I Got My MicroNutrient Levels Tested. Here's My Plan of Action

Last month, I spontaneously walked into a lab testing center and asked for them to conduct a complete micronutrient blood test.  This is something that I've thought about doing for a long time.  After turning 40, I understand that my body isn't operating the same as it did 2 decades ago.  I had a bunch of questions in my mind and I wanted answers.  Which vitamins was I deficient in? How was my metabolism functioning? What changes did I need to make to my diet to be the healthiest version of myself?
The process was pretty straight forward.  I visited my local AnyLabTestNow location and requested the Spectracell Micronutrient test.  I opted for this test because I wanted a baseline on where I stood with my vitamin and mineral absorption.  This test is pretty comprehensive. It's also not cheap.  At $400.00 I considered it an investment in my overall health.  What if I was deficient in certain nutrients without even knowing?  Long term deficiencies can lead to greater health problems later on so I wanted to know sooner rather than later.

The test was easy enough, all they did was draw some blood samples. I didn't even need to fast beforehand.

Exactly 1 month later, I received an email that contained my official results.   Here's a quick rundown of all the nutrients this test evaluates.
The results list every nutrient above along with your personal results compared to a "reference range."  A reference range is basically comparing your results to thousands of others who've taken the test.  If your results rank lower than thousands of your peers, you are considered deficient.  Your results are represented by a black dot placed on a sliding scale.  The scale is color coded grey, yellow, and green.  Green is the ideal range, yellow means that you're on the borderline and grey represents a deficiency.

When my results came in, I immediately scanned it for obvious deficiencies.  Thankfully, I was only deficient in two nutrients: vitamin D and Folate.  Honestly, I fully expected to be lacking in vitamin D. Most people are low in vitamin D.  Especially if you're a person of color.  I rarely go out in the sun. And when I do, I'm rocking SPF 50 on my face.  The reference range is 50% and I measured 49.  So my deficiency isn't terribly low.  But I still need to take action because vitamin D is responsible for so many functions in the body.  Their recommendation was that I take 2000 IUs daily for vitamin D3 to help get my levels up.

The other deficiency identified was Folate.  This is a B-vitamin (B9) needed to make red & white blood cells.  Folate is often confused with folic acid.  In fact, my first instinct was to go out and buy a bottle of folic acid to fix the issue.  The difference between the two is that folic acid is a synthetic form while folic acid is the naturally derived form of B9.  Similarly to vitamin D, a lot of folks are deficient in folate.  Hence why many food manufacturers add folic acid to bread, flour, and cereal.  Because folic acid is synthetic, it takes the body longer to break down and absorb. This can cause of build-up of folic acid in the bloodstream which might be connected to a higher risk of cancer.  Until this test, I never once thought about getting enough folate.  Heck, I had only heard of folic acid.  I even took a couple of bottles of folic acid a few years ago.  But thanks to this report, I found out that a natural form of folate is available to purchase online.  Judging by some of the reviews, folate helps with a wide range of symptoms from depression to low energy to brain fog so I'm looking forward to supplementing.

Although I was only deficient in 2 vitamins, I landed on the low-borderline range for 9 others.  Several of them were various B vitamins(6, 12, 2).  I suspect this has to do with how little meat I consume.  Fun fact, I was a vegetarian for several years.  But since reintroducing meat back in my diet, I don't really eat much of it.  I don't plan on eating a bunch of meat, instead, I'll focus on incorporating animal products that are considered nutrient dense.

The Effect of These Deficiencies on My Hair & Weight
Surprisingly, I scored low or borderline on several nutrients that support healthy hair.  Folate is one. I also landed on the borderline with pantothenate and zinc.  We also know that vitamin D plays a major role in healthy hair.  Thankfully, I haven't experienced much hair loss.  I think this has something to do with my high amino acid scores.  Although I don't eat a ton of meat, I'm dead serious about my collagen intake.  I think collagen loading has paid off because I scored way above the reference range in nearly every amino acid.  Many of the nutrients I lacked have a connection to maintaining a healthy weight.  I have a few pounds that seem to stick around even with adjustment to my activity level and diet.  I wonder if supplementing to address my deficiencies could be the difference maker.

For every mineral that was low or borderline, I looked online for a list of deficiency related symptoms that correlated.   I wasn't experiencing any deficiency related side effects.  Some would say that's a good thing but since I wasn't experiencing negative symptoms, I wouldn't have known there was an issue until I became severely deficient.   

I'm really glad that I made this investment.  After implementing some corrective measures, I plan on doing a follow-up test to see if I'm making a measurable difference in my nutrients levels.  For now, I've purchased a few supplements and plan on enjoying lots of eggs, liver, blackstrap molasses and brewer's yeast in my future.  I did rank highly for most antioxidants.  I'm in the process of figuring out what's contributing to those high scores so I can keep my levels up. 

 Once my deficiencies are corrected, I plan on applying a strategy that elevates my nutrient markers to optimal levels.  I definitely encourage anyone who doesn't eat a whole foods diet to invest in micronutrient testing so we aren't wasting money on buying random vitamins that you may not need. I want all of us to experience optimal health and I think this is the first step in that journey.  If you're vegan or follow a mostly plant-based diet, this test is a must because eating a plant only diet can lead to various nutrient deficiencies.

 There are a bunch of other health-related tests on the market that plan on doing in the future to dig deeper into the functioning levels in my body.  Some, for example, testing my inflammation levels or measuring my cardiovascular health.  This micronutrient test was a great place to start.

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