We have all heard that eating a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is essential to maintaining our health.
But, even if you're eating a balanced diet, you might be experiencing a mineral deficiency.
92% of Americans are deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral.
Here, we will answer all of your most pressing questions about mineral deficiency and how to diagnose and monitor it with a mineral blood test.
What Is Mineral Deficiency?
Minerals are necessary micronutrients for the body to function normally. These are some examples of minerals that are essential in a healthy body:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
The majority of these micronutrients are not produced naturally by the body and are obtained through the food you eat.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is the amount of that nutrient sufficient to consume in one day.
A mineral deficiency occurs when the body is not obtaining or absorbing a sufficient amount of one or more minerals.
Mineral deficiencies can cause a number of different side effects, some of which are serious health concerns.
Iron and zinc deficiencies can lead to DNA damage and cancer.
Risk Factors for Mineral Deficiency
A deficiency occurs over time for a number of different reasons and will vary from person to person. However, there are certain risk factors that put someone at a higher risk for mineral deficiency.
Some people at risk are picky eaters, people with eating disorders, or those on a low-calorie diet. They may not be getting the wide range of different foods in their diet that is necessary to obtain sufficient nutrients.
If you have a restricted diet, like a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may also be at greater risk of mineral deficiency. Those consuming vegan and vegetarian diets are particularly at risk for calcium and iron deficiency.
Calcium is common in dairy products that vegans avoid. And red meats are a great source of iron.
Alcoholics and those with other diseases are also at increased risk of mineral deficiency.
Anyone at increased risk for a deficiency should take care to eat a balanced diet. They may benefit from supplementation with a complete vitamin and mineral. They can also monitor their health with a regular blood test for minerals deficiencies.
Causes of Mineral Deficiency
There are three main causes of mineral deficiency:
- Increased need for a nutrient
- Difficulty absorbing a nutrient
If your diet does not contain a broad array of fruits and vegetables, you may experience a mineral deficiency. Processed foods and junk foods are not great sources of essential nutrients.
Additionally, you may experience an increased need for certain nutrients during different stages of your life. For example, women often have different nutrient needs during pregnancy, heavy menstruation, and menopause.
Many medical conditions like liver disease, gallbladder disease, and chronic alcoholism can impede your body's ability to properly absorb the nutrients in your diet, resulting in a deficiency.
Some medications, like antacids, laxatives, and antibiotics, may also interfere with the body's absorption of nutrients.
Signs and Symptoms of Mineral Deficiency
The signs and symptoms will vary depending on which mineral is deficient. Generally, you should seek further testing and speak with a medical professional if you notice that you are experiencing any unordinary symptoms.
There are countless different minerals in which someone might be experiencing a deficiency. Here are some of the most common mineral deficiencies and their symptoms.
Zinc is a critical nutrient in keeping the immune system functioning and also helps with healing wounds and protein synthesis.
If you are experiencing a zinc deficiency, you might develop a loss of appetite, taste, or smell. You may also be more likely to get sick because of decreased immune system functioning.
Calcium is the building block of your bones and teeth, helping to keep them strong. It is also critical in heart and nerve function.
The most common sign of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis. If your doctor notices that you have osteoporosis, or if you recognize that your diet is lacking in calcium-rich foods, you may have a calcium deficiency.
Iron is the most common mineral deficiency. The most common side effect is anemia. When someone is anemic, they do not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout their body.
If you are experiencing fatigue, it could be iron deficiency. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, weakness, decreased brain function.
Diagnosing Mineral Deficiency with a Mineral Blood Test
Diagnosing mineral deficiencies is commonly done by evaluating symptoms and diet with nutrition tests. As you evaluate a variety of potential causes, the process may proceed slowly.
However, if you suspect you have nutritional deficiencies and are seeking medical advice, you are probably wondering, is there a blood test for vitamins?
Testing for mineral deficiencies with a blood test for vitamins is an effective, quick, and reliable way to evaluate your health.
You can compare your test result with a reference range, which indicates how much of a certain mineral or vitamin should be present in a healthy individual. This helps you to quickly identify any discrepancies.
Lab testing for mineral deficiencies can be an important preventative step in maintaining your health. These tests can evaluate your blood, plasma, or red blood cells.
Whole blood mineral tests are tests that use a whole blood specimen to measure mineral levels. These tests include:
Serum mineral tests are tests that check for mineral levels within the serum of your blood. These tests include:
Plasma mineral tests are tests that check for mineral levels within the plasma of your blood. These tests include:
Red blood cell (RBC) mineral tests are tests that check for mineral levels within or on your red blood cells. These tests include:
Using Ulta Lab Tests, you can order your tests online, visit one of our patient centers where a phlebotomist will draw your blood, and review your results from home within 48 hours.
Benefits of Mineral Deficiency Lab Testing with Ulta Lab Tests
Whether you have a history of mineral deficiencies or simply suspect that your diet isn't getting you all of the necessary vitamins and minerals, get peace of mind with a mineral blood test.
Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable, so you can make informed decisions about your health. Here are a few great things to love about Ulta Lab Tests:
- You'll get secure and confidential results
- You don't need health insurance
- You don't need a physician's referral
- You'll get affordable pricing
- We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your essential mineral lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
Take control with Ulta Lab Tests today!