If there’s 1 thing I’ve heard from my dad’s current heart issues, it’s this:
A blood test is a vital first step in participating actively in preserving your health.
It may show you places to enhance, or reaffirm that your active, nutrition-conscious lifestyle is working for you.
Regardless of what it says, it will provide you peace of mind because a simple blood test remains our best way of understanding what’s happening in our bodies.
Now, allow me to explain where all this is coming from…
It starts with my father, someone I would consider to be rather healthy. After being diagnosed with discovered disease, he cut most meats and began focusing on optimizing whole-food wholesome meals.
Another win for plants!
That is why it was surprising when, lately he started experiencing tightness in his chest (angina). Because of this, he failed an angioplasty — a risky process through which a camera is conducted via an artery in his leg up and down into his heart to search for blockages.
When coping with heart disease, I’ve found that”not worse” is something to observe …so, good news right?
Yesbut it still left us with the question: why was my dad tight in the chest?
To put it differently, he was severely anemic. And, thus, he had been experiencing tightness in his chest, fatigue, and nausea.
These are all good reasons to pursue an angioplasty — however, it was not blockages causing the symptoms, so an angio wasn’t the solution.
Rather, we learned (after the process ) it was probably the very low hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to the heart, brain, and the remainder of the body.
The fact is, a very simple blood test could have alerted us to the issue months earlier.
And this isn’t the first time a typical blood test has had a huge influence on my loved ones.
My spouse and I both discovered deficiencies and food sensitivities through blood work. After a long time of a WFPB diet, I thought we would see incredible results in our blood evaluation. Rather, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I’d”rheumatoid-like inflammation.”
This led to a manic search for replies. And many more blood tests. And finally, through appropriate supplementation and small adjustments to our diets, our daily own lives and health have improved considerably.
Occasionally our bodies are telling us something that we neglect ’t know. However, with insight from our blood markers and assistance from our doctors, we can learn a great thing.
I really like to understand the way my health has improved because my days eating something aside from WFPB. And, to the extent possible, I love to observe how tinkering with my daily diet changes the levels.
As I approach my fifth season as a vegan, I’m increasingly interested in getting a more granular view of my wellbeing.
That’s why I’ve been digging into blood tests which help me comprehend my risk-factors for things such as cardio- and – cerebro-vascular diseases, in addition to biomarkers for inflammation, micro-nutrient standing, and so on.
But before I share the types of test I have been researching, the obligatory disclaimer:
I’m not a physician. Never have been and likely never will be. And I don’t pretend to be one on the world wide web. None of this should be interpreted as medical advice or recommendation. You should consult with a licensed physician to determine what blood tests are best for you, to help you interpret the results, and to craft a care plan. Below is simply my personal strategy.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, here is my step-by-step approach to engaging with your doctor and getting these blood tests:
- Document all the questions and concerns that you may have. If you do not ask questions, and bring up your concerns, there’s no opportunity for your health provider to engage and to provide help.
- Locate a doctor who will use nutrition as a tool to promote wellness, prevent illness, and potentially reverse present conditions. At times it’s hard to tell, so have a look at this source: Plant Based Doctors, which was assembled by friend of NMA, Matt Jager.
- When you’re with your physician, mention if you are engaging in any strenuous activities, dealing with other anxiety, or eating a particular diet (whether that’s vegetarian or S.A.D or keto).
- Provide the list of blood tests that you are interested in pursuing, if you understand them. Or the kinds of things that you want to look for.
- Depending on whether you have specific conditions that need diagnosing, it can be helpful to include evaluations of micronutrient status. Again, this is the reason you should share each of the appropriate info, like your preferred eating routine.
The Blood Tests that I Rely On
Below are”the principles” I love to test any time I get the needle — at least every 6 weeks, more if I’m actively experimentation.
After that are layers of additional tests, in order of frequency by that I like to utilize them. Depending on the way you feel, and if you are dealing with any health issues, your doctor will understand what they are and when you should have them and they can walk you through the outcomes.
These are fairly common tests, which measure many different things and may have a range of consequences — from liver, kidney, and thyroid function to insulin sensitivity to markers of systemic inflammation.
Because they cover such many different markers, I’ll avoid going into a lot of detail . But if you want to dive in more, check out the links for additional information.
1. Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets: Perhaps among the most typical, and most significant tests, a CBC gives a synopsis of key markers, like red and white blood cells. This permits a physician to diagnose anything from disease to, like my dad, an anemic state.
2. Comprehensive Immune System : A CMP offers a glimpse into your liver and kidney health and looks specifically at blood glucose and electrolytes (such as calcium and sodium). These factors allow a physician to have a sense of how these methods are functioning, because the kidneys and liver are crucial to many procedures involving digestion, detoxification, fluid balance, etc..
3. You’ll learn your blood cholesterol level — total as well as high and low density lipoprotein — and triglycerides. If you’re especially concerned about heart disease, make sure you ask your doctor about more advanced tests (such as those considering particle number and particle size).
4. HS-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein): The simple explanation is that this test provides a feeling for the level of systemic inflammation in your body. The more complicated part is what to do for this information — inflammation can have a vast range of causes and implications, so make certain to employ a capable specialist if you’re concerned.
5. If your pituitary isn’t functioning likely, there can be a range of downstream issues. (That is exactly what happened for my wife, also turned out to be an undiagnosed gluten allergy.)
6. Hemoglobin A1C: Given the rise of Type 2 Diabetes, we are always hearing about the significance of blood glucose maintenance. Chronically high blood sugar can cause a mess on each cell in your entire body. Testing your blood sugar (or more correctly,”blood sugar”) provides you with a point-in-time reading. Measuring your A1C, on the other hand, gives you an ordinary assortment of your blood glucose over the previous 2-3 months. This offers a much more informative data stage, since blood sugar can swing wildly based on your exercise, stress, and food intake in a given day.
Additional Tests that I Do Often as a Vegan
Along with the most important six, because vegans and vegetarians are especially vulnerable to certain deficiencies, I also have a look at these markers at least once per year1.
2. In addition to that, humans today wear clothing, work indoors, and ride in automobiles, all which blocks sunlight from reaching our epidermis — a vastly different experience from that of our naked ancestors. Double check your levels with this very simple blood test.
3. Methylmalonic Acid, Serum (MMA): A current research indicates that a typical B12 test can reveal normal or high levels of B12, even in people in a B12 deficient condition, which MMA, in conjunction with homocysteine and Serum B12, is a better approach to ascertain B12 status. As your health care provider will talk with you, elevated amounts of homocysteine and MMA can be suggestive of a mild (or nascent) B12 deficiency. Utilize all three biomarkers to ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of dietary B12.
4. Additionally, it plays a part in determining liver wellbeing and, as described above, B12 deficiency.
5. This is the reason why DHA/EPA, together with B12 and Vitamin D, which are regarded as the”Large Three” for vegans to think about supplementing.
6. However, for various reasons, selenium, zinc, iodine can be difficult to consume or find in adequate amounts, thus sometimes requiring supplementation. (Click the for our solution to these nutrients.)
7. Vitamin K2: K2 is vital for proper calcium management, helping move calcium from soft tissues, like heart and brain, and towards hard tissues, like teeth and bone. And unless you are eating a Japanese dish called natto, you are natto getting sufficient K2. (Note – Most tests will appear at a practical marker for K2, because very little K2 is actually stored in the human body and measurable directly.)
8. Iron (a.k.a Ferritin), complete and TIBC: There’s more to the narrative about heme and non-heme iron, and if vegans and vegetarians can absorb iron rather readily from plants. If you are worried, ask your doc to measure your blood levels.
9. Folate: An essential nutrient, folate (or B9), plays a key role in the conversion of homocysteine into methionine, utilizing B12 in the process. Goods news is that, according to the findings of the famous EPIC-Oxford research , vegans were found to have the highest amounts of circulating folate when compared to omnivores and vegetarians. I still prefer to double check my folate levels since it is helpful to tell a more complete story of how my body is using B12.
For the Nerds Who Desire More-Than-Necessary Details
New assays are being developed constantly. Based upon your wellbeing status and concerns, you may choose to ask your physician about what tests make sense for you.
By way of instance, I’m especially interested in looking at my specific nutrient status. There are a variety of approaches to acquire a sense for how your body is utilizing nutrients; exactly what it may be fighting to absorb, convert, or otherwise utilize; or what might be missing from your daily diet. Work with your physician to better understand what choices are available for you.
They ship it to a residence, although you want to see a lab for the blood collection. Based on the metabolites in my pee together with the two vials of blood, I managed to get a feeling for everything from enzymatic action to bacterial inhabitants to heavy metal concentrations.
That’s just 1 example, and you might find something else to be better worth your cash.
So you’ve gotten the tests, now what?
The majority of these evaluations will return with results about where you drop in relation to the normal, healthy range. This could give you a general sense as to what could be a problem area.
But do not stop there. Take your results to a doctor and have them help you interpret and tackle any abnormalities.
Where to Get Your Blood Tests
The very first place to start is the primary care physician, who can order one of these evaluations, many of which can be covered by your insurance.
You will find other ways to obtain this information — like InsideTracker, Baze, or LifeExtension (that offers this vegan/vegetarian special test). However, I would rather engage a doctor by means of this procedure in order to help analyze the results.
These online businesses can make it a lot easier to ship in tests, but frequently remove you from engaging especially with a physician to help analyze the outcomes, and thus may indicate that you miss a red flag or misinterpret the findings.
(Note: Neither NMA nor I have any connection with these service providers, nor can we speak to the effectiveness or accuracy of the tests.)
If there’s one thing that I would like you to remove from this post, it is this: The very best time to cure disease is until it happens.
We vegans believe ourselves healthy people. After all, for a lot of us wellness is a principal driver for rice in the first location.
And due to that, we often neglect to really glance under the hood and see what is happening inside our bodies.
I know this first hand. So does my wife.
And had my dad used a blood test , it could have saved our entire family a great deal of stress (and the health care system a lot of cost)!
By engaging deeply in your wellbeing and by actively taking steps to improve it, you can save yourself a massive amount of time, pain, and money down the road.
Take it from a man who is fearful of needs: It’s worth it.
It contains only the handful of hard-to-come-by nutrients in a diet (without unneeded nutrients we’re getting from our meals ), provided in forms that boost absorption, and combined to work together as a complete, delivered at a handy vegan capsule.
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