Blood Test For Vitamin Deficiency

September 14, 2023

Blood Test For Vitamin Deficiency

Ensuring that your child gets enough nutrition from their diet is easier said than done. Not many children enjoy eating their vegetables, so it’s not uncommon for them to miss out on some key vitamins and minerals. It’s been estimated that around 16% of all children are deficient in vitamin D, which can prevent them from building strong bones and even lead to rickets.

However, there are ways that a child’s vitamin levels can be checked – and that’s with a blood test.

If you are worried your child may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency, it’s important to see a doctor first so they can evaluate your child’s health and determine the best course of action.

A child smiling whilst holding an apple

What is a vitamin deficiency?

A vitamin deficiency is a condition that develops when the body doesn’t get the right amount of a certain nutrient. It’s possible to be deficient in more than one vitamin at a time.

Vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B (including 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9)
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

These are 13 of the most important vitamins that the body needs, so any imbalance can lead to health problems.

Vitamin deficiencies lead to all sorts of issues with the body, and they can impact children greatly. Children need vitamins to help their immune system to stay strong, keep their skin healthy, and ensure their body functions as it should while they’re growing.

Noticeable effects of a vitamin deficiency will normally develop after several months of not getting an adequate amount of the vitamin, so a vitamin deficiency may not be noticed straight away.

Vitamin deficiency symptoms in children

Adults may spot vitamin deficiencies in themselves more easily than in their children, as children can display different symptoms or not express themselves in the same way.

Common symptoms of vitamin deficiencies in children can include:

  • Recurrent or persistent colds or infections
  • Restlessness
  • Digestive problems like diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Struggling to pay attention at school or home
  • Impact on growth
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Dry skin or other skin complaints
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Brittle nails or hair

Symptoms can vary depending on the vitamin your child is deficient in. Have your child checked as soon as possible if you suspect they may have a deficiency.

Vitamin deficiency causes in children

Vitamin deficiency in children can be caused by several things – not just a poor diet. It can also be a combination of different factors, so it’s important to get to the root cause of a deficiency.

Vitamin deficiencies may be caused by:

  • Poor nutrition in the diet – this can be common in children who are fussy eaters.
  • Certain diets – vegetarian and vegan diets could potentially lead to a deficiency in vitamin D and vitamin B12.
  • Lack of sun exposure – this can cause a deficiency in vitamin D, especially during the winter. For more information, read our article on the best vitamins for children in winter.
  • Health conditions – certain chronic conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease in children, can make it difficult for nutrients to be absorbed, leading to deficiencies.

Blood test for vitamin deficiency

The best way to find out if your child has a vitamin deficiency is by having an assessment with your doctor or paediatrician, who may request a blood test for your baby or child. This is the most common screening test and can be used to diagnose many different types of vitamin deficiencies.

A blood test for vitamin deficiencies will involve a small sample of your child’s blood being taken. The sample is then sent off and analysed for any deficiencies.

The benefit of having a blood test done is that a treatment plan can be developed to ensure that your child’s low vitamin levels are restored. It also means that further investigation can be done if necessary – for example, if the deficiency is thought to signify an underlying health condition.

How does a blood test work?

Before you take your child to have a blood test, speak calmly and positively about the appointment with them. You want them to feel as relaxed as possible about their appointment and help alleviate any fears they may have.

You’ll also want to make sure that they’re hydrated before the appointment; this makes it easier to collect a sample.

If your child is especially nervous, a numbing cream or spray can be requested and applied.

Once the appointment begins, the technician will squeeze your child’s arm or apply a tourniquet that puts pressure on the arm to stop the blood flow. This makes it easier for the sample to be taken and makes the vein more accessible.

A needle will then be inserted into the vein and a blood sample taken. Once removed, cotton wool will be placed over the wound to stop any further bleeding.

It’s a good idea to try and keep your child distracted during the procedure as it can help them to feel calm and keep their mind off what’s happening.

The blood sample will be sent off for analysis, and you’ll simply need to await the results.

Blood test results

Vitamin deficiency blood test results can be ready within 72 hours. However, some testing can take up to three weeks.

A doctor will look at the results once they’re received and decide on any course of action that needs to be taken.

If a deficiency has been identified, a treatment plan will be developed to help your child’s vitamin levels increase. Sometimes further testing may be needed to check for underlying health conditions.

Treatment plans can include a tailored diet plan for your child or supplements, depending on how low their levels are or the vitamin they’re deficient in.

Book a blood test for vitamin deficiency with Childhealthy

If you’re worried that your child may have a vitamin deficiency, be sure to book a blood test with us here at Childhealthy. Our expert level of care ensures that your child feels at complete ease during the appointment.

If you know which blood test your child needs, please register with Childhealthy and then contact for more information.

We have also partnered with specialist Paediatric Dietitian, Bianca Pararu, who is highly experienced in child nutrition. Bianca can assess your child’s diet and answer any questions or concerns relating to your child’s intake or weight from birth. Book a child nutritional assessment with our paediatric dietitian today.

If you’re unsure or have any questions, be sure to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.






Disclaimer: Information contained in this article is intended as general advice and does not replace a medical assessment. If you are concerned about your child please contact your doctor for advice.


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