Whether for health, ethical or environmental reasons, many people today choose to restrict what they eat and eliminate certain food groups entirely from their diet. There is no reason why restrictive diets cannot be healthy, but you may need to supplement certain vitamins and minerals that you body needs to function optimally. This test looks at kidney function which may be affected by diets which are high in protein; liver function cholesterol and diabetes which can be affected by diets which are high in sugar and fat, as well as calcium, iron, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D.
This blood test can be carried out with a finger-prick sample, but we recommend venous collection to ensure we get enough blood for a full analysis. You can choose from several venous sample collection options at checkout - clinic-based or home visit options are charged for separately.
This test is for anyone on a restrictive diet and who wants to check that their diet is not damaging their health or leaving them deficient in key vitamins and minerals. Although it is aimed at people on restrictive diets it is for anyone who would like a comprehensive health check with nutritional status.
We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.
Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.
View results securely in your own personal dashboard.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.
Urea is waste product produced as the body digests protein and is carried by the blood to the kidneys, which filter the urea out of the blood and into the urine. The urea test examines how well the kidneys are functioning.
Raised levels of urea in the blood can be caused by dehydration or high protein consumption or may indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.
Low amounts of urea in the blood may indicate a low protein diet, excess hydration, malnutrition or liver failure.
Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Measurement of this is an indicator of the levels of other waste products in the body. Creatinine is an accurate marker of kidney function.
Elevated creatinine can be caused by high intake of animal protein, taking creatine supplements and vigorous exercise but can also indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.
Low creatinine can be caused by a low protein diet, reduced muscle mass or sometime that the kidneys are simply functioning efficiently.
Sodium is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It helps regulate the water and electrolyte balance of the body and is important in the operation of nerves and muscles. Sodium levels in the blood are regulated by the kidneys.
Excess sodium in the blood is often due to dehydration but can also indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.
Too little sodium is often caused by fluid retention (oedema) or reflects loss due to vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive sweating.
Bilirubin is a product of haemoglobin breakdown. It is removed from the body via the liver, stored and concentrated in the gall bladder and excreted into the bowel. Elevated levels can cause the skin and whites of eyes to become yellow (jaundice) as the liver is unable to remove enough bilirubin from the blood. This can indicate liver damage.
Bilirubin can also be raised due to a blocked bile duct as well as Gilbert's syndrome.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. Raised levels can indicate bone or liver disease. Elevated ALP is assessed in conjunction with other liver function tests to determine whether the problem lies in the liver or the bones.
Pregnancy can also cause raised ALP and it is often elevated in growing teenagers.
Alanine transferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is produced by the liver and can indicate liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or viruses (hepatitis). Small amounts of ALT are normal, but raised levels may indicate that your liver is inflamed.
Elevated levels of ALT can also be caused by recent vigorous exercise.
CK (creatine kinase) is a muscle enzyme which signifies muscle cell damage and death. CK levels tend to be higher in people with greater muscle mass.
The level of CK in the blood is measured to assess muscle damage - it can rise rapidly after muscle trauma, but will subside as the damage repairs. If CK continues to rise it indicates that muscle damage is not being repaired. If you have been to the gym the day before your blood test you may well exhibit raised levels of CK.
Gamma GT is a liver enzyme which is raised in liver and bile duct diseases. It is used in conjunction with ALP to distinguish between bone or liver disease. Gamma GT is also used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is raised in 75% of long term drinkers.
Total Protein represents the sum of albumin and globulin. It is more important to know which protein fraction is high or low than what the measure of total protein is.
Albumin is made mainly in the liver and helps to keep the blood from leaking out of blood vessels. It also helps carry some medicines and other substances through the blood and is important for tissue growth and healing.
Low albumin levels can indicate liver disease and can also be a marker for chronic ill-health, malnutrition and inflammation. It can also occur in kidney conditions such as nephrotic syndrome and diabetes.
Raised levels are usually caused by dehydration.
Globulin consists of different proteins and is made by the liver and the immune system. Certain globulins bind with haemoglobin while others transport metals, such as iron, in the blood and help fight infection.
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important. The body needs it to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves and muscles to function, blood to clot and also help the heart to work. Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium.
The majority of calcium in the body is stored in bone, the rest is found in the blood. If the calcium result is abnormal, a corrected calcium calculation is carried out to aid further investigation.
Around half of the total calcium in your blood is bound by albumin. Corrected calcium estimates your calcium level assuming albumin is a specified normal value.
Uric acid is a waste product from the digestion of protein. High levels can lead to excess uric acid being deposited as crystals in the tissues of the body. When this occurs in joints it causes the painful condition known as gout.
Uric acid levels are best tested 6 weeks after symptoms appear as they may not be raised at the onset of a gout attack.
HbA1c or Haemoglobin A1c is also known as glycosolated haemoglobin and is a longer term measure of glucose levels in your blood than a simple blood glucose test. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, and as your cells live for around 8-12 weeks it provides a good indication of the level of sugar in your blood over a 2-3 month period.
This is an important measure for diagnosing type 2 diabetes as well as understanding how well blood sugar levels are being contolled in people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
This test measures how much iron is in your blood with the aim of identifying iron deficiency anaemia or iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis)
The symptoms of too much or too little iron can be similar - fatigue, muscle weakness, moodiness and difficulty concentrating.
A raised result can mean that you have iron overload syndrome, an inherited condition where your body stores too much iron, or that you are over-supplementing or that you have a liver condition.
A low result can mean that you are anaemic or are suffering from gastro-intestinal blood loss (or other blood loss). Anaemia is also very common in pregnant women.
Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is a measure of the amount of iron that can be carried through the blood.
A raised TIBC result usually indicates iron deficiency whereas low TIBC can occur with iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis).
Transferrin is made in the liver and is the major protein in the blood which binds to iron and transports it through the body.
Low levels of transferrin indicate iron deficiency while high levels indicate iron overload.
Ferritin is a protein which stores iron in your cells for your body to use later. Measuring ferritin levels gives us a good indication of the amount of iron stored in your body.
Low levels of ferritin can indicate anaemia which can be caused by excessive or chronic bleeding, poor absorption of iron or too little iron in the diet.
Raised ferritin levels can indicate iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis) or any kind of liver damage. It is also a marker of infection and inflammation.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that circulate in the blood. After you eat, the body converts excess calories into triglycerides which are then transported to cells to be stored as fat. Your body releases triglycerides to be used for energy.
Raised triglycerides are thought to be a risk factor for peripheral vascular disease (affecting the blood vessels which supply your arms and legs as well as organs below the stomach) as well as microvascular disease, affecting the tiny blood vessels around the heart.
Cholesterol is an essential body fat (lipid). It is necessary for building cell membranes and for producing a number of essential hormones. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and also comes from the food we eat. Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease - the recommended level is below 5 mmol/L.
Cholesterol however is made up of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol so it is important to investigate a raised total cholesterol result to determine the cause. High levels of HDL cholesterol can cause a raised total cholesterol result but may actually be protective against heart disease.
HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver where it is broken down and removed from the body in bile. HDL cholesterol is commonly known as "good cholesterol".
Raised levels are believed to be protective against heart disease, while low levels are associated with increased risk of a heart attack.
LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) carries cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL cholesterol, commonly called "bad cholesterol", can cause fatty deposits to accumulate on artery walls, potentially leading to artherosclerosis and heart disease.
Non-HDL cholesterol is calculated by subtracting your HDL cholesterol result from your total cholesterol. It therefore includes all the non-protective and potentially harmful cholesterol in your blood, not just the LDL cholesterol. As such, it is considered to be a better marker for cardiovascular risk than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The recommended level of non-HDL cholesterol is below 4 mmol/L.
HDL % of total cholesterol is considered to be more indicative of your risk of cardiovascular disease than total cholesterol alone.
A result below 20% indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, while one above 20% indicates a lower than average risk.
Vitamin B12 is important for production of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body - low levels can cause anaemia with associated symptoms of lack of energy and fatigue. It is also involved in metabolism and the nervous system and prolonged lack of vitamin B12 may cause nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is almost entirely found in animal foods.
Raised levels of vitamin B12 can indicate a blood or liver disorder.
Low levels are seen in people with pernicious anaemia, an autoimmune disease which prevents the absorption of vitamin B12 or through dietary restriction e.g. a vegan diet.
Folate is a measure of the body's store of the vitamin folate, also known as folic acid. Folate is a water soluble vitamin which means you need it in your diet every day. It plays a role in DNA creation and is important for the production of red blood cells as well as in the prevention of neural tube defects in babies.
Low levels can indicate anaemia and can be implicated in raised homocysteine levels.
Although called a vitamin, vitamin D is actually a hormone which is activated by sunshine on your skin. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength as it helps your intestines absorb calcium. However, it is thought that vitamin D also plays an important role in immune function, as well as in many chronic diseases and mental health.
Many people in the UK do not produce enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter months with fewer daylight hours. It is now recommended that you get 10 - 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day to ensure you are producing enough vitamin D. In winter months, if your levels are found to be low, you may wish to take a supplement.
We will send you your Essential Diet Check finger-prick blood sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample option during the checkout process.How to collect a finger-prick blood sample
Your Essential Diet Check includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.
Your blood sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.
Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Essential Diet Check results can be downloaded for your doctor.
Once you have placed your order you will receive login details to mymedichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Essential Diet Check results.
Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.