Dr. Danielle’s Top 5 Lab Tests for Weight Loss
Wait – what? Lab tests? For weight loss? Yesssssssss!!!! Weight loss is not as simple as calories in, calories out. Often times, there are physiological imbalances going on that are signalling your body to either create more fat cells or hang onto every single one you have, despite eating like a rabbit and working your butt off at the gym. So let’s take a look at what these are.
#1 – thyroid panel – this consists of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), free T4, free T3, and anti-TPO. The idea behind the panel is that is gives us insight into where your thyroid might be going wrong. In the case of weight loss, we want to know if your thyroid is sluggish, if you are converting your T4 to the more active T3 (which is required to keep your metabolism up), and do you suffer from the auto-immune condition of Hashimoto’s (which is shown via the anti-TPO marker). It is never just as simple as your TSH levels and by assessing the whole panel, we are able to specifically treat the condition and get your metabolic rate to where it needs to be for weight loss.
#2 – Blood sugar regulation markers – this includes fasting glucose, insulin, and hemoglobin A1c. These give us a better idea of how well your body is regulating blood sugar. Does your body have too much insulin floating around? Are you cells desensitizing to insulin, not allowing glucose into your cells? Hemoglobin A1c is neat…it’s actually super neat because it gives us an idea of how well your blood sugar has been balanced (or unbalanced) over the past 3 months. Told ya, it’s neat. Oh, and P.S., if you’re running on elevated levels of insulin in the body, your body is going to pack on the pounds.
#3 – The stress hormone Cortisol – well, what do we expect? We’re living in a face-paced world, with very high standards to keep up to. Mommy-shamers are hiding around every corner. So go figure that we are stressed, causing our body to pump out the one hormone that’s going to be a big contributor to belly fat. In this case (for weight loss), we are checking for elevated levels of cortisol. I like to do this via salivary testing rather than blood.
#4 – Sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone – like cortisol, I like to test these using the salivary method vs. blood. All of these hormones impact your ability to lose weight. And that by fixing any imbalances, you are more likely to be successful at losing weight, and you will also feel more fantastic in many other areas like with your overall mood and menstrual cycle.
#5 – Inflammatory markers (hs-CRP, vitamin D, cholesterol panel) – did you know that having inflammation in your body is a major obstacle to losing weight? I’m familiar with the cycle: you’re in pain and tired of being in pain, so you can’t exercise and the last thing you can think about is eating healthy. So let’s assess for inflammation and treat it. Then your overall well-being will improve and you will find the motivation. You will. I know it because I see it happen in practice.
It’s easy for Doctors to tell us just to lose weight. What’s not easy is actually doing it. If you are on the precipice of starting a weight-loss protocol, consider seeing an ND first to rule out anything that might be stopping you from being successful. It’s a little known fact that Ontario ND’s can requisition any of these tests! I can tell you that lab tests play a very important role in my practice and how I treat. And here, at Collective Health, we have a system in place to help you be as successful as you can be. You see me to run/interpret lab tests and fix any imbalances, then you jump over to our Nutritionist, Melanie Grime, who will provide you with all of your nutritional needs as you start your lifestyle change to a healthier you.
I will also divulge a little personal note here, and let you know that I am going to get blood tests in order for myself, and see Melanie…so that my 4 year old will stop asking me if I still have a baby in my tummy (harrrrrrumph).
From the lighter side of life, Dr. D.