Normal Versus Optimal
Many patients come to my office feeling exhausted, constipated, have trouble sleeping, are losing hair, and have been told by a conventional practitioner that they are “fine, all of their labs are normal!” This unfortunately can create doubt in patients because they have symptoms but are told they are healthy based on a numerical value. I have even had patients who have been told “it is all in your head” and to “move on.” Having previously been in a similar situation, I found a practitioner who looked deeper into my individual health and did more specific testing- a naturopathic physician.
Not only are lab reference ranges wide, they are not particularly accurate or individualized depending on age or gender, either. Many times, when patients are told that their blood work looks “normal,” practitioners are not evaluating if these values are OPTIMAL for the individual.
Evaluations Outside Routine
Beyond optimal values, there are, in many cases, more tests that can be measured than what is routinely tested. Routine labs are a great way to monitor general health for those who are overall healthy. However, many patients who find their way to my office have chronic, complex concerns that can require deeper evaluation. Routine labs are not telling you how your digestion is functioning, if there are imbalances in gut pathogens, if you are reacting to a certain food in your dietary regimen, or if your hormones are balanced; all of which can have profound impacts on overall health.
What options are out there?
- Full thyroid panel (more than just TSH)
- Vitamin D levels (becoming more commonly tested)
- Salivary hormone tests (including Adrenal testing)
- Comprehensive stool analysis
- Heavy metal and environmental exposures
- Food and additive sensitivities (very common inflammatory trigger)
- Homocysteine, Folate, B12
- Micronutrient testing
These are the most common, but pending each individual’s concerns, exposure and history, we can customize our evaluation. Many of these we are able to do via a simple blood draw in office; others require a kit that we can send directly to the patient to complete. Following the collection we sit down with each patient to explain the results and determine the optimal plan moving forward for their health.
You don’t have to settle for “normal” or routine labs. Get to know your health by looking deeper.