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The Vitamin a Day That Could Keep COVID Away

As people search for ways to protect themselves from the coronavirus, there is growing evidence that vitamin D could help protect you against COVID-19.

Research shows immune-boosting vitamin D may play a role in preventing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a common cause of death among COVID-19 patients.

Before you run out to the nearest pharmacy or nutrition store to stock up on supplements, there are some things to consider .

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in helping immune systems function. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to autoimmune problems — when the immune system attacks healthy cells — and increase the chance of infection.

It is called the “sunshine vitamin” because the primary and most accessible source of vitamin D is the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger vitamin D synthesis.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include frequent illness or infection, slow wound healing, fatigue, bone and back pain, hair loss, muscle pain, and depression.

An estimated 40 percent of adults in the United States may be deficient in vitamin D. Age and genetic background can play a part in how much vitamin D is present in your body.

Seventy-nine percent of African Americans are vitamin D deficient — nearly double the national average. The reason? People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have more melanin, which reduces the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. We also become deficient as we age. Our thinning skin is less efficient at absorbing vitamin D.

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Vitamin D deficiencies have long been associated with an increase in respiratory infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.

Now a new study highlights the vital role of vitamin D in fighting off respiratory infection, including COVID-19. They stress that a deficiency in vitamin D can be a factor in one’s deteriorating condition, should they contract COVID-19.

The study claims to find evidence that vitamin D prevents respiratory infections, especially in older adults whose vitamin D levels are low. Although its specific role in coronavirus infections is still unknown, researchers vouch for its effectiveness in boosting the immune system.

The study also displayed that patients with vitamin D deficiency and those not receiving the correct dose encountered the most benefit from supplementation.

This could be beneficial information to many people, including African-American adults who are generally at greater risk for a number of chronic and potentially life-shortening conditions such as hypertension, stroke, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and all-cause mortality, some of which is associated with vitamin D deficiency.

How can you boost your vitamin D intake?

The first and best way to boost your vitamin D is to get outside in the sun. Research shows the best time to get vitamin D from sunlight is between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the spring, summer, and fall. Vitamin D produced in the skin may last at least twice as long in the blood — compared with other forms of supplementation.

You can also build up your vitamin D levels through certain foods. The National Institute of Health recommends eating foods naturally rich in vitamin D, including egg yolks and fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as beef liver and cheese.

Vitamin D is also added to milk and some breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages. It is best to check the labels to confirm.

Of course, you can also take vitamin D supplements. It comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources and fortified foods, while vitamin D3 comes from animal sources. The recommended daily dose for adults aged 19–70 is 15 mcg (600 IU), according to the National Institutes of Health.

It is important to take the recommended daily allowance because it is possible to overdose on vitamin D.

Get Tested

The only way to know if your level of vitamin D is low is to get tested. Vitamin D testing is offered at Any Lab Test Now®. No fasting is required, and you do not need a doctor’s order to get the test done. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours after your specimen is collected.

Click here to learn more about Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Testing.

Be at Ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we are very mindful about people’s fears about going to a healthcare facility and possibly encountering a coronavirus patient. You can be at ease at Any Lab Test Now that we are providing you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. When you get your test results, you can easily make a telemedicine appointment with your physician and share the details. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Diet Check – The Key Protein that Could be Making You Sick

Gluten-free has been a buzzword for several years. From bread to pasta to desserts, a gluten-free lifestyle is one of the most popular diet trends in the United States. One in five people claim that they reduce or eliminate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, or rye. While some remove gluten from their diet as part of a growing trend, there are a whole group of people who depend on this eating regime as a form of treatment for a chronic autoimmune disease called celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a disorder in which eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body and creates inflammation and damage to the small intestine — blocking the absorption of essential nutrients. It is also not to be confused with an allergy or an intolerance. It is much more serious and is similar to other autoimmune conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. 

One in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from it and don’t even know it. Symptoms of celiac disease can build over time. The disease can present itself at any age, from infancy to even well into your senior years.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

It can be hard to separate the symptoms of celiac disease from common tummy troubles. Not to mention that there are some 200 symptoms that can be associated with the disease — making diagnosis tricky. 

In young children, some of the first signs of celiac disease can include slow growth, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, and possibly a bloated looking belly. 

In adults, the most common symptoms include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, weakness, and fatigue. 

Some of the less common but more significant symptoms can include leg numbness, muscle cramps, anemia, joint pain, ulcers in the mouth, and seizures. Celiac disease can also cause a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis, which appears as small blisters on the elbows, knees, and feet.

Making this disease even more complicated is the fact that a significant portion of people will have few or no symptoms of the disease that is silently ravaging the body.

Time to Get Tested

If you suspect you have celiac disease or you’ve been dealing with health issues that don’t seem to be improving, you should get tested. Preliminary testing for celiac disease requires a simple blood test — like the one offered at Any Lab Test Now®. The Celiac Disease Panel is accurate, affordable, and available without a doctor’s prescription. You don’t even need an appointment at Any Lab Test Now in order to get tested. Once you get your results, you can share with your doctor.  

Treatment for Celiac Disease

The only treatment for celiac disease involves adherence to a gluten-free diet. Thanks to the trendiness of this eating style, there are a wide variety of foods available in grocery stores. Even restaurants cater to gluten-free lifestyles.

Gluten-free means no wheat, rye or barley, or any foods made from these grains, such as most pasta, cereal, and many processed foods. People with celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour. 

Once gluten is removed from the diet, people report feeling better within a matter of days. The small intestine begins to repair the existing damage, and the diet will protect it from further harm. 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including getting tested for celiac disease. 

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Tackling Autoimmune Disease by Cutting Out Gluten

Going gluten-free is all the rage among people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and restaurants and grocery stores are jumping on the bandwagon by offering a slew of gluten-free choices. But avoiding gluten is not optional for patients suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disease that damages the lining of the small intestine. The disease is triggered when people eat gluten, a protein found naturally in wheat, barley and rye. The disease damages the small intestine’s villi, which absorb nutrients. Approximately one out of 100 people worldwide are affected by celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease through research, education and advocacy. Three million Americans suffer from celiac disease. It is more common among Caucasian females, as well as people with Down syndrome, Turner syndrome and type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease has a host of symptoms that vary among patients. The average length of time it takes for a person in the United States with symptoms to be diagnosed with celiac disease is four years. Going without treatment increases the risk of developing complications, including autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, osteoporosis and cancer, the University of Chicago Medicine reports. Some of the common symptoms in adults are stomach problems, like gas or diarrhea, according to WebMD, but other symptoms include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Tingling numbness in hands and feet
  • Seizures
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Itchy skin
  • Mouth sores

Children suffering from celiac disease may exhibit signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as irritability and behavioral issues, according to the CDF.

Get Tested at Any Lab Test Now

Despite the popularity of the gluten-free diet, nearly 2.5 million Americans with celiac disease remain undiagnosed, the CDF reports. You can access the Celiac Disease Panel at Any Lab Test Now.  You do not have to fast before taking the test and you will have results to show your doctor in less than a week.

Treating Celiac Disease
Unfortunately, if you learn you have celiac disease, the only treatment is to adopt a gluten-free diet, according to Mayo Clinic. Eliminating breads and processed foods containing gluten is key to preserving the health of the small intestine. Removing gluten from the diet reduces inflammation in the small intestine within months for children and slightly longer for adults. While the intestine heals, doctors may prescribe steroids to combat inflammation.

In addition to the obvious sources of gluten, it hides in many everyday products, and even trace amounts can trigger an attack, Mayo Clinic reports. Here’s a list of uncommon products that need to be monitored for gluten.

  • Modified food starch, preservatives and food stabilizers
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements
  • Lipstick products
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Communion wafers
  • Envelope and stamp glue
  • Play-Doh and similar flour-based modeling compounds

Gluten-free diets do not require avoiding all grains. People with celiac disease can enjoy a number of grains and starches, including cornmeal, buckwheat, corn tortillas, quinoa, rice, tapioca and wild rice. Many people with celiac disease find following an anti-inflammatory diet, in addition to cutting out gluten, helps reduce symptoms. The diet includes fatty fish, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

Psychological Impacts of Celiac Disease

Receiving chronic health news often causes stress, anxiety and depression. The side effects of celiac disease can cause fatigue and depression owing to malnutrition and lack of vitamin absorption. People with celiac disease report brain fog, memory lapse and headaches, as well as avoidance of social situations, according to Beyond Celiac, a patient advocacy nonprofit. Doctors recommend maintaining a regular exercise routine and receiving psychological support to prevent depression.

If you have a family history of celiac disease or are experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms, visit your local Any Lab Test Now location to get tested today.