Shortage of the Sunshine Vitamin

It’s hard to imagine it, but even in the middle of summer, there are people who aren’t getting enough sunshine in their life. There could be all kinds of reasons why, but the most likely one is because they are being wise and listening to the well-placed warnings from their dermatologist about skin cancer. So, they slather on sunscreen, suit up in long sleeved shirts and pants and basically avoid the sun when possible. But some doctors are seeing an unintended consequence to this advice: vitamin D deficiency.

What is Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, D is unlike any other vitamin. Your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But, your body can’t make other vitamins; you have to get them from the foods you eat.

Basically, when your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces vitamin D and sends it to your liver. Your liver then changes it to a substance called 25 OH D. When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels you’ll basically be talking about the amount of 25 OH D you have in your blood. You can also get vitamin D from supplements or even small amounts from the foods you eat.

Vitamin D at Work

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your bones strong. Your body needs it in order to absorb calcium. If you don’t have enough, your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. In children, this is called rickets. In adults, it’s known as osteomalacia. Researchers are also looking into the role that a vitamin D deficiency plays in:

  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes

Are You at Risk?

A lack of sun exposure due to sunscreen use isn’t the only risk factor for a deficiency. Some people are just more inclined to it. According to the Vitamin D Council, people at risk for D deficiency include:

  • People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun exposure you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person.
  • People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound or work nights and spend the day sleeping.
  • Older people, because they have thinner skin and may not be able to produce as much vitamin D as younger people.
  • Pregnant women and breastfed-only infants.
  • People who are overweight.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are so vague you might not have a clue. They can range anywhere from tiredness and general aches and pains to a pain in your bones and weakness. Some people don’t even have symptoms at all.

Testing to Know Your Levels

Testing to find out your levels of this important vitamin is as simple as going to your local Any Lab Test Now location. The test you’ll want to ask for is the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D). It’s a simple test that requires no fasting and results generally take between 24 to 72 hours. Our experts have found that people who take the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D) will also request one of the following relevant tests as well:

If your levels are abnormal a trip to your doctor is in order. They can talk to you about safe and sensible sun exposure and supplements. Having plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” can really be the key to feeling sunny every day!

Keeping Mom Healthy

Mother’s Day is around the corner, on May 14th. We usually give Mom a card or maybe take her to brunch. This year, you can do a little more to show your mom that you love her and want to spend many more Mother’s Days with her by talking to her about her health.

Navigating a Checkup

In fact, it’s a good idea to do an annual check-in with Mom before her annual checkup. Write down any of your mom’s questions so she can take them with her. Visit Any Lab Test Now to help provide answers she wants, quickly and easily. These will help her identify what she needs to talk about with the doctor.

Talk About Healthy Basics

Some basics to good health remain the same no matter what our age! Talk with your Mom about:

  • eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • exercising 30 minutes a day,
  • getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night,
  • not smoking,
  • wearing a seatbelt and
  • not texting while driving.

These are all good reminders when it comes to living a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. To add even more encouragement, perhaps you could tackle one or two of these together or create a challenge with the whole family.

Changing Vitamin Needs

There are some things that do change as Mom ages. Not all of them are things we’d think about. Did you realize the vitamins you take should change as you age? A mom in her 30s still needs to be sure to take folic acid every day, whereas a mom who is older and has gone through menopause doesn’t.

Once a woman has reached 65, she should be sure to add vitamin D into her daily regimen. Along with exercise, adequate levels of vitamin D can help prevent falls. If you aren’t sure that your mom is getting enough, you can suggest she have the simple Vitamin D Test done at Any Lab Test Now! Getting enough Vitamin D can be tough — especially if you follow a strict vegan diet. Other than fortified milk, not many foods have it.

Why is Mom Tired?

Being worn out and tired is just par for the course of motherhood, right? Not necessarily. Instead of letting Mom think that she has to spend 18 (or more) years exhausted, make sure there isn’t an underlying nutrient problem, such as iron deficiency anemia. In fact, the most common symptoms of this are fatigue and weakness. A woman who has anemia is tired because her blood isn’t getting enough oxygen to her body.

Any Lab Test Now has an Anemia Panel that can determine if Mom has an iron deficiency. Then, she and her doctor can come up with a plan to have her feeling more like herself again. The solution is usually a combination of iron supplements and adding iron-rich foods into her diet. No, she isn’t going to put liver on your dinner plate. Lentils, tofu, green leafy veggies and dried fruits are all great ways to get more iron in your diet.

Your mom spends a lot of time taking care of you. This Mother’s Day, take a little time to take care of her. Help her take charge of her health care needs and get the answers she seeks so that she can continue spending happy, healthy days with you and the family.

It’s Time To Take Care of Yourself

On an airplane, they tell you to be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, because you can’t take care of someone else if you are in need of help. But all too often, women focus on taking care of everyone else in the family before caring for themselves, and this is to their own detriment. They look after their children, their spouse, their aging parents. Who doesn’t get taken care of? The woman herself. While your family is picking up cards and gifts to show their love during the week leading up to Mother’s Day, you should use that time to take care of yourself.

May 8-14 is Women’s Health Week. It’s the perfect time to slow down and check in with yourself. Have you noticed any changes with your body in the last year? Pain? Dizziness? Fatigue? Changed menstrual cycle? Don’t let these changes nag at you. They could be signs of conditions for which medical care can help, such as heart disease, menopause or osteoporosis.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. A whopping 80 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Menopause

It’s a fact of life for women: menopause. Knowing when you are starting to go through it allows you to have the conversation with your doctor about steps you can take to ease the symptoms. If you are having hot flashes, rapid mood swings and a drop in your sex drive, you may want to take the Menopause Screening Panel. This blood test can help you find out if the symptoms are, in fact, the start of menopause. Knowing helps you decide what to do next.

Osteoporosis

Especially after menopause, an issue women face is bone loss, meaning that bones become more brittle and susceptible to breaking. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that can help keep your bones strong, but it can be tricky to get enough just through your diet. Any Lab Test Now has a test available that allows you to find out if you need to boost your vitamin D intake. Or, you may choose to take a more comprehensive Osteoporosis Risk Panel. It includes ten different tests to evaluate your risk for the disease.

Instead of wondering about your body’s changes, get answers. Walk in to Any Lab Test Now to arm yourself with knowledge to make your next doctor appointment more productive. Taking good care of yourself, and having the information you need to help your doctor keep you healthy, is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

The Dangers of Being Vitamin D Deficient

Sunny days can make us feel amazing. Studies have proven, time and again, that a little sunshine can have a serious positive impact on your mood and mental state. And the good news is the sun can also be your best source for vitamin D! But what you may not know is that if you’re using lots of sunscreen, you may actually be vitamin D deficient regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.

Applying sunscreen daily is highly recommended for preventing skin cancer, and it’s a great idea to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen can also block beneficial UV light that allows the skin to make vitamin D. So if you are being too careful in the sun, you may actually be causing more harm than good.

You’ve Heard of it, But What is it Really?

Vitamin D plays an important role in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body needs for important processes such as the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc – all nutrients your body needs to survive.

The sun is your body’s best and most efficient source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or UV light on exposed skin, but it can also obtain the vitamin from plants, supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin. If your body does not get enough vitamin D, you will develop a vitamin D deficiency.

Some people may be more susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, diet and other factors. Sunscreen blocks UV light from being absorbed by your skin, which is why people can sometimes over-protect themselves from the sun. People who are obese, have dark skin and those who are older than 65 are also at higher risk. Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, bone pain, general aches or even frequent infections. However, some people show no symptoms at all.

A long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for any number of dangerous and even deadly health problems including coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen over time. This is why it is important to know your vitamin D levels so you can take the steps to correct or prevent a vitamin D deficiency.

What Can You Do About It?

A vitamin D deficiency can be treated with increased sun exposure as well as vitamin D supplements. To reach your necessary vitamin D levels, try getting at least ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day — but make sure to apply the sunscreen after that!

If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to get tested to find out for sure. Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Test is a great place to start if you’d like to find out more about your vitamin D levels. By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need, you can begin taking the first steps towards better health.

 

Vitamin D – Do You Know If You’re Getting Enough?

What do sunscreen and obesity have in common? You may be surprised to find out that they may both be leading to osteoporosis, auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Skin cancer has reached epidemic proportions even though we are all aware of the risk of tanning beds and smearing our skin with body oil for that perfect “glow”. The use of sunscreen, hats and sunprotectant clothing is on the rise, and is necessary if the goal is cancer prevention. Obesity is also increasing as more and more of us turn to fast food, either for convenience, taste or financial reasons, and we continue to find our entertainment on the couch.

Something many of us may not know is that both being obese and blocking the sun can prevent our bodies from absorbing Vitamin D. Because our main source of vitamin D is the sun, vitamin D is often called the “Sunshine Vitamin”. Avoiding the sun completely may be good for our skin, but it isn’t doing us any favors in the vitamin department. Sunscreen with 30 SPF can reduce the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by 95%. Obesity and gastrointestinal disorders decrease the ability to absorb vitamin D from foods.

Ideally, we would all be getting plenty of vitamin D from sitting outside at lunch and eating vitamin D rich foods like eggs, fortified milk, and fish including sardines, salmon and herring. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes of sun on bare skin to reap the benefits and absorb enough vitamin D to keep levels adequate. Those who are homebound, stay inside, have darker skin or live in northern climates are also at a higher risk of not being able to get their daily dose of sunshine.

A long term deficiency of vitamin D can lead to numerous serious health problems.
Symptoms of a deficiency are subtle ornonexistent but could be bone pain, muscle weakness, low energy and depression. The list of possible health problems includes the obvious: osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, but may also cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, severe asthma and other lung diseases, and an increased risk of cancer, specifically of the breast, colon, prostate and pancreas. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. There is even evidence that deficiency could lead to cognitive impairment in older adults and is associated with a larger amount of belly fat!

Vitamin D plays a critical role in the processing of calcium, which can’t be used by the body without the right level of vitamin D. Research has shown that adequate levels of the sunshine vitamin in healthy people hasa significant impact on the biological pathways that govern illnesses, cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and infectious disease. It has may be involved in weight loss: Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet predicted weight loss success, suggesting that vitamin D may play a role in weight loss.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re getting enough vitamin D, a simple Vitamin D 25-hydroxy test, or a Micronutrient test to assess levels of all vitamins and minerals in the body, can give you the right information to help you decide whether you need to make lifestyle changes, such as getting outside more, losing weight or taking vitamin supplements to keep you at your best, today and long into the future!

Are You Winter D-ficient?

Vitamin D, more popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for your health. It is a fat soluble vitamin that interacts with over 200 genes in your body. Your body produces Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. It’s also naturally present in a few various food items and supplements and can be absorbed that way.

It’s important to test your Vitamin D levels because if they are not satisfactory your risk for coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus and calcium deficiency rises. Many other health issues can come from a lack of Vitamin D as well.

A sufficient range of Vitamin D is between 30 and 100 ng/mL. Check out what the Vitamin D Council talks about in regards to having a Vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes if you are deficient, symptoms can go unnoticed. They can include tiredness, general aches and pains or more severe pain. These symptoms can be common for various different issues, which is why it’s so important to get tested to make sure you know what is going on in your body.

Deficiency can be common in the winter months, because you may not be getting as much sun as compared to the summer months. That’s why it’s important to Take Control of Your Health® and test your Vitamin D levels to learn where your levels are.

Raising Awareness for Health Centers During Health Center Week

Have you ever noticed that when you get sick you always feel the need to find out what’s wrong? Who wants to go another day with a tummy ache, a sore throat or the dreaded sinus headache and congestion? Believe it or not that’s one of the many benefits provided by health centers. You might start asking yourself… “But I don’t have insurance, so how can I get service?” The good news is you have options at your disposal that will empower you to Take Control of Your Health® whether you have high deductible insurance, a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, or if you are uninsured.

A great example of available options is ANY LAB TEST NOW®. Though ANY LAB TEST NOW® does not treat or diagnose, it does empower its customers to be proactive about managing their health by providing direct access to blood tests, DNA tests, drug and alcohol testing as well as other lab testing services.  After you get your lab test results, you can quickly call a physician with our AmeriDoc telemedicine services program.  The doctor is just a phone call a way, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can treat many non-emergent care issues by phone, video call, or chat.

According the National Association of Community Health Centers, there are around 44 million people in the U.S. that are currently uninsured with another 56 million with high deductible insurance. This often makes health take a back seat to cost, which stresses the importance of price transparency. Can you take more good news? ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s affordable, transparent prices fit into a person’s healthcare budget, providing a solution that continues to support overall health and wellness. Don’t let your health take a back seat, without it we are nothing.

During the week of August 11 – 17 the nation celebrates Health Center Week. Why not take the time during this week to stop by a health center near you, check in on your health and thank them for helping to empower you and your loved ones to Take Control of Your Health®?

To learn more about ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s lab testing options stop by an ANY LAB TEST NOW® near you or visit www.anylabtestnow.com

Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Are you known in your social circle as the ‘foodie’ of the group? Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating food, right? Well all throughout the month of March you get a chance to celebrate your passion for food during National Nutrition Month and share your ‘foodie’ experience with your friends. However before you can share your love of food with your family and friends it is important that you know how to make nutritious food choices and that you incorporate them with good physical activity habits.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given this year’s celebration the theme of “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”, encouraging individuals to personalize their eating habits towards a healthier path and help them to identify the factors that ultimately influence their food choices. Our food choices are influenced by the events in our everyday life, busy lifestyles, cultural traditions and most importantly our health concerns. Health concerns, depending on the condition, should be a main factor in how we personalize our eating plans.

So perhaps your food choices aren’t always the most nutritious. That can be okay, as long as you balance your overall daily intake and combine it with an active lifestyle. Nutrition boils down to learning about how our bodies work and how to create an eating plan that is tailored to our lifestyle, health needs and of course our tastes. In addition knowing how our bodies will react to the meals we enjoy is key to creating a balanced healthy eating plan. Let’s say that during one of your ‘foodie’ adventures you came across a meal that your body just did not agree with. That disagreement could have been caused by a number of things. It could be that your body is intolerant or sensitive, or perhaps you are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in that meal.  Even if you are eating healthy, it is still possible that your body is deficient in specific vitamins and minerals.

There is no better time to Take Control of Your Health®. ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers a variety of tests that can help you learn more about your body’s current state and help you reach nutritional wellness. In order to do that, it is important to learn about the different food ingredients your body might be sensitive, intolerant or allergic to. Understanding how your body reacts to food through lab testing can help you truly create a tailored healthy meal plan that works just for you. It is also good to know what vitamins and minerals you might be missing.  Use National Nutrition Month to celebrate food in a healthy way and share with your friends and family all you have learned. Why not prepare a feast with the healthy foods you love for them and plan a fun, physical activity for everyone after the meal?

Remember you are what you eat, and ANY LAB TEST NOW® is here to help you Take Control of Your Health®.  To learn more about our nutrition-based lab tests including nutrient testing, food sensitivity, intolerance or allergies visit www.anylabtestnow.com.

Getting in the Spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week

Going to college is a great experience. It is the time when you finally get to study the subjects you are really interested in and when you begin to work towards your future career. You are the one and only responsible for what comes next for Y-O-U, including meeting deadlines, paying bills on time and of course taking care of your health.  Welcome to adulthood!

Now let’s talk about the process to get into college. Yes grades, tests scores and a comprehensive entry essay are a given; but the other side of this process believe it or not comes down to your health. Are your immunizations up to date? Have you been tested for venereal diseases? Some institutions may also require you to take a drug test. All these elements combined and perhaps an interview will determine whether you get in or not.

Next… Congratulations you got accepted! Now the grind begins, you are on a roll and burning the midnight oil has become part of your daily routine. You figured “why not I’m young I’ll catch up on Z’s once I graduate!” Ask yourself do these activities affect my overall health and wellness? The answer to that question is YES! Let’s be honest that midnight oil being burned is not just due to studying and once you graduate the time to catch up on Z’s decreases. It has been reported that some of the main health concerns on campuses across the country include lack of sleep, infectious diseases, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise.

The time to Take Control of Your Health® is now! You might ask yourself, but “how do I do that?” Perhaps doing the good old buddy system could work.  ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be that buddy you need to help you stay on top of things and make sure you’re healthy. We have the tests that you don’t have to study for including titer testing, STD testing and overall wellness checkups. Plus, we have B-12 shots that can help you boost that energy after those all-nighters.  Get in the spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week, increase your awareness about the importance of staying healthy, fit and get educated on how to do it.  Visit www.anylabtestnow.com to find additional information on how to Take Control of Your Health® and visit a location near you.

What’s Up With That?? What’s Good For Me Can Also Be Bad For Me?

There’s a reason why your momma always told you to “drink your milk” when you were a child.  You’ve seen the milk commercials – it builds strong bones.  Then, when you started becoming the sunbathing god or goddess on the beach, your mother’s mantra changed to “wear your sunblock”.  Both good for you, right?

Well, yes and no!  Who would have thought that sunblock would also inhibit our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D?  The good news is if you use sunblock, you are protecting yourself from the negatives associated with sun exposure – skin cancer, wrinkly skin, unwanted aging and sunburn.  The question is, is your body getting enough exposure to produce a sufficient amount of Vitamin D?

It sounds silly to get a Vitamin D test in the summer when you’ve got a great tan going on; however, it may be the smartest thing to do to ensure you are not deficient if you are taking care of your skin through sunblock protection.  Who wants Vitamin D deficiency when you are older?  Now we have to deal with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension – whew!  The list goes on.

Lucky for us, if we just get tested periodically, we will know if we have a deficiency, then can take care of it in a number of ways, from combining a Vitamin D rich diet with supplements, or seeking guidance from our physician or nutritionist.  So, I’m not going to end this with “break a leg” (caused from Vitamin D deficiency); take control of your health, even in the summer.