Routine blood chemistries include many important factors that can indicate how your body is working. Lab values allow us to see objectively, how our bodies are working and if there are any emerging problems. However, many of the reference ranges are wider than they should be. This reduces the value of the test for prediction of imbalances that can lead to disease.
A yearly blood test is something I always recommend – more frequently for people with chronic illnesses. It is a snapshot of your internal environment at that moment in time.
Many things can influence our blood chemistry such as nutrition, sleep and stress. These values reflect the dynamic interaction between our genes and our internal and external environments.
The external environment is full of chemical and toxic assaults every moment of the day. Some we can control and some we can’t. Externally we can control:
Internally we can control:
When we see chemistries that are out of the range, we need to ask what frank medical condition might be causing this and then these two questions:
1- What nutrition do I need to add to make this better?
2- What do I need to remove to make this better?
Surprisingly, there is no universal medical standard for lab reference ranges. Each lab determines their own reference range and that is why different labs will have different ranges. Some of the differences are minor but some can be significant.
Interestingly, rather than set reference ranges by testing healthy people and reviewing the peer reviewed research on lab values, the ranges are set by using the values of 95% of the lab’s own patient population.
Who are the 95% of the lab’s patient population? Typically they are people with health problems as these are the people getting tested on a regular basis.
The body does everything it can to maintain homeostatis. This is a simple concept everyone should be aware of. It means balance. The body strives to maintain balance. This is reflected on a lab test. Some values are in a very tight range and some values are in a wider range.
Our health is largely determined by how well our body is in maintaining balance in all the biochemical interactions that go on. Blood values that are too high or too low indicates a problem with maintaining homeostatis or balance.
People with health problems have already lost their ability to maintain relative balance in their biochemical reactions. They may be too high or too low. Using these folks as the majority of samples for references ranges results in ranges that are too wide.
As I said above, some values are in a very tight range and some values are in a wider range – it is the ranges that are widest that are usually most problematic. These wide ranges should not be thought of as healthy, but rather as an indication of what the lab’s generally unhealthy population shows.
While there is no universal standard for reference ranges, all the labs seem to agree that the upper end of the reference range for total cholesterol should be 199 or 200. This is one instance where the upper range is too low.
Check out the next post, Three Critical Blood Values – Two are NOT Routine – coming tomorrow!