Blood Tests and Why We Do Them

How many times have you heard your bloodwork looks “fine,” when you feel anything BUT fine? The naturopaths here at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre are experts at identifying whether someone is functioning at an optimal level, not just an “ok” level. The difference between the two is significant. Time and time again we see patients bring in bloodwork results and we find things in it that other people or doctors have missed. Our findings could be the difference that allows the patient to start feel better. Or we can determine what other tests are needed and appropriate for a patient’s health concerns. Those tests can then lead us to the underlying cause of the health issue if we haven’t identified it already.

The key here is that we need to test, not guess.

Tests can explain what the actual cause is. They can also explain why someone may not be getting better.

The body has many ways of showing us what is wrong.

Let’s take fatigue as an example. Fatigue can point to one of many underlying causes: low iron or B12, thyroid issues, low estrogen/progesterone/testosterone, allergies or sensitivities, sleep issues, adrenal fatigue, and digestive issues.

If someone with eczema is also fatigued, their bloodwork will explain why by showing us nutrient deficiencies. The same could be for someone experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism–like fatigue–but is not feeling better even when they are on Synthroid (the standard treatment). Their bloodwork would show us the cause as possibly being nutrient deficiencies, which commonly go unnoticed.

A perfect example of how nutrient deficiencies causing fatigue can go unnoticed is the cutoff for a “normal” B12 level. At one lab the cutoff could be greater than 133, at another lab it is greater than 198 and yet at another lab it is greater than 220. So, if the health concern is fatigue, the cause could be a deficiency in B12. But, depending on the lab the person went to a B12 deficiency would go undiagnosed because the levels appears normal when the levels are actually low. In addition, most people need serum levels of B12 to be greater than 400 to feel well (remember at HealthSource we strive for OPTIMAL levels – not just within the normal range). Yet even some people can have normal serum levels but have deficient levels in the neurological tissue, which would indicate the need for B12.

As your naturopathic doctors, we identify this gap between labs cutoff differences and serum levels by looking at what the bloodwork shows and compare it to how you really feel – and we find ways to correct it.

Investigating bloodwork is like having a mechanic look under the hood and run various diagnostics, instead of trying to guess what is wrong based on sounds your car is making. You will have long lasting results when the cause is identified. Our end goal is that you feel better, faster.