Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis
The problem with “Normal” and the nightmare of “yet.”
“Your blood work is normal, Mrs. Jones. You don’t have ______ yet.”
Fill in the blank with your disease of choice.
Most people are familiar with general blood lab tests and have them done when they visit their doctor for an annual physical examination. These tests are reported as normal or abnormal, i.e. in the reference range or out of the reference range.
Most conventional doctors are trained to simply look down the list for tests out of the reference range. What if your results come back as "normal," but you do not feel "normal"? The problem is that once your results are out of the reference range, you are officially diagnosed with a disease.
What most people do not know is that the "reference ranges" used by each lab are not standardized. They represent the average individual who comes to the lab, a “bell curve analysis” of all the people that have been to the lab over a certain period of time. Since people who use these services may not be healthy, these values are representative of poor health. The ranges are used to diagnose disease, not to look at trends or changes in function BEFORE disease emerges.
For example, when determining whether or not a patient has diabetes, two tests are typically reviewed: blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c. The target fasting blood sugar level for diagnosing diabetes is equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl. And for A1c the criteria is > 6.7% (Ref). "Pre-diabetes" is diagnosed when your blood glucose is 100 - 125 ng/dl and your A1c is between 5.7 and 6.4%.
But, what is optimal? Optimal is a blood glucose 75 - 85 and a HbA1c 4.5 - 5.5. Therefore, using this reference range methodology, you would be "under the radar" but still "in danger" if your blood glucose was 86 - 99 and HbAlc 5.5-5.6.
Optimal Health vs. Disease
The above is just one example. All blood tests have an optimal range. Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis allows us to identify a problem in your body BEFORE you are at the levels needed to "diagnose" a "disease", i.e., diabetes.
Another way to think about this is to use the example of the tire pressure warning system on your car. If the recommended tire pressure is 40, when does your warning system identify a problem? At 39 or at 29? When you are warned at 39, you probably have not noticed any performance difference while driving your car, yet the pressure is not where it should be. And unless you are a driving officianado, you may not notice a tire pressure difference until it is quite a bit off the recommended pressure.
Using the reference range methodology, the warning system has been set to turn on the warning light at a pressure of 29. In the optimal range system, the warning light will flash at 39. Which would you prefer? When you are warned at 39, you simply add a little air and you are done. No harm, no foul. But if you keep letting the pressure get down to 29, you have started the process leading to uneven tire wear (a process gone awry). Which can lead to a flat tire (disease).
A Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis looks at things completely differently. It looks at the entire optimal health to full blown disease continuum, more specifically the ranges for each test that are in the optimal health range. If test results are not in the optimal range, we immediately know there is a process that has started in your body that can ultimately lead to a "disease." This type of analysis looks at changes in function, in physiology, before the changes become pathology.
These optimal ranges are narrower with the goal being to find “hidden” biochemical abnormalities that might otherwise be “lost” within the far wider reference range. The entire point of this analysis is to catch things as early as possible, well before an "official diagnosis" of disease has been made.
The other feature of a Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis is the relationship of one test to another. Conventional medicine frequently uses this algorithm: one test result out of the reference range equals a disease equals a prescription for a drug. However, this is not the way human physiology works. Many parameters must be examined to make a proper determination of a treatment program.
How This Works
Situation 1: You want to get the blood work paid for by your insurance plan.
Most insurance plans pay for an annual physical which typically includes blood work.
However, the specific tests are not standardized from doctor to doctor or insurance plan to insurance plan. Most doctors order these tests: CBC, Comprehensive metabolic panel, and basic lipid profile. These tests are simply not enough to get a thorough baseline of your health.
Ask your doctor to order these additional tests: HgA1c, Fasting Insulin, GGT, Ferritin, Free T3, Reverse T3, Free T4, Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO), Thyroglobulin Antibody, hsCRP, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folate, DHEA, Estradiol, Testosterone.
Situation 2: You do not have insurance or your doctor will not order the blood work you request. In this situation, I use a direct to consumer lab. See below.
1 Order Your Test
2 Visit a Nearby Lab
Use the Lab Test Center Locator to find a lab convenient for you
Print your Patient Service Center (PSC) Requisition
Take the PSC Requisition to the Lab you have chosen
The Requisition lists the lab tests to be performed and instructions for you to follow.
3 View Your Results
You will receive an email notification that your results are available
Your results will be uploaded into your private and secure healthcare dashboard
Log in and view intuitive charts that display and track your data, along with detailed explanations of your biomarkers to assist you in understanding your results
Easy to read PDF's of your tests results are also available to print if you choose
How Often Do I Need to Perform These Blood Tests?
If you are otherwise healthy and have no changes/big events in your life, maybe every few years. No one really knows the "right" answer to this question. Think about the car analogy. Regular maintenance is your best protection against more serious repairs. And that is the entire point of all this!! Reach for optimal health, not just disease prevention, and stay there!
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