Vitamin A, E, and Beta Carotene Profile
Vitamin B12 and Folates
While many diseases and health care issues affect both men and women, certain diseases and conditions exhibited in men may require distinct approaches regarding diagnosis and management. Some of the major issues associated with men’s health are related to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, impotence, and prostate health.
Special Instructions: Patients must be fasting for a minimum of eight hours. Patients should avoid foods containing vitamin A or carotene for 48 hours (24 hours for patients younger than six months of age).
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that has several important functions in the body:
It helps cells reproduce normally (called "cellular differentiation").
It is essential for good vision -- the first sign of a vitamin A deficiency is often poor sight at night.
It is necessary for the proper development of an embryo and fetus.
Vitamin A also helps keep skin and mucous membranes that line the nose, sinuses, and mouth healthy. It plays a role in proper immune system function, growth, bone formation, reproduction, and wound healing.
Vitamin A comes from two sources: a groups of molecules called retinoids (which are derived from animal sources and includes retinol) and another group called carotenoids (which are derived from plants and includes beta-carotene). The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Severe vitamin A deficiencies are rare in the developed world: symptoms can include dry eyes, night blindness, diarrhea, and skin problems.
While vitamin A is essential for good health, it can be toxic in high doses. Never exceed the recommended daily allowance without first talking to your doctor.
Reference Interval: 30-90 µg/dL
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It has eight different variants, each one has its own biological activity.
Alpha-tocopherol (a-tocopherol) is the most active form of vitamin E in humans. It is a powerful antioxidant. It is sold in supplements as alpha-tocopheryl acetate. The synthetic form is labeled "D, L" while the natural form is labeled "D". The synthetic form is only half as active as the natural form.
Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect cells against the effects of free radicals, potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism.
Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals are common food sources of vitamin E.
Its concentration is measured by means of analysis of a blood sample drawn from the vein in the arm.
Purpose of the test
To measure the level of vitamin E in blood in order to check whether the patient has a convenient level of this vitamin or there is a defect in diet or a disease related with absorption of vitamin E.
Vitamin E deficiency is rare in humans, except in:
1. persons who cannot absorb dietary fat due to an inability to secrete bile or with rare disorders of fat metabolism: Crohn's Disease and Cystic Fibrosis
2. individuals with rare genetic abnormalities in the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein: Ataxia and vitamin E deficiency (AVED)
3. premature, very low birth weight infants: Necrotizing enterocolitits
Reference range values
mg/L (SI: mcmol/L = 2.32 x mg/L)
1-19Y: Not established
Vitamin E deficiency is usually characterized by neurological problems associated with nerve degeneration in hands and feet. It can be due to:
• Problems related with inability to absorb fat: Crohn's Disease and Cystic Fibrosis
• Metabolic inherited problems Ataxia and vitamin E deficiency
Blood levels of vitamin E may also be decreased with zinc deficiency.
Carotene is a type of pigment found in plants, especially carrots and colorful vegetables. The name beta-carotene is derived from the Latin name for carrot, and it gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their rich hues. Beta-carotene is also used as a coloring agent for foods such as margarine.
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A (retinol) by the body. Vitamin A is needed for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucus membranes. While large amounts of vitamin A in supplement form can be toxic, the body will convert only as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs. That means beta-carotene is considered a safe source of vitamin A. However, too much beta-carotene can be dangerous for people who smoke. (Getting high amounts of either vitamin A or beta-carotene through your diet -- not from supplements -- is safe.)
Like all other carotenoids, beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It protects the body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to cells through a process known as oxidation. Over time, this damage can lead to a number of chronic illnesses. There is good evidence that eating more antioxidants in your diet helps boost your immune system, protect against free radicals, and may lower your risk of two types of chronic illness -- heart disease and cancer. But the issue is a little murkier when it comes to taking antioxidant supplements.
The measurement of Vitamin B12 and Folate is a very useful biomarker for ones overall health. To measure the Folate level in blood to help diagnose the cause of anemia or neuropathy. Also to evaluate nutritional status in some patients or to check effectiveness of treatment for B12 or folate deficiency. These tests measure the concentration of folate and vitamin B12 in the liquid portion of the blood (serum) or inside the red blood cell (RBC). It will normally be at a higher concentration inside the cells than in the serum Either a serum or RBC folate test may be used to help detect a deficiency.
B12 and folate tests are done when a CBC, done routinely or as part of an evaluation of anemia symptoms, indicates the presence of large RBCs. When a person shows mental or behavioral changes such as irritability, confusion, depression, and/or paranoia, B12 and folate may be done to help diagnose the underlying cause. These tests are also be ordered when a patient has physical symptoms that suggest a B12 or folate deficiency, including dizziness, weakness, fatigue, or a sore mouth or tongue. When a patient has symptoms suggesting nerve damage such as, tingling, burning, or numbness in their hands, arms, legs, and or/feet, a B12 test may be requested.
In patients with known B12 and folate deficiencies, these tests may be ordered occasionally to help monitor the effectiveness of treatment with supplements (or with B12 injections). Normal or elevated results indicate a response to treatment.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient for humans, a large number of higher primate species, a small number of other mammalian species (notably guinea pigs and bats), a few species of birds, and some fish.
The presence of ascorbate is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms, humans being a notable exception. It is widely known that a deficiency in this vitamin causes scurvy in humans. It is also widely used as a food additive.
Biological tissues that accumulate over 100 times the level in blood plasma of vitamin C are the adrenal glands, pituitary, thymus, corpus luteum, and retina. Those with 10 to 50 times the concentration present in blood plasma include the brain, spleen, lung, testicle, lymph nodes, liver, thyroid, small intestinal mucosa, leukocytes, pancreas, kidney and salivary glands.
The pharmacophore of vitamin C is the ascorbate ion. In living organisms, ascorbate is an anti-oxidant, since it protects the body against oxidative stress, and is a cofactor in several vital enzymatic reactions.
Reference range values