Are you constantly worn out, but unable to put your finger on why? Hugh Wolton, Senior Partnerships Manager at Healthily, took a DIY blood test to understand what might be causing his tiredness.
I caughtin December 2021 and was ill for about 2 weeks. Since then, I’ve had less energy than normal – in fact, my partner was worried that I might be developing . She encouraged me to get a blood test. But as the NHS is under pressure right now, I chose to order a DIY blood test instead of going to see my doctor.
I’d done something similar in January 2019, and the results showed that my levels ofwere low. While this is quite common during the colder, darker winter months due to a lack of direct sunlight, I was curious to see if my levels had improved 3 years later – especially as I’d been taking vitamin D supplements on and off.
While there are plenty of options online, I chose– a healthcare subscription service focusing on men’s health – and its Fear Nothing Blood Test Plus.
A major benefit is that it screens for a huge 21 biomarkers (or 17 if you choose the Standard test, rather than the Plus). These are markers in the blood that can be measured for signs of health conditions.
Numan also promises to give you a refund for the cost of your test if all your results are normal.
The 17 biomarkers tested on the Standard test are:
The 4 extra biomarkers included in the Plus test are:
For £128 (or £98 if you order the Standard blood test), I could find out more about why I’ve been so lacking in energy, and get personalised feedback with a clinician based on my results.
Once ordered, the blood test arrived within 2 days, in discreet packaging and with all the tools I needed, including:
I read the instructions in full before I did anything else, which told me I needed to take the test in the morning after fasting for 8 hours.
I woke up the next day, drank 2 glasses of water, did some light stretching and washed my hands under warm water for 2 minutes – all of which Numan advises to improve blood flow.
After cleaning my hand with the alcohol wipe, I pricked my finger and the blood started coming out quite quickly – I had to adjust my aim a few times to make sure each drop was being collected in the tube.
As the blood flow slowed down a little, I followed Numan’s instructions to gently ‘milk’ my finger, rather than squeeze it too hard.
There were 2 separate tubes that needed different volumes of blood. Once these were filled to the right level, I fastened the lids, turned them up and down slowly, and made sure they were correctly labelled.
The whole test took no more than 5 minutes and was really easy. Then all that was left to do was post the tubes to Numan in the pre-paid envelope and wait patiently.
After 3 days of suspense, the results of my blood test arrived in my inbox. I was pleasantly surprised about how much detail and insight I was given, and relieved to see that the feedback was generally positive.
I didn’t qualify for Numan’s ‘free if we don’t find anything’ refund though, because my vitamin D levels were found to be below the normal range. I’ll definitely be buying a stronger vitamin D supplement for the remaining winter months, and maybe take this opportunity to book a sunny holiday!
But that wasn’t all. My levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) were also shown to be a bit low. Numan’s suggestion to improve this was to eat, and .
This result was really surprising because my diet is on the healthy end of the spectrum – I’m a bit of a self-confessed fitness freak and I don’t smoke. But maybe I could cut back on the chocolate, and I could certainly add more fish containing omega-3 fatty acids into my diet, to make sure I get more ‘good’ fats.
While my HDL and vitamin D levels are low, I feel more in control of my health knowing that this might be what’s causing my tiredness. I also feel motivated by the idea that making small changes to my lifestyle could help me boost my future health.
I’ll continue to exercise regularly – I’ve set a target to run 1,000 miles in 2022. I’m also adding salmon into my weekly meals, and I’ve bought a stronger vitamin D supplement to take each day.
You can check back in with me in 6 months when I test again, to see if these changes have improved my energy levels.
If you’re worried about any of your test results, or if some of them aren’t in the healthy range, see a doctor. They can give you specific advice and further tests and treatment, if this is what you need.
You should also see a doctor if the area where you pricked your finger becomes very red, swollen or painful.
While DIY blood tests can be useful, they shouldn’t be used if you’re worried about any symptoms, or have a serious health problem or a medical emergency. In this case, see a doctor instead.
If you’d like to give yourself a health check-up, order atest today.
In some cases, Healthily may benefit commercially from promoting third-party health products and/or services. Healthily is not liable for products and/or services provided by third parties.
Make sure you always read the instructions carefully before taking an at-home blood test.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.