Written by Elizabeth Millard

As a writer specializing in health, nutrition, and fitness, I’m aware of the good behaviors that can benefit me over the long term. I use that knowledge to help drive my eating and exercise choices. But I’m also a human being, so sometimes my actions don’t match my best intentions. Dessert for dinner? Sure. Way too much coffee? Don’t mind if I do.

Recently, though, the turn of a new year and the realization that the pandemic could linger awhile left me yearning for a reset. I loaded up on fresh vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, and whole grains, but I also wondered: How far off track was my health from where it should be?

I wanted a clear picture so I could set meaningful goals to address areas I needed to improve. For that, I thought a LetsGetChecked Micronutrient Test would be an excellent idea. As it turns out, I was right.

Related article: The Role of Micronutrients in the Immune System


Why I Chose This Test


To have my vitamin and mineral levels tested, I did have the option of seeing my provider to have blood drawn. However, COVID-19 levels are high in my area, and I was uncomfortable risking the exposure of an in-person visit for routine testing. Plus, my insurance has a high deductible, so I knew I’d end up paying quite a bit for not just the test but also the “consultation” required for lab work. As with so many medical expenses, no one was able to tell me exactly what the cost would be, and I didn’t like the idea of getting a sky-high bill.

I needed a reputable and affordable at-home option, and after comparing companies, I chose LetsGetChecked for a number of reasons:

  • Price transparency: I knew exactly how much I’d pay, and I was able to use funds from my health savings account.[1; 2]

  • Simplicity: With some companies I researched, I couldn’t tell what the process would be with taking the test and sending it back. LetsGetChecked had a straightforward approach: Test at home results in two to five business days.[1]

  • Variety of choices: Rather than offering only vitamin tests or just a few other wellness tests, LetsGetChecked has a wide range of health tests available. I appreciated having four choices in the micronutrient testing category.[1]

After assessing my options, I chose the most comprehensive micronutrient test, which measured vitamins D, B12, and E, as well as copper, selenium, zinc, and magnesium.[1]

Related article: The Four Benefits of Nutritional Metals on The Body


The Test Process


The test kit arrived in a small box, about the size of a paperback book. It contained everything I’d need, including a vial and three small finger-stick tools for collecting blood. There was a return envelope to send my samples back.[1; 3]

I’d already set up my account, and now I needed to activate my test online. I was informed that I should do my blood collection in the morning and be sure to ship the test back the same day.[3]

What I appreciated most were the clear instructions. I knew exactly what to do, and in what order.

In all, it took around 15 minutes for me to collect my sample. I felt clumsy at the beginning, but like a pro by the end.[4] Here’s a tip: Do your sample after taking a hot shower, since that will help the blood flow. Also, squeezing the bottom of your finger tends to get a few more drops going.

As suggested, I shipped my sample back that day, and despite a big snowstorm, there was no delay. I got a text the following day confirming that it had arrived.[3; 4]


Getting the Results


Five days later, I got a text alert and email letting me know my results were in. I signed onto the LetsGetChecked site to view them.[3]

I was within the normal range for most of the micronutrients, but deficient in vitamin D, which I’d guessed would be the case. I live in the Midwest, where sunshine is in short supply right now.[5] But it was helpful to get my suspicion confirmed. I wouldn’t take a vitamin D supplement unless I knew I needed it.

What did surprise me, though, was my high magnesium level. I’d read studies about how common it was to be deficient in this mineral,[6] so I’d been taking a magnesium supplement for a few months. To see that may not be necessary was an eye-opener. After additional research with the results in mind, I found out that there are risks to getting too much magnesium from dietary supplements, including diarrhea and abdominal cramping. There can also be serious health consequences from levels that are too low so it’s always important to talk to a healthcare provider before a change in supplements or medication is made.

Even the vitamins and minerals that came back as normal (B12, E, copper, selenium and zinc) gave me crucial confirmation: When it came to my health and nutrition, there was a lot I was already doing right.

Related article: What Foods Provide Zinc? Animal and Plant-Based Sources


Next Steps


Taking the micronutrient test accomplished exactly what I’d hoped: It brought me insights that I could use to adjust my habits and behaviors. I’ve stopped taking the magnesium supplement and begun taking vitamin D3. I eat a gummy a day, which provides 1,000 IU. That’s slightly above the recommended 600 IU daily, but experts suggest that taking the amount I chose is a good way to make up for a shortfall like mine. It’s recommended to talk to a healthcare provider about the most suitable supplements for you. In a couple of months, I plan to do another LetsGetChecked micronutrient test to see if those steps change my levels. If they don’t or I have any concerns or symptoms in the meantime, then I’ll see my provider about potential strategies.

I feel more in control of my health and empowered to make better decisions. While many areas of life are out of my control (the pandemic and my insurance copays among them), with a few clicks, I can better understand how my own body is functioning — and take steps to improve my well-being.


References


  1. LetsGetChecked
    Home Micronutrient Testing
    https://www.letsgetchecked.com/us/en/us/en/home-micronutrient-test/

  2. LetsGetChecked
    Do LetsGetChecked accept FSA/HSA payments?
    https://help.letsgetchecked.com/us/en/s/article/do-letsgetchecked-accept-FSA-HSA-payments

  3. LetsGetChecked
    Micronutrient Test Specifics
    https://www.letsgetchecked.com/us/en/us/en/home-micronutrient-test-kit/

  4. LetsGetChecked
    Collecting Your Sample
    https://www.letsgetchecked.com/us/en/ie/en/instructions/blood-collection/

  5. Cleveland Clinic
    Vitamin D Deficiency
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15050-vitamin-d--vitamin-d-deficiency

  6. National Institutes of Health
    Office of Dietary Supplements
    Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
    Magnesium
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/?print=1