Direct-to-consumer laboratory testing is revolutionizing the way people are measuring and evaluating their health. Functional labs are affordable and accessible to everyone regardless of whether they’re insured, or have a doctor’s order, making it convenient for health-conscious individuals who want to make informed choices when in comes to their well-being and how they age. Below are 5 labs for inflammation you can order yourself online.
True Health Labs is my online lab of choice. It was created by Dr. Brady Hurst, and provides lab testing from dozens of certified laboratories both internationally and in the USA.
Labs For Inflammation
1. C-Reactive Protein (CRP Hs)
High sensitivity C-reactive protein is a serum lab marker used to detect the presence of inflammation. C-reactive protein is made by the liver, immune cells, and adipocytes or fat cells. It is released into the bloodstream in response to infection, injury, or inflammation.
Detecting inflammation is important as it’s a precursor to all chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, arthritis, vasculitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, CRP is a significantly better marker, than cholesterol, for accessing heart disease risk.
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High CRP is also linked to increased cancer risk because inflammation damages DNA, initiating cancer development. If elevations in CRP are detected, strategies to reduce inflammation should be implemented. Lowering insulin levels, through diet and exercise, is primary to keeping inflammation levels in check.
More on insulin below. CRP-Hs is also used to monitor the effectiveness of targeted strategies. Fasting is not required. You want to aim for levels of CRP that are below 3.0 mg/L, with levels below 1, being the healthiest.
2. Cardio IQ Insulin Resistance Panel | HOMA-IR
Chronically high levels of glucose and insulin, and insulin resistance, keep the body in a pervasive and persistent state of inflammation, oxidation, and accelerated aging. The cardio IQ panel accesses the degree of insulin resistance that is present. HOMA – IR stands for homeostatic model assessment, and measures both fasting glucose and fasting insulin. Fasting glucose in itself fails to provide enough relevant information in terms of insulin levels, and how hard the pancreas is working.
Unfortunately, insulin resistance is typically not caught in the early stages where it can more easily be treated. Insulin resistance is rarely tested, which is curious, since the condition underlies many common health conditions, including metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to diabetes, fatty liver, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
These diseases are responsible for a high-percentage of health-related deaths. Fasting for 10-12 hours before the blood draw is required. Optimal levels fall within a range of 3 to 8 uIU/ml, with below 3 being ideal.
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GlcyoMark measures hyperglycemia, or daily spikes in blood sugar levels, over a one to two-week period. It’s superior to other labs that monitor glycemic control, such as HbA1C, glycated albumin, and fructosamine, because it provides current data, rather than averages.
For instance, hemoglobin A1C is a common lab marker that measures a three-month average of glucose levels, but doesn’t detect blood sugar spikes or fluctuations. These spikes are highly impactful in terms of negative effects in the body, and how blood sugar levels are managed.
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GlycoMark evaluates postprandial glucose levels and rapidly changing levels, without the limitations of the HbA1C. It is much more precise in determining glucose variability, and thus, treatment options. GlycoMark, ordered in tandem with HbA1C, will provide the most comprehensive data.
The lab is useful, not only for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but for other conditions as well, including adrenal dysfunction, high estrogen in men, and PCOS. Fasting is not required. A normal GlycoMark score falls within the range of 10-31 ug/ml.
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4. Serum Ferritin
High levels of ferritin, a protein that stores iron, is indicative of inflammation, and reflects the total iron burden. Ferritin levels rise in response to infection, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Although, ferritin is not synthesized in the blood, it can be detected in serum.
It isn’t clear whether serum ferritin causes inflammation or is the result of it. It is purported that ferritin arises from cells that are damaged, and is therefore, also a marker of cellular damage. High serum ferritin levels are associated with both acute and chronic inflammation, with ferritin acting as a pro-inflammatory cytokine, which can damage the liver, and suppress immune function.
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5. Protein Electrophoresis, Serum
Protein electrophoresis is a marker used to detect the presence of both acute and chronic inflammation. The test measures specific proteins, in the liquid portion of the blood, to identify potential issues. Proteins include: albumin, globulin, alpha-1 globulin, alpha-2 globulin, and beta globulin, which are separated based on their size, shape, and net charge. Too many of these proteins, along with too few, indicates inflammation and other associated markers.
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The lab is used to diagnose and monitor disorders that correlate to abnormal levels of protein, and is typically used in conjunction with other tests. Insights can be gleaned into symptoms that correspond to certain conditions, including thyroid problems, autoimmunity, diabetes, liver disease, and cancer, specifically multiple myeloma. A 12-hour fast is required before getting a blood draw.
Online lab testing is inexpensive, convenient, and provides relevant information in regard to your health. You can order labs on your own or have your doctor order the tests for you. Results are emailed directly to you, and you can either schedule a one-on-one results review with one of True Health Lab’s doctors or have your own health care provider evaluate the results to determine the best course of action based on your out-of-range markers.
Detecting inflammation and implementing strategies to reduce it is vital, considering inflammation’s fundamental role in the development of chronic disease, which represents up to 95% of the conditions people are struggling with.
Did you know you could order laboratory testing online? Let me know in the comments:)