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Really, how are YOU?

For someone who practices individualized medicine, it may be surprising that there are two tests I think almost everyone should have. Oh yes, you should check your blood pressure, and know the general parameters of the broadly available tests: blood counts, chemistry panels, and probably even lipid profiles. But be careful with those lipid profiles: most physicians interpret them with a lot of fear and less understanding. Everything labeled H on a lipid panel is not asking for a statin prescription. But we've talked about that before, here and oh yes, I should update that article: next on the list!

The two tests I recommend widely are genetic testing through 23andMe and nutritional evaluation: the one I use in my practice is the NutrEval panel offered by Genova Diagnostics. I doubt you want your health evaluated and supported by someone looking through an "everyone" lens, you want advice that applies to you. Yes, many vegetarians are deficient in iron or vitamin B12, but not everyone! Most people can properly detoxify a certain amount of chemicals to which they are exposed, but perhaps that's not true of you. By testing your genetic strengths and weaknesses, you can know which food choices, exercise plans, and supplements are most likely to be helpful for your quality of life. By looking at your nutritional status, you can find out what you're absorbing of the nutrients you're eating and where some deficiencies might need to be supplemented.

None of these realities can be guessed from your diet history, your health history, nor your address! Problems in your health history suggest that there is something going on that is not quite optimal, but the appropriate intervention isn't clear without testing. We are more diverse than the climates of the earth itself - okay that analogy is a bit of a stretch, but I really like the photo I found, had to use it!

Here are a couple of examples from my own Nutritional Evaluation test. Part of the test is assessing amino acid needs. Although I eat plenty of bone broth, rich in glycine, it's evidently not enough: my suggested level of supplementation was 2000 mg. daily: that's 4 big 500 mg capsules, do I really need it? Well, I also happen to know that glycine is used (more in Japan than here) for sleep disorders, known for its ability to enhance deeper levels of sleep. Wow, maybe that's what I need! There are two good forms of glycine, one form by itself, and another with attached methyl groups, tri-methyl glycine (TMG). I know from my genetics test (23andMe run through Genetic Genie) that although I will benefit from some additional methyl groups, I can also suffer from having too many. So I take TMG for sleep and notice that I get back to sleep more easily at night, even after a trip to the bathroom! After a few weeks, it seems less effective, how could that be, do I have enough glycine? Actually, maybe it's too much methyl: so I switch to regular glycine and it works again.

Just a snapshot, but that's the kind of tinkering you can do with these two tests, in partnership with a knowledgeable physician. So YES, I think everyone in the world could actually benefit from these tests! oh, dear... imagine the long lines at the lab... 

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