Blood Tests to Identify Nutrient Deficiencies
Before figuring out a diet plan, it is important to identify nutrient deficiencies because even if the diet is for fat loss or sports performance, why not optimize its efficiency?
I would recommend asking your medical office for a requisition and getting blood work done before a major diet change to ensure that the nutrition portion addresses deficiencies, alongside any other treatment plans in place.
Nutrition is not necessarily a cure or the cure, but it is an enhancer of health.
Your doctor or any GP at a walk-in clinic can interpret the results for you (interpreting results is not something I can advise on and it is not recommended that you interpret them on your own).
Here are the main I have personally recommend to past clients (alongside the routine ones that their GP will inevitably recommend):
Hba1c or long-term blood sugar:
This is a good way to test the average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. It should be taken at least once a year for people with high risk for diabetes or people with impaired blood sugar metabolism.
Full blood count:
We can see the hemoglobin levels and red blood cell measurements from which we can get indirect clues about iron deficiency and some other things.
Sodium, potassium, and serum creatinine, also known as the body's hydration level markers:
Sodium and potassium are the two main electrolytes in blood and creatinine is a protein metabolism end-product that gets secreted into urine by the kidneys. Those can give a good idea of kidney function and hydration.
ALT or alanine aminotransferase and other liver enzymes:
Liver enzymes rise in many different acute situations like some medication and gastroenteritis. Chronic mild rise most often refers to fatty liver and is a good marker for overall visceral fat level. Many other things can cause this; that’s why it needs to be analyzed in context.
Lipids - LDL, HDL, triglycerides - the common blood lipid panel:
Usually used as a cardiovascular risk assessment, but it works much better as a part of an overall metabolism assessment. One single test is never enough to assess one's cardiovascular risk.
Hs-CRP - sensitive c-reactive protein:
This is the inflammation marker, which is the best measurement for low-grade inflammation.
This test checks for folate levels and B12 levels in your blood, some B12 tests can provide greater insight into the size of your red blood cells and hemoglobin levels as well (speak to your GP about what type of test is being used if this is important to you).
This test can point out an iron deficiency, which later ties into increase immune system vulnerability.
This is one of the most important vitamins for metabolism and is below optimal for most people here in the north.
Thyroid hormones, insulin, and cortisol:
Other markers to test are thyroid hormones, insulin, and cortisol which can flag a variety of health-related problems, which nutrition may help to appease (not cure, but appease).
While this is not giving you interpretative information, this gives you a base of inspiration to start with based on what past clients have requested from their doctors or walk-in clinic doctors who will then interpret the results because:
• Correlation is not causation
• Any result can mean many different things
• Similar results in similar people can mean different things
• Every aspect of one test result can tie into another, but it doesn't always show the progression of an issue and the totality of factors leading up to that type of result and the true "why" behind it
The full picture of your health has be considered before jumping to conclusions, but this is inspiration to consider before moving in any direction diet-wise, identifying deficiencies can eliminate many choices upfront so you skip trial-and-error (let's save you time by sharing knowledge that just makes sense).