Life Extension’s Annual Blood Test sale has been extended for another week until June 13, 2011. This is a great opportunity to get helpful medical tests that many doctors will not order due to cost-cutting pressure from insurance companies and HMOs.
In particular, I’d advise that most men and women over age 30 should get the following tests on an annual basis:
These tests are helpful for uncovering hidden health problems common to most people starting by their 30s. In particular, they measure levels of critical sex and thyroid hormones, vitamin D, and blood lipids that are tied to health dysfunction such as weight gain, depression, low energy, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and many conditions. Once you’ve get test measurements, you can then determine what corrective action is needed via discussion with your doctor and some of your own reading and learning.
Vitamin D Insufficiency Widespread
Most children and adults in areas away from the equator don’t get enough vitamin D. Most are going to need to supplement with vitamin D3 to get their blood levels up to optimal levels. Many adults need 5000 IU per day or more to do it. You can read more about how to optimize your vitamin D in Adjusting Your Vitamin D Intake to Optimal Levels.
Male Hormone Imbalances
Many overweight men find that they have way too much estradiol (a form of estrogen) and too little pregnenolone, DHEA, and testosterone. All of these can contribute to poor mood, low energy, and metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk. Many men should consider using pregnenolone and DHEA supplements and possibly prescription testosterone cream. Some will need aromatase inhibitors to block the conversion of testosterone to estradiol or else the supplemental hormones may be mostly converted into dangerously high levels of estradiol.
Some men have too little estradiol. Too little has also been found to elevate the risk of death by cardiovascular disease.
Men who have high DHT levels are at elevated risk for prostate cancer and for cosmetic issues like baldness. Supplements such as saw palmetto and stinging nettle root can help counteract the effects of high levels of DHT and estrogen on the prostate.
Female Hormone Imbalances
Many women suffer from hormone imbalances, too. While they are less likely to have excess testosterone versus men’s risk of excess estrogen, insufficient estrogen and low thyroid function are probably more common in women than in men. Like many other hormone imbalances, they can lead to weight gain, poor energy levels, and cardiovascular disease. Many women benefit from pregnenolone and DHEA supplements and some from natural estrogen replacement therapy to replenish their hormone levels.
Poor Thyroid Function Common, Often Implicated in Weight Gain and Low Energy
Poor thyroid function is common for aging people of both genders as discussed in 40% of US Population May Have Hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, the TSH measurement used by many doctors by itself isn’t adequate to spot it. TSH is a hormone that encourages the thyroid to make more T3 and T4 thyroid hormones, but normal levels of TSH don’t guarantee healthy levels of free T3 and free T4. Free T3 and free T4 levels should be measured in addition to TSH to better understand if the thyroid is producing adequate thyroid hormones in the form they can be used.
VAP Is A Superior Cholesterol and Blood Lipid Test
The cholesterol tests that many doctors use are woefully inadequate. Despite mainstream media harping about LDL cholesterol being “bad” for health, it is really more the shape or density of the LDL cholesterol molecules that determines risk. Everybody needs LDL cholesterol, it is the basis for many important biochemicals such as CoQ10, hormones including pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, estradiol, cortisol, and more. If you had no LDL cholesterol, you would die. The VAP test measures LDL both by direct measurement (more accurate than the sometimes way off estimation used by regular tests) and by classifying molecule shapes to determine if your LDL is small and dense and likely to injure your blood vessels via promoting atherosclerosis or is large and fluffy and not likely to contribute to cardiovascular disease. It is a much better test than the regular blood lipid profile used by most doctors.
Statin Users: Check your CoQ10!
Finally, for anybody in their 40s or older or anybody of any age using statin medications, you should get your CoQ10 levels tested. Statins can so deplete the body of CoQ10 that it severely damages health by causing the mitochondria, the body’s energy plants inside cells, to function very poorly. Some people experience extreme pain, loss of energy, depression, and worsened cardiovascular disease because of how the statins their doctors prescribe sap their body’s supply of CoQ10. Most people taking statins should investigate healthier alternatives for lowering cholesterol such as niacin, tocotrienols, fish oil or other omega-3 supplements such as flax seed oil, and carnitine supplements. If they need to continue taking statins, consider using a lower dosage of statins combined with red yeast rice which works similarly but is reputed to have lower risk than statins. Determine how much CoQ10 supplementation is needed based upon blood test results. Most aging humans have less CoQ10 than they did when young, so even many who are not using statins may need supplemental CoQ10 for optimal health.
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