Vitamins

Are you wondering if you have a vitamin deficiency? Check out our guide for symptoms, information on vitamin blood tests for deficiencies, and more.

Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. There are 13 vitamins your body needs. They are Vitamin A, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate), Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.


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Warfarin (Coumadin®) therapy is associated with significant complications because of its narrow therapeutic index and large interpatient dosage variation necessary to achieve an optimal therapeutic response. This variation is due to both genetic and environmental factors. A promoter variant (-1639 G?A) of the Vitamin K epoxide complex subunit 1 (VCR) accounts for 25%-44% of this variability and variants of the cytochrome P enzyme C (SPCA) account for 10%-15% of this variability. Identification of these warfarin sensitive variants of the VKORC1 and the CYP2C9 genes may allow a more individualized therapy and reduced risk of bleeding complications.


Individuals undergoing hemodialysis are at risk for aluminum toxicity. Prolonged accumulation may cause encephalkopathy, and vitamin d-resistant osteomalacia. Also workers exposed to high levels or to long-term low levels of aluminum dust are at increased risk of toxicity.

Collection Instructions

Allow sample to clot for 30 minutes, spin at 3,000 RPM for 10 minutes and transfer serum to plastic, amber vial. If amber vial is not available, wrap tube in aluminum foil to protect from light. Freeze within 30 minutes and send frozen.


C4B is a complement binding protein that specifically binds 50% circulating protein S, a vitamin K dependent cofactor of protein C activation. Since C4B may be elevated in certain disease states, this may affect the available "free protein S" to engage in anticoagulant activity.

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Serum calcium is involved in the regulation of neuromuscular and enzyme activity, bone metabolism and blood coagulation. Calcium blood levels are controlled by a complex interaction of parathyroid hormone, vitamin D, calcitonin and adrenal cortical steroids. Calcium measurements are useful in the diagnosis of parathyroid disease, some bone disorders and chronic renal disease. A low level of calcium may result in tetany.

Urinary calcium reflects dietary intake, rate of calcium absorption by the intestine and bone resorption. Urinary calcium is used primarily to evaluate parathyroid function and the effects of vitamin D. A significant number of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism will have elevated urinary calcium. However, there are other clinical entities that may be associated with increased urine calcium: Sarcoidosis, Paget's disease of bone, vitamin D intoxication, hyperthyroidism and glucocorticoid excess. Decreased urine calcium is seen with thiazide diuretics, vitamin D deficiency and familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia.

Measurement of serum 25-OH vitamin D concentrations provide a good index of circulating vitamin D activity in patients not suffering from renal disease. Lower than normal 25-OH vitamin D levels can result from a dietary deficiency, poor abosrption of the vitamin or impaired metabolism of the sterol in the liver. A 25-OH vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Above normal levels can lead hypercalcemia. This assay employs liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to independently measure and report the two common forms of 25-hydroxy vitamin D: 25OH D3 - the endogenous form of the vitamin and 25OH D2 - the analog form used to treat 25OH Vitamin D3 deficiency.

Beta Carotene, a fat soluble nutrient, is a precursor to vitamin A. Deficiencies may lead to vitamin A deficiency. Excessive vitamin A intake may lead to headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea, skin changes, and potential birth defects.

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CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules.


This panel is designed to evaluate a patient for the presence of potentially reversible (i.e., secondary) causes of dementia such as Vitamin B12 deficiency, hypothyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, anemia, hypoxia or hypercapnia, hepatic and renal encephalopathies, diabetes, and dehydration. The panel includes a Complete Blood Count, TSH, Vitamin B12, Folate, and a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. It is modeled after the recommendations of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), a National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel, the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), and others.1-4

This panel is designed for individuals diagnosed as having diabetes mellitus whose kidney disease has advanced to Stage 3/4 impairment. The panel affords the opportunity to assess electrolytes, phosphorus, serum creatinine/eGFR, hemoglobin, microalbumin, parathyroid hormone, calcium, and vitamin D. The grouping of these tests, readily identifiable as elements that adhere to guideline recommendations, is intended to facilitate the ready adherence to professional society clinical practice guidelines. Components of the testing related to the Management of CKD in diabetes, as outlined in the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2013. These recommendations are in broad agreement with those published by the National Kidney Foundation and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

The factor X assay is a blood test to measure the activity of factor X. This is one of the proteins in the body that helps the blood clot.


Vitamin D (distinct from the vitamin D metabolites, 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 1, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D) is an essential nutrient obtained via exposure to sunlight (cholecalciferol) or diet (ergocalciferol). Measuring the vitamin D cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be used in the diagnosis and management of disorders of fat absorption such as Crohn's Disease.

IMPORTANT - Requires a Prescription for 50,000 UNITS VITAMIN D2 to conduct this test that is not part of this test.


Folate levels have diagnostic significance in nutritional deficiencies, especially in cases of severe alcoholism, function damage to the upper third of small bowel, pregnancy and various forms of megoblastic anemia. Since serum folate levels are subject to rapid changes reflecting diet and absorption, RBC folate may be a better diagnostic tool since the levels remain fairly constant.

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Folic acid deficiency is common in pregnant women, alcoholics, in patients whose diets do not include raw fruits and vegetables, and in people with structural damage to the small intestine. The most reliable and direct method of diagnosing folate deficiency is the determination of folate levels in both erythrocytes and serum. Low folic acid levels, however, can also be the result of a primary vitamin B12 deficiency that decreases the ability of cells to take up folic acid

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Elevated levels of homocysteine are observed in patients at risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

Intrinsic Factor, produced by cells lining the stomach, binds vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) to facilitate absorption of the vitamin. Blocking antibody impedes the action of Intrinsic Factor as observed in approximately half of the patients who develop pernicious anemia.

Samples should not be collected from a patient who has received Vitamin B12 injection therapy within the last week.


The methylmalonic acid (MMA) test may be used to help diagnose an early or mild vitamin B12 deficiency. It may be ordered by itself or along with a homocysteine test as a follow-up to a vitamin B12 test result that is in the lower end of the normal range.


Methylmalonic acid is metabolized as methylmalonyl CoA from the catabolism of certain amino acids and fatty acids. Methylmalonyl CoA is then converted to Succinic acid by the following reaction: Methylmalonic Acid Methylmalonyl CoA Mutase + B12 Succinic Acid The enzyme Methylmalonyl CoA mutase requires Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) as a cofacter. MMA is used to evaluate cobalamin deficiency. Elevated serum MMA reflects decreased tissue cobalamin levels and is an early indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency. Cobalamin dependent neurological disease with normal hematologic parameters and serum B12 levels is frequently associated with significant elevations of serum methylmalonic acid. Methylmalonic Acidemia is an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism, in which there is a deficiency of the enzyme methylmalonyl CoA mutase, resulting in a large accumulation of MMA in serum and urine. There is also a combined defect in the cobalamin pathway with elevation of both MMA and homocysteine.



Aids in diagnosis of decreased activity of Protein C characterized by recurrent venous thrombosis. Acquired deficiencies associated with Protein C include: oral anticoagulant therapy, liver disease, vitamin K deficiency, malignancy, consumptive DIC, surgery, trauma, antibodies to Protein C and hepatic immaturity of the newborn.

In the presence of low Protein C Activity, Protein C Antigen is useful in classifying the deficiency as Type I or II.

Aids in diagnosis of congenital deficiencies characterized by recurrent venous thrombosis. Acquired deficiencies associated with Protein C include: oral anticoagulant therapy, liver disease, vitamin K deficiency, malignancy, consumptive DIC, surgery, trauma, antibodies to Protein C and hepatic immaturity of the newborn.

Measurement of serum 25-OH vitamin D concentrations provide a good index of circulating vitamin D activity in patients not suffering from renal disease. Lower than normal 25-OH vitamin D levels can result from a dietary deficiency, poor absorption of the vitamin or impaired metabolism of the sterol in the liver. A 25-OH vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Above normal levels can lead hypercalcemia. This assay employs liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to independently measure and report the two common forms of 25-hydroxy vitamin D: 25OH D3 - the endogenous form of the vitamin and 25OH D2 - the analog form used to treat 25OH Vitamin D3 deficiency. While this assay will produce accurate Vitamin D results on patients of any age, it is specifically indicated for infants less than 3 years of age.



If a doctor is trying to diagnose a patient with unusual symptoms, they want to look carefully at everything about the patient. To do this, they need to look closely at everything happening inside the patient's body, including their nutrition and how their body is handling vitamins. 

They may question their nutrition patterns, wondering if they get all the needed vitamins to stay healthy and avoid correlated health issues. A vitamin blood test provides a doctor with specific information about vitamins, or lack of them, in the patient's body systems. 

Because being vitamin deficient can lead to other significant health problems, people need to check for vitamin deficiencies with blood tests regularly.
 Read on to learn more about vitamin deficiencies and how getting information from vitamin blood tests can help to improve your health. 

What Is Vitamin Deficiency?

A healthy body has 13 different essential vitamins working to keep it healthy. Each of the vitamins your body takes in has a role in helping to keep your body healthy, functioning, and resisting illness. The vitamins your body needs come from both the food you eat and Earth. 

Some of the vitamins you need are in very small quantities, while others you need more significant quantities for your body to stay healthy.

So, a body that is suffering from a vitamin deficiency is missing some of those important nutrients. Because those vitamins have specific roles in the body, depending on what you're missing, your body will start to show signs that you're not getting enough of one or more of those vitamins. 

Risk Factors for Vitamin Deficiency?

There can be some serious risk factors associated with vitamin deficiency. Of course, the risk factors will vary depending on which vitamin is deficient. 

For example, a person may suffer from anemia. Anemia happens when your body has a deficiency of folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C. Your body might become deficient in those vitamins if you aren't eating the right foods, or your body can't absorb and hold those vitamins properly. 

Another common vitamin deficiency comes from not getting enough vitamin D.  Vitamin D can help prevent getting some cancers, and it also helps maintain strong bones in the body. People who suffer from a vitamin D deficiency can experience a variety of problems. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infections and immune system disorders
  • Falls 
  • Some types of cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis

These are just a few of the risk factors when a person experiences a vitamin deficiency. Many more are possible from the other 13 essential vitamins. 

Causes of Vitamin Deficiency

There are a variety of causes that create a vitamin deficiency, depending on the patient and their specific deficiency. By and large, vitamin deficiency comes from the lack of a particular vitamin in the system. 

For many people, that is related to nutrition. They are not eating enough of the right foods to get their body the vitamins. Some patients, though, are eating the right foods, and their body is doing something wrong and not taking the vitamins in.

Some diseases also disrupt the body's ability to take in vitamins.  For example, those who have diabetes, celiac disease, or Crohn's disease have difficulty with vitamin absorption.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency?

Signs of a vitamin deficiency vary like the causes. Depending on the specific vitamin, the symptoms vary If there are concerns about diet or underlying health conditions, the doctor will consider signs of vitamin deficiency. Some of these signs might include:

  • Brittle bones
  • Moodiness
  • Hair loss
  • Bleeding gums
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Skin conditions
  • Swelling
  • Leg cramps
  • Weight loss

The tricky thing about a vitamin deficiency is that the symptoms can also be connected to other health conditions, making testing for the specific vitamin deficiency necessary. 

Diagnosis of Vitamin Deficiencies

If a doctor suspects an issue with a vitamin deficiency, they will order a vitamin blood test for the specific vitamin in question. The most accurate method to look for a deficiency is to have blood drawn and tested to look for the particular vitamin levels.

Once there are results, the doctor and patient can look closely at what's causing the deficiency and how to treat the underlying cause best or get more of that vitamin in the system.

Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor Vitamin Deficiency

In addition to the vitamins the body needs, there are several minerals too. Here are some of the specific blood tests you could use to test for a vitamin deficiency:

Based on your symptoms and health, the doctor can best decide which specific blood tests to order. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamin Deficiency and Lab Testing 

You might have some questions related to a potential vitamin deficiency. Let's take a look at some common questions.

How do I know how much of each vitamin I actually need? The USDA provides an online tool that helps you to calculate exactly what your body needs based on your gender, age, body type, and activity level. 

What should I do if I am concerned I have a vitamin deficiency? It always makes sense to start the conversation with your primary care doctor. They can look at your overall health to evaluate the possibility of a vitamin deficiency and other related conditions. They can also recommend the necessary blood tests to check your levels of vitamins.

What happens if I have a vitamin deficiency? You and your doctor should evaluate what's causing the deficiency. Is it simply a matter of poor diet? Is there some other underlying health condition contributing to the problem? Once you understand what's causing the deficiency, you can address how to fix it. 

Benefits of Vitamin Deficiency Lab Testing with Ulta Lab Tests 

Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests 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
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your vitamin lab tests today from Ulta Lab Tests to check for a vitamin deficiency. Your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online within 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Blood Tests for Vitamin Deficiencies

Blood tests for vitamin deficiencies are an easy and quick way to find out what's happening with your body so you can go on to address the problem. When you use Ulta Lab Tests, you get the specific tests that help to narrow down exactly where the problem lies. 

Take control of your health with Ulta Lab Tests today!