In the simplest terms, a lab test is a procedure that analyzes a sample obtained from your body. First, a sample of your bodily fluids or tissues – like your blood, urine, saliva, tissue, or hair – is extracted. This sample is then processed and analyzed to measure levels of chemical components.
By taking precise measurements of different chemical components found within your tissues or bodily fluids, we are able to get a glimpse of what is going on within your body and between the different organs and systems within your body. Think of each lab test like a piece of a puzzle. By taking different measurements and collecting clues and insight as to what is going on beneath the surface, we can begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
As these puzzle pieces come together, we can get a more accurate picture of anything that is off-kilter – allowing us to detect dis-ease states, imbalances, deficiencies, and more. The ability to run laboratory tests and gain this insight is hands down one of the most valuable and crucial components of modern-day healthcare.
Realize that if your provider has told you your lab tests are normal, that does not mean that you are healthy and that they are optimal. This just means you are like 95% of the population in your area. Is 95% of the population in your area healthy? I would think if you evaluated it, most of the population is over weight, struggling with several issues, maybe on a few prescriptions and not living a vibrant, energy-filled life. Why would you want to be like that? I would want to be healthy, on no prescriptions, doing everything I enjoy doing and still have energy left over. I want to live a vibrant life and, in order to do that, I look at optimal lab values, not normal ones. Stay tuned, that might be one of my first courses. Looking for optimal lab values
The truth is, many conventional practitioners do not routinely run many laboratory tests unless there is a clear indication that something is wrong. But prevention is the best medicine. And proactively getting a glimpse of what’s going on internally can give you a major edge in addressing any imbalances or abnormalities before they snowball into something more serious like a diagnosable disease. These lab tests are highly useful at any age to “put the pieces of the puzzle together” when it comes to the not-so-obvious nuances of what is going on within the intricate and complex network that makes up your body and your health.
Also sometimes referred to as a chemistry panel or a chemistry screen, a complete metabolic profile is a blood test that gives us a snapshot of your liver and kidney function, your electrolytes, overall chemical balance, and metabolism. More specifically, a complete metabolic profile evaluates your:
Because a CMP includes multiple measurements, it offers a broad look at multiple functions within your body – making it an essential baseline test.
A complete blood count or CBC is a blood test that does exactly what its name implies – counts and analyzes your various blood cells. A CBC with a differential means that it also breaks down and examines not just your overall white blood cell count, but how many of each specific type you have. A CBC is able to give us an idea of:
Because your blood serves as one of the primary transportation channels throughout your body, an imbalance in your CBC can clue us into deeper imbalances and help steer the direction of further diagnostic testing.
You’re likely familiar with the idea of standard lipid profile tests – more commonly referred to as testing your cholesterol levels. And while knowing your basic cholesterol levels can be helpful, it doesn’t really give us a clear picture of what’s going on when it comes to the details of your lipid levels.
You see, lipids are a broad group of naturally-occurring molecules that includes things like fats, waxes, sterols, and fat-soluble vitamins. And each specific type of lipid plays a specific and crucial role in our health – with each one having a unique interplay with each other and other molecules within your body. Because of this delicate interplay, it’s crucial to get a more detailed look at your lipid levels via an advanced lipid panel.
An advanced lipid panel evaluates the levels of numerous lipids – including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. But it also measures two specific lipids known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) – both of which can directly correlate with your cardiac health. As they say – the devil is in the details – and getting accurate details regarding your lipid levels and cardiac health can go a long way when it comes to prevention, management, and healing.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection, injury, trauma, toxicity, or some form of stress – meaning a spike in inflammation is one of the primary indicators that something is askew within your body. If the source of inflammation persists and your inflammatory response becomes chronically activated, it can spell trouble for your health. In fact, just about every chronic disease known to man can be traced back to chronic inflammation.
For this reason, it can be highly useful to obtain lab tests that evaluate your blood for the presence of these inflammation-stoking signaling molecules, also known as inflammatory markers. While there are a variety of inflammatory markers, the most important and most helpful tests to obtain include:
Elevated inflammatory markers can be a huge indicator of something brewing beneath the surface which can clue us into the need to dive deeper into identifying the source of inflammation.
Your thyroid is the small gland found at the front of your neck. While this organ may be tiny, its role in your health is anything but small. This little powerhouse is responsible for secreting vital hormones that regulate how your body processes and uses energy. And the cascade of hormones it secretes is intricately connected to the function of just about every cell in your body – meaning if your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally, it can have serious consequences for your health.
So it’s crucial to ensure this mighty gland is working properly by conducting a complete thyroid panel that assesses the amount of thyroid hormones you’re producing. It’s vital to ensure there’s a complete panel that checks all of the following:
Many thyroid tests do not evaluate all of these markers, so be sure to ask your provider to run a test for each of these markers to get an accurate picture of your thyroid function.
There is another article about this marker, but if you missed it, this is a functional marker for Vitamin B12. Click the image below to be taken to this article !
Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system essentially goes haywire and becomes confused – mistakenly identifying your own tissues as an imminent threat and launching an immune attack against your own healthy cells. The underlying causes of autoimmunity are not always entirely clear and can usually be linked back to a multitude of factors.
Autoimmunity can be insidious, gradually developing over time – so running some lab tests to catch it early can go a long way. In addition to the inflammatory markers listed earlier in this article, it might be a good idea to check for the following specific autoimmunity markers:
Today’s stress-filled, nutrient-deficient, and toxin-laden world means autoimmunity is on the rise – making it more important than ever to test for these autoimmune markers.
Your body utilizes energy from certain sugars and carbohydrates in a process that goes something like this:
Testing all of these different factors in conjunction can give us some excellent insight as to just how well your body is able to utilize glucose and give us an edge in combating metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that you absorb from the food you eat and synthesize on your own when your skin comes into contact with sunlight. This little nutrient plays a pivotal role in everything from your immune system to your mood and from nutrient absorption to bone growth.
And unfortunately, thanks to our mostly indoor way of living, nutrient-diminished food sources, and vitamin D-depleting modern-day lifestyles, the vast majority of us are majorly lacking in vitamin D. Testing your vitamin D levels can help identify any deficiency and help you appropriately supplement as needed. You can see another blog article for more details on this by clicking the image below !
This number shows some direct correlation with cardiac outcomes. There is another blog post specifically about the benefits of knowing this number. Click the image below OR continue reading and click the link at the bottom !
Iron is a mineral that plays an irreplaceable role in red blood cell metabolism and oxygen transport. Your body is designed to maintain a delicate balance of iron – meaning a deficiency or an overload can both spell trouble. An iron study is a test that analyzes your iron levels and evaluates:
It’s important to complete a complete iron study that evaluates all of these components rather than a simple serum iron test to get an accurate representation of your overall iron levels.
The answer to that question is – absolutely! You see, when something within your body is thrown off-kilter, your body begins communicating this imbalance in a very soft whisper – “talking” to you in subtle ways like small shifts in the levels of different chemicals and compounds within your body. If left unaddressed, that whisper slowly grows louder and louder until your body is essentially screaming at you – with the initial imbalance snowballing into unpleasant symptoms, illness, or a full-blown chronic disease.
Proactively taking a peek at what’s happening beneath the surface by routinely running these essential lab tests can allow us to tune into our body when it’s whispering to us – allowing us to take action and make adjustments before it escalates into something more serious. If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, this is hands down one of the first pieces of advice I would give to my past self.
If I had been able to tune into that little whisper and been able to listen to what my body was trying to tell me, it would have saved me so much grief and struggle – both physically and emotionally.
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