Ok - so even as I write my title I know that it sounds a little odd - but give me a chance to explain!
Many people come to see a Naturopath as they have been unwell for some time. During an initial consultation, I will ask if they have had blood tests done recently, and quite often the answer is ‘Yes - but they all came back fine’. I always ask to get a copy anyway, which I’m sure seems odd to many people but there’s good reason.
Naturopaths are trained to look at things a little differently. There are many things on a blood test report that might be ‘in range’, but will give us valuable insight into the inner workings of the body!
Let me give you just a few examples:
- TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) - this is the one that most people who’ve visited a Naturopath are probably familiar with as our parameters for treatment are quite different. Standard blood tests will tell you that your TSH is in range if it is between 0.5 and 5 (depending on the lab you did your bloods through), BUT naturopathically once your TSH is hovering around 2.5 we start to look at treatment. Why? Because even though it’s not broken yet - that number tells us that your thyroid is working too hard, (and sometimes causing symptoms already) and if it isn’t given a helping hand - it may be broken in a more traditional sense before too long. Treatment is much harder when it’s ‘fully broken’.
- Eosinophils - these are a white blood cell that we use as a clue for a range of things including autoimmune conditions, parasitic infections, or allergies. As with the thyroid, our range is quite different from the laboratory range.
- Sodium - consistently low sodium can (among other things), be a sign of adrenal fatigue which is a common complaint of people visiting a Naturopath.
- Folate - folate is only given a range by the laboratories that it needs to be above. However too much folate can be a clue for methylation issues. We are discovering more and more about the impact of methylation on health every day.
- Zinc - pyrrole disorder is something I see a lot of in clinic lately. Perhaps it has always been around and we didn’t know enough about it - or perhaps it’s incidence is just on the rise - but whatever the reason, it is definitely something Naturopaths help people with quite a lot nowadays. Zinc levels are just one piece of the puzzle, but they can be a clue (along with many other signs and symptoms and other results) that this is something to investigate further.
And here’s another thing to keep in mind…….laboratory reference ranges are generally determined by taking an average of all the patient data from that lab over the last 20 or 30 years and the vast majority of people getting blood tests done are doing so as they are unwell - so our yardstick for healthy is taken from a pool of generally unhealthy people.
So hopefully now you understand a little of why something doesn’t have to be broken to warrant intervention, and sometimes it may be worthwhile coming for a ‘wellness check’ even if you don’t have any major complaints as preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
Naturopath and Nutritionist
*Obviously no content in this blog is designed as medical advice. If you are unwell, or have questions about your health - always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.