Taking control of our health often means being proactive, especially in today’s allopathic system. In the spirit of arming you with tools to empower yourself and your well-being, we asked Naturopathic Doctor Asia Muhammad to give us her complete list of basic bloodwork tests.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of information we can get about our bodies through all sorts of objective testing such as bloodwork. Unfortunately, a lot of doctors aren’t going to offer that service voluntarily. However, if you ask them, most Primary Care Physicians can and will run tests for you — especially if you have great insurance — the key is to ASK.
Use this opportunity to your advantage. Also, if you don’t know how to interpret some of the results, find a functional medicine doctor to work with you.
Complete Blood Count checks white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, and other indices associated with our blood cells. This test will inform of infection, anemia, and inflammation. Abnormalities in this test may also be associated with lung disease, kidney disease, and more.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel checks blood sugar, liver function, kidney function, and electrolytes. Abnormalities in these indices are associated with dehydration, kidney disease, blood sugar abnormalities, liver function, and nutrition status. This test is commonly a part of annual blood work.
HbA1c & Fasting Insulin
Hemoglobin A1c is a 3-month measurement of blood sugar status. Fasting insulin helps to form a more specific picture around blood sugar status. It is estimated that one third of Americans suffer from pre-diabetes with most being unaware.
TSH, T3 (free & total), reverse T3, T4, TPO, Thyroglobulin. These are all tests to evaluate thyroid function. Our thyroid is a gland that releases and responds to hormones that control metabolism. Many times TSH is the only marker run to analyze thyroid function; however the picture is more nuanced than simply TSH. Having a full picture may help with understanding unexplained symptoms.
Vitamin D & PTH (Parathyroid Hormone)
Vitamin D is an essential hormone for optimal human health. Most people that I’ve seen in clinical practice have all been beneath the normal range. Normal vitamin D ranges from 30-100. Many functional medicine doctors like to see vitamin D at least around 50. PTH is another blood measurement that provides a more clear picture around vitamin D status. Some populations with deeper skin tones have differences in vitamin D receptors in the body, which ultimately affects the accuracy of vitamin D alone. Vitamin D, PTH, and calcium levels should be evaluated together. Calcium is a part of the CMP.
Homocysteine, hs-CRP, and ESR are three markers that can be used to assess inflammation in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine can be indicative of issues with a genetic process called methylation. It can also clue one into underlying vitamin deficiencies. hs-CRP is a marker more specific for cardiovascular inflammation.
This test includes a general sweep of lipid (fat) status in the body. Apolipoprotein A & Apolipoprotein B should be added to the lipid panel to provide a more detailed analysis of lipid status in the body. This panel not only provides insight into dietary patterns that can be optimized but it also provides insight into cardiovascular health.
Antinuclear antibodies is a test that evaluates possible autoimmunity. The rate of autoimmune disease in America continually rises. If this test is positive, the next step is usually testing for the different types of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Gamma glutamic transferase is a very simple test that can assess glutathione status. Glutathione is our body’s main antioxidant. Elevated levels of GGT are associated with reduced glutathione. GGT is also associated with toxic burden in the body as well as risk of metabolic disease.
MTHFR Gene Mutation
This test evaluates methylation status in the body. It provides us insight into how our genetic processes are being affected. If there are abnormalities in this test, it may indicate that our bodies are not well equipped at utilizing specific vitamins. Methylation affects detoxification, mood, immune function, hormones, and more. Others to add: RBC magnesium, serum zinc, and methylmalonic acid. Methylmalonic acid is a marker to look at vitamin B12 status.
Asia Muhammad is a Naturopathic Doctor in St. Louis, MO. She values the power of lifestyle modifications to achieve optimal health. She has a special interest in gastroenterology, mind-body medicine, and stress management, as increasing research demonstrates the role of stress in disease. Dr. Asia received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and completed a three-year independent residency at Arizona Digestive Health. She received her BS in Chemistry and Biology from Middle Tennessee State University in 2010. In her spare time, she enjoys connecting with her community to provide nutrition and exercise education.