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At-home vitamin deficiency testing may help pinpoint what you’re missing.

Person using a lancet to take an at-home vitamin deficiency testShare on Pinterest
Getty Images/Christopher Hopefitch

Not getting enough of key vitamins and mineral could affect your overall health and well-being.

However, if you eat a balanced diet and don’t have an underlying health condition that affects nutrient absorption, you’re likely not at great risk of a deficiency.

But people who follow restrictive diet patterns or have health conditions associated with an increased risk of deficiencies — such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease — may need to be mindful of their nutrient levels.

Some reports estimate that around 31% of the U.S. population is at risk of at least one nutrient deficiency or anemia.

Research published in 2020 found that 45% of the population had inadequate levels of vitamin A and 95% of the population didn’t get enough vitamin D — both important nutrients for immune health.

If you’re concerned about not getting enough nutrients based on your current diet or any symptoms you’re experiencing, you may consider talking with a doctor and then ordering a vitamin deficiency test online or scheduling a lab visit.

Read on to learn how online vitamin deficiency tests work, when to consider buying them, and which specific products we recommend to help inform your next steps.

When carefully selecting our recommendations, we looked at the following elements:

  • Nutrients measured: We looked for tests that check for common vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Testing methods: The tests we chose use a reliable testing method (the finger-pricking method instead of saliva samples).
  • Lab and clinician credentials: We looked for tests that use labs that meet the CLIA standards and offer you the ability to verify the credentials of the company’s health professionals who review the results.
  • Cost: We considered overall quality for the price.
  • Ease of access: To help you streamline the process, we included options that allow you to test at home without obtaining a doctor’s order. You can then share your results with a medical professional.
  • Reviews: The tests on our list have mostly positive customer reviews and anecdotal experiences.

Product and
Result timeNutrients testedSample collected in-person by trained tech in lab?
LetsGetChecked Micronutrient Test
2–5 days• vitamin B12
• vitamin D
• vitamin E
• copper
• selenium
Everlywell At-Home Vitamin D Test
5–7 daysvitamin Dno
LetsGetChecked Essential Vitamin Test
2–5 days• vitamin B12
• vitamin D
• vitamin E
Labcorp Vitamin Deficiency Test
1–2 days• vitamin B12
• folate
• vitamin D
Labcorp Ferritin Blood Test
1–2 daysferritin (iron)yes

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when determining which at-home nutrient deficiency testing kit is right for you:

  • Nutrients: Each kit tests for levels of various vitamins or minerals, so evaluate which ones are most important based on your needs.
  • Follow-up: Some testing kits include follow-up support and guidance from a medical professional after you receive your results, while others recommend sharing the results with a doctor.
  • Testing method: Be sure to consider which testing method you prefer. Though most tests involve collecting a sample via a finger prick, others may use saliva samples. And some still require a lab visit.
  • Accreditation: It’s important to look for companies that send samples to an accredited lab, which can help ensure accuracy and quality.
  • Price: Testing kits can vary quite a bit in price, and some may recommend testing multiple times over a longer period to monitor your levels. For this reason, it’s important to keep your budget in mind when shopping.

While some vitamin deficiency tests require going to a nearby lab so a technician can take a blood sample, many other tests can be conducted within the comfort of your home and then submitted to a lab for processing.

These at-home vitamin deficiency tests typically involve collecting a blood sample, which is obtained with a finger prick using a small lancet.

While the precise instructions might vary depending on your testing kit, this process usually involves:

  • filling out the card that accompanies your test kit with basic information, including your name and date of birth
  • warming your hands by washing them with hot water to help increase blood flow
  • cleaning your fingertip with an alcohol prep pad
  • twisting the top off the lancet and gently pressing it into your finger to puncture
  • dripping blood from your finger into each circle on the collection card of your testing kit, then applying a bandage to your finger
  • mailing your sample back to the testing facility using a prepaid shipping envelope

Results are often provided online within 1 week. Some services might also include educational resources or a follow-up consultation with a healthcare professional to discuss your results.

Check with a doctor before using any at-home tests that require a finger prick if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have a high risk of fainting
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • take blood thinners
  • live with a skin condition that inhibits healing

Some at-home vitamin deficiency testing methods may be more reliable than others. For instance, some research suggests that blood samples may be more accurate than saliva samples at detecting certain nutrient deficiencies.

Much like blood tests ordered at a doctor’s office or hospital, most at-home nutrient deficiency tests are processed in labs certified by CLIA. It’s wise to double-check for this before purchasing an at-home test.

At-home nutrient deficiency tests that go to these labs are thought to be as reliable as tests administered by healthcare professionals.

Still, several factors can affect the accuracy of at-home tests, including whether you follow the instructions precisely.

In fact, errors with sample collection or contamination can both increase the risk of inaccurate results.

Certain supplements — such as biotin — can also alter test results by falsely elevating levels of specific nutrients, including vitamin D.

Additionally, using lotions or sunscreens that contain zinc might also slightly increase blood levels of zinc, which could affect the accuracy of your test.

Be sure to check the instructions of your testing kit carefully to ensure accurate results.

Research from 2017 suggests that vitamin B6 is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies, along with iron, and vitamins C, and D. An estimated 20% of adults ages 60 years and older in the United States have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

In addition, many people in the United States are at risk for a deficiency in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E
  • folate
  • iodine

However, testing for deficiencies in all these nutrients is likely unnecessary, especially if you eat balanced meals and don’t have any underlying health conditions that affect nutrient absorption. It’s worth talking with a doctor or dietitian first if you have any concerns.

People who follow restrictive diet patterns or have health conditions associated with an increased risk of deficiencies — such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease — may need to be mindful of their nutrient levels.

Similarly, if you don’t get regular sun exposure or are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, testing your blood levels may be beneficial.

It’s important to consider your medical history, diet, and symptoms to determine whether a nutrient deficiency test is right for you.

For example, the best first step is to seek advice from a healthcare professional if you:

  • have a history of iron deficiency
  • follow a vegan or vegetarian diet
  • are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath

Some of the most common symptoms of a nutrient deficiency are:

  • decreased energy levels
  • difficulty concentrating
  • weakness
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • unintentional weight loss
  • shortness of breath
  • brittle nails
  • skin dryness
  • impaired immunity
  • swollen or bleeding gums
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • bone or joint pain
  • skin changes
  • swollen tongue
  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • easy bruising

However, many of these symptoms can also be caused by other health conditions, so they may not indicate a nutrient deficiency.

Also, symptoms of nutrient deficiencies can vary depending on the nutrient you’re lacking and the severity of the deficiency.

For example, many people with mild vitamin D deficiency may not experience any symptoms. However, over time, a severe deficiency can cause issues such as bone loss in adults and trouble with thriving, developmental delays, or bone abnormalities in children.

If your at-home test results reveal a possible vitamin deficiency, it’s important to make an appointment with a healthcare professional to discuss next steps.

They can help you determine the causes of any nutritional deficiencies, such as your diet or any underlying medical conditions. They may also recommend specific vitamin or mineral supplements, such as a multivitamin with iron or vitamin D3, B6, or B12.

A doctor may also refer you to a registered dietitian who can help design a meal plan for your dietary needs.

What are the consequences of vitamin deficiencies?

The exact health concerns that result from a deficiency will depend on the type of nutritional deficiency you have.

For example, an extremely low iron intake could lead to anemia, whereas a long-term vitamin D deficiency could affect your bone health and may be linked to systemic inflammation.

What types of tests check for vitamin deficiencies?

Doctors traditionally use blood tests to check for vitamin deficiencies. While saliva tests are also available, these may not be as accurate. This is why all our selections rely on blood samples obtained via finger pricking.

Can a doctor test for vitamin deficiency?

A doctor can diagnose many types of nutritional deficiencies — including folate, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D — using blood tests.

However, a doctor won’t typically check for nutritional deficiencies unless you specifically ask for these tests. If you have any concerns or questions about whether these tests are necessary, your annual physical is a good time to ask.

If you decide to take an at-home vitamin deficiency test, you also have the option of following up with further testing at a doctor’s office.

If you’re searching for at-home vitamin deficiency tests, you’ll find several options.

We’ve included five recommendations that address some of the most common deficiencies. These companies are all CLIA certified, and healthcare professionals will review your results.

If you decide to move forward with testing, it’s important to discuss your results with a doctor or registered dietitian. They can help you decide whether you need further testing, dietary changes, or supplementation.