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Best biomarkers of overall health?

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  • Best biomarkers of overall health?

    Hi guys, I'm looking for advice. I plan on having some blood testing done this month -- I don't have any health concerns, I'm just getting checked out for the sake of curiosity (never had bloodwork done, always wanted to).

    I used the search function and, surprisingly, couldn't find an answer to my question:

    What I'm wondering is, what hormones/biomarkers do you guys consider the most important to have checked (in terms of being the most crucial indicators of overall/general health), and what specific tests would you ask for to check them?

    For example, I'm curious about my cholesterol and trig levels -- so I'm going to ask for a VAP test because I understand that to be the most accurate and useful (considering it breaks LDL down into pattern and all).

    Other things I'm curious about include my thyroid health, adrenal health, testosterone levels, DHEA levels, biomarkers for inflamation (CRP test I suppose?). Are there specific tests I should request in order to get an accurate assessment of these things?

    Thank you very much in advance!

  • #2
    No clue myself, but I'm definitely interested in what kind of responses you get...
    Durp.

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    • #3
      The last time I had labs done I had a VAP, CRP, and Vit D. I would have loved to get everything but the cost would have been more then I was willing to pay for the information. I would be interested to see what tests you settle on and why.
      Check out my primal blog: http://primalroar.posterous.com/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MightyAl View Post
        The last time I had labs done I had a VAP, CRP, and Vit D. I would have loved to get everything but the cost would have been more then I was willing to pay for the information. I would be interested to see what tests you settle on and why.
        Yeah, cost will be a factor for me too. I doubt I'll be able to get everything I want, even with insurance covering a good portion. I'll be sure to let you know what I settle on and why though!

        And good call on the D. I forgot about that. I believe the test to ask for is a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, correct?

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        • #5
          Just off the top of my head-

          Lipid panel, this should include the HDH, LDL, trigs and give you the ratios. Trigs tell you if you are insulin resistant.
          Thyroid panel, should include T3, T4, and rT3, not just TSH (good luck talking the doc into that one!)
          Blood glucose
          Insulin, often overlooked, also indicates insulin resistance along with trigs
          Hormones:
          DHEA, testosterone (checks adrenals mostly), estrogen for women.
          Cortisol, indicates chronic stress
          Leptin, (This is the only one I haven't done, getting that next time)

          C-Reactive Protein, for inflammation, a better test for heart disease risk than LDL
          Vitamin D and B
          BUN, makes sure liver is healthy

          Many of those, a dr won't order without a good reason. I think the most ignored is insulin. They focus on blood glucose instead and miss what they should be looking at. This is because if insulin is high, CW docs don't know what to do (duh, the answer is eat less carbs, ...rocket science).

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          • #6
            I would think the top indicator is how you feel. This would apply to some conditions and not to others (i.e. no one can feel whether he/she has high cholesterol).

            One thing to keep in mind is that the test norms are based on averages. They are not absolute. In a thyroid disorder community I belong to, some people say they feel fine at a TSH of 0.5 while others would go hyperthyroid at that same level, preferring 1.0 or 1.5.

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            • #7
              Thanks DFH! One question...

              The idea of having insulin and leptin checked seems very strange to me because I know they fluctuate greatly over the course of a day (and depending on if you've eaten or whatever). Can I assume all of the things you've listed are supposed to be checked in a specific "control state" -- probably fasted first thing in the morning I'm guessing?

              And is there a specific insulin test or leptin test I should request? Or can I simply ask to have those hormones tested?

              EDIT: Oh, and what is BUN? That one is new to me!

              Originally posted by DFH View Post
              Many of those, a dr won't order without a good reason.
              On the plus side, my sister is the nurse -- I'm counting on her to help me out and make sure I get what I really want!
              Last edited by ciep; 08-02-2011, 09:47 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kristy2078 View Post
                I would think the top indicator is how you feel. This would apply to some conditions and not to others (i.e. no one can feel whether he/she has high cholesterol).

                One thing to keep in mind is that the test norms are based on averages. They are not absolute. In a thyroid disorder community I belong to, some people say they feel fine at a TSH of 0.5 while others would go hyperthyroid at that same level, preferring 1.0 or 1.5.
                True, interpreting the results will be another thing entirely. I'm just curious what my numbers actually are.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ciep View Post
                  True, interpreting the results will be another thing entirely. I'm just curious what my numbers actually are.
                  Yeah since you haven't had any of the tests done, you could set up an appt for an annual check-up and tell the doc you want to be tested for everything. I am sure the doc would have no problem with that considering you probably were never tested for cholesterol (at least not for years). If you have insurance, it will cover at least part of the costs. I know it is also possible to order your own independent lab work, but you would have to search around for a lab that will take such orders. Insurance won't cover that, though.

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                  • #10
                    was doing a search for fitness biomarkers, found this site. Well, did you ever get the lab work done? which tests did you do?

                    Have you also thought about other 'biomarkers' of Health: e.g. Body Fat (calipers), Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, 3 minute step test for VO2 max, Pulmonary Function testing (Spirometry TLC, FRC), and then an "annual Photo" wearing only shorts taken in the same pose, same background, year to year?

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                    • #11
                      Depending on your Dr and insurance, you may have a hard time getting all the tests you want. I have Kaiser Permanente and they don't even have a
                      RT3 test and wont test lots of other stuff if they don't have a reason to suspect disease or a pill to give you if you have it. Shoot for the long list and see where you get. Also, I believe insulin is tested fasting to get a baseline.

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