Health is more than diet and exercise. Period. The end.
No, really. Health is a full spectrum, big picture, what the heck is your body doing and how can you support it to function at it’s highest. I think people forget that health is more than the size of your pants or the number on the scale, and that is where we get into problems. Your size has nothing to do with health. Okay, maybe a little. But for example, someone who weights 100lbs is skinny, but they could have no period and hypothyroidism which is causing them to be an unhealthy individual. Health has more to do with what is going on internally, how are you treating your body, how are you fueling your body etc. Obviously I am a large proponent of exercise and healthy eating, but if you have been at this “diet” thing for a long time and are still not feeling like you have the energy or stamina you should, then it is time to take a deeper look. I want to share a little bit with you about hormone tests and a few reputable at home testing companies in case you don’t have access to tests you are looking for.
There are a whole slew of tests and hormone tests that can be run in order to make sure your body is functioning the way it should be and all levels are “good”. I want to remind you that you don’t have to wait for something to be wrong to get tests done. In fact, you should be getting labs drawn once a year to do a full detailed health panel. If you wait until something is wrong, the damage has already been done and you are then working to get yourself back to normal. So by getting ahead of the game you can make sure you are healthy and can continue on the your usual path, or steer a little in a different direction to course correct.
I thought I would just share with you some of the most common tests you should get done each year. These are tests your doctor can run (but sometimes will not because of insurance or not having a “reason”) or you can find a naturopath/integrative doctor that will usually run these for you as well. It makes me sad that we are a REACTIVE health care system instead of a PREVENTATIVE one, but you are your own advocate!!
Complete Blood Count: This is a simple test that is run by most general practitioners each year. It tests your red blood cells, white blood cells, hematocrit, hemoglobin and platelets. This test can tell you things like iron deficiency, infection, inflammation, heart problems and possible cancer.
Complete Metabolic Panel: These tests will measure things like electrolytes, calcium, glucose, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, albumin, total protein, ALP, AST, ALT and bilirubin. These tests tell us how our liver and kidneys are functioning and if there are any concerns there.
Lipid Panel: This is testing for fatty substances within the blood stream – things like triglycerides, cholesterol, HDL and LDL. These tests will help us determine if we have a good level of lipids in our blood stream or if we run the risk of plaque build up causing heart disease.
Thyroid Panel: This is where things can get interesting. Most doctors offices will only test for T3, T4, TSH and antibodies. What you really want tested to determine thyroid health is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), FREE T3, FREE T4, TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and TGAB (thyroglobulin antibodies). Our thyroid can tell us a lot about our health so testing this one is very important for healthy hormones, weight loss and stress.
Enzyme Markers: These markers tell us things like if our blood is properly clotting and are we breaking down our food properly. These tests include CPK-1,2&3, CRP and troponin.
Hormones and Fertility: Another big set of tests that all females need to get tested each year. These not only tell you what the female hormones are doing, but also stress! Tests to order include estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, FSH, free cortisol, metabolized cortisol, androgens and metabolites, organic acids, and neurotransmitter metabolites. Most of these tests a regular doctor will not run for you, but there are other ways to get them checked so keep reading!
Extras: Other tests you can also get done if you are feeling like something is off and you want to get to the bottom of things include a GI panel for gut bacteria or stool samples, heavy metals, food allergy/sensitivities, mold and parasites!
These are some of the main hormone tests everyone should get done on an annual basis. Like I said, you don’t want to wait until something is wrong to dig into it. Catch it early and work more on preventative medicine rather than reactive. I would much rather be proactive and prevent cancer rather than treating it once I have it…
If you are someone that is looking to get testing done but your regular practitioner will not order them for you, there are other options. You can first look to see if there is a naturopath or integrative doctor in your area. These doctors will typically order these types of tests for you. You can also go to ifm.org to find a functional medicine doctor near you.
If these are too far to travel, or too expensive for you, you can also look into home testing. These are less reliable, but are still a great basis to start with instead of just not testing at all. Some of these tests do still require a practitioner to order, but their sites usually give a list that will do them remotely, over the phone!
Dutch Test – this is a great test for a full hormone and stress panel. I have done this test myself and the results are very extensive so you need a doctor to go over them for you, but it is definitely worth the investment. Here is the link to a doctor that will order it for you, and will also do telemedicine offering other blood tests and treatment over the phone.
Paloma Test – this is a great blood test company for thyroid specifically. This is where most doctors will not order the exact tests needed because they don’t see it as necessary, so this at home kit is great!
Everlywell – a great site that really has everything you are looking for. I have never personally used this site, but the reviews and my peers have shared that it is reliable and holds great information/results.
Equilibrium – this company was created by Dr. Stephen Cabral and his work is amazing! He has tests, supplements, systems…all the things, really. You also get coaching calls with your test so that someone will be there to go over results with you and answer questions!
There may be other websites/telemedicine doctors out there that can do this type of thing, but this is what I have found or used myself and trust. General practitioners and doctors may order some of this for you as well, it never hurts to ask. Be your own advocate and do what is best for you and your body.
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