As many of you will know if you read my blog regularly, 16 months ago I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. Since then, CBT has helped me overcome this to a large part, but I’ve continued to feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, and exhausted a lot. When blood tests from my doctors ruled out things like thyroid problems, but hadn’t checked for vitamin deficiency (as we’d discussed), I took matters into my own hands.
I like to thing that in spite of a distinct lack of medical training, I know myself pretty well and can identify when something is wrong. I’m not one to question authority much, but when I got to the stage of struggling to get even half way through the workday without exhaustion setting in, when my brain felt completely unable to process even simple tasks, when I felt the cold breeze of depression whispering to me – I felt like something needed investigating.
Chatting to friends and researching on (reputable) websites, it became clear that deficiencies in both vitamins B12 and D could present with the sorts of symptoms I had. I’d spoken about this with my GP and yet the tests she’d ordered hadn’t included these. My good friend Leslie introduced me to Forth With Life, who kindly sent me their Baseline home blood test kit.
Taking the test
The kit was so easy to use:
- Open the box and lay everything out ready
- Write on the sample label
- Prick my finger tip
- Allow the blood to drop into the sample bottle
- Shut the lid and attach the label
- Send it back
Within a week, my results were online.
My Baseline home blood test results
The Forth With Life website is so clear and easy to use, spectacularly user friendly! It displayed my results as below:
I’m very grateful that there is a lot of green in my results! My cardiovascular, kidneys, liver, and metabolic results all came back at 100% which is fantastic.
My vitamin levels were at 67% – entirely due to me being low on vitamin D.
Thankfully I’m not horrendously deficient at 38.5nmol/l, but anything under 50nmol/l counts as borderline low, and under 48 is low. I believe that a deficiency is considered 30 or below, so I have a vitamin D insufficiency according the NICE.
What to do
If any markers come back as low, it is advised that you go and speak to your GP. I spoke to my lovely nurse when I went in for my smear test and she gave me the same advice as friends with low vitamin D – a spray that is available in healthcare stores and is more effective than tablets because it’s absorbed straight into the buccal cavity (inside your cheek).
I do think this has made a difference over the month or so I’ve been taking it daily. I am able to focus at work without any issues, my depression is more manageable, I generally feel more alert and able to function. I’d like to take another test soon to see whether my levels have indeed risen, so I’ll report back!
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms I’ve described, or anything that’s causing you concern, then please do see your GP. The Forth With Life tests aren’t a medical diagnosis, they are markers to then take to your GP if further investigation is needed. They’re also a great way to easily track your levels to see if they’re improving over time. None of this replaces professional medical advice.
**Forth With Life sent me a Baseline home testing kit free of charge for the purpose of this post. Words and opinions are entirely my own**