Your blood markers can tell you so many things about your health, it’s a pity that most doctors are underusing this tool… To be fair, I guess they just don’t have the time to look into details and look for patterns, but also the laboratory range set by the labs is not helping: most of the times these markers can be already quite alarming, but according to the lab, they’re not flagged as red (yet) so they may get overlooked by doctors.
What you should probably know is that all labs set their ranges depending on the patient results they get: I’m gettting labs from clients from different EU countries, UK and US and the ranges are different in every country and sometimes even region of the country. I’m working with functional markers that are the same world-wide. They are also targeted to disease PREVENTION, so they are more sensitive than the usual lab range you might see on your test result.
What blood markers should you have checked every year?
Insulin & HbA1c
Iron, Ferritin, iron saturation
GGT, AST & ALT
TSH, free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies
White blood cell count & details
These are important markers in your blood panel that can help identify nutrient deficiencies that have an impact on your hormone balance and also migraines such as iron anemia, Vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, blood sugar imbalance, liver and/or gallbladder congestion, methylation issue, thyroid issues or elevated inflammation markers. I can also tell from these if you might be dealing with intestinal parasites, food or environmental allergies and the state of your immune system.
You might notice that I’m not including sex hormones in here: that’s because sex hormones in the blood are bound to proteins, meaning they don’t indicate the free form that your body can use, so doing a saliva or urine based hormone test is more accurate for hormone testing. If you suspect that your migraines are linked to your cycle, I recommend a DUTCH cycling hormone and complete test that gives you an overview of all possible root causes of estrogen dominance: too much estrogen, too low progesterone, testosterone conversion issues or estrogen detox issues.
And even if you don’t have migraine, these markers are important for everyone to check at least once per year…
Homocysteine is a very important marker that most doctors only check above 55 years old and if they suspect a risk of heart attack. Homocysteine indeed will indicate an increased risk of heart attack if elevated, especially when paired with high triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. However, it gives us much more important information about your body’s ability to methylate and if you find this out early and take the right cofactors to correct your methylation activity, you’re preventing a risk of heart attack, possibly liver dysfunction due to a lack of nutrients needed in the different phases of liver detox.
Every doctor checks fasting glucose on a blood panel, although this marker really doesn’t tell us much unless it’s elevated or too low several times in a row. What’s much more interesting is to look at HbA1c and insulin: your HbA1c level will give you an average of your blood sugar level over the past 3 months and I’ve even had clients with ok fasting glucose and HbA1c but elevated insulin which clearly showed an issue with blood sugar regulation. Just scratching on the surface can hide valuable information about your health!
When iron or ferritin are low, you’re getting an iron supplement from your doc: I can't say how pointless this is: these supplements do nothing else but clog you up: your body can’t absorb them! Also, if your iron is ok but your ferritin is low, you need to work on your gut health and not take iron supplements. Read more here on iron deficiency.
Ideal Vitamin D levels should be at 60 and not 30 as indicated in Belgium, or even worse at 20 in Germany: just because everyone is deficient in Vitamin D, doesn’t mean that 30 is normal! Vitamin D also has a lot to do with absorption and if you have trouble absorbing fat, it will be more difficult to get up your levels. It also depends on your genetics, for some people it’s easier to produce and absorb Vitamin D than for others who are lacking.
Having good levels of cholesterol in the body is critical for good health. Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body:
Cholesterol is a critical structural element in your cells and certain tissues, including the brain and nervous system. Around 25% of the cholesterol in your body is found in the brain.
Cholesterol is a transport molecule to shuttle fat soluble nutrients into your cells to be utilized appropriately.
Cholesterol is an essential building block for hormones, including progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D.
Cholesterol is used by the body to make bile acids to help digest fats.
You probably know that LDL is the “bad” cholesterol and HDL the “good” cholesterol. Most of my clients have too much of the bad and not enough of the good cholesterol. That’s something that you can easily change with diet. But high levels of cholesterol in general are usually linked to liver congestion and poor digestive function. So never stop eating the good cholesterol like egg yolks, fatty fish etc, but work on your digestion and liver health instead. High(er) cholesterol levels are also genetic but can be controlled with diet, lifestyle and improving digestive function and liver health.
Every woman should have her thyroid checked on a regular basis, especially since hormonal fluctuations will have an effect on your thyroid health too. Estrogen dominance, which is the root cause for hormonal migraines, can also cause thyroid nodules for instance and provoke antibodies that will attack your thyroid if not managed early enough.
40% of migraines in women are linked to hypothyroid function by the way, so having your thyroid checked and attended to might be a key piece in reducing your migraines.
Weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, feeling cold or on the contrary feeling hot, loose stools, weight loss… are some symptoms that can be linked to your thyroid function. Go back to my article on thyroid for more details.
Creatinine is a kidney marker but it mostly indicates your ability to digest proteins or if your protein consumption is adequate. Doctors only pay attention to it when it is lab high - what I see in all my female clients though is that it is too low: either due to insufficient protein intake or due to a lack of stomach acid that allows them to break down and absorb the protein they are consuming.
When this marker is elevated, your kidneys are overworked and there’s too much protein in your blood, so indeed we don’t want it to be high (but also not too low…)