Health

Don’t Derail Your Lab Test – Micro Tips

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Last October, I attended a webinar entitled “Making Sense of My Lab Test Results.” It was sponsored by our local hospital and “OLLI” (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). OLLI, which is affiliated nationwide with various universities, caters mostly to folks over 50 with programs varying in subject and intensity.

The Lab Results webinar was quite interesting and pleased me because the presenter was not a ‘doom and gloom’ type. I’m sure he wouldn’t panic at every score outside the normal or average ranges. He discussed most of the general lab tests that are standard, and shared recommendations from the US Public Health Labs at CDC and Clear Labs.

The lab specialist also noted some tests generally NOT to order. This included those to establish your level of vitamin D. You may remember that there have been several articles about Vitamin-D on Aging with Pizzazz including Vitamin-D Craze — Fallacy or Function?.

I believe there are probably too many blood tests ordered to pinpoint levels of Vitamin D, especially from “Functional” medicine professionals. (See 2 Ways your Doctor’s Philosophy may Dictate YOUR Care-Function vs. Symptom for explanation of different approaches). The bottom line is the tests have become too frequent and are probably of minimal use. You can use a general formula to determine your needs to accomplish target levels without blood tests (see first video at Vitamin D – Quick Update for Winter).

One tip popped out at me because I had never heard it before. Granted, I don’t recall all the details of lab protocols, despite taking “Lab” for several semesters. That’s just a matter of me not remembering. This point was new.

Evidently, some people take large doses of supplemental Biotin for hair loss or healthy hair, skin and nails. Biotin is actually a water-soluble vitamin, traditionally known as B7, although frequently referred to as Vitamin H (which is more than likely just a micronutrient of B7). Ironically, while Biotin is taken for these beauty remedies, too much can cause skin irritations.


Biotin is often included in multiple vitamins, since the human cells can’t make it. Still, there is no real RDA (recommended daily allowance) for the substance since it’s speculated that you probably get enough from food. It’s debatable. These newer concentrated products are often seen (and peddled) in the cosmetics industry.

Unfortunately, the concern is that Biotin may interfere with lab tests. According to this speaker, it may interfere with between 2 – 3 DOZEN tests. Uh oh. The amount in multi-vitamins is generally of no concern. However, those using Biotin for the supposed beauty benefits above may be consuming a product in the 5,000-10,000-mcg range. This is well above any amount needed for general-health intake.

THE TIP

If you are scheduled for lab tests and are taking one of these high-potency supplements for any reason, discontinue the Biotin for 3-4 days ahead. Even if you are only springing for the co-pay, lab screenings can be expensive. We don’t want to flush good money down the drain due to overuse of a vitamin which interferes with lab assessments. Worse, we wouldn’t want to induce less-than-accurate results to worry us, or trigger unnecessary further testing.

Picture Credit “My October blood test” by tyrn is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

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