TestDrive - Get Your Blood Tested Before You Take Vitamins!

In 2018 the UK population spent £442 million on vitamins – did they know if they really needed them? According to Mintel research vitamin D overtook the previous best seller vitamin C.

According to the NHS report if the average Caucasian exposes themselves to 12 minutes of full/partial sunshine every day on average this would be sufficient to meet our needs. Vitamin D is the only nutrient we produce from sunlight.

But if we eat salmon or tuna, eggs, mushrooms and shrimp, all of which contain vitamin D, we then have no need to take the supplement.

Furthermore when you’re taking vitamins do you ever look on the label and ask: how are these made, which country do they come from, are they all natural ingredients, and if so where is the list, are they organic or chemically produced?

Ultimately do I know if I need them, have I had a look at my blood composition to find out? If these points leave you thinking Ummh! don’t buy any more until you have looked at what vitamins you’re lacking, check your diet and food intake and secondly if you feel a bit run down take a blood test and see what might be missing.

Some surgeries do still offer a well person blood test to see how things are with your liver, kidneys, thyroid, cholesterol, sugar levels and prostate. Blood tests give a good indication of health and provide your doctor with certain signs that indicate something might be amiss or not.

Taking a vitamin blood test, a simple finger prick can help you find out more. These tests cover a range of blood functions that will enable you to Drive your health more accurately.

Testing Facts

1 %
people

have taken supplements in last 12 months (Independent)

1 %
people

take multi-vitamins every day (NHS)

1
million

people in the UK will have diabetes by 2025 (Diabetes UK)

1 %
volume

of blood’s volume is plasma

Nutrition

How many of us have rushed down the famous shop who sell discounted health products, buy one get one free? We chat at work or on the train and or we read a magazine that says: are you feeling a bit sluggish in the morning or lethargic in the early afternoon? Do your bones ache or crack when you get up or down? Well here’s the answer – vitamin X,Y,Z.

We rush down to the shop and buy several things and start taking them for a week or two and then we either see no change or psychologically think they are doing some good, BUT it never lasts.

We take tablets randomly not really knowing whether we are deficient in that mineral or vitamin at all, which is strange. We could be gobbling down vitamin D tablets because a friend at work swears by them when in actual fact we could be lacking in B12.

Most of us know that if we eat a really healthy diet and make it varied each week and balanced that we should not need supplements. They do recommend for certain stages in our lives we need extra – eg in pregnancy or old age, but health professionals say in those circumstances you are better eating more of the natural product that produces the vitamin than taking a supplement where you have no idea where it came from, what’s in it or what natural organic ingredients went into it.

Or is there another reason? We all seem to run-around today and life is very fast paced and our diets are not always balanced or varied for a variety of reasons. In this case it’s easier to pop a pill than start having to plan menus and food shops. If that is the case make sure it’s organic and you can be sure where it came from and the ingredients are truly natural. But before we do that lets find out if we are deficient in the vitamin before spending hundreds on products we don’t need.

Take a look at the NHS website that shows you each vitamin and what natural food source it comes from.

Our bodies are changing

…and adapting to different environments, foods, drinks, work, stress levels, family etc.  Blood carries chemicals, food, hydration, medicine, relaxants everything the body needs. Often the first thing a doctor will do is take a blood test to see if there is any imbalance. 

Pregnancy or menopause, working too hard, over-exercising, sleep deprivation (see SleepDrive), oxygen levels, smog in a city all impact on chemicals pushed into your blood. The temptation is to rush out and buy some multivitamins. 

Having a test to check the condition of your blood is a smart thing to do.

The nutrition market is huge

Smart advertising and promotions suggest that taking multivitamins will make you feel much better. In fact the global dietary supplements market was valued at USD 132.8 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 220.3 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% between 2017 and 2022. The value of the health and wellness market in the UK increased over the period observed from over 22.6 billion euro in 2013 to over 26 billion euro in 2018.

diet blood test

Diet is key

Do we need health supplements?

Most health professionals will say that you don’t need to take supplements. If you eat a normal balanced diet and exercise regular your body should not require anything extra. I guess this should be true but with today’s busy lifestyles, parents raising kids and holding down full time jobs and taking care of a house etc getting the right balance of food intake to ensure we get the right amount of vitamin and minerals can be very hard to do. I don’t think many people are measuring their weekly dosage of vitamin C or D and whether the amount is enough or not.

We think it is fair to say everyone is different with different lifestyles.  Some people have very stressed jobs or maybe are pregnant or recovering from an illness, therefore a quick blood test can set all that straight without guessing.

Lifestyle plays a very important part in our blood composition and the food we require is needed in different quantities. Stress has a major impact on our blood and body and knowing how to handle it is important.

What can you do about it?

We have found a company called Forthwith life who supply blood testing facilities at home. Why not check it out and get yourself an accurate picture of your blood quality before you dive in and buy supplements.

10 Nutrition facts everyone agrees on

Here from Healthline are the top 10 nutrition facts that most people actually agree on.

1. Added Sugar Is a Disaster

Added sugar provides empty calories and is believed to be a leading cause of diseases that kill millions of people each year.

2. Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don’t Get Enough

A large part of the population is not getting enough omega-3 fats from their diet. Avoiding a deficiency in these essential fatty acids may help prevent many diseases.

3. There Is No Perfect Diet for Everyone

People are all unique. Subtle differences in genetics, body type, physical activity and environment can affect which type of diet you should follow.  The best diet for you is the one that works for you and you can stick to in the long term.

4. Artificial Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy

Trans fats are formed as a side product when vegetable oils are hydrogenated.  Trans fats form in chemically processed oils and are linked to all sorts of chronic diseases. You should avoid them like the plague.

5. Eating Vegetables Will Improve Your Health

Vegetables are good for you. Vegetables are rich in all sorts of nutrients. Eating vegetables each day is associated with improved health and a lower risk of disease.

6. It Is Critical to Avoid a Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a crucial hormone in the body and many people are deficient in it. Reversing a deficiency can have powerful health benefits.

7. Refined Carbohydrates Are Bad for You

There are a lot of differing opinions about carbs and fat. Refined carbohydrates like processed grains are unhealthy. They are lacking in nutrients and eating them may lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which can cause all sorts of problems down the line.

8. Supplements Can Never Fully Replace Real Foods

“Nutritionism” is the idea that foods are nothing more than the sum of their individual nutrients. It is much more important to eat real, nutritious foods than to count on supplements to provide the nutrients you need.

9. “Diets” Don’t Work — a Lifestyle Change Is Necessary

“Diets” are ineffective. That is a fact.  Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the only way to ensure long-term weight loss and a lifetime of improved health.

10. Unprocessed Food Is Healthiest

Processed food is generally not as healthy as whole food.  As the food system has become more industrialized, the health of the population has deteriorated.

Additionally, processed foods are loaded with all sorts of artificial chemicals, some of which have a questionable safety profile.

MyPlate Nutrition Guide

MyPlate Nutrition Guide

This is a 5 minute US food guide shows a way of representing what foods are good for you.

"It just so happens that my body type and my lifestyle gives me a preclusion for high blood sugars."
tom hanks
Tom Hanks
Actor

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See what other things can help

More information

Plant-based diets provide good nutrition – from the Physicians Committee

Everyday Health explores the relationship between stress and your diet

The NHS had a story in May 2018 which said that most multivitamins and supplements are a ‘waste of money’

Cancer Research had an article in August 2018 about how much vitamin D you need

Healthline have an article on foods that are high in vitamin D

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red crescent Societies (IFRC) have a guide on nutrition – download it here.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations also have a family nutrition guide – download it here.

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