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Why take this test?
We all know that poor diet can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. It can cause conditions like obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease as well as have a serious impact on our energy levels. But there is so much health and diet information out there, that sometimes it can be hard to know if we're doing the right thing. A good starting point is to have a thorough check-up of your current state of health and an advanced test for nutritional status. Our Nutriton Check Advanced does both.
With an in-depth health sreen which looks at liver and kidney health, anaemia, cholesterol and diabetes risk and much more, this test will highlight the areas of your health you need to focus on. And if, like many of us, you already take a supplement to boost your vitamin and mineral levels it will give you valuable insights into whether you really need to be taking them, or are even taking too much.
This test is perfect for anyone who wants to optimise their health and lifestyle and identify any nutritional deficiencies that could be affecting their wellbeing and vitality.
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.
Haemoglobin carries oxygen and gives the red blood cell its red colour. This test measures the amount of haemoglobin in the blood and is a good measure of the blood's ability to carry oxygen around the body.
A high haemoglobin result can mean increased red cell production to compensate for chronically low oxygen levels in the blood caused by lung disease or living at altitude. While it can also indicate "blood doping" other causes can include dehydration, smoking and bone marrow disorders.
A low haemoglobin result indicates anaemia which can have many causes including pregnancy, blood loss, liver damage, iron deficiency and much more. A low haemoglobin level should be investigated in line with other symptoms and results.
HCT (haematocrit) measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells take up in the blood.
Raised levels can result from pregnancy, living at altitude, dehydration as well as low availability of oxygen through chronic lung disease and even sleep apnoea.
Low levels indicate anaemia.
Red blood cell (RBC) count analyses the number of red cells in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They also carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs so that it can be exhaled.
A high count (thicker blood) means there is a chance that the red blood cells will clump together and block tiny blood vessels. This also makes it difficult for your red blood cells to carry oxygen.
A low count (anaemia) means that your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs and can be caused by nutritional deficiency (lack of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12), over-hydration as well as bleeding and bone marrow disorders.
MCV (mean corpuscular volume) reflects the size of your red blood cells.
A high result may indicate a vitamin deficiency of folate or vitamin B12 and is often seen in excessive alcohol consumption associated with liver inflammation.
A low result indicates anaemia, often caused by iron deficiency.
MCH (mean corpuscular haemoglobin) is the average amount of haemoglobin contained in your red blood cells.
Together with MCV and MCHC, MCH results can help in the diagnosis of different types of anaemia.
MCHC (mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration) is the concentration of haemoglobin in an average red blood cell.
A high level can indicate the presence of spherocytes (a type of red blood cell with too much haemoglobin) or a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the diet.
A low level can indicate chronic blood loss or too little iron.
RDW (red cell distribution width) shows whether the cells are all the same size or different sizes or shapes. Normally cells are fairly uniform, although a raised RDW result (indicating greater variation in cell size and shape than is normally seen) can be caused by deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.
White blood cells are key to your body's immune or defence system. They fight infections and protect your body from foreign invaders such as harmful germs and bacteria.
A raised white blood cell (WBC) count can indicate recent infection, inflammation, trauma and even stress. Your WBC can also be raised when taking certain medications.
A decreased WBC can result from a vitamin deficiency such as folate or vitamin B12, as well as liver disease and diseases of the immune system.
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that are responsible for helping your body fight infection. When neutrophils are low you can be more vulnerable to illness and infection.
Neutrophils can be raised after severe stress on the body from a bacterial infection, recent exercise or sudden kidney failure.
Low neutrophils can be caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folic acid, severe bacterial infection and some autoimmune diseases.
Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell which fight bacterial and viral infections. They include T cells, B cells and natural killer cells.
Lymphocytes can be elevated for many reasons but it is common for them to be raised after recent infection, particularly after the flu. They can also be raised due to autoimmune disorders and some cancers.
The most common cause for lymphocytes to be depleted is the common cold.
Monocytes are a type of white blood cell that engulf and remove pathogens and dead or damaged cells from our blood. The heat and swelling of inflammation is caused by the activities of these cells.
Elevated monocytes can indicate chronic inflammatory disease, chronic infection, parasitic infection and Cushings disease.
Low levels can be due to autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis as well as drugs which affect the bone marrow such as those used in chemotherapy.
Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell whose function is to remove parasitic infections as well as to regulate inflammation to mark an infected site.
Levels of eosinophils can be elevated if the scale of inflammation is greater than necessary to control the damage (as is the case in asthma and allergic responses) as well as in parasitic and fungal infections, autoimmune diseases and skin disorders.
Low levels of eosinophils are not usually cause for concern and can be caused by the administration of steroids.
Basophils are a type of white blood cell that protect your body from bacteria and parasites such as ticks.
An elevated basophil count can be due to inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and dermatitis, recent infection and hormone imbalance (e.g. hypothyroidism).
A low basophil count can be caused by pregnancy, stress and use of steroids.
Platelets or clotting cells are the smallest type of blood cell and are important in blood clotting. When bleeding occurs, the platelets swell, clump together and form a sticky plug (a clot) which helps stop the bleeding.
If platelet levels are raised there is an increased risk of blood clots forming in blood vessels.
If platelet levels are too low there is a risk of easy bruising and uncontrolled bleeding.
MPV (mean platelet volume) is a measurement of the average size of your platelets. New platelets are larger than older ones and a raised MPV result occurs when increased numbers of platelets are being produced. MPV provides an indication of platelet production in your bone marrow.
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.
The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) assesses how well the kidneys are working by estimating the amount of blood filtered through the kidneys. The glomeruli are tiny filters in the kidneys responsible for removing waste products. If these filters do not do their job properly, kidney function can be impaired. The eGFR calculation is an estimate of actual glomerular filtration rate, calculated using your age, gender and serum creatinine levels.
A normal or high eGFR indicates good kidney function.
A low eGFR result can indicate your kidneys are not working as well as they should. eGFR can be used to assess the severity of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
It is important to note that individuals with high muscle mass as well as people of certain ethnicities can have a low eGFR which is normal for them. If kidney damage is suspected then other investigative tests are recommended.
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. Abnormal levels can indicate malnutrition as well as a liver or kidney disorder.
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.
Uric acid is a waste product from the digestion of protein. High levels may 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.
HbA1c or Haemoglobin A1c is also known as glycosylated 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 controlled in people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
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 atherosclerosis 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 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" as raised levels are believed to be protective against heart disease, while low levels are associated with increased risk of a heart attack.
The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is more indicative than a total cholesterol result alone to find out whether your cholesterol levels are healthy. This ratio should be as low as possible.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an inflammation marker used to assess whether there is inflammation in the body - it does not identify where the inflammation is located. High Sensitivity CRP (CRP-hs) is a test which is used to detect low-level inflammation which is thought to damage blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Raised levels are a risk factor for cardio-vascular disease.
Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood. This test measures the level of T4 which is free, or unbound, circulating in your blood.
High levels of free thyroxine can indicate an overactive thyroid while low levels can indicate an underactive thyroid.
Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat-soluble vitamin found in animal products such as eggs, dairy, liver and kidneys. It is important for the normal reproduction of cells (cellular differentiation) as well as good vision and the proper development of an embryo and foetus.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry eyes (xerophthalmia), night blindness, skin problems, infections, diarrhoea and lung disorders.
Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses so it is important to never take more than the recommended daily allowance unless you have consulted with a doctor.
Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble carotenoid found in plants, and is what gives carrots their orange colour. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) and is a safe source of vitamin A because your body only converts as much as it needs. Excess vitamin A can be toxic. Vitamin A is important for the normal reproduction of cells (cellular differentiation) as well as good vision and the proper development of an embryo and fetus. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant so protects the body from damaging free radicals. Sources of beta-carotene include carrots, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash and broccoli.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry eyes (xerophthalmia), night blindness, skin problems, infections, diarrhoea and lung disorders.
Elevated beta-carotene in the blood may be due over-supplementing with vitamin A. Excessive beta-carotene can be damaging if you are a smoker or heavy drinker. Never take more than the recommended daily allowance unless you have consulted with a doctor.
Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin found mainly in beef, pork, poultry and offal. Good amounts are also found in whole-grains, legumes and nuts.
All B vitamins are crucial for the conversion of food into fuel and metabolising fats and proteins. It is important for the nervous system and brain function as well as a healthy liver, hair, skin and eyes. It also strengthens the immune system. Thiamine in particular is crucial in certain metabolic reactions and forming adenosine triphosphate which all cells in the body need.
It is fairly rare to be deficient in thiamine, however more common in people with alcoholism, Crohn disease, anorexia or those undergoing dialysis. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, depression and abdominal discomfort. It can also make digesting carbohydrates difficult leading to a host of other health problems.
As vitamin B is water-soluble, toxicity rarely occurs and high levels in the blood will often be due to over-supplementing. However high levels of certain B vitamins may affect the liver or nervous system.
Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin found in foods like almonds, whole-grains, mushrooms, certain dairy products, eggs, brewer’s yeast and some green vegetables.
All B vitamins are crucial for the conversion of food into fuel and metabolising fats and proteins. It is important for the nervous system and brain function as well as a healthy liver, hair, skin and eyes. It also strengthens the immune system. Riboflavin in particular is an antioxidant so fights off damaging free radicals and helps the body use vitamin B6 and folate, as well as assisting in growth and red cell production.
Although rare, vitamin B2 deficiency can occur. Symptoms include anaemia, fatigue, slowed metabolism, nerve damage, a swollen tongue, mouth sores and cracks, skin inflammation, sore throat, swelling of the mucus membranes and changes in mood.
Elevated riboflavin is likely to be due to over-supplementation. Although high levels are rarely dangerous, vitamin B2 supplements can interact with other medication and cause a reaction.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin found in foods including some meat, poultry, fish, seafood dairy, lentils, beans, carrots, spinach, bananas, brown rice and whole-grains.
All B vitamins are crucial for the conversion of food into fuel and metabolising fats and proteins. It is important for the nervous system and brain function as well as a healthy liver, hair, skin and eyes. It also strengthens the immune system. Vitamin B6 in particular helps the body make neurotransmitters to carry signals between cells. It is also important for controlling homocysteine levels, brain function, hormone and red cell production and the immune system.
Although rare, a vitamin B6 deficiency can cause muscle weakness, nervousness, mood changes, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss.
Elevated vitamin B6 is likely to be due to over-supplementation. Although high levels are rarely dangerous, over-supplementation can cause temporary neurological disorders. Vitamin B6 supplements can also interact with other medication and cause a reaction.
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 important in metabolism and for the nervous system and prolonged lack of vitamin B12 may cause nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is almost entirely found in meat and animal food products.
Around 70% of vitamin B12 is bound to carrier proteins in your blood. This test measures the level of unbound or active B12 which is available for your cells.
A common reason for elevated B12 is over-supplementation. Raised levels of vitamin B12 may 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 anyone who suffers from absorption problems such as the elderly, people with inflammatory bowel conditions and alcoholics. Vegetarians and vegans can also be low in vitamin B12, especially if they don't consume foods which have been fortified with vitamin B12 or take B12 supplements.
Red Cell 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.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin E is important for keeping the immune system strong, for red blood cell formation and keeping the blood from clotting. It is also an antioxidant so fights off damaging free radicals.
Signs of vitamin E deficiency include muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass, vision problems, anaemia and neurological problems.
Elevated vitamin E from over-supplementation may increase risk of bleeding.
Magnesium is an important mineral needed for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. It helps the body make and use energy and aids the movement of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium into and out of cells.
The kidneys remove any excess magnesium from the body so developing raised magnesium levels (hypermagnesemia) is rare. However, those with kidney problems and those supplementing high amounts of magnesium may be at risk of developing hypermagnesemia.
A low magnesium level can be caused by poor nutrition and a high intake of alcohol. Magnesium is found in a variety of foods including nuts, leafy green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Zinc is necessary for immune function, wound healing, taste, smell and is essential for cell division and growth. Zinc also removes toxic metals such as copper, lead and mercury from the brain.
Even though zinc is an essential requirement for a healthy body, too much zinc can be harmful. Care is needed when taking zinc supplements as it is possible to overdose on zinc. A raised zinc result may be due to over supplementing.
A low result may be caused by a lack of zinc in your diet. Zinc can be found in red meat, poultry, pulses, seeds and nuts.
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 transferrin saturation levels can indicate iron deficiency while high levels can indicate iron overload.
We will send you your Nutrition Check Advanced blood sample collection kit together with the details of a convenient clinic where you can go and have your sample taken.
Your Nutrition Check Advanced 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 Nutrition Check Advanced results can be downloaded for your doctor.
Once you have placed your order you can visit my.medichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Nutrition Check Advanced 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.