Why You Need a Nutritional Interpretation of Your Blood Work

Below you will find a letter that we provide our patients that explains why nutritional interpretation of blood work is needed. Our office has recommended that you allow us to draw blood for the purpose of careful medical and nutritional interpretation.  This letter is meant to provide you with further details regarding the benefits of this combined comparison, and elucidate nutritional and medical problems often missed during routine blood interpretation .  What is uncovered is often valuable for managing health problems where standard medical interventions have fallen short.

Please be advised that we offer two types of blood interpretation:  Medical Interpretation and Nutritional Interpretation.

Medical Blood Interpretation

This type of interpretation is the most common and involves the doctor ordering blood work and examining which blood results, if any, fall within the abnormal column.  Traditional medical interpretation of blood work is disease-oriented and seeks to identify obvious abnormalities to diagnose disease conditions.

This means that doctors who have extensive training in diagnosing obvious diseases will examine blood work for the most extreme abnormalities that fall outside of the various ranges given on a blood test.  For example, a normal cholesterol range is 0-200.  If your cholesterol level is 199 for example, you may be told that your blood work is normal; and by strict definition it is normal (meaning average…but not necessarily healthy or desirable.) Finally, if you desire to know if you have a grave condition looking for blood results that fall either on the low or high end of the blood ranges is appropriate.

The problem with strict medical interpretation is that it does not identify a problem until it there is a full-blown abnormality. Many people, if not most, have persistent chronic conditions or symptoms and have been told their blood work is normal.  This is because the blood work performed was either not detailed enough and/or it has been interpolated only from a disease perspective and not also from a preventive, early detection of dysfunction perspective.

Nutritional Blood Interpretation

Standard medical blood laboratory ranges (high and low values) are essentially based on a sampling of three population groups:  blood donors, employees of corporations and hospital personnel. These “normal”  ranges represent the average unhealthy American, not ideal ranges that represent health.  For example, one must lose between 40%-80% of their kidney function before kidney tests reveal that anything is wrong.  Similarly, approximately 40% of thyroid function must be lost before blood tests show anything.   Ask yourself, “Would I rather have my blood results compared to an average population or a healthier population?”  Because our goal is to help predict and prevent health problems, we perform nutritional blood interpretation in addition to medical interpretation of each patient’s blood work.

Our office uses narrower ranges of blood values that represent values found in healthier individuals.  For example, evidence suggests that cholesterol levels between 160 and 180 are more ideal than 0-200.  We believe that tighter ranges are more appropriate for virtually all blood tests.  We refer to these tighter ranges as healthy or functional ranges.  When considered along with other information such as medical history and other testing, these ranges often allow us to find problems not apparent when looking at disease ranges (traditional blood values).  Think of it this way, if one wants to see “something coming” then using values that are tighter on the low and the high ranges would appear abnormal long before they would when compared to blood ranges that are very wide on the high and low side.

In conjunction with your health history and medical examination, nutritional interpretation of blood work is important for determining the most appropriate nutritional recommendations.  Please expect that we will recommend this type of interpretation to you each time we ask you to provide blood samples. If one wishes to find answers to chronic problems then one must considering asking different questions – this is precisely what the nutritional interpretation of blood work provides…different questions and different answers.

Thank you for trusting us and for allowing us the opportunity to go beyond the basics.

Posted on October 7, 2012 and filed under Bounce, Editorial by Dr- Wald.