For those of you who would like to track your success while following this lifestyle, our Green Star Member Laura shared a great resource with our group recently. Many of us wanted a way to view our blood markers in between our annual physical exams. Some of us wanted to test markers that our many physicians do not include in their lab orders, like B12, D, Omega-3, zinc, iodine, etc..
Laura showed us how to do this without a trip to our physician for the lab order. Laura found this company useful because they utilized a local lab from where Laura could get her blood drawn.
A blood or stool test can show you areas to improve, or reaffirm that your lifestyle is working for you and is one way of understanding what’s happening in our bodies.
Check out Laura as she presents her experience with a blood test without her physician’s prescription.
There are many companies which offer this service. We do not have any relationship with this service provider, nor can we speak to the effectiveness or accuracy of its’ tests.
Please note that nothing replaces a physician to help analyze the results. This company offers you an option to share the results with your physician who may be helpful in avoiding missing the identification of a red flag or avoid misinterpreting the findings.
The No Meat Athlete, Matt Frazier gives these tips for some blood tests you may consider ordering:
1. Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets also known as CBC provides an overview of key markers, like red and white blood cells. This allows a doctor to diagnose anything from infection to anemia.
2. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: A CMP helps to measure liver and kidney health.
3. Lipid Panel: Measures your risk factors for coronary artery disease (among other vascular diseases). This shows your blood cholesterol level, total, high and low density lipoprotein and triglycerides. You can also order tests which measure particle number and particle size.
4. HS-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein): This measures systemic inflammation in your body.
5. TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which comes from your pituitary gland, serves a critical purpose of stimulating your thyroid to excrete two hormones that are essential to proper metabolism in every tissue of your body.
6. Hemoglobin A1C: gives you an average range of your blood sugar over the past 2-3 months.
Some who follow this lifestyle wish to monitor levels of elements which may be modified with supplementation.
1. Vitamin B12: There is no plant-based source of B12, so it’s critical for vegans to supplement.
2. Vitamin D3 (25 Hydroxy D):
3. Methylmalonic Acid, Serum (MMA): Some say this is a better way to determine B12 status.
4. Homocysteine: A common amino acid, homocysteine can help your doctor get a better sense for your risk factors for various chronic conditions, particularly cardiovascular diseases. It also plays a role in determining kidney health and, as described above, B12 deficiency.
5. Omega-3 Index: For some vegans, this index may be too low, even if they consume flax seed and walnuts. Not everyone absorbs Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA equally. If you are not testing this, you may consider supplementing as you would B12. Here are some DHA/EPA supplements.
6. Zinc, Selenium, Iodine: although these nutrients can be derived from plants. some may find that their bodies don’t absorb these well and may need to consider supplementation.
7. Vitamin K2: K2 helps to move calcium away from soft tissues, like heart and brain, and towards hard tissues, like bone and teeth. There is a Japanese dish called natto, which provides some K2.
8. Iron (Ferritin), total and TIBC: learn if you are like some vegans who may not absorb iron (heme and non-heme iron) as easily from plants.
9. Folate: An essential nutrient, folate (or B9), plays a key role in the conversion of homocysteine into methionine, utilizing B12 in the process. According to the EPIC-Oxford study, vegans were found to have the highest levels of folate compared to omnivores and vegetarians. It can be deleterious to your health to supplement with Folic Acid which is a petroleum derived form of Folate. Eating plenty of greens should provide sufficient Folate levels.
Here is the link to the company which Laura uses for ordering blood tests and more.
If you would like help with learning other ways to navigate this lifestyle, please contact me for a coaching session. I have learned many strategies, tips and hacks while coaching people since 2012. I would love to help you be successful as well.
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Amy holds a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell
Be Strong, Be Well and Be Green!