There are no perfect tests in medicine.
Often doctors order tests and report the test results in ways that are confusing. My favorite example is the batch of tests commonly known as chemistry panels, which include "liver function" tests LFTs, , which do not test the function of the liver at all. Rather they determine whether and to what extent there has been liver cell death. Doctors should always test LFTs on people who are taking certain drugs, such as cholesterol lowering medicines, because these drugs are dangerous to the liver. In fact, these tests only detect significant abnormalities. By the time the "liver function" tests are abnormal, you have damage, not simply lowered function. Normal tests, while reassuring at some level, do not hold much information for a healthy person who is not taking medicines. They say little or nothing about how your balance and functioning.
Likewise, there is no test that determines whether your nutrition is adequate or optimal, or whether your body's systems are working in balance.
Before doing any testing, I believe it is important to know what is being tested and why. Here are some tests most doctors frequently perform and the reason for using them.
CBC: Complete Blood Count: This tests the number and size of red and white blood cells and platelets. We use it to screen for anemia and leukemia, in people with fatigue. It is also the best proxy for looking at vitamin B-12 and folate status, since red blood cells become large when these B vitamins are low. Iron deficiency causes the size of red blood cells to shrink. So from just this test, we can get some nutritional information, though it is not perfect. This test also gives us quite a bit of information about whether there is infection and whether the infection is from parasites,
Thyroid Read about this in linked section
Hormone levels can be measured in the blood.. There is no evidence that salivary tests or urinary tests are more accurate. For a post menopausal woman, we can way whether her estrogen is in or out of a normal range, but not at what level she will feel best.
Creactive Protein Indicates inflammation in the body. It is elevated in many conditions, including acute infection. When eleveted over time in a person who is not known to be ill, it is a relaible predictor of heart disease.. Read more about markers for heart disease
Chem Panel: This is a battery of tests that reflect damage to kidneys
or liver. This test also measures levels of some salts in the body.
Unless you are ill, all tests in this panel should be normal.
ION Individual Optimized Nutrition. This is the test I would love to have on all of my patients. It is a fairly comprehensive indirect assessment of nutritional status. This web site has details about the test and what it covers, as well as some sample reports. The test is not covered by insurance, though sometimes if you pay ahead you can get some insurance companies to reimburse you for parts of it. It is expensive, but extremely informative.
Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglyceride These tests, slong with the C Reactive Protein, help determine your risk of heart disease. This link is to an article that explains how they are used to assess risk and treatment.
Stool: CDSA is the stool test I run on many patients. It provides multiple measures of digestive health and guides the 4R program protocol.