A new survey reveals Americans are not aware of what to report prior to a blood test. Only half (52 percent) believe it is very important to report use of supplements to their healthcare provider before getting a blood test.
With recent interest in the use of supplements like biotin as beauty treatments, it’s especially critical for consumers, doctors and lab personnel to talk before blood tests because very high doses of supplements could interfere with some test results.
The possibility of interference in blood testing is low, but if you’re taking high-dose biotin for hair, skin or nail health, for example, it is best to inform your doctor before a blood test. Just as you may need to fast before certain types of tests, you may need to hold off on taking supplements like biotin for at least eight hours before blood work.
The survey, commissioned by Roche Diagnostics, also found that most Americans (85 percent) expect their physician to provide complete instructions on how to prepare for a blood test.
“Many factors — from stress, to prescription medication, to vitamins — can affect blood test results, so it’s important to be proactive in communicating about medicines or supplements you’re taking rather than waiting to be asked,” said Dr. Emily Jungheim, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Ask your healthcare provider about ways to prepare for blood tests. Here are some simple tips to follow:
* Write down all your prescription medicines the night before a blood test so you can share up-to-date information with the lab technician or your doctor.
* Also report vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals and any over-the-counter medications.
* Know the doses of the medicines and supplements you are taking. The dose matters. You may not be aware that 5 mg of biotin per day, for example, is equal to the amount of biotin in 100 capsules of a typical daily multivitamin.