Nutrition Test Types You Should Know
There are many benefits to nutritional testing, from understanding how the foods you eat are affecting your organ health to gaining new insights about food intolerances. But what types of nutrition tests are available, and how can patients determine which tests are right for them?
Macronutrients (like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals) are all considered essential nutrients. When an individual does not consume enough of these nutrients, they may develop health issues and symptoms like fatigue, brittle teeth and nails, dry skin, poor sleep, weakness, and more.
Your physician can help you determine which nutrition tests are right for you based on the symptoms you are experiencing. If you are not experiencing any symptoms but are interested in learning more about your health through nutrition testing, a comprehensive panel that tests for a wide variety of nutrients may be recommended. Below, learn about the most common types of nutrition tests and the wellness information they can reveal.
Nutritional Genomics Testing
Nutritional genomics (also known as nutrigenomics) is the study of the relationship between a person’s genes and their nutritional health. This type of nutrition test paints a picture of how various nutrients impact an individual’s genes, and why imbalances or other forms of disease may be occurring.
NutrEval Plasma® Test: Evaluates over 125 biomarkers and assesses the body’s functional need for 40 antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and other select nutrients. Biomarkers include neurotransmitter metabolites, oxidative stress markers, toxic elements, and more.
Methylation Panel: Evaluates the critical biochemical methylation pathway in the body. Methylation helps make creatine, and is involved in basic energy production, fat metabolism, and other vital functions. This test can uncover needs for nutritional support such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
CV Health Plus Genomics: Assesses cardiovascular risk by analyzing lipid biomarkers and genomic risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Recommended for patients with family history of heart disease or stroke, as well as those with relevant risk factors such as obesity, poor dietary habits, and sedentary lifestyle.
Vitamin lab tests measure the levels of various important vitamins in the blood. This type of nutrition test can be used to diagnose vitamin deficiencies, and can help physicians recommend appropriate dietary changes or vitamin supplements to patients.
It is possible to test for just one or two vitamins in the blood; however, physicians will usually recommend a comprehensive vitamin panel that checks the levels of all the most essential vitamins. Some of the most common vitamin tests include:
Vitamin A Test: Measures the level of vitamin A (retinol), which is an essential nutrient for vision, skin health, and immune function. Vitamin A deficiency can result in poor vision or blindness, dry skin, and recurrent infections. May be ordered with a Beta Carotene test, since Carotene is a nutrient that converts to vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin B1 Test: Measures the level of vitamin B1 (thiamine), which plays an important role in metabolic function, nervous system function, and digestion. Deficiencies may occur as a result of digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Vitamin B3 Test: Measures the level of vitamin B3 (niacin), a nutrient that helps the body convert food into energy and aids in cellular repair. Additionally, niacin supports the production of stress-related hormones.
Vitamin B12 Test: Measures the level of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which helps maintain normal functioning of the nervous and metabolic systems. Deficiencies may occur as a result of digestive disorders, and can result in a reduction of healthy red blood cells (anemia).
Vitamin C Test: Measures the level of vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate), an essential vitamin that is involved in tissue repair and skin health.
Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test: Measures the level of vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones, as well as regulating liver and kidney function. Vitamin D is also known to boost immunity and help the body fight off infection.
A mineral panel is a type of nutrition test that is used to evaluate the levels of various minerals in the body, and to diagnose and monitor mineral deficiencies. Some of the most common mineral tests include:
Calcium Blood Test: Measures the level of calcium in the blood. Calcium is a very important mineral for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as regulating muscle function, nerve function, and blood clotting. Brittle bones and teeth are a symptom of calcium deficiency.
Calcium Urine Test: Measures the amount of calcium passed out of the body through urine. Too much calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones, and may be indicative of irregular kidney function.
Iron Test: Measures the level of iron in the blood. Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells and for transporting oxygen through the body. Individuals who do not consume enough iron through their diets may develop an iron deficiency. Iron tests are often ordered alongside the total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test.
Magnesium RBC Test: Measures the level of magnesium in the red blood cells. Magnesium is a mineral that plays an essential role in energy production, muscle and nerve function, and heart health.
Zinc RBC Test: Measures the level of zinc in the red blood cells. Zinc plays an important role in metabolic function, immune function, wound healing, and protein synthesis. The body cannot store zinc, so sufficient daily intake through foods is essential.
Electrolytes are a special category of minerals that carry an electrical charge. They are vital for regulating nerve and muscle function, repairing damaged tissues, balancing the pH in the blood, and maintaining healthy fluid levels. An electrolyte panel is a type of nutrition test that is used to screen for electrolyte imbalances. The most common electrolyte tests include:
Sodium Blood Test: Measures the level of sodium in the blood. Sodium is essential for regulating fluid levels, as well as muscle and nerve function. If a sodium blood test shows abnormal results, a sodium urine test may be ordered to help determine the possible cause.
Potassium Blood Test: Measures the level of potassium in the blood. Similarly to sodium testing, a potassium urine test may be ordered as a follow-up procedure when a potassium blood test result comes back outside of the normal range.
Amino Acid Testing
Amino acids are organic compounds that function as the “building blocks” of proteins. They assist in the creation and growth of muscles, tissue healing, digestion, and maintaining healthy skin and hair.
An amino acid blood panel can be used to discover nutritional deficiencies by checking the levels of those amino acids in the blood. A typical amino acid panel will usually include:
The ION Profile with 40 Amino Acids is an advanced nutritional analysis that uses both blood and urine samples to offer insight into imbalances that may precede abnormal findings on standard laboratory evaluations. The test evaluates 40 amino acids, as well as DNA / oxidative stress markers, fatty acids, and nutrient and toxic elements.
Schedule a Nutrition Test
Do you have a nutrition test kit that requires a blood draw from a skilled phlebotomist? Schedule an appointment to have your blood sample collected and processed through the MOMS patient portal.
*Post reviewed and approved by Dr. Sona Kirpekar, our in-house Medical Consultant.