Vitamin Deficiency Testing and health information

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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27 Essential Vitamins and Minerals to Spot Deficiencies

  • Calcium [ 303 ]
  • Carotene [ 311 ]
  • Chloride [ 330 ]
  • Cholinesterase, Serum [ 37965 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Molybdenum, Serum/Plasma [ 6213 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • Potassium [ 733 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Sodium [ 836 ]
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) [ 921 ]
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), LC/MS/MS [ 90353 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Plasma [ 36399 ]
  • Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid) [ 91029 ]
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) [ 91030 ]
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate ) [ 926 ]
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) [ 391 ]
  • Vitamin C [ 929 ]
  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy, LC/MS/MS [ 16558 ]
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) [ 931 ]
  • Vitamin K [ 36585 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]

  • Ferritin [ 457 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay [ 17306 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]

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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Description: A Calcium test is a blood test that is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a wide range of medical conditions.

Also Known As: Ca Test, Serum Calcium Test, Calcium Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Calcium test ordered?

A blood calcium test is frequently requested during a general medical evaluation. It's usually part of the comprehensive metabolic panel or the basic metabolic panel, two sets of tests that can be done during an initial evaluation or as part of a routine medical checks.

Many people do not experience symptoms of high or low calcium until their levels are dangerously high or low.

When a person has certain types of cancer, kidney illness, or has had a kidney transplant, calcium monitoring may be required. When someone is being treated for abnormal calcium levels, monitoring may be required to determine the effectiveness of medications such as calcium or vitamin D supplements.

What does a Calcium blood test check for?

Calcium is one of the most plentiful and vital minerals in the human body. It is required for cell signaling as well as the proper operation of muscles, nerves, and the heart. Calcium is essential for blood clotting as well as bone growth, density, and maintenance. This test determines how much calcium is present in the blood.

Calcium is found complexed in the bones for 99 percent of the time, while the remaining 1% circulates in the blood. Calcium levels are closely monitored; if too little is absorbed or consumed, or if too much is lost through the kidney or stomach, calcium is removed from bone to keep blood concentrations stable. Approximately half of the calcium in the blood is metabolically active and "free." The other half is "bound" to albumin, with a minor proportion complexed to anions like phosphate, and both of these forms are metabolically inactive.

Blood calcium can be measured using two different tests. The free and bound forms of calcium are measured in the total calcium test. Only the free, physiologically active form of calcium is measured in the ionized calcium test.

Lab tests often ordered with a Calcium test:

  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • PTH
  • Albumin
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

Conditions where a Calcium test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Parathyroid Diseases
  • Breast Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma

How does my health care provider use a Calcium test?

A blood calcium test is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of bone, heart, nerve, kidney, and tooth disorders. If a person has signs of a parathyroid disease, malabsorption, or an overactive thyroid, the test may be ordered.

A total calcium level is frequently checked as part of a standard health check. It's part of the comprehensive metabolic panel and the basic metabolic panel, which are both collections of tests used to diagnose or monitor a range of ailments.

When a total calcium result is abnormal, it is interpreted as a sign of an underlying disease. Additional tests to assess ionized calcium, urine calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, and PTH-related peptide are frequently performed to assist determine the underlying problem. PTH and vitamin D are in charge of keeping calcium levels in the blood within a narrow range of values.

Measuring calcium and PTH combined can assist identify whether the parathyroid glands are functioning normally if the calcium is abnormal. Testing for vitamin D, phosphorus, and/or magnesium can assist evaluate whether the kidneys are excreting the right amount of calcium, and measuring urine calcium can help detect whether additional deficits or excesses exist. The balance of these many compounds is frequently just as critical as their concentrations.

The total calcium test is the most common test used to determine calcium status. Because the balance between free and bound calcium is usually constant and predictable, it is a reliable reflection of the quantity of free calcium present in the blood in most cases. However, the balance between bound and free calcium is altered in some persons, and total calcium is not a good indicator of calcium status. Ionized calcium measurement may be required in certain cases. Critically sick patients, those receiving blood transfusions or intravenous fluids, patients undergoing major surgery, and persons with blood protein disorders such low albumin are all candidates for ionized calcium testing.

What do my Calcium test results mean?

The amount of calcium circulating in the blood is not the same as the amount of calcium in the bones.

A feedback loop including PTH and vitamin D regulates and stabilizes calcium uptake, utilization, and excretion. Conditions and disorders that disturb calcium control can induce abnormal acute or chronic calcium elevations or declines, resulting in hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia symptoms.

Total calcium is usually tested instead of ionized calcium since it is easier to do and requires no additional treatment of the blood sample. Because the free and bound forms of calcium make up about half of the total, total calcium is usually a decent depiction of free calcium. Because nearly half of the calcium in blood is bonded to protein, high or low protein levels might alter total calcium test findings. In these circumstances, an ionized calcium test is more appropriate for measuring free calcium.

A normal total or ionized calcium test, when combined with other normal laboratory findings, indicates that a person's calcium metabolism is normal and blood levels are properly managed.

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

Clinical Significance
Micronutrient, Calcium - 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.

Patients must be 18 years of age or greater.

Reference Range(s) (mg/dL)
                        Male                  Female
18-19 years     8.9-10.4    8.9-10.4
20-49 years     8.6-10.3    8.6-10.2
>49 years        8.6-10.3    8.6-10.4
Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.

Clinical Significance
Micronutrients, Heavy Metals Panel, Blood

Patients must be 18 years of age or greater.


  • Micronutrient, Arsenic, Blood
  • Micronutrient, Cadmium, Blood
  • Micronutrient, Cobalt, Blood
  • Micronutrient, Lead, Blood
  • Micronutrient, Mercury, Blood

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.

Description: A Vitamin D test is a blood test used to determine if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and to monitor Vitamin D levels if you are on supplementation.

Also Known As: Ergocalciferol Test, Vitamin D2 Test, Cholecalciferol Test, Vitamin D3 Test, Calcidiol Test, 25-hydroxyvitamin D Test, Calcifidiol Test, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting preferred, but not required.

When is a Vitamin D test ordered:

When calcium levels are inadequate and/or a person exhibits symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets in children and bone weakening, softness, or fracture in adults, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently ordered to rule out a vitamin D deficit.

When a person is suspected of having a vitamin D deficiency, the test may be requested. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older folks, people who are institutionalized or homebound and/or have minimal sun exposure, people who are obese, have had gastric bypass surgery, and/or have fat malabsorption. People with darker skin and breastfed babies are also included in this category.

Before starting osteoporosis medication, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently requested.

What does a Vitamin D blood test check for?

Vitamin D is a group of chemicals that are necessary for the healthy development and growth of teeth and bones. The level of vitamin D in the blood is determined by this test.

Vitamin D is tested in the blood in two forms: 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The primary form of vitamin D found in the blood is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is a relatively inactive precursor to the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is routinely evaluated to assess and monitor vitamin D status in humans due to its longer half-life and higher concentration.

Endogenous vitamin D is created in the skin when exposed to sunshine, whereas exogenous vitamin D is taken through foods and supplements. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 have somewhat different molecular structures. Fortified foods, as well as most vitamin preparations and supplements, include the D2 form. The type of vitamin D3 produced by the body is also used in some supplements. When the liver and kidneys convert vitamin D2 and D3 into the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, they are equally effective.

Some tests may not differentiate between the D2 and D3 forms of vitamin D and just report the total result. Newer methods, on the other hand, may record D2 and D3 levels separately and then sum them up to get a total level.

Vitamin D's major function is to assist balance calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and health; without it, bones become fragile, misshapen, and unable to mend themselves properly, leading to disorders such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D has also been proven to influence the growth and differentiation of a variety of other tissues, as well as to aid in immune system regulation. Other illnesses, such as autoimmune and cancer, have been linked to vitamin D's other roles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of the US population has adequate vitamin D, while one-quarter is at risk of inadequate vitamin D and 8% is at risk of insufficiency, as defined by the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake.

The elderly or obese, persons who don't receive enough sun exposure, people with darker skin, and people who take certain drugs for lengthy periods of time are all at risk of insufficiency. Adequate sun exposure is usually defined as two intervals of 5-20 minutes each week. Vitamin D can be obtained through dietary sources or supplements by people who do not get enough sun exposure.

This test has 3 Biomarkers

  • Vitamin D Total which is a combined measurement of Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 and Vitamin 25-Oh, D3
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 which is a measurement of ergocalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through plant sources. 
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D3 which is a measurement of cholecalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through animal sources.

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin D test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • CMP
  • Iron and TIBC
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • PTH
  • Magnesium

Conditions where a Vitamin D test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Celiac Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition

Commonly Asked Questions:

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

Determine whether a deficit or excess of vitamin D is causing bone weakening, deformity, or improper calcium metabolism.

Because PTH is required for vitamin D activation, it can aid in diagnosing or monitoring problems with parathyroid gland function.

Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed from the intestine like a fat, it can help monitor the health of people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease.

People who have had gastric bypass surgery and may not be able to absorb adequate vitamin D should be closely monitored.

When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation is suggested, it can help assess the success of the treatment.

What do my Vitamin D results result mean?

Despite the fact that vitamin D techniques differ, most laboratories use the same reference intervals. Because toxicity is uncommon, researchers have focused on the lower limit and what cut-off for total 25-hydroxyvitamin D shortage implies.

A low blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D could indicate that a person isn't getting enough sunlight or dietary vitamin D to meet his or her body's needs, or that there's an issue with absorption from the intestines. Seizure medications, notably phenytoin, might occasionally interfere with the liver's generation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of some malignancies, immunological illnesses, and cardiovascular disease.

Excessive supplementation with vitamin pills or other nutritional supplements frequently results in a high level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

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

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.

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!