Published on July 23, 2021

Video Friday: This short, animated video describes what the HbA1c test measures, and what conditions might lead to falsely high or low results

The hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c or A1c) test was introduced to GrassrootsHealth participants as part of the Type 1 Diabetes Prevention project, and is a measure of how healthy average blood sugar levels have been in the recent few months. This particular test is a better representation of blood sugar health than a single glucose measurement, since glucose levels vary throughout the day. It can be a good indicator of glucose intolerance even in the absence of abnormal fasting glucose levels, and higher levels of HbA1c are associated with higher levels of inflammation.

Watch today’s quick, informational video to get details about what the A1c test is a measure of, and what conditions might affect the accuracy of the results.

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After watching the video, be sure to make note of our added details below!

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The A1c Test – What it Measures & What Results Mean

Here is a quick summary of what this video discusses, along with additional information and details from GrassrootsHealth:

  • the A1c (or HbA1c) blood test is used to diagnose and manage diabetes, representing the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months
  • HbA1c is the compound formed in the blood when a hemoglobin molecule in a red blood cell binds with a glucose molecule in the blood; the resulting molecule is also known as glycated hemoglobin
  • the higher the blood glucose, the more glucose becomes attached to the hemoglobin, resulting in a higher A1c level
  • A1c shows the percent of hemoglobin bound to glucose
  • once hemoglobin is glycated, it remains that way until the red blood cell is removed from the system
  • average lifespan of a red blood cell is 3-4 months, which is why A1c is a representation of blood sugar status over approximately the last 3 months
  • a healthy A1c level is less than 5.7%; greater than 6.5% indicates diabetes; between 5.7-6.5% represents prediabetes (see below for special circumstances)
  • an estimated average glucose level, eAG, measured in concentration units (mg/dL or mmol/L), can be calculated and reported in addition to the A1C percentage to help link A1C to the numbers from an at home blood sugar measuring device

What Could Cause an Inaccurate A1c Result?

Several factors can affect the accuracy of the A1c test result:

  • blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and hemolytic anemia (in which the lifespan of red blood cells is shorter) can lead to falsely low A1c
  • iron deficiency anemia (and other conditions in which the lifespan of the red blood cells is increased) can lead to a falsely high A1c
  • individuals from an African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian decent may have certain uncommon forms of hemoglobin which can lead to falsely low or high A1c levels
  • certain kidney and liver diseases may also affect the accuracy of the test, as can recent blood loss or transfusion

Measure Your Level of Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Other Important Nutrients

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

Help everyone Move Research into Practice with vitamin D and other nutrients! As a special birthday gift to everyone, in honor of the science, we have created a special scholarship fund for anyone to donate to that will go towards helping others participate. Your donation will allow anyone to get help with funding their participation when they need it.

Text-to-give: Text Daction to 44321 to add to our Scholarship Fund.

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.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

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
  • hsCRP

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.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the 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!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

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!