By Rob, 5 mins read

Is a plant-based diet affecting my health? I did a Thriva blood test to find out

Image credit Thriva

Find out what’s happening inside your body and discover the best evidence-based ways to improve your health — based on your lifestyle

Get £10 off your first Thriva testBuy
Get £10 off your first Thriva testBuy

Earlier this year I came across a post on social media from someone I follow.

She said, she’d been eating mostly vegetarian meals and ate her way into a B12 deficiency.

Which got me wondering, might I be deficient in B12, or anything else for that matter?

I didn’t know the specifics of her B12 deficiency, but I felt fine… I think.

I take a daily multivitamin and omega3 supplement and ate a fairly diverse range of plants in my diet. But how could I know?

This wasn’t just about a B12 deficiency.

My dad and grandad both had heart problems and had to have heart bypass surgery.

At the age of 6, I was told I had a heart murmur (which I’ve since been told has gone away).

And so if my goal is to live a long and healthy life, catching anything that could seriously be affecting my long-term health, would be a sensible thing to do.

And so I did some searching online and came across Thriva – the finger prick blood test that can be completed at home.

So with further ado, here’s my Thriva review.

Choosing your package

Going into this I didn’t know what to expect.

Thriva has a bunch of different home blood test kits to choose from – which at first glance might seem quite overwhelming.

But they also have a quick 3-minute online quiz, which will ask you a bunch of different questions about yourself and based on your answers will suggest what things you should get tested on.

You can of course remove certain things from your package if you don’t feel the need to test for it and equally add ones you think should be included.

This is the route I went down, my package was put together with a focus on long-term health – exactly what I was looking for.

Personalised Thriva health package with recommendations and results

Thriva comms

It took a few days for my package to arrive, but whilst I was waiting, I received plenty of helpful emails on how things are progressing, what to expect and what I should do when it arrives.

It was just the right amount of information, not too much that it was annoying and not too little that I wondered what am I meant to do when this turned up.

The package itself was so well put together and organised. Everything was clearly labelled and separated into its relevant section.

Doing your blood test

If like me, it’d be your first time doing an at-home kit, I’d recommend reading the instructions ahead of time, as you’ll likely have to make some preparations before you collect your blood sample, I had to:

  • Do it on an empty stomach after fasting for 8 hours

  • Drink 2 cups of water 30 mins before doing the test

  • Do it before 9 am as I was doing a testosterone test

  • Don’t do the test on a Sunday as it’ll likely sit in the mailbox

Once you’ve figured out a day and time that you’re going to collect your blood sample.

Make sure to get everything you need and organise it somewhere you can access easily.

With that out of the way, make sure to read the instructions a good few times – because once you start it does feel like you’re on a countdown to get enough blood into the vial(s).

Instructions on how to collect your Thriva blood sample

Receiving your blood test results

Once I had posted my box into the mailbox, I received an email from Thriva when they had received it and also with the expectation that my results would be ready within 48 hours.

Here’s an exact timeline, from me, placing my order to getting my results:

  • Health kit ordered
  • Health kit dispatched
  • Health kit arrived
  • Sample collected and posted
  • Sample received
  • Results ready

When I did get my results, my expectations were definitely exceeded. I expected to get a list of everything tested and whether I was deficient or not.

But it was so much better than this.

There’s a message from the doctor who checks your blood sample who’s looked at both your results and the details you’ve added to your profile and helps to pick up on points that might matter to you.

Dr. L. Fayker

There is little or no active inflammation occurring in the body. Studies have shown in an otherwise healthy individual this is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s great news!

So how did my results turn out?

You get an overview of everything tested and how well you performed.

Out of the 10 areas I had tested:

  • 2 were optimal

  • 5 were normal

  • 2 were abnormal

  • 1 had no results (which I received a refund for)

Once you click through to your results, there is a detailed breakdown with your personalised insights:

  • Indicating how you perform on a scale

  • How often you should get tested for this certain area

  • Relevant comment(s) from the doctor

  • Trends and insights which give your more information

Vitamin D health results with insights and doctor’s feedback

Recommendations and health plan

Once you’ve been through all of your results at the end of it you are presented with a section on ways you can improve your health.

This might include things like:

  • Drinking enough water

  • Increasing resistance training

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Personalised recommendations on how to improve your health

Although these high-level recommendations are useful, they aren’t easily measurable, which is where the Thriva health plan comes in (free of charge).

The health plan gives you actionable tasks you can complete weekly to work towards improving your health.

It can seem overwhelming the number of activities you’re tasked with, but you can remove some if it feels like too much.

Health plan activities to improve your health

2 months on

It’s been roughly 2 months since I did my first Thriva test, so how am I getting on with my health plan?

Honestly, I could be doing better.

I started off strong, ticking things off my list but within the first week, I was taken out by the Norovirus.

Since then I’ve been ticking off the low-hanging fruit activities like taking my daily supplements and doing my daily walks.

But there are 2 activities I think I’d benefit most from:

  • Consistent resistance training

  • Drinking enough water

It’s worth remembering, that just because you’ve strayed from the path, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track.

So these are the 2 areas I’m going to focus on until I do my next Thriva blood test.

A lot of this really comes to habit change, in which case it’s worth grabbing a copy of Atomic Habits – and for myself to give it another read.

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