We work, we drive, we eat, we sleep. In automatic (and stressful) world we live, even doing everything that is supposed to “be right” for your health, sometimes we miss something. This missing part could be the key to understand how your body is reacting and processing food, physical activity and anything we do to feel better. To find the answers we need to look inside. And besides looking inside in your mind (remember, we health coaches believe in a holistic view of health, which means “whole”, physical, mental and spiritual bodies working together), we need to look inside of our bodies, organs, cells, blood. We can see “inside” by running tests.
Nowadays, there are an infinite number of health tests to find anything you can imagine. Some are pretty modern and sounds like sci-fi movies, but some are simple, like blood tests, saliva test, urine test, stool test (I know you are frowning). In each stage of life, we have to run some of them, some annually, others every semester.
What it is important to bear in mind is:
To understand the importance of running certain tests frequently.
To keep monitoring your results with your doctor, nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner…
To organize every year the tests you should do, depending on your age, health status and health goals.
But which one you should take and why? I selected some of the most important ones according to Functional Medicine, Dr. Mercola (his amazing website), Dr. Axe (another great website) and Tricia Fox, the Functional Medicine practitioner I work with.
Read those below and talk to your doctor or health provider to check which ones you should take at stage you are in your life:
Blood panel: to check blood sugar (more details below), lipids (see more details below), comprehensive metabolic panel, thyroid panel, different nutrients like B12, magnesium, vitamin D (see more details below), like C-reactive protein, homocysteine (inflammatory markers), also GGT, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, CBC.
Vitamin D: Ideally, you'll want to maintain a vitamin D serum level of between 40 and 60 ng/mL (100 and 150 nmol/L).
Fasting lipid panel (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides): The key here is to focus on the ratio between these lipids, not the individual measurements in isolation.
Iron: potent oxidative stress, so excess amounts can increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are in the 60 to 80 ng/ml range.
Fasting insulin and glucose: Your fasting insulin level reflects how healthy your blood glucose levels are over time. A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally, you'll want it below 3. A fasting glucose level below 100 mg/dl suggests you're not insulin resistant, while a level between 100 and 125 confirms you have pre-diabetes and may indicate an increased risk of heart disease.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis: To understand the gut function, this test looks for markers of inflammation and malabsorption making it an essential test for those with IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune issues and weight problems.
Food Sensitivity Testing: To check the levels of IgG antibodies specific to anywhere from 30-200 foods causing patient reactions. It can also show the presence of leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues.
Micronutrient Testing: Nutritional deficiencies are often at the root of many chronic diseases and symptoms such as diabetes, fatigue, sleep disturbances, heart disease, mood disorders, depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia.
Adrenal Stress Profile: To measure how an individual’s response to stress and check the adrenal imbalances that may be impacting a patient’s health, causing fatigue, mood disorders and autoimmune disease.
Comprehensive Hormone Testing: For both women and men in all stages of life, this test will help to evaluate the balance of hormone levels in the body to help direct use appropriate support of supplements, bio-identical hormone therapy, and lifestyle recommendations.
Heavy Metal/Essential Element Testing: Chronic toxic element exposure can cause: reproductive function, energy levels, neurological development and function, respiratory, cardiac, liver, and immune functions, cognitive and emotional health and degenerative conditions and cancer risk of all kinds.