Top 5 Lab Tests that Reveal Your Health Blind Spots

Is one of your goals this year is to improve your health?

If so, you may have come across a trend called The Quantified Self.

It is based on the Hawthorne Effect, the notion that we behave differently when watched. Put another way: when you track what you’re eating your choices become better. And when your yoga teacher is looking at you in class, your sun salutations become more graceful.

In short, what you observe and measure tends to improve.

Here are some of the tests I find most helpful for patients in my TEND Wellness programs. If you’re dedicated to working through this process on your own some of these are tests you can ask your doctor for, some of them can be ordered from various companies online.

1. Blood panel to ask your doctor to order:

In addition to the typical chemistry panel there are other favorites that often get overlooked: if you have a history of (or risk for) anemia, in addition to iron you also want to see your iron store, ferritin.

For checking out thyroid function make sure that in addition to the standard TSH, you also look at total and free T3, and T4. These tests can help you optimize your thyroid function whether you are on thyroid medication or not.

Even here in sunny California, I find that Vitamin D is often low. Vitamin D is a pro-hormone that is essential for a healthy immune system, hormones and mood.

2. Adrenal Stress Index

This is my go-to test for those struggling with fatigue, trouble sleeping and feeling overwhelmed. It is a saliva test done at home that measures cortisol, often called “the stress hormone”,  four times through out the day.

It also looks at hormone pre-cursors like pregnenolone and DHEA and even includes a screening test for gluten sensitivity. Balancing your adrenal function helps you wake up more energetic and get to sleep more easily.

3. Body-Mind Connection, the HPA Profile

When the biggest concern is anxiety, depression, trouble focusing, or “just not feeling like myself” it is time to look at brain chemistry – the HPA Profile from Sanesco can be very useful. Or looking at the interaction between brain chemistry and hormones through Precision Analytical labs.

HPA stands for Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal – it literally measures the intersection of stress, hormones and brain chemistry. Women in perimenopause with the usual suspects of stress, irritability, insomnia and waning libido find the results can be life changing.

This test is excellent for those trying to get off anti-depressants, sleeping pills or anxiety medication.

4. Digestive Function and Parasite Testing.

It’s NOT true that “you are what you eat”. You are what you ABSORB.

If you have heart burn, gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea you are at risk for developing imbalances of the normal bacteria and yeast that live in the intestinal tract. You don’t want pathogenic critters to be getting more nutrients from you food than you do.

5. Micronutrient Testing.

For those of you who have had ongoing health challenges, have a history of poor diet choices, or have had multiple medications or surgeries it’s not a question of IF you have nutrient  deficiencies, it really is a matter of WHICH specific deficiencies you have.

Stress, trauma, medications, poor food choices all cause specific nutrient depletions. For some examples click here.

You only need Two Things to Be Healthy: “nutrients in” and “waste out” on a cellular levelSpectraCell Lab evaluates the level of 36 nutrients – not in your blood – but in your actual cells where they really need to be in order for you to be healthy.

These 5 are some of the most common tests I order. Others include tests for gluten sensitivity, food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, small intestine bacterial overgrowth and hormone levels.

Is that an overwhelming list? Then schedule a wellness session with me and we’ll prioritize and customize for you. Or just start at the top  and work your way down slowly and methodically, asking yourself if the information is helping your process toward becoming as vital as you desire.

Ask yourself: will my measurements improve my behavior, or will I get wrapped up in the process? The goal is to be on the middle path, collecting enough information to learn, grow, and stretch, but not so much that it becomes addictive or gets us to check out from life.

Most of us need help with staying on the middle path.

Please consider sharing this list with someone you know is looking to improve their health. I find sharing health info dramatically enriches your commitment to robust health.

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