Blood Test Overview
—> If you haven’t already, schedule your annual checkup for this year’s blood test labs.
—> Make sure you have downloaded the Blood Test Checklist to take with you!
What Are Women’s Health Lab Tests?
Women lead very busy lives fulfilling roles professionally as well as personally, and we often put ourselves and our health on the bottom of our to-do lists.
When we look at preventative health through a functional wellness lens, we evaluate the body as a whole, focused on the relationship of one body system to another as well as potential nutrient imbalances and toxic overload that may compromise these relationships.
The blood test checklist offers the opportunity to identify red flags such as elevated blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers as well as shifts in hormone levels and heart health that may compromise health and wellness long term.
It also details the Optimal Range by marker as we know that the Normal Range is based on the average population, many of whom are already sick and don’t even know it.
An Optimal Range is the best gauge to use when looking at health through a preventative lens. We want our body to be functioning optimally, right? We don’t want to be functioning like the average American.
Why Perform Women’s Health Lab Tests?
It’s crucial for women at every stage of life to routinely assess their reproductive and hormonal health and essential nutrient levels.
A blood test can reveal deficiencies or imbalances that lead to weight gain/loss, fatigue, sleep issues and changes in mood.
The key to getting health answers is asking the right health questions.
Your blood test checklist was created to empower you with an in-depth understanding of your health, hormones, and risk for disease, so you can make educated, informed choices that fit your body’s unique needs around nutrition and lifestyle changes and even risk monitoring.
Many doctors will not run comprehensive blood tests if they think your labs look “normal”, but I always recommend starting with your physician and talking with them about your history, family history and your health goals.
Why You Should Have the Right to Monitor Your Own Health
Direct-to-consumer laboratory tests can empower you to be proactive about taking care of your health. If you know you're low in a certain vitamin or mineral, for instance, you can make efforts to increase it in your diet or supplement appropriately.
Or, if your A1C levels (a marker for diabetes) are normal but elevated near the pre-diabetic range, you can take steps to exercise more and change your diet to drive those levels down instead of allowing them to trend upward.
Critics of direct-to-consumer lab tests suggest the results are useless without a doctor to translate the results and provide related medical advice.
This may be true in some cases, but there are many tests results that provide fairly straightforward health information, once you know the optimal reference ranges where your results should fall into.
Doctors simply should not have exclusive rights to information about your body. This belongs to you, and it's up to you to do with it what you will, whether that be making an appointment with a physician to help you interpret the results or choosing to proceed otherwise with well trained practitioners.
I always recommend taking your checklist to your doctor, discuss your long term health goals and request the comprehensive blood panels included on your list. If your insurance plan does not cover all the labs you are requesting, there are alternatives to getting you this information.
There are lots of direct-to-consumer labs out there, but YourLabWork.com is my preferred choice.
Always request and keep a copy of your lab tests for future reference. Identifying any health shifts year to year as we age is invaluable!!
Below is an in-depth explanation of lab markers for your reference. They will not all be necessary for your annual blood test, but I want you to have this in case additional diagnostics are needed.
Alkaline Phosphatase – This blood test measures Alkaline Phosphatase levels. Alkaline phosphatase is a group of enzymes found throughout the body, specifically in the bone, liver, placenta and intestine.
Basic Female Hormone Panel – This group of blood tests includes Total Estrogens, Progesterone and Testosterone Woman/Child. When hormones are out of balance there is an increase in cardiovascular disease, metabolic imbalances and cancer.
Basic Food Sensitivity and Allergy (IgG) Panel – Certain proteins in foods may cause an immune response, commonly known as an allergy or intolerance. This test is used to detect allergen specific IgG antibodies to 8 common foods known to instigate an immune response: Wheat, Gluten, Milk (Cow), Eggs (Whole), Soy, Almond, Peanut and Corn.
Basic Health & Wellness Screening Panel – A basic health and wellness screen includes a CBC, CMP, Lipids (cholesterol), THS (thyroid stimulating hormone), C-reactive, a urinalysis and Vitamin D.
C- Reactive Protein (High Sensitivity- Cardiac) CRP-c – C-Reactive Protein is a type of protein produced by the liver that present during episodes of acute as well as chronic inflammatory processes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, elevated blood sugar imbalances and cancer.
Cortisol (AM) – This blood test is used to evaluate cortisol levels upon waking. Cortisol is a very potent glucocorticoid hormone that is released from the adrenal cortex. Cortisol levels are tested to see how you are handling stress. A single snapshot of cortisol is not as telling as a full day picture (saliva testing).
Cortisol (AM & PM) – This blood test is used to evaluate cortisol levels upon waking and approximately 6-8 hours later. Elevated levels of cortisol have a profound effect on an individuals energy levels; disease resistance and general sense of well-being.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA-s) – This blood test measures Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels. DHEA is a precursor hormone to cortisol, testosterone and estrogen and is the most plentiful steroid hormone in the body.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – This blood test measures Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the blood. DHT is a very active form of testosterone in men and is required for male sexual development and function.
Estradiol (E2) – This blood test is used to measure Estradiol (E2). Estradiol is the predominant sex hormone present in women and is also found at lower levels in men.
Estradiol (E2) Sensitive – This blood test is used to measure Estradiol (E2). Estradiol is the predominant sex hormone present in women and is also found at lower levels in men. In men, high levels of estradiol are associated with abdominal fat, enlargement of the prostate and cardiovascular risk.
Estriol (E3) – This blood test is used to measure Estriol (E3) levels. Estriol helps to thicken and humidify mucous membranes in the vagina, bladder and eyes, making them more resilient against infections.
Estrogens, Total – This blood test is used to measure total circulating estrogens. The three major naturally occurring estrogens are present in significant quantities in blood. They are estradiol (E2), estrone (E1) and estriol (E3).
Estrone (E1) – This blood test measures Estrone (E1). Estrone is significant to health and wellness because of its conversion to estrone sulfate, which acts as a reservoir that can be converted to estradiol when needed.
Expanded Female Hormone Panel – This blood test includes: Cortisol A.M., DHEA-s, Total Estrogens, Progesterone, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin and Testosterone Woman/Child.
Expanded Health and Wellness Screening Panel:
Ferritin – This blood test measures ferritin levels in the blood. Ferritin is a protein produced in the liver for the storage of iron. Ferritin is used to evaluate iron stores in the body. Ferritin helps identify iron deficiency anemia and may be a better indicator of iron deficiency anemia than hemoglobin.
Fibrinogen Activity Test – Fibrinogen is a clot-regulating protein and biological indicator of the stickiness and thickness of blood. A fibrinogen activity test is a blood test used to detect a possible bleeding disorder, abnormal clotting activity or thrombotic episodes.
Folate (Folic Acid) Vitamin B9 – This blood test measures folate levels within blood. Folic acid is needed for the synthesis of DNA in rapidly dividing cells.
Folate, RBC – This blood test measures folate levels within the red blood cells. Folic acid is needed for the synthesis of DNA in rapidly dividing cells.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) & Luteinizing Hormone (LH) – This blood test measures Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels.
Glutathione – This blood test measures Glutathione levels. Glutathione is the most abundant and important intracellular antioxidant (prevents oxidative damage).
Growth Hormone (GH) – This fasting blood test measures Growth Hormone (GH) levels. Growth Hormone (GH) is a hormone that regenerates growth in cell and tissues and helps to regulate bone density, muscle mass and lipid metabolism.
Hemoglobin (Hbg) A1c – A Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures the average amount of glucose that has chemically attached to red blood cells over the past 6-8 weeks.
Homocysteine – Homocysteine a marker used to measure inflammation. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and chronic illness.
Infectious Disease Markers Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease – Strong evidence indicates chronic exposure to infections that reside in brain tissue and cranial nerves may potentiate the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This information may help identify and reduce the threat of infection associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Insulin (Fasting) – This fasting blood test is used to determine circulating levels of naturally produced Insulin. Insulin is a natural peptide hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1) – This blood test is used measure Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1) levels. IGF-1 is a prime mediator of growth hormone (GH).
Iron (Fe) – This blood test measures Iron levels. Iron is an essential nutrient needed in small amounts to help develop healthy red blood cells (RBC) and is found in all living organisms. Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood travels throughout the rest of the body.
Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) – The total amount of iron bound to transferrin is known as Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC). TIBC is low with iron deficiency anemia and high with anemia of chronic disease.
Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase (LDH) – Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase (LDH) is an enzyme that is present in most tissues in the body. Elevated levels of LDH are associated with cardiovascular disease, anemia, tissue destruction, viral infections and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Leptin – This blood test is used to measure leptin levels. Leptin was originally thought to be a signal to lose weight, but it may instead be a signal to the hypothalamus (part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease) to suppress the appetite.
Lipids – This fasting blood test measures lipid (or blood fats) levels. Contrary to cholesterol’s negative reputation, our bodies cannot function without it.
Magnesium RBC (Red Blood Cell) – RBC Magnesium is the most precise blood test measuring intracellular magnesium levels. Magnesium is a critical mineral to overall health and well-being.
Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) – Methylmalonic acid is an important component to evaluate when diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Methylmalonic acid levels may be elevated in those who suffer from kidney disease.
Pregnenalone – This blood test measures Pregnenalone levels. Pregnenalone is produced by the adrenal glands and is known as the mother hormone because other steroids including testosterone and estrogen are derivatives of Pregnenalone.
Progesterone – This blood test measures Progesterone levels. An imbalance in progesterone will have an effect on sleep, respiration, mood, appetite, learning and memory. In men, a progesterone imbalance can cause weight gain, decrease in libido and prostate enlargement.
Prolactin – This blood test measures Prolactin levels. Prolactin is similar in structure to human growth hormone.
Reverse Triiodothyronine (rT3) – This blood test measures levels of Reverse T3 (rT3). A Reverse Triiodothyronine (rT3) is a thyroid hormone that disrupts the activity of the active the form of thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3).
Selenium (Blood) – This blood test measures selenium levels. Selenium protects genes from inflammatory disease processes such as dementia, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
Selenium (Urine) – This 24-hour urine test measures selenium levels. Selenium is widely recognized as a key nutrient in cancer prevention and is a crucial cofactor for the conversion of T4 to T3 in healthy thyroid function.
Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG) – This blood test measures Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin levels. Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin is also known as SHGB and Testosterone-binding Globulin (TeBG).
T-3 Uptake – This blood test measures T-3 Uptake levels. The results of a T-3 uptake are used as an indirect measure of bioavailable binding sites for the thyroid stimulatory hormones from the brain. T-3 uptake is not a measurement of T3 and should never be used alone.
Testosterone, Woman/Child – This blood test measures Testosterone. Testosterone is an anabolic steroid hormone, which is synthesized from cholesterol and secreted in the testes and ovaries. Small amounts of testosterone are also secreted by the adrenal glands. Testosterone is the primary anabolic steroid that orchestrates metabolism and the restoration and regeneration of healthy tissues. Men produce approximately ten times more testosterone than women. Women, however, are far more sensitive to testosterone.
Thyroglobulin, Quantitative – This blood test is used to measure thyroglobulin levels. Thyroglobulin is a protein that helps synthesize the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroglobulin may be used to help establish the cause of hyperthyroidism or to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for certain thyroid disorders.
Thyroid Antibodies: Combined Ab & TPO – This blood test is a combination test used to evaluate both, Thyroid Autoantibodies (TAA) and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO ab).
Thyroid Basic Panel – The Thyroid Basic Panel includes a TSH, T4, FT3 and a FT4. This group of individual tests was strategically constructed in order to review a broader perspective of thyroid function.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – This blood test measures Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) or thyrotropin levels. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is the most common and sensitive marker of thyroid function.
Thyroxine (T4) – This blood test measures Thyroxine (T4) levels. Thyroxine (T4) is the major hormone produced and secreted by the thyroid gland.
Thyroxine (T4) Free, Direct (FT4) – This test measures Thyroxine T4 (Free). Thyroxine (T4) Free measures the free or unbound (bioavailable) thyroxine levels in the bloodstream.
Thyroxine Binding Globulin (TBG) – This blood test measures Thyroxine Binding Globulins (TBG) levels. Thyroxine Binding Globulins (TBG) are proteins used to transport thyroid hormones in the bloodstream.
Transferrin – Transferrin is the transport protein for iron. Blood levels are used to evaluate anemia, inflammation and nutritional status.
Triiodothyronine (T3) – This blood test measures Triiodothyronine (T3) levels. Triiodothyronine is the most active form of the thyroid hormone and is primarily produced from the conversion of thyroxine in the peripheral tissue.
Triiodothyronine Free (FT3) – Triiodothyronine Free (FT3) is a blood test that measures the free or unbound (bioavailable) Free T3 hormone available to receptor sites. Free T3 is the most active form of the thyroid hormone and is primarily produced from the conversion of thyroxine in the peripheral tissue.
Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF) – Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha is clinically associated with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and refractory asthma.
Uric Acid – Uric acid is produced as an end product of purine, nucleic acid and nucleoprotein metabolism. Elevated uric acid levels may cause gout and kidney stones if the uric acid cannot be eliminated efficiently. A decreased level of uric acid is associated with a B12 deficiency and a copper deficiency.
Urinalysis-Complete with Microscopic Examination – A urinalysis is done to detect abnormalities in the urine and to look for and manage kidney disease, urinary tract infections (common cause of mental changes, especially in the elderly).
Vitamin A – E – Beta Profile – Vitamin A and E are both powerful antioxidants. Research continues to support the importance of adequate levels of antioxidants needed for healthy brain function.
Vitamin A & Carotene – This fasting blood test is used to evaluate Vitamin A & Carotene levels. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin also known as retinol. Vitamin A supports vision, skin growth and repair and bone growth. It also provides protection from diseases such as cancer, macular degeneration, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin A & E (Tocopherol) – Vitamin A & E are both fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A is also known as retinol. Vitamin A supports vision, skin growth and repair, as well as bone growth. It also provides protection from diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and macular degeneration. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that deactivates free radicals and is needed for circulation, tissue repair and healing.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) levels. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is involved in many body functions including the nervous system, muscle function, metabolism and digestion. Because
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is necessary for red blood cell production and neural function. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia, neurologic disorders and an elevation in the inflammatory marker homocysteine, which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B12 & Folate – This blood test measures both Vitamin B12 and Folate levels. All of the water-soluble B vitamins work as a team to help promote healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, muscle tone and cardiovascular function. Adequate levels help to protect from the mental strain caused by depression and anxiety.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – This blood test measures Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) levels. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is a water-soluble vitamin, which plays a crucial role is in the production of energy by supporting mitochondria, as well as the oxidation-reduction process needed for metabolism.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – This blood test measures Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) levels. Vitamin B6 is needed to make red blood cells and maintain a healthy immune and nervous system. Test code: 004655. Purchase or learn more.
Vitamin C – This blood test measures Vitamin C levels. Vitamin C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant that boosts the immune system by offering protection to proteins, carbohydrates, and helps shield DNA from free radical damage.
Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy – This blood test measures Vitamin D 25 (OH) levels. Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and teeth, Vitamin D helps your body absorb the amount of calcium and phosphorus it needs. It also has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.
Vitamin K1 – This blood test measures Vitamin K1 levels. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone or phytomenadione. Vitamin K1 is necessary for the production of circulating coagulation factors.
Zinc – This blood test measures Zinc levels. Zinc is a crucial trace element required for the growth and healthy development of all living organisms. Zinc deficiency can lead to immune system dysfunction and impairments in growth, cognitive dysfunction, poor carbohydrate metabolism and hormonal function.