THE MISSING COMPONENT OF YOUR HEALTH PROGRAM
Blood work is an invaluable tool for optimizing your health, yet I have been hesitant to write about publicly since I don’t have an MD after my name. I have had a change of heart recently and this information is just too important. In addition, I am not diagnosing or treating specific health conditions, I am simply educating my clients and anyone who will listen about how they can use blood testing to make nutrition and lifestyle changes which will support optimal health and longevity. So how can I utilize this tool more efficiently?
HOW OFTEN DO I GET TESTED?
When it comes to getting blood work, people fall into 3 groups. Those who get blood work at an annual physical, those who are afraid of needles and who hardly ever get blood work and lastly those who get blood work when they are sick. At some point in my life I have fallen into all of these groups and let me tell you there are problems with all of them. When I work with clients who sign up for my flagship program (The Wave Reset), the strategy is as follows. Blood testing once every 4-6 weeks for a period of 3-4 months. This helps to track progress and serves as one way to determine whether the nutrition and lifestyle changes are working. It also helps to get the body to a more balanced place where regular testing is not as necessary. Once the RESET is complete I generally recommend testing once every 6 months. This is the strategy I follow personally.
WHICH BLOOD TESTS SHOULD I RUN?
Doctors routinely use only a small set of the available blood tests (a.k.a blood markers) and often fail to consider detailed testing which would give a more complete picture of the clients health. For instance, you are a 30 year old female who goes to the doctor because you suspect you have a thyroid problem. Maybe you can’t lose weight, you hair is falling out, your skin is not what it once was, your hands and feet are always cold, etc. So your doctor runs a test called tsh (thyroid stimulating hormone) and assesses thyroid function based on this test. The problem is that this test alone is not enough to tell if someones thyroid is functioning properly. Numerous other tests are needed, such as (Total T4, Total T3, Free T3, Thyroid Antibodies). After an initial conversation with my clients I determine exactly what blood tests they should run. This is based on their goals, lifestyle, health history and genetics. Not everyone needs the same blood tests.
HOW IS THE TEST BEING INTERPRETED?
The last time you had blood work did your doctor tell you anything about the blood work and did they spend more than a few minutes looking at it. Chances are they didn’t and if they did it was probably something like "your Vitamin D levels are a little low" or "your cholesterol is a bit high”. When my client tells me this, I perform my analysis of the same blood test and produce a 40+ page report with all of the things that may be out of balance in this persons body. Most of my clients are shocked. It is not really the doctors fault, they are trained to interpret blood testing differently and they just don’t have the time to look at blood work this way. One of my goals as a health practitioner is to empower people to take control of their health and every single person should understand the basics of blood work analysis. It really isn’t rocket science. I make sure my clients understand why I am recommending certain tests, what the markers means and I tell them the optimal ranges so that they can track their own progress in the future.
WHAT CAN YOU FIND OUT FROM BLOOD WORK?
1. Vitamins and Minerals - If the body is deficient in any vitamin or mineral it is not going to function properly. The most common deficiencies I see are Zinc and Vitamin B6. Zinc is critical for proper digestion and B6 helps with hormonal balance. I would say 80% of people are deficient in Zinc.
2. Hormones - There are numerous kinds of hormones - Thyroid hormone, sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen and progesterone), to hormones related to blood sugar such as insulin. Surprisingly, estrogen is a critical test for women (and men) as we are exposed to numerous substances in our environment, chief among them plastic, that can cause a build up of estrogen in our bodies. This is not a good thing and can cause fat accumulation in some unwanted areas.
3. Digestive Health - Gut health has made it’s way to the main stream in recent years and for a good reason. If your gut is damaged you will likely have problems in all of the other areas mentioned in this section. The gut also plays a major role in immune system function and brain health.
4. Inflammatory Markers - Inflammation is believed by some to be the root cause of all disease. Many people are aware of cardiovascular inflammation as a risk factor in heart disease and the fact that your joints can be inflamed, but organs such as the gut and liver can be inflamed as well and this leads to numerous issues.
5. Detoxification Pathways - We live in a toxic world and many people who live in major cities are exposed to a level of toxins that the human body was probably not designed to deal with. The organ that suffers the most is the liver. Blood testing can highlight problems with the livers ability to remove toxins and a strategy can then be implemented to make the liver operate more efficiently.
So there you have it, make sure you get blood work regularly, make sure you are utilizing the correct blood tests and make sure it is being interpreted properly