Do you have an acute suspicion of a vitamin deficiency? A vitamin deficiency test can provide quick relief and answers to your questions. If you would like to learn more about the use of vitamin deficiency tests, the most important purchase criteria and the scientific background to the topic of vitamin deficiency, you have come to the right place.
In our big test on the topic of vitamin deficiency test 2021 we will provide you with all the necessary information that you should consider before and during your purchase. You will also learn some scientific information about vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin deficiency.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Vitamin Deficiency: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a vitamin deficiency test
- 5 Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate vitamin deficiency tests
- 6 Trivia: Facts worth knowing about vitamin deficiency tests
- Vitamins perform important functions in our body. A deficiency can have a dangerous effect on your health.
- In the western population, deficiencies of vitamin D and vitamin B12 are a major problem.
- In case of an acute suspicion of a deficiency, vitamin deficiency tests are a good option to quickly analyse your vitamin levels.
The Best Vitamin Deficiency: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a vitamin deficiency test
What is a vitamin deficiency test?
Nowadays, a vitamin deficiency test can also be carried out at home. Usually a blood or urine sample is taken and then sent to a laboratory for evaluation.
When is a vitamin deficiency test useful?
|Vitamin||symptoms that can indicate a deficiency|
|Vitamin A||whitish spots on the eyelids and conjunctiva, night blindness, dry eyes, problems with the mucous membranes, hearing disorders, impaired sense of smell, in extreme cases blindness|
|Vitamin B2||cracked corners of the mouth, inflamed skin or mucous membranes in the mouth, in extreme cases blindness.|
|Vitamin B6||intestinal problems, nausea, acne, sensitivity to light, inflammation of the corners of the mouth, fatigue|
|Vitamin B9||Paleness, fatigue, tingling of the tongue, inflammation of the mucous membranes, diarrhoea, in extreme cases a deficiency promotes the risk of stroke|
|Vitamin B12||anaemia in the form of paleness, fatigue, lack of concentration, hair loss|
|Vitamin C||inflamed and bleeding gums, water retention, joint pain|
|Vitamin D||rickets (especially in children), reduced muscle tension and strength, fatigue, hair loss, in extreme cases a deficiency can promote depression|
|Vitamin E||involuntary tremors, impaired reflexes, mental slowdown, muscle weakness, in extreme cases retinal diseases|
What types of vitamin deficiency tests are there and which one is right for you?
Vitamin D deficiency test
According to experts, vitamin D deficiency in particular is considered a global problem. Worldwide, more than one billion people suffer from a too low vitamin D supply in the body. Vitamin D is also called the "vitamin of the sun" because it can only be produced in sufficient quantities through the skin.
About 50 to 90 % of vitamin D is formed in the sun. Only small amounts of vitamin D can be formed through diet. However, it fulfils some very important functions in our body. For example, it is responsible for regulating over 200 genes and is essential for growth and development. (1)
Especially in the winter months, many people suffer from the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, because the sun shines very little and weakly in this country at this time. If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency, a vitamin deficiency test is a good idea. Usually, such a self-test involves taking a small blood or urine sample at home and sending it to a laboratory for evaluation. Many manufacturers offer a dry blood test, where even three small drops of blood on a dry blood card are sufficient for the evaluation.
Vitamin B12 deficiency test
A vitamin B12 deficiency is also a widespread phenomenon in the western population. This deficiency often occurs in vegetarians or vegans, as vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), a purely plant-based diet does not provide a sufficient supply of some nutrients, or only with great difficulty. This includes vitamin B12 in particular. With such a diet, it is therefore recommended to supplement the missing nutrients. (2)
However, vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur with an omnivorous (mixed) diet. If a vitamin B12 deficiency is suspected, a vitamin B12 deficiency test can be carried out at home. The application of the self-test is the same as for the vitamin D deficiency test. In most cases, a small blood or urine sample is taken and then sent to a laboratory for evaluation.
How much does a vitamin deficiency test cost?
- Normal pack with a vitamin deficiency test: 30 to 40 GBP
- Vitamin deficiency test + preparation: 40 to 50 GBP
- Pack with two or more tests: approx. 60 to 115 GBP
- Combination pack with vitamin and other nutrient analysis: 150 to 200 GBP
What is the alternative to vitamin deficiency tests?
By taking a blood sample, the doctor can draw up a blood count and thus check your values. A distinction is made between the small and the large blood count(10):
- Small blood count: The small blood count only looks at a few components and their numbers in the blood. This includes, for example, the number of red and white blood cells and the blood platelets.
- Large blood count: In addition to the values that are also examined in the small blood count, additional values are analysed here. In the large blood count, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and hormones are also checked. The large blood count thus provides information about how healthy the body actually is.
The small blood count can be done directly by the doctor and should also be done regularly as a preventive measure. The large blood count, on the other hand, must be sent to a laboratory by your family doctor for evaluation in order to have the exact values determined.
The small blood count is covered by your health insurance every two years. For the large blood count, costs can range from 1000 to 2500 €. For privately insured clients, the costs are usually covered in both cases.
Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate vitamin deficiency tests
When buying vitamin deficiency tests, you can look at the following criteria:
In the following paragraphs we will explain what the individual criteria are.
Mode of application
Vitamin deficiency tests can be done by taking a blood or urine sample. In the blood test, drops of blood are taken from the fingertip through a small prick. In itself, this is not a difficult procedure, but it makes many people uncomfortable to see their own blood. In such cases, it is more advisable to choose a vitamin deficiency test with a urine sample. A container is already included in the package and can then be sent to the specified laboratory.
Whichever way you choose, it is important that you do the sample on an empty stomach. It is best to do the sample in the morning right after getting up and before breakfast.
Additional nutrients tested
Some vitamin deficiency tests analyse only certain vitamins in the body. However, there are also self-tests that can check the levels of other nutrients in addition to vitamins. The following nutrients can be analysed additionally in combined tests:
- Blood sugar
In a blood analysis at the doctor's, other nutrients are also checked in addition to the vitamins.
Additional tests or preparations included
Some manufacturers also offer combination packs that include vitamin deficiency tests for several people. This is especially useful if there is a suspected vitamin deficiency in more than one person in the household.
In other cases, suitable vitamin preparations are also included in addition to the test. So if a vitamin deficiency is detected, you have the right supplements at hand.
Trivia: Facts worth knowing about vitamin deficiency tests
Why is a vitamin deficiency dangerous?
Vitamins are among the basic building blocks in our body, as they regulate important functions in our organism. In the western population, a large number of people suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D or vitamin B12 in particular. In the following paragraphs, we would like to explain the functions of these vitamins and what can happen if a deficiency prevails.
Vitamin B12 is a collective term for different compounds that have the same biological effect. It is also called cobalamin. The vitamin is taken in through food, as the human body cannot produce it on its own. It is mainly found in animal products such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. (6) If you eat a purely plant-based diet, you can only absorb traces of vitamin B12. (4) Vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms and is responsible for metabolism, cell division and the maturation processes of cells.(3)
If there is a vitamin B12 deficiency, it may only be discovered after several years. Especially in our liver, a large part of the vitamin B12 is stored and can thus leave the deficiency unnoticed for a long time. The cause of an absorption disorder can be various diseases (including those of the liver and gall bladder) and, in rare cases, an unbalanced or inadequate diet.(5)
A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible damage in the body. Therefore, the deficiency should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. The signs of a deficiency can often only be detected late, which is why risk groups should have their levels checked every two to three years. Risk groups(7) include:
- Elderly people
- Pregnant women
- Patients with kidney or intense diseases.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to disturbances in cell division, resulting in anaemia. In addition, one can also suffer psychological damage such as weak memory, fatigue, attention deficits, depressive moods or even neurological disorders.(6)
Vitamin D deficiency is also a widespread problem. More than 1 billion people worldwide suffer from an insufficient vitamin D supply.(1)
Basically, one distinguishes between two types of vitamin D:
- Vitamin D2: is absorbed through sunlight
- Vitamin D3: is absorbed through food
Vitamin D3 is predominantly found in animal foods. In most cases, however, there is a deficiency of vitamin D2. This is not a vitamin in the conventional sense, because its biological active ingredient can be described as a hormone due to its composition. It fulfils a number of important functions in the body, including the maturation of cells of the immune system, the bone marrow, processes in the metabolism or the improvement of muscle strength.(8)
Vitamin D deficiency should be treated as early and as quickly as possible. Many researchers believe that a vitamin D deficiency can be a breeding ground for other diseases. A vitamin D deficiency can promote the following diseases, among others (1)
- High blood pressure
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Birth defects
- Some types of cancer including breast, prostate and colon cancer
How can I get enough vitamins?
Vitamin B12 is found, with some exceptions, in animal products. With a balanced and varied mixed diet, the need for vitamin B12 can be well covered. If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, you should have your levels checked by a doctor at regular intervals and supplement the missing nutrients. (11) Medical therapy is not necessary. Supplementation can also take place in the form of food supplements that are taken orally.(12)
Our need for vitamin D can only be met through sufficient exposure to the sun. How much vitamin D is produced in the body depends on which part of the world you are in, the time of day or season, the weather, your clothing, the length of time you spend outdoors, your skin type and which sunscreen you use, as this can reduce the body's own vitamin production. (9)
Since many factors play a role, it is difficult to make a generalisation. However, in order to have an approximate guideline, you can use the following table (9) as a guide:
|Season||duration of sunlight exposure for fair to very fair skin types||duration of sunlight exposure for medium to dark skin types|
|Spring (March, April, May)||10 to 20 minutes||15 to 25 minutes|
|Summer (June, July August)||5 to 10 minutes||10 to 15 minutes|
|Autumn (September, October)||10 to 20 minutes||15 to 25 minutes|
You can stay in the sun longer in the morning (10 am to 12 pm) and in the late afternoon (3 pm to 6 pm), as the radiation is weaker at these times than at midday.(9)
How often should I test my vitamin levels?
It is important to check your current health status at regular intervals. Healthy people should have a check-up every two to three years. However, if you are at risk for vitamin B12 or vitamin D deficiency, such as older people, children, pregnant women, vegetarians/vegans, or people with pre-existing conditions, you should have your levels checked more often. Preferably every few months to once a year.
Photo source: Sudchanham/ 123rf.com
Zahid, Naeem (2010): Vitamin D Deficiency. An Ignored Epidemic. In: International Journal Of Health Sciences. Januar, 4 (1): Seite 5 bis 6.
Ausgewählte Fragen und Antworten zu Veganer Ernährung der Deutschen Gesellschaft Für Ernährung e. V. (Dezember, 2016)
Williams, W (1964) Die Bedeutung von Folsäure und Vitamin B12 für den Zellstoffwechsel. In: Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift. Oktober, 30 (44): S. 2094.
R. Driesch: Vitamin B12. In: Axel M. Gressner, Torsten Arndt (Hrsg.): Lexikon der Medizinischen Laboratoriumsdiagnostik. 2. Auflage, Springer Verlag (2012): S. 1395.
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Ausgewählte Fragen und Antworten zu Vitamin B12 der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (Dezember, 2018)
Herrmann, Wolfgang/Obeid, Rima (2008): Ursachen und frühzeitige Diagnostik von Vitamin-B12-Mangel. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt. Mai, 19 (40): S. 1-7
Ausgewählte Fragen und Antworten zu Vitamin D des Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR), der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährung (DGE) und des Medizinischen Radiologischen Institut (MRI) (Oktober, 2012)
Badenhoop, Klaus (2017): Vitamin D: Ein Mangel sollte auf jeden Fall vermieden werden. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt. Oktober, 13 (41): S. 30.
H, Baum: Blutbild, großes. In: Gressner, T. Arndt (Hrsg.), Lexikon der Medizinischen Laboratoriumsdiagnostik. Springer Reference Medizin (2019): S. 459-460.
Position der Deutschen Gesellschaft gegenüber Veganer Ernährung (Juni, 2016) S. 99.
D, Jäger-Becker (2013): Orale Substitution bei Vitamin B12 Mangel. In: DNP - Der Neurologe und Psychiater. S. 64.