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Blood Tests: How & What To Request

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If you follow The Endorphin Plan, you know we are huge advocates of quarterly or semiannual blood tests. Why? Without empirical data, you are just guessing when you select the foods you eat or the supplements you take. Should you take Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C, DHEA, a whey protein supplement? Why guess when you can get real answers through blood work?

Well for one, the main problem is, most people do not know what tests to ask for, don’t know how to ask for, or are afraid to ask their doctors. Worry no more! We’ll clear those fears up right now.

What to do if your doctor is unwilling or uncooperative in ordering blood tests?

Fire them! You have the freedom to choose. You do not have to go to a doctor that is not on board with your goals, or one who is an insurance company advocate rather than a patient advocate, or one who practices the medicine of decades ago, or a doctor that just does not put a primary focus on optimizing your health. Find a doctor that is onboard with your goals and is interested and invested in seeing you succeed. What are we saying? You wouldn’t go to the mechanic that treated you like a second rate citizen, don’t go to the doctor that treats you that way. Find someone who cares about you and doesn’t just view you as a paycheck or a challenge to their intellectual superiority. At the very least, find a good practitioner that will have a conversation with you rather than a one sided monologue of what they think.

What to do if you can’t find a doctor to write prescriptions for the recommended blood work?

As of 2015, LabCorp now allows blood draws to be completed without a prescription in NJ. There are also plenty of online labs that can facilitate any and all of the tests that you desire. Keep in mind, without a prescription, these tests would be “self pay” and wouldn’t be covered by insurance. You can go to a site like this and for $299.00 do a fairly complete hormone panel. But remember, all insurance should cover basic blood work (CBC, CMP, Lipid, Vit D. Hormone/thyroid may require additional explanation like you are not menstruating, you feel groggy and lethargic all the time, you recently went through significant weight loss/gain, etc.) as “preventive care” and most will cover more elaborate blood work should your doctor be on board and write the necessary prescription and document your file with the appropriate doctors notes explaining any “unusual” or “uncustomary” tests.

Below you will find a list of tests that we encourage and who should request them.

Tests Everyone Should Request.

CBC Panel (Complete Blood Count). The health of your blood.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. The health of your organs of elimination, as well as sugar, minerals, and proteins.

Comprehensive Male/Female Hormone Panel. The health of your endocrine system.

Lipid Panel/Profile. Fat and cholesterol in the blood.

Thyroid Panel (if not included with hormone panel). In depth look at your thyroid function.

Vitamin D Test. Important vitamin for many different factors.

Food Allergy Test. (Skin test, IGG, IGA, or MRT). Help to understand your specific food sensitivities.

More uncommon tests but still highly suggested if you are syptomatic.

C-reactive Protein (CRP).  Marker of inflammation.

Anti Nuclear Antibody (ANA). Marker of autoimmune response.

Stool Test for Gut/digestive health.

Tests for geek level fitness enthusiasts.  These may influence the way you eat or train. They are more about improving performance than they are about general health.

Gene Tests (WellnessFx, 23andme, Fitness Genes, Genomic Express). Can be used for a wide number of different factors like the type of exercise or nutrition to which your body responds best. 

Stay tuned because next up we’ll discuss when you should get each test, more on what the test will tell you, and link you to additional information about each test.