The Importance of Annual Blood Testing for Proactive Health

Blood work and advanced medical testing can catch issues before they become problematic. That’s why there are a few essential blood tests you should have done each year.

The Need for Proactive Health Monitoring

When visiting their primary care doctor, many people have the same experience—they’re told, “All your blood tests look normal. Keep on doing what you’re doing.” Your doctor might even say this despite your physical, mental, or emotional complaints that brought you there in the first place. Not only is this frustrating, it’s not productive for optimizing your health and quality of life. Because what they really mean is, “Keep on doing what you’re doing, until something is so wrong with you that even your basic labs look abnormal.”

BONUS! If you haven’t already, make sure to download our Functional Labs handout. You can print it off and keep it in a personal folder alongside your recent lab results.

Download now: T1D Functional Nutrition Functional Lab Handout

Incentives in Conventional Medicine

In traditional medicine, there’s often a gap in the encouragement for a proactive approach to health.

Doctors may struggle with time constraints that lean towards quick fixes rather than comprehensive solutions. This can sometimes make it challenging to access thorough lab work that provides deeper insights into your well-being.

However, prioritizing regular check-ins on fundamental health indicators, such as thyroid function or essential nutrient levels, through annual blood testing is crucial. These tests, known as biomarkers, offer objective insights into your body’s functioning and can help identify underlying issues before they escalate, ultimately supporting your overall health and wellness journey.


Why Annual Blood Testing Matters

While initial in-depth testing is a great place to start, checking in on your biomarkers with routine blood work will not only help you stay on top of your health and catch issues before they become a problem, but can be a great tool for tracking your progress.

Essential Annual Blood Tests

1. Thyroid Panel

It’s key to review 6 thyroid values to full understand how the thyroid is functiona and could be playing a role in your symtoms.

-Free T4,

-Total T3,

-Free T3,

-Reverse T3,

-anti TPO Ab and anti Thyroglobulin Ab.

Research Note: A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2010 showed that the rate of miscarriage in first trimester pregnancy was almost double when the TSH was over 2.5.

2. Essential Nutrients: Iron/Ferritin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Magnesium

Iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium are so important for optimal bodily function, but they’re usually not checked at a routine primary care visit. Many people are deficient in these nutrients for various reasons, so it is imperative that we check these levels and supplement them when they are not optimal (or learn what the root cause of deficiency is).

Research Note: Reviews of many scientific studies have shown optimal levels of vitamin D are at least 60 nmol/l in relation to various health parameters.


3. Complete Metabolic Panel and Complete Blood Count

These are two essential blood tests that are typically ordered at a primary care yearly physical and offer a lot of information. They are vital to understanding a person’s electrolyte and hydration status, kidney function, liver function, and blood cell values.

Research Note: A number of studies have shown that upper lab limits for liver enzyme levels should be decreased in order to catch liver inflammation early, especially among certain ethnic populations.


4. Metabolic Markers: Hemoglobin A1c, Fasting Glucose and Insulin, Lipid Panel

Metabolic markers are essential to understanding how a person is processing the macronutrients that they eat. In most primary care visits, a basic lipid panel and glucose level would be done yearly, and some people may also get a hemoglobin A1c.


5. Inflammatory Markers: hsCRP, Homocysteine

Inflammatory markers are almost never checked at a routine primary care visit. hsCRP is an inflammatory marker which can indicate your general inflammatory status. Even mild increases in hsCRP are associated with increased risk of things like cardiac events or depression.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that requires methylated-vitamin B12 and folate to be cleared. Elevations in this level can indicate a multitude of things like stroke and heart disease risk, B vitamin status, ability to methylate, ability to detox and make neurotransmitters, and ability to turn off cancer genes.

Final Thoughts

Feel empowered using this list of labs and taking them to your routine visits and advocate for certain labs that you want to have done. Stepping into the driver seat in advocating your needs is essential. When we work with new clients these are labs we like to see out of the gate and if you are not able to get them with one of your current doctors, we can also send you a link to get them done locally.