Posts Tagged ‘vitamin b12 and folate blood testing’

Should you be taking probiotic supplements?

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Should you be taking probiotic supplements?

Probiotic supplements are becoming more and more popular among consumers, as many of them claim they promote digestive balance, help one to lose weight, and boost the immune system. Those claims all sound great, however, there is not enough evidence to support them. The Food and Drug   Administration often referred to as the FDA loosely regulates the companies creating these probiotic supplements so they can imply all the claims mentioned previously without any consequences. For example, the probiotic companies can’t say that these supplements will treat diabetes Diabetes and Eye Health, but they can rephrase and say something like “promotes healthy blood sugar levels”. online blood testsThis can be very confusing for a consumer, and one might buy and take these supplements thinking it will lower their blood sugar levels when there is no real evidence to back up the statement. The most common misconception about probiotics supplements is that they colonize in your gut and become part of your microbiome, but there is not enough research to prove this is true. Most research indicates that probiotics just pass by, which may have some benefits for your microbiome. Many doctors do prescribe probiotics as different strains have been found to help with different things, such as Clostridium difficile, which is an infection that causes inflammation of the color and diarrhea. If you are thinking about taking probiotic supplements, speak to your physician first to see if this an option for you, and if so, the right probiotic strain you should take.


Vitamin B12 and Folate Blood Tests

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What is Vitamin B12 and Folate?

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient from food we eat that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy.  It also assists with making DNA in our cells.  Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient to prevent anemia.

Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that is found in food and helps create and maintain cells including the DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells.  Folate is used to make red blood cells that prevent anemia and it is also essential for the metabolism of the amino acid, homocysteine.

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Why Would I Need a B12 and Folate Blood Test?

Vitamin B12 and folate blood tests are typically ordered when detecting deficiencies or to help determine the cause of certain anemias.  Malnutrition or malabsorption of these vitamins can stem from people that have

  1. alcoholism
  2. liver disease
  3. gastric cancer
  4. celiac disease
  5. Crohn’s disease
  6. IBS
  7. cystic fibrosis

If the body is not absorbing B12 and folate from the diet or insufficient amounts of these vitamins are not being ingested, then the blood lab test will indicate low levels.

Vitamin B12 and folate tests may be ordered along with a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and homocysteine so a physician can provide a correct diagnosis regarding any low test values that show a deficiency.

What Are the Main Causes of Low B12 or Folate?

  • Insufficient ingestion of foods that contain Vitamin B12 and Folate.  This is very uncommon, but it is more prevalent amongst vegans who do not consume any animal products, including milk and eggs.   Most cereals, breads and other grains are fortified, so even vegans will usually get sufficient intake.
  • Malabsorption occurs with conditions that interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B12 or folate in the small intestine.

What are the Symptoms of Low B12 Levels?

The most common symptom of B12 deficiency is anemia which is typically revealed in a simple Complete Blood Count (CBC) test.  Less severe symptoms include:
  • muscle weakness
  • fatigue
  • shakiness
  • unsteady gait
  • incontinence
  • low blood pressure
  • depression
  • cognitive problems (memory)

What are Symptoms of Low Folate Levels?

Low folate levels may take months before any signs or symptoms appear.  Additionally the symptoms are very general and therefore can be signs of other health issues or diseases.
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • Palpitations
  • Diarrhea
  • In the early stages, the tongue may be red and painful leading to a smooth shiny surface in the chronic stages of deficiency.

Testing for deficiencies is easy, safe and quick.  Get tested to see if you are at risk.

Take Control of Your Health.

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.