Laboratory Testing: What Every Patient Should Know

This time of year, my inbox is flooded with requests for my recommendations on laboratory testing, so it seemed like a good time to write up a quick blog that I could direct people to.

If you’re looking to optimize your health and prevent future illness, one of the best things you can do is establish a regular testing regimen. Oftentimes I can spot a potential problem in a patient’s labs from values that are inside the reference range, but are trending up or down, or they’re just inside the top or bottom of the range.

I often tell patients:

“When an imbalance is harder to find (normal, but barely inside the top or bottom of the reference range), it’s easier to treat.

Once it’s easier to find (clearly outside the reference range), it’s harder to treat.”

It’s worth mentioning that laboratory reference ranges are arrived at from testing a large number of people, averaging their results, then adding a standard deviation to the top and bottom of that average. For MOST lab values, the optimal range is somewhere in the center of the reference range. Unfortunately, patients are often told they’re “normal” even when their lab values fall slightly outside the reference range.

Testing I Recommend for All Patients:

  • Spectracell Micronutrient Test (every 6 months until all values are optimal, then every 9-12 months, or anytime diet changes)
  • CBC (complete blood count of red and white blood cells) yearly
  • CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel: liver and kidney markers, electrolytes, minerals, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose) yearly
  • Ferritin (the storage form of iron) yearly

If there are imbalances discovered, or something in the patient’s health picture changes, some or all of these may need to be done more frequently.

Testing for Specific Patients:

  • SpectraCell CardioMetabolic for patients with a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or inflammation
  • OmegaChek (omega 3 and omega 6 totals and ratios) for patients with inflammation, poor diet or a diet low in omega 3 containing foods
  • SpectraCell Thyroid-Adrenal Panel (TSH, T4, Free T3, Thyroglobulin, TPO and TG antibodies, Thyroxine-binding globulin, Cortisol, DHEA and optional add-on Reverse T3) for patients with significant fatigue or personal or family history of thyroid or adrenal issues
  • PSA (prostate specific antigen) for men yearly
  • GI Maps or Genova Comprehensive Stool Testing for chronic GI symptoms that don’t respond to treatment
  • ZRT Saliva Hormone Testing for symptoms of imbalanced hormones
  • Genetic Testing for patients who don’t respond to the typical treatments for their conditions. Knowing how they are unique can often be extremely helpful

This is just a list of the most common labs I recommend for specific patients.

Knowing Your Cardiovascular Risks

While I think a CBC and CMP should be done at least yearly, many doctors ONLY order these two tests and if the patient is told these are “normal” they assume they’re in good health since the testing includes cholesterol, liver, kidneys and a snapshot of their immune system. However, not only are there often many clues of imbalance even with “normal” values, there are often additional tests that should be ordered to determine true health risks. For instance:

Elevated cholesterol is not the best predictor of cardiac risk.

Half the people who have a cardiovascular event

have normal or even LOW cholesterol

AND half the people who have HIGH cholesterol

NEVER have a cardiovascular event.

What IS more predictive of cardiovascular risk is cholesterol particle size. My favorite test panel for investigating cardiac risk is the CardioMetabolic test done at SpectraCell Labs, with the addition of ferritin (ferritin is available through all conventional labs). The CardioMetabolic test can also identify an elevated risk for diabetes, often present even when fasting glucose levels are normal.

More Food for Thought

RBC, hemoglobin and hematocrit in the high or low end of the reference range can indicate iron deficiency or overload.

An elevated or even high/normal RDW can indicate folate or B12 deficiency.

Low or low/normal WBC can indicate nutrient deficiencies or adrenal weakness.

A low or low/normal chloride can point to hydrochloric acid insufficiency.

Elevated or high/normal platelets points to some type of inflammation or acute phase reactant.  Commonly, mold toxicity is an issue here.

The Bottom Line

Get tested regularly, and watch for any trending in your lab values. Don’t wait until a value is outside the reference range to take action.

Ultimately, the best approach is to develop a relationship with an integrative health practitioner and visit them 1-2 times yearly to review your labs and address any developing imbalances.

Laser Allergy Relief

Say Goodbye to Allergies!!

In March of 2016 year, we had a practitioner open house at Leaves of Life, and I had the pleasure of connecting with Ginny Rockenbaugh, a local dietitian who does allergy elimination laser treatments.

Once I started treatments with Ginny and could quantify my own results (see my testimonial below), I began referring patients to Ginny almost daily – most of whom also had significant relief from food, environmental and other allergic responses. Through trial and error, we found the patients who had the best results were addressing any digestive issues alongside laser treatments.

Because so many patients were finding relief from these treatments, Ginny’s practice quickly filled up, and patients were waiting 2-3 months to start treatment.

So… drum roll please!!… about two months ago, Leaves of Life purchased our very own own ASA laser!  Patients are amazed at the accuracy of the laser in pinpointing specific allergens and areas of concern, as well as receiving significant symptom relief.  We’re excited to be able to offer this therapy to our patients – just one more piece of the holistic picture we’re trying to build here!

How it works:

The ASA Balance laser is an energetic  assessment and balancing tool utilizing biofeedback and 3-color inductive lasers for addressing specific allergies and sensitivities (foods, environment, chemicals, pets, even emotional states).

The treatment takes between 20-30 minutes and is non-invasive and completely pain-free. Once an allergen is identified, the ASA Balance re-exposes the patient to the harmonic frequency of the allergen while simultaneously going through a process known as immune conditioning. Specific nerve bundles are stimulated by the Class III laser to re-educate the body’s immune response to effectively remove the inappropriate immune response. When re-exposed to the actual allergen, the body should be more tolerant or non-reactive.

Laser allergy treatment can provide relief from food, environmental, animal and seasonal allergies and also benefit the following conditions

  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Body Pain
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis, rashes)

Testimonials:

Allergies and Excema

“My daughter suffered her entire life with many environmental allergies and eczema.  We tried many over the counter and prescription meds to treat her symptoms. We found that they would help slightly, but nothing ever took her symptoms away. That’s when I started looking for a therapy that wasn’t invasive and didn’t involve taking meds. I started reading about laser therapy and immediately scheduled an appointment with Ginny.

After 2 sessions I noticed her eczema was improving. After the 4th session all her eczema was gone. It is now 3 years later and she continues to be eczema-free! Based on my personal experience, I know first-hand the potential benefits of this machine. As a medical professional, I’m excited to now be able to provide this service to our patients.”

Amy Timmerman, RN, BSN, Laser Technician at Leaves of Life

Bees, Beer, and Barkers

“From an early age, I’ve struggled with asthma and allergies, which, despite my best efforts, have not responded well to natural therapies.

Over time, I’ve become intolerant to multiple foods – including wine and beer. Also, as a new beekeeper, it was frustrating to find that bee stings would swell up for a full week, driving me completely bonkers with the incessant itching. And though I love dogs, being in their presence would trigger asthma, itchy eyes and runny nose within about an hour, sooner if the dog was particularly active

I arrived at our first session on a particularly overwhelming day at the office. Ginny strapped a wrist cuff on me and we chatted while the machine used biofeedback to scan me (he machine can test for over 100,000 substances, including emotional states, foods, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, heavy metals, viruses, pesticides, bacteria and more, but it divides these into 13 different “chunks” because asking the body that many questions at once would not yield accurate results). Up on the screen came the list of things from today’s list of tested items that were “bugging” my system.  My jaw dropped when I saw the list of emotions…right on top was “overwhelmed“. The food list was mostly familiar: eggs, dairy, and sugar, plus a few other things I hadn’t known were an issue.

Ginny began stimulating acupuncture points with a red/green/blue laser, which triggers an endorphin release while the wrist cuff simultaneously reintroduced frequencies that matched my list of allergens. She explained that this reprograms cellular immune memory, essentially convincing the body that things it previously considered allergens are, in fact, harmless. During the 30 minute session, I became so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open. Ginny said this was common and usually short-lived. By the time the session was completed,I felt the most relaxed and emotionally centered I could remember feeling for a very long time. Ginny treated me for eggs, dairy, sugar and a few other things, and I was told to avoid these foods for the next 24 hours.

Because my symptoms of discomfort were very mild with these foods, and because I rarely ate them, I was uncertain how much difference the first session made for my allergies. Over the next few sessions, we cleared multiple vitamins, minerals, amino acids, food additives and more foods. I was unsuccessful at clearing for pollen and mold, but I attributed that to my inability to avoid these post-treatment for 24 hours since my windows are open a lot at home.

After the 4th session, I decided to move my bee hives about 15 feet to a new location that would offer them afternoon shade…my reward was 5 stings….which never swelled or itched at all. In fact, 3 days afterward, I could not even see any evidence of the stings. A week or so later, a friend brought over some special wine she’d found while traveling, and I decided to indulge. It was about 6 pm the next evening before I realized I had suffered NO consequences. Several exposures to dogs over the past 6 weeks have also been uneventful.

The amazing thing to me is that we hadn’t even treated for any of these things with the laser yet, but because we had layered off many other burdens, this made my immune system more tolerant.

Many patients want to know if allergies are eliminated “forever”, and the answer is that If the same internal conditions that precipitated the inappropriate immune response persist or return, the body could again become sensitized.  As with anything, the best results, whether short or long term, are seen with a holistic approach to improving overall health…an approach that encompasses a healthy diet, lifestyle and stress management.

Patty Shipley, Naturopath, RN, founder and owner of Leaves of Life

Tired of your allergies? Call 614-888-4372 to schedule your appointment.  Treatments are $75 and take approximately 30 minutes.