RBC test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Calcium
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Potassium
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Phosphorus
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Glucose

Conditions where a Magnesium RBC test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Parathyroid Diseases
  • Addison Disease
  • Adrenal Insufficiency

How does my health care provider use a Magnesium RBC test?

Magnesium levels in the blood are measured with a magnesium test. Atypical magnesium levels are most frequently found in conditions or illnesses that result in insufficient or excessive renal excretion of magnesium or impaired intestinal absorption of magnesium. Magnesium levels can be measured to determine the severity of kidney issues, uncontrolled diabetes, and/or uncontrolled diabetes as well as to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases.

Because a low magnesium blood level can lead to chronically low calcium and potassium levels over time, it may be tested to help diagnose calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and/or parathyroid hormone – another component of calcium regulation – problems.

Magnesium levels can be checked on a regular basis to monitor the response to oral or intravenous magnesium supplements, and calcium supplementation can be monitored using calcium and phosphorus tests.

What does my Magnesium RBC test result mean?

Low magnesium levels in the blood can suggest that a person isn't getting enough magnesium or is excreting too much. Deficiencies are most commonly encountered in:

  • Low nutritional intake 
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Diabetes that is uncontrolled
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Use of a diuretic for a long time
  • diarrhea that lasts for a long time
  • Following surgery
  • Burns that are severe
  • Pregnancy toxicity

Magnesium levels in the blood are rarely elevated as a result of food sources, but rather as a result of an excretion problem or excessive supplementation. Increased levels can be cause by:

  • Failure of the kidneys
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetic acidosis
  • Addison's disese
  • Use of antacids or laxatives containing magnesium

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: The prealbumin test is a blood test that checks for the protein prealbumin or transthyretin in your blood’s serum.

Also Known As: Thyroxine-binding Prealbumin Test, Transthyretin Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Prealbumin test ordered?

When signs and symptoms of malnutrition are evident or when a person is thought to be at risk for malnutrition, such as during a critical or chronic disease, hospitalization, or when receiving parenteral nourishment or undergoing hemodialysis, certain health practitioners may prescribe a prealbumin test. It could also be requested to help determine the severity of a patient's disease.

What does a Prealbumin blood test check for?

Prealbumin, commonly known as transthyretin, is a significant protein in the blood that is largely produced by the liver. Its job is to transport thyroxine and vitamin A around the body. This test determines the blood amount of prealbumin.

Despite its widespread usage as a malnutrition indicator, research is still underway to better understand the functions of prealbumin in the body, including the causes for changes seen during illness and the clinical relevance of prealbumin testing.

Lab tests often ordered with a Prealbumin test:

  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Albumin

Conditions where a Prealbumin test is recommended:

  • Malnutrition

How does my health care provider use a Prealbumin test?

Until recently, the prealbumin test was thought to be a good marker of nutritional status, and it was used to detect and diagnose protein-calorie malnutrition, as well as to monitor persons on complete parenteral nutrition. It was also used to track changes in nutritional status in patients receiving hemodialysis as part of their renal disease treatment.

Changes in prealbumin may really represent other illnesses such as inflammation, infection, or trauma, which is why some health practitioners continue to utilize the test in this way. As a result, several medical professionals have proposed that the prealbumin test no longer be used to monitor nutritional status or diagnose malnutrition. Others, on the other hand, feel that the test can help determine prognosis for those who are severely sick, hospitalized, or at risk of poor outcomes, and that it can prompt nutritional and other interventions that can help improve patient outcomes.

What do my Prealbumin test results mean?

Prealbumin levels are varied depending on age and gender.

Prealbumin deficiency can be found in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Illness that is severe or ongoing
  • Inflammation
  • Burns and other forms of trauma
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Infections that are serious
  • Some intestinal problems

Prealbumin results are difficult to interpret because of the ongoing debate about the appropriate use of this test as researchers continue to investigate the role of prealbumin in the body and what changes in its level in the body imply. A single prealbumin result, according to some, is less important than a series of measurements done several days apart, as well as additional clinical assessments and laboratory tests. Measures of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein, may be requested to help interpret the prealbumin results, for example.

Although a high level of prealbumin may be observed in some illnesses, the test is not utilized to diagnose or monitor these conditions.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Selenium is an element of parental nutrition. Monitoring the selenium concentrations is useful in assessing parental nutrition, especially recent intake. Concentrations are also monitored in children with proprionic acidemia who require special diets with supplements.

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Description: Transferrin is a blood test used to measure the amount of transferrin in the blood's serum. It is used to evaluate if there is a proper amount of iron being transport throughout the body. A test called Total Iron Binding Capacity, or TIBC, will tell you how much of that transferrin is capable of transporting, or binding to the iron in the blood.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting for at least 12 hours is required

When is a Transferrin test ordered?

When a doctor wants to analyze or monitor a person's nutritional health, a transferrin test may be ordered along with additional tests like prealbumin.

What does a Transferrin blood test check for?

The primary protein in the blood that bonds to iron and transfers it across the body is transferrin. Total iron binding capacity, unsaturated iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation are all measures of how much transferrin is available to bind to and transport iron.

The transferrin serum test, along with TIBC, UIBC, and transferrin saturation, measures the blood's ability to bind and transport iron, and is an indicator of iron storage.

Lab tests often ordered with a Transferrin test:

  • Iron Total
  • Iron Total and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Ferritin
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Hemoglobin
  • Hematocrit
  • Reticulocyte Count

Conditions where a Transferrin test is recommended:

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver Disease
  • Malnutrition

How does my health care provider use a Transferrin test?

When assessing a person's nutritional state or liver function, a transferrin test is commonly performed. Transferrin will be low in people with liver disease because it is produced in the liver. Transferrin levels fall when there isn't enough protein in the diet, so this test is used to keep track of your diet.

What do my transferrin test results mean?

The findings of transferrin testing are frequently compared to the results of other iron tests.

If you have the following conditions, you may have a low transferrin level:

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Anemia caused by a build-up of iron in the body can cause a variety of symptoms.
  • Malnutrition
  • Inflammation
  • Hepatitis
  • A kidney ailment that causes protein loss in the urine such as nephrotic syndrome

When there is an iron deficit, transferrin saturation decreases, and when there is an overabundance of iron, such as in iron overload or poisoning, it increases.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: This test will measure the amount of retinol in the blood. It can be used to determine if there is too much vitamin A or not enough vitamin A in the blood.

Also Known As: Retinol test

Collection Method: Blood draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Overnight fasting is preferred

When is a Vitamin A test ordered?

When a person shows signs and symptoms that point to a vitamin A deficiency or is malnourished in general, a vitamin A test may be recommended. The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Blindness at night
  • Eyes, skin, and hair that are dry
  • Damage to and ulcers on the cornea
  • Lesions and thickening of the skin
  • On the lining of the eyes, there are grayish patches.
  • Infections that recur
  • Anemia

When a person has an illness that causes malabsorption of nutrients, testing may be done on a regular basis to check vitamin A status and ensure that the individual is getting enough vitamin A. Inadequate vitamin A absorption has been linked to the following diseases:

  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn's disease

When a person exhibits signs and symptoms of vitamin A poisoning and their medical history is compatible with the ingestion of vitamin A-containing foods or supplements, testing may be undertaken. The following are some of the indications and symptoms of vitamin A toxicity:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Vision that is doubled or blurred
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Muscle ache
  • Joint and bone discomfort
  • Loss of weight
  • Hair loss
  • Dryness of the mucous membranes
  • Itching
  • Dysfunction of the liver
  • At the corners of the mouth, there are cracks
  • Tongue inflammation

What does a Vitamin A blood test check for?

This test examines the amount of retinol in the blood; in animals, retinol is the most common form of vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for proper vision, skin growth and integrity, bone formation, immunological function, and embryonic development. It is essential for the production of photoreceptors in the eyes as well as the maintenance of the lining of the eye's surface and other mucous membranes. Vitamin A deficiency can impair night vision, induce eye damage, and even result in blindness in severe situations. Vitamin A excesses, whether acute or chronic, can be hazardous, resulting in a variety of symptoms and, in rare cases, birth abnormalities.

Vitamin A is not produced by the body, so it must be obtained from food. Vitamin A is found in meat, while carotene is found in vegetables and fruits. Vitamin A is stored in the liver and adipose tissues, with healthy people storing up to a year's worth. Through a feedback system that releases vitamin A from storage as needed and enhances or decreases the efficiency of dietary vitamin A absorption, the body maintains a reasonably steady concentration in the blood.

Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the United States, but it is a major health issue in many underdeveloped countries where people have poor diets. Night blindness is one of the first indicators of vitamin A insufficiency. The World Health Organization estimated that night blindness impacted as many as 5 million preschool age children and nearly 10 million pregnant women in a 1995-2005 study of the global incidence of vitamin A deficiency in populations at risk. In addition, they calculated that 190 million preschool children and 19 million pregnant women were at danger of vitamin A deficiency due to low retinol levels, which indicated a lack of vitamin A supply.

Deficits are most common among malnourished people, those with malabsorption disorders such celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, or chronic pancreatitis, the elderly, and those with alcoholism and liver disease in the United States.

Overuse of vitamin supplements is the leading cause of vitamin A toxicity. It can, however, happen when the diet contains a significant amount of vitamin A-rich foods, such as liver.

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin A test:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron Total
  • Iron and TIBC

Conditions where a Vitamin A test is recommended:

  • Malnutrition
  • Celiac Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Anemia
  • Alcoholism
  • Liver Disease
  • Malabsorption

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin A test?

Vitamin A testing is used to diagnose vitamin A deficiency in patients who have symptoms like night blindness or who have disorders that limit nutritional absorption in the intestine and are at risk of deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the United States, hence testing for this purpose is uncommon. Testing is sometimes performed to detect hazardous levels of vitamin A induced by ingesting high doses of the vitamin.

Vitamin A is necessary for proper vision, skin growth and integrity, bone formation, immunological function, and embryonic development. It is essential for the production of photoreceptors in the eyes as well as the maintenance of the lining of the eye's surface and other mucous membranes.

Vitamin A is not produced by the body, so it must be obtained from food. Vitamin A is found in meat, while carotene is found in vegetables and fruits. Vitamin A deficiency can impair night vision, induce eye damage, and even result in blindness in severe situations. Vitamin A excesses, whether acute or chronic, can be hazardous, resulting in a variety of symptoms and, in rare cases, birth abnormalities.

What do my Vitamin A test results mean?

A normal vitamin A blood level suggests that a person has enough vitamin A right now, but it doesn't tell you how much vitamin A is held in reserve. Until vitamin A stores are depleted, the body will keep vitamin A levels in the blood at a reasonably constant level.

A low vitamin A blood test result means that the person's reserves have been depleted and they are deficient.

A high vitamin A blood level implies that the body's ability to retain vitamin A has been exceeded, and that excess vitamin A is currently circulating in the bloodstream, where it may be deposited in other tissues, causing toxicity.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Vitamin B1 deficiency is most often associated with alcoholism, chronic illness and following gastric by-pass surgery. Prolonged deficiency causes beriberi. Plasma vitamin B1 is useful in evaluating nutritional assessment and compliance, while whole blood vitamin B1 is useful in evaluating body stores.

Description: A Vitamin B12 test is a blood test that measures the level of Vitamin B12 in the blood’s serum and is used to detect Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Also Known As:  B12 Test, Cobalamin Test, Vitamin B12 test, Serum B12 Test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: No preparation required. 

When is a Vitamin B12 test ordered?  

When a complete blood count and/or blood smear, performed as part of a health checkup or anemia evaluation, reveal a low red blood cell count with the presence of big RBCs, vitamin B12 levels may be ordered. A high mean corpuscular volume implies that the RBCs have grown in size. 

When a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms of a deficit, testing for B12 levels may be necessary: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Muscle weakness, fatigue 
  • Appetite loss. 
  • Skin that is pale 
  • Irregular heartbeats, rapid heart rate 
  • Breathing problems 
  • Tongue and mouth ache 
  • In the feet, hands, arms, and legs, there is tingling, numbness, and/or burning 
  • Confusion or obliviousness 
  • Paranoia 

When a person is at risk of deficiency, such as those with a history of malnutrition or a condition associated to malabsorption, B12 tests may be required. 

Individuals being treated for malnutrition or a B12 or folate deficit may have these tests done on a frequent basis to see how effective their treatments are. This could be part of a long-term therapy plan for people who have a disease that causes chronic deficiency.  

What does a Vitamin B12 blood test check for? 

Vitamin B12 is a member of the vitamin B complex. It is required for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell healing, and the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material in cells. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that the body cannot make and must be obtained through the diet. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is detected by measuring vitamin B12 in the liquid portion of the blood. 

A B12 deficiency can cause macrocytic anemia, which is characterized by red blood cells that are bigger than normal. Megaloblastic anemia is a kind of macrocytic anemia marked by the generation of fewer but larger RBCs known as macrocytes, as well as cellular abnormalities in the bone marrow. Reduced white blood cell and platelet count are two other test results linked to megaloblastic anemia. 

B12 is also necessary for nerve function, and a lack of it can induce neuropathy, which causes tingling and numbness in the hands and feet of those who are affected. 

B12 deficiency is most commonly caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet or supplements, insufficient absorption, or an increased requirement, such as during pregnancy. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin B12 test: 

  • Folate 
  • Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) 
  • Homocysteine 
  • Vitamin B1 
  • Vitamin B2 
  • Vitamin B3 
  • Vitamin B5 
  • Vitamin B6 
  • Vitamin B7 
  • Rheumatoid factor 

Conditions where a Vitamin B12 test is recommended:

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency 
  • Pernicious Anemia 
  • Nerve Damage 
  • Malabsorption 
  • Malnutrition 

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin B12 test? 

Vitamin B12 and folate are frequently used in conjunction to detect deficiencies and to aid in the diagnosis of anemias such as pernicious anemia, an inflammatory condition that inhibits B12 absorption. 

B12 and folate are two vitamins that the body cannot generate and must be obtained from the diet. They are essential for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material in cells. B12 is required for normal nerve function. 

B12 and folate tests can also be used to assess someone who is experiencing mental or behavioral changes, especially in the elderly. A B12 test can be ordered with or without folate, as well as with other screening laboratory tests like a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, antinuclear antibody, C-reactive protein, and rheumatoid factor to help determine why a person is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a nerve condition. 

B12 and folate tests can also be performed in conjunction with a variety of other tests to assess a person's overall health and nutritional status if they have signs and symptoms of substantial malnutrition or dietary malabsorption. People with alcoholism, liver disease, stomach cancer, or malabsorption diseases including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or cystic fibrosis may fall into this category. 

Testing may be performed to assess the success of treatment in patients with known B12 and folate deficits. This is especially true for people who cannot absorb B12 and/or folate effectively and must be treated for the rest of their lives. 

Folate levels in the blood's serum might fluctuate depending on a person's recent diet. Because red blood cells contain 95 percent of circulating folate, a test to evaluate folate levels inside RBCs could be employed instead of or in addition to the serum test. Some doctors believe that the RBC folate test is a better predictor of long-term folate status and is more clinically useful than serum folate, however there is no consensus on this. 

Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are two more laboratory tests that can be used to detect B12 and folate deficits. In B12 deficiency, both homocysteine and MMA are high, whereas in folate deficit, only homocysteine, not MMA, is elevated. This distinction is critical because treating anemia with folate treats the anemia but not the brain damage, which may be irreparable. 

What do my Vitamin B12 test results mean? 

Normal B12 and folate levels may indicate that a person does not suffer from a deficiency and that the signs and symptoms they are experiencing?are caused by something else. Normal levels, on the other hand, may indicate that a person's stored B12 and/or folate has not yet been depleted. 

A health practitioner may order a methylmalonic acid test as an early sign of B12 deficiency if a B12 level is normal but a deficiency is still suspected. 

A low B12 and/or folate level in a person with signs and symptoms implies a deficiency, although it does not always indicate the severity of the anemia or related neuropathy. Additional tests are frequently performed to determine the source of the deficit. Low B12 or folate levels can be caused by a variety of factors. 

Dietary folate or B12 deficiency, which?is uncommon in the United States. It can be evident in people who are malnourished in general and vegans who do not eat any animal products. Folate deficiency has become extremely rare since the development of fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products. 

Both B12 and folate deficits can be caused by diseases that prevent them from being absorbed in the small intestine. These may include the following: 

  • Pernicious anemia 
  • Celiac disease 
  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are examples of inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Bacterial overgrowth or the presence of parasites in the intestines, such as tapeworms 
  • Long-term usage of antacids or H2 proton pump inhibitors reduces stomach acid production. 
  • Absorption can be considerably reduced by surgery that removes part of the stomach or the intestines, such as gastric bypass. 
  • Insufficiency of the pancreas 
  • Chronic alcoholism or heavy drinking 
  • Some treatments, such as metformin, omeprazole, methotrexate, or anti-seizure medications like phenytoin, are used. 
  • Increased requirements for healthy fetal development, all pregnant women require an increased amount of folate and are advised to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. The need for folate is higher in those who have cancer that has spread or who have chronic hemolytic anemia. 
  • Smoking 

If a person is being treated for a B12 or folate deficit with supplements, normal or higher findings suggest that the treatment is working. 

High amounts of B12 are uncommon, and they aren't routinely evaluated clinically. If a person has a condition such chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm, diabetes, heart failure, obesity, AIDS, or severe liver disease, their vitamin B12 level may be elevated. High B12 levels can also be caused by using estrogens, vitamin C, or vitamin A. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Vitamin B2 is involved in metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. The clinical manifestations of deficiency are non-specific. Clinical manifestations include mucocutaneous lesions of the mouth and skin, corneal vascularization, anemia, and personality changes.


While dietary fatty acid deficiency is rare, people who suffer from it could experience different debilitating effects. However, it’s quite difficult to establish whether you have it or not. After all, the symptoms could be an indication of other conditions.

The chances are that if you are on this page, you have good reason to suspect a possible fatty acid dietary deficiency. If that’s the case, consider ordering fatty acid lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests today. We offer a highly accurate and reliable test to screen for abnormal levels of fatty acids along with other dietary deficiencies. But first, you may want to understand what this condition is all about and whether you have a reason to be concerned.

Keep reading to learn more about what a dietary fatty acid deficiency is. We will cover a general overview of dietary fatty acid deficiency and the test that can be used to diagnose or deny the condition.

What is a Fatty Acid?

Fatty acids are simply energy storage units that usually makeup components of cell membranes. They are an important composition of:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Tissue cells
  • Plasma phosphatidylcholine.

The body usually acquires fatty acids through the consumption of dietary fat. It’s nearly impossible for the body to produce fatty acids on its own, which is why it’s integral for individuals to ensure that they are consuming enough fatty acids in their diet. There are only two forms of fatty acids that are considered essential to humans. These are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid)
  • Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid)

Other fatty acids are generally considered conditionally essential, meaning they might be essential for people with specific developmental conditions or diseases.

Why are Essential Fatty Acids Important?

Essential fatty acids are essential to your health. Your body needs an adequate intake of enough dietary fats to perform a number of vital functions. Some of these functions are:

  • Joint and bone health
  • Energy storage
  • Neurological health
  • Hair, skin, and eye health
  • Mental health
  • Minimizing risk factors for heart disease

Of course, there are many other factors than the one listed here. Still, a proper intake of dietary fatty acids isn't simply supplementary to your health. It’s absolutely necessary.

What Is Fatty Acid and Omega Deficiency?

Dietary fatty acids deficiency is also commonly referred to as essential fatty acids deficiency (EFAD). And just as the names indicate, it’s a lack of adequate fatty acid levels in the body. In many cases, it means an inadequacy in terms of linoleic acid or alpha-linolenic acid levels in the body.

It’s quite a rare condition, both in adults and children. Fortunately, EFAD is fairly uncommon in the US and can be caused by an inadequate intake of dietary fats. It’s a lot more common to have a deficiency in DHA and EPA, which are Omega-3 fatty acids.

What are the Main Causes of Deficiency in Fatty Acids?

The main cause for fatty acid deficiency is when an individual lacks adequate dietary fat intake. Adequate dietary fat intake can be ascertained by making sure you eat the proper amounts of the following foods:

  • Nuts
  • Cooking oils
  • Fish oil
  • Seeds
  • Animal fat

Eating whole foods is a great way to ensure that you’re consuming dietary fats. However, many individuals take Omega-3 supplements like vegan omega-3 supplements or fish oil to boost their otherwise inadequate dietary fat intake. Studies even show that there’s a link between reduced heart disease deaths and the higher omega-3 intake.

What Are the Risk Factors for Omega and Fatty Acids Deficiency?

The US has a great number of fatty food sources, and EFAD is quite uncommon. Still, there are individuals who develop this condition through fat-free or low-fat diets. For these cases, raising the dietary fat intake might be enough to regulate the essential fatty acid levels.

People at the end-stage of liver disease might also suffer from EFAD. This condition is part of a host of other problems related to malnutrition that people suffering from liver disease may experience. There are also populations that are specifically at risk for developing EFAD, both due to environmental or developmental conditions. The populations might suffer from conditions like:

  • Fat malabsorption conditions
  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Sjogren-Larsson syndrome
  • Acrodermatitis enteropathica

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Deficiency in Dietary Fatty Acids?

Essential fatty acid deficiency could be manifested through several signs and symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Anemia
  • Scaly, dry rash
  • Alopecia
  • Increased frequency of stools
  • Slowed growth rate

Which Lab Tests Can Diagnose, Screen, and Monitor Deficiencies in Dietary Fatty Acids?

At Ulta lab tests, we offer an omega-3 and omega-6 test to screen and diagnose any deficiencies in omega-3 and omega-6. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid lab test is conducted as outlined below:

  • The patient has their blood drawn to provide a plasma sample
  • The plasma will then be tested for omega-3 and omega-6 levels
  • Once results are available, they are posted to the patient’s secure online patient portal

Why Choose Ulta Lab Tests for Fatty Acids and Omega Deficiency Lab Testing?

We offer reliable and highly accurate lab tests, enabling you to make informed decisions about your health. Below are some of the things you will love about Ulta Lab Tests:

  • Every patient gets confidential and secure results
  • Patients don’t need health insurance
  • Affordable pricing for all tests
  • No need for physician’s referral
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Place your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid test order today to find out if you have any deficiencies in your fatty acid levels. Your test results will be confidentially and securely sent to you online within 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today by contacting Ulta Lab Tests today.