Lab Tests to Ask For Every Year
Can you relate to this…
“I went to the doctor and they didn’t order the labs I wanted!” “I feel off but I don’t know what’s wrong?!?” “What tests do I need to get?”
These are some of the most common questions I receive. It can be stressful when you’re struggling with your health or simply want to optimize your wellness but you have no idea what’s going on. You may feel intimidated and lost walking into your doctor’s office not knowing/understanding what to ask for.
Well, I’m here to help and share the top 5 lab tests you'll want to get each year. I'm also sharing the "why" behind each lab, which will help you advocate for yourself and get the answers you deserve.
It’s important to test (not guess) and continue to test at least once or a few times a year to establish your baseline and hopefully catch any issues in their infancy.
Top Annual Labs For Overall Health
1. Full thyroid panel
Request the full panel (not only TSH) because other markers of thyroid health can start to slide well before TSH is impacted. A full panel is key to seeing the whole picture. This test measures thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), total T4, free T4, total T3, free T3, reverse T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies.
The thyroid produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. Thyroid disorders like hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones) or hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormones and one of the most common diagnosis I see) can negatively impact fertility. Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can interfere with ovulation and disrupt the menstrual cycle, it can also cause weight gain, weight loss resistance, altered gut health and much more.
2. The GI Map Test
This is an at home stool test I do with many of my clients. It is a deep dive into your gut microbiome that tells us about your balance (or imbalance) of good and bad bacteria, viruses, parasites and more. Many diseases and issues start in the gut and manifest later or as something else. The gut is also a big source of infection and inflammation.
The GI Map Test can reveal the root cause of the symptoms you’re experiencing. It provides a look at your immune system and potential triggers of autoimmune disorders. It can also tell you how you’re digesting and absorbing your food and much more. Keep in mind, this is a functional test and one likely not known about by your conventional practitioner.
3. Inflammation (CRP & Homocysteine)
Inflammation contributes to almost every modern disease including heart disease, cancer and dementia as well as arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, endometriosis and digestive disorders.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a protein your liver makes. This increases with an increase in inflammation in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is typically broken down by B vitamins to do necessary processes in the body. If you have too much, you may be deficient in B12, B6 or folate, all important vitamins for fertility.
4. Metabolic Markers (A1C, fasting insulin & glucose, lipid panel)
The thyroid is a major metabolic marker, but blood sugar is crucial to monitor as well. Blood sugar dysregulation is a spectrum so these tests can help us monitor the progression or regression. Insulin is typically the first to show change and it may take years for blood sugar dysfunction to show up on standard lab tests like A1c and glucose, so I recommend getting them all done together.
A lipid panel is one of the most basic tests that can give us a glimpse into your overall health and can also tell us more about your hormone health as well. A lipid panel measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone are made FROM cholesterol.
5. A Micronutrient Test
This is another one that I do often with my clients. Our diet, circumstances, environment and stress are ever changing and that means so is our micronutrient intake and usage. I love doing this test every 6 months to a year on myself so I can customize my supplement regimen and give my body the building blocks to work optimally. I utilize Vibrant Labs MNT test that provides a comprehensive extracellular and intracellular assessment of the levels of the most important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and amino acids.