There has been in interesting “conversation” ongoing since yesterday on Facebook and it seemed like a good blog subject, so today’s topic is blood testing and how to do some of them the right way. I may not have every single recommendation but I have several that are worth sharing.
First of all is a diurnal cortisol test. This test is fresh on my mind because I just took my second one and even the second test I didn’t do exactly right. First of all, you need to be completely off all adrenal support for two weeks prior to the test. That might sound simple but it is harder than you think. You cannot take Melatonin, holy basil, ashwaghanda or rhodiola. Anything with animal glandulars in it is verboten. If you are taking bio-identical hydrocortisone you must wean off that and anti-anxiety medications will skew results, so no drugs like Lorazepam or sleep aids like Ambien. On the day of the test you should not have caffeine.
Postage is included in the test price but it is best if you overnight your results as the postage provided could take up to a week to arrive at the lab (mine would have according to my clerk). UPS is the carrier ZRT labs provides. When I took my completed test in to UPS and told the clerk that I didn’t want to use the postage they provided but wanted to overnight my results she went to work to save me money. She put it in a large cardboard envelope that she said would make the price less (it was still $28). After talking to friends who did not have my helpful clerk I realized she had done me a huge service as my costs were almost half that of the price my friends paid. My advice is to talk to your UPS clerk and see what they can do to make the postage less painful but overnight your test for the most accurate results.
Now on to blood tests and some more helpful advice that will get you the results you want. If you are to have an iron panel done you must iron fast for 5 days. That means no iron supplementation for 5 days, no red meat and no vitamin C supplementation (has something to do with iron absorption).
Also be sure to have an entire iron panel run. At my local Health East hospital it is called an Anemia Screen and includes iron, transferrin, transferrin saturation and IBC, Ferritin and a complete blood count. If you have a full iron panel done you can either rule out or know that inflammation is the reason you feel anemic but your test results say otherwise. Apparently for those in the know the % of saturation will be off as compared to the Ferritin result.
The morning of any blood tests you should fast everything and have the test done early before you take anything even your thyroid meds. And if you have tests run frequently to monitor your progress always do it at the same time of day.
Blood tests are also useful for hormone testing and serum tests are the only ones to do after you have been using topical hormones or you will get skewed results. Salivary hormone tests are okay to use if you have not been on any hormone replacement which includes taking birth control pills. If you take birth control you are on hormones and should have hormones tested with blood.
Two other tests were mentioned in our Facebook discussion, B12 and Magnesium. In the course of the discussion “Geri” from Coalition for Better Thyroid Care mentioned that there is a very accurate test for B12. It is called a MMA (methylmalonic acid) and if the results are high it suggests your B12 levels are low (and check my blog titled “The Energy Vitamin” for the levels you are looking for). If you do this test be sure to avoid any B12 supplementation for 24 hours just like every other test. To accurately test magnesium you need a RBC (red blood cell) test for magnesium and what else do you need to do? Yup, do not take magnesium prior to the test. This also goes for sodium and potassium, if you are testing them, fast for 24 hours, that is do not take magnesium or anything with sodium or potassium for 24 hours.
Those are the tests that come to mind today and the helpful hints to make them work for you. You might ask why bother? I think there is every reason to bother. It isn’t fun to have your arm punctured no matter how skillful the phlebotomist is and getting accurate results can be the difference between life and death. As I see it, it is better to have bothered and be alive than not to have bothered and be dead.
See you next week,