Although we’re in the heat of summer and the good times, you might have an appointment with your doctor coming up and I want to help you take advantage of it as much as possible.
Lab testing is a really powerful tool for gaining insight into your body and how it’s doing overall. They’re also crucial for catching health issues early on.
In general, if your lab tests are outside the optimal range (which is different than the “normal range”), you’ll want to address this imbalance.
This is VERY different than waiting until you end up with a clinical diagnosis to take action.
Catching issues early on is the essence of preventative care and it’s what I do in my practice everyday. As a naturopathic doctor, one of my main goals is to help you prevent having health issues, and when they do come up, to resolve them naturally.
Whether you’re 25 or 65 years old these tests are relevant for you.
The lab tests I’m sharing with you in this series are common tests that can be run by both conventional practitioners like your medical doctor, and your naturopathic doctor. They’re helpful for checking in on, and tracking your health.
5 Essential Lab Tests to Discuss with Your Doctor
1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
This test is an excellent first step to checking in on your thyroid function.
Your thyroid is the master of your metabolism. If it’s not working well, you can have trouble losing weight, a hard time concentrating, constipation, joint pain and feel exhausted or depressed.
On the other hand, if your thyroid is over-stimulated, you can have anxiety, sweats, heart palpitations, insomnia, weight loss and other symptoms that happen when your body’s metabolic engine is revved way too high.
The most important thing for you to know about this test is that even if a conventional practitioner tells you that your results are “normal”, you may still have a thyroid issue.
If your results are slightly outside of optimal, it’s a sign that we need to do a little more digging to uncover what’s really going on with your thyroid. We’ll want to see if there’s an auto-immune link, if your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, or if your body isn’t converting it to the forms you need. ALL of these can lead to the symptoms I mentioned earlier.
If you do have a low grade thyroid issue, there is SO much you can do to restore it’s function. Your thyroid responds incredibly well to nutritional changes like adding in more selenium and zinc, and to support from targeted herbs like guggul.
2. Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c)
Despite a very complicated name, this lab test is a really simple way to find out how your body is doing with balancing your blood sugars.
The HbA1c test looks at your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. If your result is high, it means you’ve had elevated blood sugars over that period of time.
Elevated HbA1c is an early sign that things are out of balance in terms of your blood sugars and that your body needs support right now to prevent bigger issues down the road. These issues include cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes, among others.
The most powerful way to balance your blood sugars is through your diet, and it’s not just about cutting down on sugar. The ratio of protein, grain, veggies and fruits in your diet, and each meal makes a huge impact on your blood sugars. As well as addressing the “what” of your diet and filling it up with blood sugar balancing foods, adjusting the “when” your meals and snacks come in is also key and bringing in targeted nutrients to help your body use insulin more effectively.
3. Cholesterol Ratio
If you’re feeling a little panicky about your high cholesterol levels you’ll love what I’m about to share with you here.
The cholesterol ratio test is WAY more important than your total cholesterol levels, which is unfortunately what many practitioners use to decide if you should go on a statin medication or not.
Rather than just looking at how much cholesterol you have on all it’s own, the cholesterol ratio looks at how much cholesterol you have compared to how much of the “good” fats you have.
If you have enough “good” fats to balance out cholesterol, you may be in a MUCH better position than you think!
Of course we’ll also want to know about other risk factors like inflammation and obesity linked to your results, but the point is, cholesterol alone is is only part of the story.
And, while we’re on this topic…you’ll also want to know that having hight cholesteroldoesn’t mean you need to cut fat out of your diet. Or eggs. Sometimes it actually means you need to bring in MORE healthy fats in, like the omega 3 you get from eggs 🙂
If your cholesterol ratio isn’t great, you can usually bring it back by balancing your blood sugars and reducing inflammation with your diet. Targeted nutrients like N-acetyl cysteine and chromium, among many others, are also valuable tools for support.
This test looks at how much iron your body has in storage and can uncover iron depletion. If you have low iron, you may feel dizzy when you stand up, tired, have a pale complexion, lose your breath easily or feel like your legs get “heavy” when you work out or go up stairs.
If your ferritin is low, you’ll want to add high-iron foods it into your diet, support your digestion to absorb it and also address the underlying hormonal imbalance behind your heavy periods. Getting your iron levels up if they’re low can have a huge impact on your energy levels.
4. Vitamin D
Did you know that Vitamin D is actually a hormone? If you’re not really feeling the love of summer yet, you’ll want to check in on this hormone.
If your vitamin D is low, you can feel depressed, get sick more easily, have weak bones, are at a higher risk of cancer and can have low libido. Vitamin D also plays a role in your estrogen and progesterone levels.
Stockpiling vitamin D during the summer is also one of the best ways to avoid the winter blues. Bringing Vitamin D into your diet, and getting safe exposure to natural sunlight together with supplementing 1000-2000IUs/day of D3 should keep you in good shape once you’re levels are in the optimal range.
5. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
This lab tests is a general test for inflammation in your body. If it comes back elevated, it let’s us know that your immune system needs support to calm down.
If your test is positive, we’ll want to track down where the inflammation is coming from. Common causes include high blood sugars, stress, lack of exercise, exposure to environmental toxins and your diet.
Take Action Now
- Simply write down the names of these 5 tests now.
- Book an appointment with your doctor, especially if it’s been over a year since your last set of tests
- Bring the list with you and ask your doctor to talk to you about these tests.
If you’ve already had these tests run but aren’t sure what they mean, or what you can do about them, connect with an integrative practitioner like me who can guide you through this process in a way that feels really good (and motivating!) for you.
Overall, your body is super receptive to little powerful changes you make in terms of how you nourish it with food, and support it with nutrients, and movement you love to do.
If you’d like a guide to help you uncover issues early on, and make the journey of addressing it naturally feel light and positive, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary Health Insight call.
This call is a chance for us to meet each other, for me to hear what’s going on with your body and health, to help you get clear on what you want for yourself, and for us to discuss potential first steps and strategies, and how I may be able to help you.
Simply email me at email@example.com to let me know you’re interested.
Have a fantastic weekend, hopefully enjoying a pimm’s or cocktail under the sun 😉
All the best,