Did you know that your blood spot sample could be denied for testing if not done properly? It is especially important to provide a quality sample with multiple tests being performed from each blood spot sample.
We originally reviewed this topic back in March, and have decided to touch on it again due to the importance of providing a proper sample, especially with the new Elements Panel.
What Does a Proper Blood Spot Look Like?
An acceptable blood spot should:
- Be at least 1/4 inches in diameter, the same size as a regular pencil eraser on the front of the filter paper (this is the size of the smaller circles on our 2 and 4 spot blood spot cards)
- Soak completely through to the back of the filter paper, so that the sample is at least 1/4 inches in diameter on both the front and the back
- ***PLEASE VERIFY before you seal your sample in your return envelope! If the first try does not look acceptable, use the extra lancet to try again.
- Not overlap with any other blood spots on the filter paper
Each test needs a minimum number of good spots in case a rerun is deemed necessary by the lab.
- For a vitamin D test, a minimum of 2 good spots are necessary
- For a magnesium or Elements panel, a minimum of 4 good spots are necessary
- For an HbA1c or hsCRP, a minimum of 2 good spots are necessary
- For a TSH test, a minimum of 2 good spots are necessary
- For an Omega-3 Index, with or without the additional ratios, a minimum of 2 good spots are necessary
When in question, you can always take a picture of your blood spots and email the picture to [email protected] for feedback/advice on how to proceed.
Because of the importance of getting enough quality blood spots for the Elements Panel, participants receive a larger blood spot card in their test kit, which includes 12 large circles. A single drop of blood should be placed in the center of each circle. Allowing the blood to well up on the finger before applying will help ensure a large enough spot. Try to fill the circle completely, but if it’s at least 1/4″ on both sides of the paper, it is adequate. The good news about using these new cards is that both the vitamin D test and the Elements Panel test can be run from this same card!
What does an Unacceptable Blood Spot Look Like?
Some examples of blood spot samples that would be rejected are shown below.
Spots are too small
(smaller than 1/4 inch in diameter; do not completely fill the circle on the 2 or 4 spot cards)
The blood spots did not completely penetrate filter paper- spots are large on the front, but do not soak through to the back
Spots are re-spotted on the same location (multiple blood spots stacked on top of each other) showing different drying rings and improper absorption
Spots soak through the back but are “marbled” in appearance because of repeated applications
A blood sample can also be rejected if the participant shut the card too soon and blood was leached from the filter paper to the card’s protective cover, leaving a diluted blood spot.
For Omega blood spot samples, there are two additional requirements.
- They must be processed within 28 days of the date the sample was collected (it is very important to send them in immediately after doing the test).
- The samples must be placed on the treated filter card provided for the Omega testing.
These cards may also have a slightly pinkish tinge on the filter paper (this stain is normal!), and may say “OMEGA” on the back of the card.
Tips to Get a Better Blood Spot Sample
Before collection, it may help to:
- Drink a large glass of water.
- Warm hands by running them under hot water, using a heating pad, or taking a shower.
- Raise your heart rate by going up a flight of stairs or doing jumping jacks. If you have limited mobility, try pumping your opposite arm up and down (like a bird) during collection.
At the time of collection, it may help to:
- Place the collection card below waist level. If you are able, collect standing up and place the collection card on a low table.
- Wipe the puncture point with gauze between samples to help prevent the wound from closing.
- Don’t squeeze too close to the puncture site, but right below, just above the knuckle. You can also massage your entire forearm, starting from your elbow.
- Allow the blood to well up on your finger tip, so that you have a single large drop, before touching it to the card.
- When in doubt, an extra blood spot can be applied to the filter paper outside of the circles provided, as long as the samples do not overlap.
What Happens if a Blood Spot Sample is Rejected?
If a participant sends in a blood spot sample that is determined to be insufficient, the participant will be sent an email notice based on the reason for rejection. A replacement blood spot test kit will be sent free of charge to the participant. As long as the new blood spot sample is collected within two months of the questionnaire answers, no other action is needed from the participant.
Good luck and happy bleeding!
How can I track my vitamin D intake and levels?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created an online tracking system called myData-myAnswers. For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!
What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.
STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.
STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).
STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.
STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.
STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.
STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.
The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.
These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Index
- Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!
Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.
Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!