At the Nourishing Wellness Medical Center, we feel these very valuable blood and urine tests (frequently not ordered by your primary care doctors) can provide early insight into obstacles or health issues that go un-diagnosed. When imbalances are caught early, changes in diet, exercise and supplements can very often shift your body back into balance.
As a Functional Doctor/ Dietitian team, we are interested in the root cause of your symptoms. We ask the questions such as, “Why is your insulin or homocysteine so high? What is really going on in your body ?” or “Why are so many people on statin drugs and heart medication as precautionary measures?”
Sometimes it’s because their doctors aren’t gathering all the information they could gather, early enough. Almost every doctor today sends for cholesterol levels, but there are a few other basic blood tests that, when done yearly as part of your maintenance plan, can give you a hint of a heart attack or inflammatory condition in the making.
We encourage you to have your doctor order the following tests. A good doctor schooled in integrative and functional medicine will use the information from these tests to guide you to your goal of staying healthy, and youthful, in this toxic world. These are just a few of the test we recommend:
- C-Reactive Protein: C-Reactive Protein is a marker of inflammation. When it is elevated, it means your inflammatory system is “turned on” making you a candidate not only for heart disease but for all the other conditions now linked to inflammation. Work with your doctor to figure out why it is turned on: is it from nutritional deficiencies, a hidden infection (such as parasites), or another insult somewhere in the body?
- Blood Insulin Levels: Insulin is an essential hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to eating carbohydrates. Insulin facilitates the transport of carbohydrates and sugars from the bloodstream into the cells. Once inside, sugars are used by the cells to make energy. This blood test measures fasting insulin and is helpful in the diagnosis of insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes. Excess insulin is inflammatory and is defined as levels equal to or greater than 15 µIU/mL; however, at Nourishing Wellness Medical Center we believe the optimal level is less than 10.
- Fibrinogen: Fibrinogen, a protein synthesized in the liver, is an important component in the normal process of blood clotting. As part of the coagulation cascade, fibrinogen is converted to fibrin and, along with platelets, helps to form a stable fibrin clot. This is an independent risk factor for heart disease and ischemic stroke. An elevated blood level of fibrinogen increases your risk for clotting possibly leading to heart attack or stroke .
- Homocysteine: Homocysteine is a waste product of the processing of proteins that is toxic when not effectively cleared by the liver. High blood levels can directly damage the delicate endothelial cells that line the inside of arteries. This can result in cardiovascular inflammation, blood clot formation, and arterial plaque rupture. Research indicates that homocysteine levels may be elevated in patients with depression if folic acid (which normally helps break down homocysteine) levels are depressed. High levels usually respond to detoxification programs and Vitamin B supplementation. Although some labs consider homocysteine levels of up to 15.0 µmol/L as normal, we believe this is too high for optimal health. We recommend keeping homocysteine levels < 9-10 µmol/L.
- Vitamin D: More and more evidence links the lack of Vitamin D to heart disease as well as depression, osteoporosis and cancer. Since we now protect ourselves from the sun so much, we have become significantly Vitamin D deficient, and the consequences are devastating. Early detection of low levels will help you modify your diet, take supplements most likely and get more sun. We like levels to be around 60-75 ng/dl.
- Nutra-Eval Blood and Urine Test by Genova: This amazing test measures four critical areas of metabolism: gastrointestinal function, cellular and mitochondrial energy metabolites, neurotransmitter metabolites, and functionally important organic acid metabolites of amino acids. It also provides an overview of core nutrients in five key areas: antioxidants, B vitamins, digestive support, essential fatty acids, and minerals. Finally, it measures red blood cell level of eight heavy metals. In this test, amino acids are measured in a convenient first-morning urine collection. How would you like to design a supplement regimen tailored specifically for your needs, instead of blindly taking every vitamin or other supplement making the news? The Nutra-Eval test measures organic acids and blood levels of key nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, CoQ-10 so you know when you are in balance, or how to remedy to get back in to balance. Here is a sample report: http://www.gdx.net/core/sample-reports/Metabolic-Analysis-Sample-Report.pdf. This test costs $169.00 copay and is covered by most PPO insurance plans. We use this test in the Nourishing Wellness Medical Center when clients come to use with chronic fatigue syndrome or energy issues, or complicated symptoms that are puzzling and we want to get a better idea of what is really going on in the body. It is a great functional test to determine what areas to target in a challenging case.
If you are interested in getting the Nutra-Eval Test, call our office and speak to Jeanne Peters, Nutrition Director of Nourishing Wellness Medical Center at 310-373-7830. A test kit can be sent to any where in the US and a nutrition consult can be arranged once your test are returned to our office.