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Everyone wants to lead a healthy lifestyle, but for many people, it’s not something that is so straight forward. We all know that it’s important to follow a healthy balanced diet, without too much sugar, as well as taking regular exercise. However due to a huge number of reasons, not everyone is able to achieve this.
One of the biggest factors for those living in the western world is time. Many people work long hours each day, and finding the time to take regular exercise, as well as to eat something healthy is next to impossible. It becomes even more difficult if you have a family to look after, and kids who have after school activities.
Eating healthy is not a guarantee
Even if you are able to eat healthy foods and avoid fatty and fried food, it doesn’t mean that you are suddenly a much more healthier person. Different people may have various underlying health conditions, some more serious than others.
Every person on the planet is different, and our bodies, though similar, may function in slightly different ways. One example is with the micronutrient requirement of an individual. Micronutrients are components that are vital to our diet such as minerals and vitamins, and which are vital to our development and sustained good health.
The requirements of individuals over another could be completely different, even if both lead a relatively similar lifestyle, with a healthy diet and frequent exercise.
Differences between individuals can happen if vitamins and minerals are not properly absorbed by the body, as well as if a person is suffering from a chronic illness. Other factors that can influence the individual requirements of someone include things such as alcohol consumption, smoking and lifestyle choices.
What is a micronutrient test?
There are lots of different blood tests that a person can take to measure different aspects of their health. A micronutrient test is a very detailed analysis of an individual that measures deficiencies of nutrients at a cellular level. The aim of the test is to measure just how effectively the body is utilizing the consumed nutrients, including a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants. There are medical companies such as Medicross where you can order and take the test.
The main difference between a micronutrient test and a regular blood test, is that a regular test will only show the micronutrient status for the previous few days, while a micronutrient test will provide results covering a period of the previous 6 months. This gives a much clearer picture of an individual’s status, rather than relying on a simple blood test, whose results can be easily influenced by going on a strict diet a few days prior to that test.
Why are micronutrient tests important?
Due to their ability to give a much broader picture of an individual’s health, they can also help better understand things such as the mental and physical health of an individual. People who suffer from chronic disease or inflammation are people who are more prone to micronutrient deficiencies.
It is estimated that 50% of individuals who take regular multivitamins and other supplements are actually micronutrient deficient, and many people may not even be aware of it.
There are a number of medical conditions that are affected by such deficiencies, and these include fatigue, diabetes, mood disorders, migraines, inflammation and stress tolerance. If you suffer from any of these conditions, they could be exasperated by a micronutrient deficiency.
Getting tested for micronutrient deficiency
There are a number of micronutrient tests that you can take if you want to get checked. You could speak to your local doctor and ask if they can carry out the test for you.
You can also order a test online, as there are also a large number of companies that can provide you with a self-test that you can take yourself at home. Some tests might require you to actually pop into a medical center to drop off a vial of blood, while other tests will simply need a prick of your fingertip to draw a tiny drop of blood to test.
If you believe that you might be suffering from micronutrient deficient, then it’s not a bad idea to consider buying a test to take. However, it would be a good idea to consult with a doctor beforehand, as there may be some other medical conditions that you suffer from, or any medication that you might currently be taking, which could have an influence on any type of test.
Consult with a dietician
Once you get your test results back, if you do have a deficiency, then it’s important that you speak with a dietician. You’ll need to tell them in a lot of detail about your diet and what you eat, and when. There may be things in your diet that you believe to be healthy, but which are actually doing you more harm than good.
A dietician will be able to analyze your test results and see which elements you are lacking. Maybe you need to increase the amount of vegetables in your weekly diet, or maybe you need to reduce something else that you eat. Once you have been provided with a diet plan, it is extremely important that you follow it strictly.
Alternatively, your current diet might be more than suitable, and you are simply lacking in some specific vitamins or minerals, which the dietician can easily prescribe to you.
Some final thoughts
When most people look at their general health, they are going by how they feel or look, rather than what’s actually going on inside. If you are already suffering from a medical condition, it’s important to make sure that the symptoms from that condition are not being made worse due to a micronutrient deficiency.
Though a healthy diet and frequent exercise are vital for a healthy lifestyle, there are other elements that do need to be considered, and how our bodies absorb and use the minerals and vitamins that we take on a daily basis is just as important, if not more so.
Article by Dennis Hamming