If you are putting a lot of time and effort into your training, diet and nutritional supplementation you want to know that what you are doing is giving you the best return for your efforts. Having an annual check up with your G.P is a good idea, but often they do not understand the special needs of athletes.
Many times people are told they are “fine” by their doctor, but the level of testing they have had done was inadequate to identify issues or you could be in the “normal” range, not the optimal range and that could be affecting your performance. Inadequate testing of thyroid, adrenal hormones, sex hormones, ferritin, inflammatory markers or other nutritional biomarkers can lead to undiagnosed issues with your health or a drop in performance.
This is not necessarily the fault of doctors as they may not understand the special needs of athletes, biohackers and others who want to live their lives in optimal health and not fall into the “average” category. Also, doctors are restricted as to how many tests they can order through medicare, so they are reluctant to order specialised tests like full thyroid panels or hormone testing for their clients.
At Planet Naturopath we offer a wide range of testing services to help you optimise your performance, health and nutrition.
I have seen many athletes and other clients who follow a good diet, regularly take supplements and seemingly do the right thing but still seem tired or their energy levels are not as good as they should be, recovery from training is slower, they may have poor sleep or mood and they seem to get too many colds. When they have had their regular blood test check up they are told that everything is “fine” when clearly it is not.
While a great diet is vital for optimising your performance it is often not enough to help you reach your optimal health, especially when your training hard and trying to live life to the fullest.
Comprehensive testing can help to identify problems early before more serious illness develops, even improving your health by 5% can often be enough to improve performance and get a PB.
While exercise in general is great for cardiovascular health, it may not be the same for endurance athletes with a number of studies showing that long distance runners and cyclists can have heart issues. While a regular blood test checks cholesterol and triglycerides, 50% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol so this is not a good measurement. For athletes inflammation is often the cause behind heart issues, so it is necessary to check HsCRP, Fibrinogen, Homocysteine, Apolipoprotein B, VLDL and LDL subfractions (not all LDL is bad) to get a better understanding of how training is affecting cardiovascular function.
Learn more about cardiovascular testing here.
This best done by urine or saliva hormone testing as this will give an accurate measurement of the hormones available to the cells. The hormones tested include cortisol, cortisone and DHEA, these levels will fluctuate throughout the day so it is important to measure your hormone levels 4-5times throughout the day. If your adrenals are not in the optimal range this can lead to poor recovery, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia and mood changes.
I recommend the DUTCH urine test as the most comprehensive test for hormone health
Learn more about the DUTCH test here.
The best way to test your hormones is through a urine hormone test as this allows us to test all of the sex hormones including testosterone,estrogen, progesterone, DHEA as well as the metabolites of hormones, so that we can find out exactly what is happening with your hormones.
Testing estrogen levels in men is also important as they do not want too high levels. For women you also need to test Estrogen, and how your body is detoxing estrogen, as poor detoxification of estrogen can lead to fibroids, endometriosis and cancer.
I recommend the DUTCH urine test for measuring the sex hormones.
Learn more about the DUTCH test here.
This is my favourite test for athletes and people looking to optimise their health, because it measures how your body is producing ATP, this is your body’s system for producing energy. As well as measuring energy production the Organic Acids Test (OAT) measures how well your burning fat and what nutrients you are missing to optimise energy production and fat burning.
The OAT test also measures B vitamin deficiencies, Co-enzyme Q10, carnitine, glutathione as well as markers for bacteria and yeast infections and neurotransmitter metabolites.
Learn more about my favourite test go to, Organic Acids test here.
High sensitive C-Reactive Protein is a good indicator of over training and inflammation, this is not often tested in the doctors office as they usually only test for CRP which is not as sensitive indicator as HsCRP.
HbA1C, Insulin, IGF-1 and glucose can all indicate if carbohydrate metabolism is effective and whether there is excessive inflammation and long-term damage caused by your diet. High energy foods and gels that some athletes consume can lead to metabolic issues.Nutrition:
Checking Vitamin D, RBC magnesium, B12, Folate, iron studies including ferritin levels is essential to optimise your training and performance.
Learn more about testing inflammation and nutrition go the pathology test here.
Other tests may depend on your individual circumstances and symptoms. If you are having a lot of digestion problems then a Comprehensive Digestive stool analyses can diagnose the underlying cause like bacteria or parasitic infection, low digestive enzymes or levels of good bacteria. Allergy testing, FODMAP diet or an elimination diet can help to identify foods that trigger your digestive problems.
Overall the benefits of regularly checking your biomarkers through a comprehensive Performance Panel for athletes can help you work out what your optimal levels are, so you can adjust your training, diet or supplements to improve performance and reduce injury risk.
Benefits to a comprehensive test can enable you to identify and teat underlying health issues that affect your performance so you can:
Not too sure where to start!? If your not sure what the best testing options are for you, a good place to start is our hugely popular ‘Investigation Consultation’
Your 30 minute ‘‘Investigation Consultation’ is a deep dive into your health history, current health problems and planning session to work out the best testing options for you.
You will be emailed a report detailing the action steps you need to take.
So schedule your 30 minute in-depth Investigation Consultation today and discover the right testing option for you.
Act now and get the answers you need to put you on the right path towards a healthier and happier you.