Many people want to take their health into their own hands including me! I study this stuff though, so I know what to do with the test results when I get it. I know how to support myself nutritionally through food and supplements. I certainly don’t know everything – far from it! This is why I love that I am part of this world of holistic health. There are so many brilliant practitioners who always have valuable insight and knowledge to share.
You may want to take your results to a practitioner who can help you. Registered Holistic Nutritionists do not diagnose or cure diseases. Their role is to help balance out the body systems through diet and nutritional support. Naturopathic Doctors can test, diagnose, treat and help with preventative measures for disease. I would not take any of these type of test results to a general physician as they’re not familiar with how to read them or what to do with the results. If you choose to do these tests on your own, it’s your choice in what you want to do with the information once you receive it.
I believe we have a budget for everything – a budget for clothing, for social events, for food, etc. I have a health budget – every year, I do certain tests I feel I need. The fact is, unless you do this on your own privately or through a naturopath doctor, your general physician will not run or cannot run these tests for you.
Many years ago, I had clear symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis, which I know about now, but didn’t have a clue about back then. I lost a tremendous amount of weight after my daughter was born, and was unable to produce enough breast milk, then flipped to gaining weight. I went back and forth for years. Not until many years later, 5 nodules were incidentally discovered on my thyroid, one of which was cancerous. Throughout all those years, I only ever had a regular TSH blood test. TSH is ONE marker of functionality, and not the full picture needed if symptoms are present. I am so fortunate now that I have an amazing endocrinologist who runs all the functional labs I need specific for thyroid functionality, regardless of the fact that I no longer have one. He is there to ensure my medications are working properly and that nothing grows back!
Do not skimp on your health. If you’re having health challenges, and your physician can’t help you, don’t ignore them. If you can’t get what you want by means of tests through your GP, go see a naturopath doctor, or get the tests done on your own and then decide where to go with the results if there is concern. Just do not skimp on your health. Nothing is more important than that. Self awareness of how you feel is key here, and no one can dismiss how you feel – only you know this.
Here are tests I believe to be great tests that provide you with a good handle on what’s going on with your health that you can order yourself. I will provide you with where you can go, what the test is for, and approximate cost. Keep in mind this is what’s available to us here in Canada as well as in the US, but the US has many more options I don’t mention here, and I’m not sure about other countries.
Gut Testing – Viome does a great job of providing you with a detailed snapshot of what’s happening in your gut. They even go so far as to provide you with your own personal diet (on an app) on what would help feed your own microbiome optimally, and what food could hinder the health of your own microbiome should you choose to eat it regularly. I love this as my own personal diet and interestingly enough, I always feel good when I follow it! Gut health is truly one of the most important aspects of good health. Link here: https://www.viome.com/?refcode=Sandyknutrition
Hormone Testing – an accurate way to test hormones is through dried urine. Dutch testing makes it pretty easy so you don’t have to worry about mess or fussing around. At certain points in your life, knowing what’s happening with your hormones is super important. For example, if you’re entering menopause, this could be a time of pretty severe fluctuations, so getting a handle of what’s happening becomes very important. It’s also important if you wish you do any sort of bio identical hormone therapy. Dutch has testing options that include all sex hormones and other options that include adrenal (cortisol) testing among other tests. These tests run from $299 USD all the way up to $599 USD depending on which tests you order. I have an incredible discount code to share with you of $100 off!! The code is skn100. You can find out more and order directly through their “Patients” tab here: https://dutchtest.com/patients .
Micronutrient Testing – sometimes when you have many symptoms, feel very “off” and really don’t know where to start, this is a good, thorough test to begin with. Often we could be lacking in some very important nutrients that can cause pretty severe symptoms. Your family doctor can run some simple tests ie ferritin and B12, which is where I would begin, but if the answers you need are not there, I would go with a full panel micronutrient test through SpectraCell. Their bloodwork looks at how micronutrients are actually functioning within your white blood cells. This test will analyze whether or not you’re borderline, adequate or deficient in 35 nutrients and is available to order from the US and Canada – not sure about internationally. The cost is $390 USD and can be ordered here under Micronutrient Test – https://www.spectracell.com/order/.
Hair Mineral Analysis – your hair can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside of you, and it’s a relatively inexpensive test to do at $125 USD. This test analyzes the low, reference and high ranges of 38 elements including minerals and heavy metals within your hair. It is particularly useful for those of you who suspect heavy metal toxicity. I believe this test kit is available internationally but definitely for the US and Canada. You can purchase it here: https://www.evenbetternow.com/proddetail.asp?prod=hair_tissue_analysis
Cholesterol/Cardiometabolic Test – I have had cholesterol tests and nothing beats the thoroughness of this particular one from Spectracell. What makes this so great is it not only measures HDL, LDL, etc, but also measures the actual size of the LDL size and density. Not all LDL is created equal and in particular, the small dense LDL particles are the ones linked to heart disease, but regular cholesterol tests don’t decifer. This test also measures risk for type 2 Diabetes. The cost to do this test is $150 USD, is called CardioMetabolic Risk, and can be ordered here: https://www.spectracell.com/order/
Genetic Testing – There are a few of these genetic tests available, but I prefer 23andme.com. While health reports are somewhat limited with 23andme, you can take your raw data anywhere, and you also get ancestry reports which is super interesting and useful! I have taken my raw data and run some free reports in livewello.com as well as foundmyfitness.com. Both amazing resources! I am very interested in a new”ish” field of Nutrigenomics – the study of nutrition for your genetics. This is how I found out that coconut oil is not good for me specifically, and I always need to ensure I have higher intake of poly and monounsaturated fats vs saturated fats. So long as I do this I am good! I initially found this out when I was pretty strict keto, and was eating a ton of coconut oil and my cholesterol got quite high. Knowing these details about your genetics can be so helpful! Cost for 23andme is $199 and I believe this is in USD. Other sites may or may not charge to get further health reports. Here is where you can order the test kit: https://www.23andme.com/compare-dna-tests/
A note on thyroid testing – I am not sure if general physicians in Canada are able to run further testing on thyroid other than TSH if your TSH presents normal on a blood test. TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – this is a BRAIN hormone – a signal from your pituitary gland to your thyroid to make thyroid hormone. It is absolutely possible that this can be normal while your thyroid itself isn’t functioning properly. Here is what you need tested through blood test if you suspect thyroid issues and aren’t getting what you need by means of testing. You need TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, TPOab (thyroid peroxidase antibody) and TgAb (thyroglobulin antibody). If your TSH is normal, but you still have symptoms and you can’t get your physician to run more testing or refer you to an endocrinologist who can, you can still have this tested through SpectraCell.com. Order a thyroid comprehensive for $100 USD and you can also add on reverse T3 for $50 USD. Order here: https://www.spectracell.com/order/
So there you have it. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I cannot order these tests for you, but I can help guide you on how to read them if you order them yourself. If you like to take control of your own health like I do, there are many resources out there that prove to be useful and accurate. I’ve used all of these resources and found them to be excellent tools.