When you're running a business, or multiple businesses plus trying to balance a family or social life, it can easy to let health and wellness slip, it is something that you think can be put off to later.
Or even if you are diligently having green smoothies for breakfast, practicing intermittent fasting because you have heard of the amazing benefits, and regularly getting into Crossfit or Yoga, how do you know how healthy you are on the inside?
Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson tell us the secret of success is being fit and healthy, the billionaire Mark Cuban tracks an extensive array of blood markers every 3 months to maintain optimal health. While you may not need to track your blood as regularly as Mark Cuban, a yearly comprehensive assessment can help you maintain, or reach your optimal health.
Regular blood testing
One option is to visit your doctor for the “standard” blood test which includes liver and kidney function, cholesterol and maybe a glucose reading, once the results are back you are usually told everything is “fine”.
While these tests are great to do in certain situations they actually tell you very little about how healthy you are. For example, a liver function test does not tell you how your liver is functioning but just measures the liver enzymes, which if elevated is a sign of liver inflammation.
Tracking your blood markers on a yearly basis is a good way of assessing changes in your health, this can enable you to be proactive in preventing health problems from occurring. With the standard blood testing, you will find out when you have diabetes, heart disease or other health issues once it is too late.
Functional Medicine Testing
With functional pathology testing, we take a deeper look at your pathology results, testing for things that the standard blood tests do not do. The reason that they are not on a standard test is because of Medicare restrictions and insurance companies not wanting to pay the extra money.
Functional medicine testing enables you to track your blood markers in more detail so that you will have the knowledge to be able to prevent the disease from occurring, by being able to make changes before it’s too late. This can include hormone testing, inflammation markers, vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as detailed cardiovascular testing.
As well as blood markers we can also test stool samples to assess pathogenic bacteria and parasites, as well as look at your levels of beneficial bacteria and how well you are actually absorbing and digesting your food.
Organic Acid testing can assess your metabolism, energy production, neurotransmitters, and gut health if your feeling tired, stressed and burnout this is a great test to do.
The Advantages in Functional Medicine Testing
One of the main reasons for doing more detailed testing is to identify changes in your health before it becomes a problem, preventing disease, rather than waiting for it to occur. This can be done quickly and easily once or twice a year, schedule the time now to have optimal health for years to come.
If your health is currently not optimal here are some reasons why you may want to do some Functional Medicine testing to identify what the underlying cause is
- Always tired
- Can’t get to sleep or stay asleep
- Low libido
- Stressed or Anxious
- You are 30 or 40 but you feel like your 70
- Can’t lose weight
- Have a family history of diabetes or heart disease
- Feel bloated, gassy or have diarrhea/ constipation
Essential Testing For Entrepreneurs
Here is a list of the tests that I recommend that you do:
- It is important to test for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and Triglycerides which are part of the “standard” tests, but at Planet Naturopath we also test for the following:
- Apolipoprotein B is a measurement of your LDL particle number, this is more predictive of cardiovascular disease than just looking at LDL
- LDL sub-fractions measure if you have the small dense atherogenic LDL or the larger healthy LDL
- Fibrinogen which is an inflammation and clotting factor
- Homocysteine which is part of the methylation cycle and high levels are a risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s
- HsCRP which is an inflammation marker, high levels of HsCRP are more predictive of heart disease than high cholesterol.
- These are just some of the markers on our extensive cardiovascular test
Blood Sugar Assessment
Diabetes levels are increasing, and most people don’t realize they have a blood sugar problem until they are told they have diabetes, but if you test these markers you can prevent diabetes from occurring:
- Insulin levels need to be low, and if your insulin levels are rising that is an early warning sign of insulin resistance and potential diabetes
- HbA1C is a marker of your average glucose over the previous 3 months and a better assessment of your glucose levels than the standard fasting glucose test.
If you have trouble sleeping, are fatigued, stressed, have trouble losing weight or have a low libido this can be caused by an imbalance in your hormones, here are some of the hormones that we assess at Planet Naturopath.
- Testosterone is important for both men and women, low levels can affect libido, motivation, and mood
- Estrogen levels need to be just right, too little or too much can cause problems for men and women
- Cortisol is your main stress hormone, too little or too much can cause fatigue, inflammation, weight problems and that "tired but wired feeling". If your a busy entrepreneur this is a good one to keep in balance
- Thyroid hormones, includes TSH which is part of the standard blood test, as well as T4, T3, reverse T3 (high when you're stressed) and the thyroid antibodies
Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiencies
Even with a good diet, it is possible to be low in certain vitamins and minerals, this could be because of increased stress, or poor digestion function which leads to absorption issues. At Planet Naturopath here are some of the essential nutrients we check:
- Iron Studies to assess if you have enough or too much iron, women often have problems with iron deficiency while men can often have iron overload without even realizing, this can increase your risk of chronic diseases
- Magnesium is vital in so many functions in the body if you're a stressed-out entrepreneur you will be burning through your magnesium at a faster rate
- Vitamin D is important for more than just healthy bones, it is essential for mood, immune system and nearly every aspect of health, this is a nutrient that is commonly low, especially if you're spending a lot of time indoors
- B12 and Folate are nutrients that are important for energy production
- Zinc and Copper need to be in the right balance, if you have a high copper to zinc ratio it can cause inflammation and anxiety
Advanced Testing Options
There is a lot of research these days into the importance of our gut bacteria, and how it can influence many aspects of our health, this is why I highly recommend the GI Map Test.
Gut dysfunction is often the cause of inflammation which can affect the rest of your health, the GI Map test will give you a detailed overview of your digestive health
The DUTCH hormone test is the most advanced test for the adrenal and sex hormones, DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones and these test kits can be sent anywhere in the world. The samples are easy to collect and will give us a complete overview of your hormonal health.
Functional Medicine Testing with Planet Naturopath
When you do testing through Planet Naturopath there are several advantages
- The test kits are sent directly to you, there is no need for doctors appointments and many of the tests can be done at home, or at a nearby pathology lab
- Consultations to assess your results are done via our Video teleconferencing, there is no need to travel and everything will be explained in an easy-to-understand way.
- You will be given a written report on the key areas to focus on, this will include diet and supplement recommendations