Secrets of Lab Review

by Heather Taylor, RDN, LDN, LE

Lab review really is no secret but it does take expertise.  At Eat Well and Beyond, I have the time and skills to review all of your labs when your practitioner doesn’t. Many patients leave their doctors office with a diagnosis or no diagnosis feeling confused. They may be told that everything looks “normal” but they don’t feel normal. Or perhaps they leave with a diagnosis and a medication with no answers on how to correct the problem. Eat Well and Beyond is here to help.

I am a dietitian that specializes in functional medicine practices. That means I looks how the body functions as a whole. I do not break you into parts like many practitioners do today. For example, your brain is part of the nervous system which is connected to your gut. Your gut is part of the immune system which is connected to your liver. Your liver is involved in many function but particularly production of cholesterol. Perhaps your stress is inhibiting your gut health which is influencing your liver and ultimately your cholesterol levels.  It’s really about becoming a health detective with your lab results. Unlike conventional medicine that uses reference ranges, I use “optimal ranges” which allows me to pick up on things that are starting to get off track or falling out of the optimal range.   Remember, one does not wake up fat or with a disease. It’s typically a progression.

Conventional reference ranges generally cover 95% of the “healthy” population but does not account for the range of signs and symptoms related to subclinical or physiological problems. Conventional ranges are derived by assaying specimens from individuals who meet the criteria for “good” health (have no known health problems, are ambulatory, not on any medications and have a normal BMI).  There is a significant amount of biological variability with reference ranges. There can also be a big difference in results if you take samples at different times of day.

The history of “optimal” ranges dates back to the 1980’s.  A method called “biochemical biopsy” was originally used in an attempt to look for changes in blood composition to detect cancer. The methods used for analysis were electrophoresis, atomic spectroscopy, hormonal studies, and standard hematological studies. The information was integrated with information from physical exams, symptoms analysis, urinalysis, hair mineral analysis, stool analysis, and other diagnostic criteria. Over 10,000 people were studied and this information is now used as “optimal ranges”.

By using optimal ranges, I am able to find clues that may point to metabolic dysfunction such as insulin resistance, inflammation, gut impairment, liver or kidney dysfunction, bile insufficiency, vitamin deficiencies, bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, detox ability, as well as other possible disease states. I use labs as a tool for possible dysfunction, not for diagnosis. Findings may require further diagnostic testing in which I would refer you back to your doctor.

Most metabolic dysfunction can be corrected by changing eating and food choices as well as other lifestyle behaviors and especially body composition. I believe that food holds magnificent healing substances and if coordinated in the correct way, you can see dramatic improvements in your health, body and biomarkers.

Lab review is not mandatory for your lifestyle therapy plan but it can be very helpful when developing a specific food or exercise plan. It can shed light on underlying issues that may need to be addressed.  This can be incorporated into your plan for optimal results and healing.

For a more in depth look at your nutrient balance and metabolism, ask us about comprehensive nutrient analysis testing. Simple tests can be done using hair, saliva, stool, blood, and urine to determine if your metabolic imbalances require a more intensive nutritional therapy. Genetic variations, nutrient deficiencies, and toxicity may be  key factors that are getting in the way of your weight loss and health goals.  Local chiropractor, Dr. Keith Zimmermann, is available to provide this service in NH.