I want to get healthy this year. I have all sorts of problems that plague me and curious to know if you were my "doctor" what labs would you have me do to uncover the root cause?--A. C., Newark, New Jersey
Answer: Some of you spend money on tests that don't matter, like the standard thyroid test called "TSH" for thyroid stimulating hormone. The TSH does not indicate cellular (tissue) levels of thyroid hormone, meaning what's all over your body. TSH is a hormone produced in your brain and your brain and body don't match up. It shocks me the TSH is drawn thousands of times a day on all of you, and it offers no clue about your tissue levels. In fact, it's normal many times, while you feel sick, tired, depressed and miserable. I've listed some labs here for my newspaper column, but I know of more that can help you with all sorts of diseases, where to buy them affordably, and how to interpret them. If you'd like to read the longer version of this article, come to my website, www.SuzyCohen.com In the meantime, here here some labs that offer better clues:
Ratio of Free T3 to Reverse T3: This is a ratio of two measurements that speak to how your thyroid is doing. The ratio should be > 2 in order for you to feel good. This is a way to really see how your thyroid hormone levels are doing and much better than TSH. If this ratio is under two, you could have symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, depression, hair thinning, cold hands and feet, brain fog and memory loss.
Serum insulin: Most practitioners are focused on your "FBS" or fasting blood sugar but that is not as useful as your insulin (which reduces blood sugar). Your FBS will be normal for many years while your insulin is sky high, because it's frantically being squirted from your pancreas in an effort to quell the high blood sugar. So your blood sugar is normal for years. You'll be told your FBS is normal, so not to worry about diabetes. Shame. I'm saying the insulin is a better clue to your health because if it's high, that says you're in trouble. How long do you think your insulin will help you? One day your pancreas will give up, stop making insulin and then your blood sugar goes up! Your "diabetes" didn't happen overnight. Your serum insulin level would have told you! You can read more in my Diabetes Without Drugs book, and learn why statins cause high blood sugar too.
Leptin: Many of you have weight problems. Leptin resistance may be causing that. Leptin gets affected by yo yo dieting. You will feel tired and heavy if leptin resistance is the problem. Most of you have never even heard of leptin, no less measured it. Above 12, it's a slam dunk you have leptin resistance.