Testing – How Valuable Is It?
There are some types of Testing, which I believe to be very valuable – both in IBD disease management, and in IBD disease diagnosis, and I will go over those types of tests here, and will share with you which tests I’ve done and why.
These tests are:
1) Genetic Risk, Carrier Risk, Drug Response Testing
This type of Testing, which is cutting-edge, may even be labelled “designer testing”, and heretofore was so expensive that it made it out of reach for most of us, but now has become “within reach”, is affordable, and I believe important since it can yield such important information. This Testing is done through 23andMe (see below).
Unfortunately, having IBD, UC, Crohn’s – these Auto-Immune Diseases puts you at risk for getting other types of Auto-Immune Diseases.
I can tell you that from my own personal experience, about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidsm (an AutoImmune Disorder) which I believe I had been suffering from and had gone undiagnosed for nearly a decade.
Within several years of getting that diagnosis, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (another AutoImmune Disorder), and looking back now, I realize that the pattern of pains – finally diagnosed as Fibromyalgia (which I consider an AutoImmune Disease, although it’s not been recognized as such) I had been suffering from also for more than a decade prior to the UC diagnosis – well, it’s the typical AutoImmune Disease “cluster” that we addressed in an earlier Update ( # 26), and perhaps if this Testing by 23andMe had been available back a decade ago, I would have been more prepared for the UC diagnosis.
Unfortunately, most doctors are not trained to recognize and anticipate these types of “cluster AutoImmune Diseases” because they only address one symptom and don’t look at “the whole of you”.
Please don’t wait in silence, suffer with your symptoms, and certainly, don’t allow a doctor to tell you that “it’s just all in your head”. Become proactive by becoming informed.
As we’ve discussed in earlier updates, it’s important to understand “The Common Thread”, as explained herewith:
|Noel R. Rose, M.D., Ph.D. Chairman Emeritus, AARDA National Scientific Advisory Board; Professor of Pathology and of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Center for Autoimmune Disease Research, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD “… if you have a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity, you may have twice or five times as much chance of developing autoimmunity as someone else–not 100 times, but not zero. So genetics plays an important role…”So, what if you could get tested for diseases and conditions? 23andMe has made it easy to get tested for a complement of Autoimmune Diseases, your genetic risk, your carrier risk, and your drug response. And there’s no blood involved, 23andMe will send you a spit kit.
This 23andMe testing package used to be available at $399., now it’s being made available at a price of $99.
So here’s what you get:
*Please NOTE this Disclaimer:
“23andMe no longer offers health-related genetic reports to new customers in the US”.
Health Reports: Complete List*
The 23andMe service includes genetic analysis on all of the following diseases and conditions. This list grows every month as new research is published*
Knowing your health risks will help you and your doctor figure out health areas to keep an eye on. about disease risks.
Why should you know your genetic risk?
Make better lifestyle choices.
On average, one person in five develops diabetes by age 79. Variations in your DNA tested for by 23andMe might raise your risk to one in three, making your lifestyle choices on factors like exercise and weight control even more critical.
Be on the lookout for common conditions.
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in the Western world among people over 60. By learning if your genes put you at increased risk for this condition, you can choose to go in for more frequent eye exams and take other measures to protect your sight.
Prepare for serious diseases.
Some inherited mutations greatly increase your likelihood of developing certain diseases later in life. For example, one rare mutation tested by 23andMe is associated with a nearly 60% lifetime risk of Parkinson’s disease.
See 23andMe health reports on 246 diseases and conditions.
Your disease risk is impacted by your genetics.
Learning your genetic risk for various diseases and conditions will allow you and your doctor to focus on the lifestyle changes and preventative steps that matter most for you.
State-of-the-art science at your fingertips.
23andMe scientists pore through the scientific and medical literature, gathering relevant information into one easy to read report.
* Established Research Reports
Established Research reports give you information about conditions and traits for which there are genetic associations supported by multiple, large, peer-reviewed studies. Because these associations are widely regarded as reliable, we use them to develop quantitative estimates and explanations of what they mean for you.
Preliminary Research Reports
Preliminary Research reports are based on peer-reviewed, published research where the findings still need to be confirmed by the scientific community. They also include topics where there may be contradictory evidence. Topics may move from Preliminary Research to Established Research when and if sufficient follow-up studies are performed. New discoveries in genetics are being published all the time and we strive to keep our customers updated with the latest information on genetics and health.
Learn if you carry inheritable disease markers.
You could be passing on more than you know.
Find out if your child will be at risk for 48 inherited conditions and learn about steps you can take. about carrier status.
23andMe can alert you to mutations in your DNA that could cause disease in your children. If you find that your children are at risk for an inherited condition, you can talk to a doctor or healthcare professional about what you can do.
Arm yourself with knowledge.
View reports by ethnicity
Carrier Status (48)
Personalize your healthcare by knowing in advance how you will respond to certain medications like Warfarin, and other drugs.
Drug Response (21)
Disease Risk (120)*
The genotyping services of 23andMe are performed in LabCorp’s CLIA-certified laboratory. The tests have not been cleared or approved by the FDA but have been analytically validated according to CLIA standards. The information on this page is intended for research and educational purposes only, and is not for diagnostic use.
*Please NOTE this Disclaimer:
“23andMe no longer offers health-related genetic reports to new customers in the US”.
How can you get tested through 23andMe?
There’s no blood involved, 23andMe will send you a spit kit. This 23andMe testing package used to be available at $399., now it’s being made available at a price of $99.
2) Inflammation Tests
A) Inflammation Panel
(should be done every 3-4 months)
In some diseases the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances (such as bacteria) to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.
The Inflammation Panel contains the following tests:
- Chemistry Profile (complete metabolic panel with lipids)
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- C-Reactive Protein (high sensitivity)
- Sedimentation Rate
- Rheumatoid Factor (RF)
- Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) Screen
B) Omega Score Test
As we have discussed in prior Updates, eating a diet rich in Omega 3’s and reducing your dietary intake of Omega 6’s, will serve to reduce the overall inflammation in the body – the whole premise behind the Paleo Diet, which we have discussed at length.
This Omega Score Test is very valuable in that it indicates your levels of both Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s in your blood, and at the cellular levels. The higher the ratio of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s, the more inflammation. So if your results show high scores of Omega 3’s, it translates into lower inflammation levels in your body. That will not just affect your IBD, UC, and Crohn’s but will also affect all other diseases as well, especially since most diseases are a result of high inflammation. So, the higher the Omega 3 score, the less inflammation.
Omega-3 fats are a small group of molecules technically known as fatty acids. The key clinical omega-3 fats are EPA and DHA, which are found largely in coldwater fish. It is well established in current literature that a higher blood level of these important fats may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The evidence for supplementing with omega-3 fats is now so firmly established that even mainstream doctors are convinced of its merits. But until now there’s been no easy way for people to monitor the effects of supplementation.
Life Extension® now offers an omega-3 blood test for evaluating the success of supplementation with fish oils. The test evaluates what is called an Omega Score® by measuring the following:
- Omega-3 Whole Blood Score
- Omega-3 Equivalence Score
- Omega-3 EPA/DHA Equivalence Score
- Omega-3 Red Blood Cell Equivalence Score
- Complete breakdown of fatty acids by weight, including the AA/EPA ratio and the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio
This test is conveniently packaged in a kit. Fasting is not required. Consumption of omega-3 supplements or high omega seafood such as Tuna or Salmon within 24-48 hours of testing will not impact the results. Take your supplements the day prior to testing; however do not supplement the morning of the test.
3) B12 Blood Status Panel Test
B12 and folic acid blood testing help doctors diagnose central nervous system disorders, anemia, and malabsorption syndromes. B12 and folic acid also play an important role in energy level, muscle strength and memory.
Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) found in the urine is often associated with the early stages of B12 deficiency. MMA may be ordered along with a homocysteine test, when a vitamin B12 deficiency is suspected. An MMA test also may be ordered as a follow-up to an elevated homocysteine level.
To read : Vitamin B12 – The Multiple Benefits of this Complex Supplement,
Another important read, Report: B12 Surprising New Findings,
4) Chemistry Panel and CBC
(should be done every 3-4 months)
This test is especially important if you are on any of the mesalamine medications (whether oral or rectal) as they affect both liver and kidney functions potentially and it’s important to keep an eye on those functions (per our discussion in the Updates). Also it’s important if you’re taking prednisone as well.
The Chemistry and CBC blood test is a comprehensive metabolic evaluation including the following tests:
- Fasting Glucose (blood sugar)
- Uric acid
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen): Measures liver and kidney function
- Creatinine: A test used to measure kidney function
- BUN/Creatinine Ratio: For diagnosis of impaired renal function
- Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)
- Total Protein
- Albumin/Globulin Ratio
- Bilirubin: Evaluates kidney and liver function
- Alkaline Phosphatase: Evaluation of liver and bone diseases
- LDH (lactic dehydrogenase)
- AST (SGOT): Evaluates liver function
- ALT (SGPT): Evaluates liver function
- Iron (serum)
- Lipid Profile: Evaluates the risk for developing atherosclerosis (arterial plaque) and coronary heart disease.
- Total Cholesterol
- HDL Cholesterol
- LDL Cholesterol
- Total Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
- Complete Blood Count:
- Red blood cell count
- Red blood cell indices
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration
- Red blood cell distribution
- White blood cell count
- Differential count
- Platelet count
5 out of 5 stars, Great Value for People with No insurance
” Being able to get labs done when I don’t have insurance is a blessing. Thank you for offering this service. I wish it was available in all states (i have friends who could also benefit, but they live in NJ), but I am glad it was available in my state! Fast delivery of order form & Received results in 24 hours.” – by Bob D, Strousburg, PA
5 out of 5 stars, Got results the following day
“Made appt with lab online. Went to lab. Was in and out in all of 5 minutes. Received results following day via email. So quick, no hassle. Kudos to Life Extension for making this so easy and kind on my wallet.” By socalgal, from los angeles, ca
5 out of 5 stars!
“Was a little leery ordering a CBC test online but boy was I wrong. The process was very simple and fast. Got my order in and got my blood drawn on Friday morning at a local labcorp and by Monday afternoon got my results. Will be doing future blood work through Life Extension in the future.” – By Bobby, from Orange County, CA
5) Food Safe Allergy Test
( done once to help you determine which foods are problematic)
Has it ever occurred to you that fatigue, weight gain, abdominal discomfort, headaches, even aging skin could be due to a food allergy? Consideration of food allergy is a critical component of any comprehensive approach to good health.
The Food Safe Allergy Test measures your sensitivity to certain foods from an antibody-mediated immune response. The antibody measured in this test is IgG. This test does not measure the dangerous rapid-acting IgE food allergies.
The Food Safe Allergy test comes conveniently packaged as a kit. It requires a “finger stick” blood spot to be collected and shipped directly to the laboratory in a pre-paid envelope. All necessary components for the “finger-stick” are included in the kit with a complete set of instructions for easy collection.
Some medications, including but not limited to asthma medications, acid reducers, anti-inflammatory/analgesic drugs, antihistamines and immunosuppressants may influence the results of this test. Please check with your doctor before ordering.
The Food Safe Allergy Test is comprised of these 95 common foods:
|Orange Roughy||American cheese|
|Red Snapper||Cottage cheese|
5 out of 5 stars, Results surprised me
“I did the food allergy blood test out of curiosity. I was shocked that the results showed that I should avoid 14 food, including eggs, cheese, corn, yeast, wheat, shrimp and milk. I eat these things all the time. I guess I will have to figure out what to do next, as it will be hard to stop all these things – I know there are alternative products on the market. I can’t say that I have an obvious reaction to any food. That’s why I was surprised at the results.” – Bernadette from Trinidad
6) Gluten Blood Test
(done once, and enables you to adjust your diet accordingly)
As we have covered this topic of Gluten intolerance in several of the past Updates, for all those suffering from any Auto-Immune Disease, especially including any IBD, UC, Crohn’s, and even IBS, this is an important trigger to the inflammatory process within the body, therefore it would be very important to find out if there is an intolerance.
Gluten is a protein most commonly found in wheat and other related grains, such as barley and rye. Adding texture and a characteristic chewiness to baked goods, this ingredient is used in a wide variety of other foods as a thickener and binder, flavor enhancer, and protein supplement.
This blood test determines whether you have a food allergy to gluten. It measures the fast reacting (IgE mediated) response to gluten. This is not a test for Celiac Disease nor does it test for sensitivity to gluten (IgG mediated). If you are looking for a screening panel that will help you and your doctor evaluate your risk for Celiac Disease please look at Life Extensions panel (LC334971) which tests for antibodies associated with this autoimmune disorder.
7) Celiac Disease Antibody Screening Test,
for those of you who may suspect Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a lifelong digestive disorder affecting both children and adults. The disease is probably under-diagnosed in that it may affect as much as 1% of the population of the United States. This condition is characterized by an immune-mediated reaction to gluten that causes inflammation in the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Celiac Disease is not a food allergy and is not the same as a wheat allergy… it is actually an autoimmune disease. This screening test is for anyone who suspects that grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barely may be affecting their health. It is also suggested that the food safe allergy test be done as well since a person can react to wheat/grains in different ways. Celiac testing looks at the autoimmune mediated reaction component while the food safe test looks at a delay food sensitivity reaction. A person can react in both ways or just one or the other.
This screening panel includes:
- Deamidated gliadin IgA
- Tissue transglutaminase IgA
- Serum IgA level
8) Anemia Blood Testing
( very important in IBD, should be done every 3-4 months)
This Anemia test is especially important because IBD often times results in anemia due to malabsorption of nutrients, Vitamin B12 problems, and of course bleeding as well, as we have covered in many Updates.
Anemia occurs when you have less than the normal number of red blood cells in your blood or when the red blood cells in your blood don’t have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that gives the red color to your blood. Its main job is to carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. If you have anemia, your blood does not carry enough oxygen to all the parts of your body. Without oxygen, your organs and tissues cannot work as well as they should.
More than 3 million people in the United States have anemia. Women and people with chronic disease are at the greatest risk for anemia.
Since there are many types and causes of anemia, Life Extension has created a panel to look at the most frequent causes: Iron deficiency, B12 deficiency, and the bone marrow’s ability to produce red blood cells.
The Anemia Panel contains the following:
- Chemistry Profile (complete metabolic panel with lipids)
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
- Vitamin B12
- Reticulocyte Count
9) Vitamin D Testing
(should be done every 3-4 months, especially if you are supplementing with Vitamin D3)
As we have discussed in numerous Updates, Vitamin D is not only essential to good health and your immune system working properly, but it’s critical that levels be elevated when you have IBD, UC, and Crohn’s.
Here’s an interesting and important article on Vitamin D, featuring the interview with Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD The Pioneer of Vitamin D Research, click here to read it.
Recent research has shown that vitamin D is important to every cell and tissue throughout the body. From proper immune function and bone density to heart health and mood disorders, vitamin D is critical for optimal health.
You should know your Vitamin D blood level. Life Extension offers a reliable vitamin D blood test at a fraction of what most commercial blood labs charge. Optimal blood levels of vitamin D are often far greater than the standard reference range. The only way to achieve an optimal level is through proper supplementation.
5 Stars out of 5, Great way to keep current on Vit D level
“LEF tests through LabCorp are a cost effective way to monitor blood levels of essentials for which insurance does not pay. LEF order to LabCorp arrived in 2 days. Lab just 3 miles from home. LabCorp results were received through LEF in less than 36 hours from blood draw! That’s speedy!!!Thanks LEF for making this possible.” by Marksman, from Texas Panhandle
5 Stars out of 5, Excellent way to test for vitamin D
“Since insurance may not pay for repeated testings to get vitamin D in optimal ranges, LEF’s test is an inexpensive way to do repeat testing. I used the recommendations of the Vitamin D Foundation and the information provided by Dr. Joseph Mercola, along with my Integrative health doctor to strive for an optimal range. Unfortunately the lab’s range is still lagging behind the science, though the testing results are accurate.” By Marie F, from Vinton, VA
5 Stars out of 5, Vitamin D from 28 to 61
“I was tested with a 28 ng/ml at my doctor’s office. No mention was made to be concerned. I increased my Vitamin intake to 7500 daily for over six months and then had the test taken through L.E.F. My vitamin D increased to 61 ng/ml. I feel empowered that I was able to correct a deficiency before it became a real problem.” by YogaGirl, from Troy, MI
As a result of the Vitamin D3 testing, and to ensure I am getting adequate Vitamin D3, I’ve been taking:
Vitamin D3 ( I add 5,000 I.U., but you must select dosage appropriate for your blood serum level requirements)
Per topics covered in our Updates,
An avalanche of favorable studies has resulted in record numbers of Americans supplementing with vitamin D. Since it is virtually impossible to obtain adequate vitamin D from food sources, supplementation with 5,000-10,000 IU daily is required by many aging individuals.
Overlooked many, is the critical importance of vitamin K. If one is concerned enough about their health to take higher dose vitamin D, it seems absurd to miss out on the benefits of vitamin K. For instance, vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption into the bloodstream and thus plays an important role in maintaining bone density. Less recognized is the need for vitamin K to transport calcium from the bloodstream into the bone. Vitamin K is also required by calcium-regulating proteins in the arteries.1-5 Together these two vitamins help maintain youthful calcium skeletal distribution while promoting vascular health.6-11
Vitamin K can be found in small amounts in the diet, but obtaining the desired higher potencies requires supplementation. Many Life Extension members obtain optimal potencies of long-acting vitamin K in the Super Booster or Super K formulations. An increasing number of new members, however, are asking for high-potency vitamin D—but are not taking any supplemental vitamin K.
To directly address this problem, Life Extension® has put together a formula called Vitamins D and K with Sea-Iodine™. Like vitamins D and K, few Americans obtain optimal amounts of iodine. As people seek to limit their salt intake, this deficit is exacerbated since iodized salt is the principal source of this mineral in many diets. We expect the issue of iodine insufficiency to receive more media attention as new studies uncover the problems this creates. Sea-Iodine™ is included in this formula to provide iodine without the harmful effects of sodium.
“It is important to take Vitamin K with Vitamin D. Iodine is also good prevention from diseases that I can’t mention due to restrictions by the FDA.” By LadyDi, Portland, OR
“Makes it easy with three supplements in one.” By Jeneane, Henderson, NV
“Nice combination of 3 important nutrients most of the general population is deficient in. Thanks for combining these into one convenient capsule!” By PR in the OC, Orange County, CA
“I had low Vit D levels that I increased over time and now able to keep it in the good range with this supplement.” By Barb, Sevierville Tn
“A physician prescribed the exact same dosages from a compounding pharmacy. I am a 63 yr old male, 5’7 and 157 pounds with no bone loss issues. Recommended for anti-aging benefits, etc. This LEF formulation is effective and a lot cheaper than the prescribed product. The quality is solid!” By Mr. Maniac, St. Louis, MO
Please Note: Before adding any new supplements, especially those containing Vitamin K, please check with your doctor or pharmacist for any drug interactions ( this is especially true if you are on any meds like Coumadin).
10) Glutathione Testing
(can be done every 6 months to see where your levels are)
The Glutathione test is a very important one for anyone who is suffering with any Auto-Immune Disease, especially IBD, UC, and Crohn’s. And it’s unlikely your doctor knows about it or has suggested you get your levels tested.
Low levels of glutathione have been implicated in many autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
Here’s the Glutathione test I had done:
Note: I take this Glutathione product because as a result of testing my Glutathione levels which were low, and as we have covered in the Updates, low levels of Glutathione are associated with several Auto-Immune Diseases, including Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, and IBD.
Glutathione, Cysteine, & Vitamin C capsule
|Glutathione, Cysteine & C 100 vegetarian capsules Item Catalog Number: 01541|
|L-cysteine is a conditionally essential amino acid, one of only three sulfur-containing amino acids, the others being taurine (which can be produced from L-cysteine) and L-methionine (from which L-cysteine can be produced in the body by a multi-step process). Cysteine plays a role in the sulfation cycle, acting as a sulfur donor in phase II detoxification and as a methyl donor in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine.1,2 Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, the body’s most important intracellular antioxidant and a vital detoxifier.3-7Glutathione (gamma-L-glutamyl-L-cysteinyl-glycine) is a peptide (short-protein) molecule synthesized in the body from the three amino acids L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine and glycine. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important and powerful antioxidants,8 helping to detoxify xenobiotics.9-12 A major function of vitamin C is to keep glutathione in its reduced form so that it can continue to provide free radical-quenching effects.12-15Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a white, crystalline, water-soluble substance found in citrus fruits. As an antioxidant, vitamin C scavenges free radicals in the body and protects tissues from oxidative stress.16-23 Vitamin C also promotes the absorption of iron, while preventing its oxidation.24,25 Vitamin C is a vital cofactor to the formation of collagen, the connective tissue that supports arterial walls, skin, bones, and teeth.20-22Because humans do not manufacture vitamin C internally, it must be obtained through dietary sources or supplements. Few people realize, however, that vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that is quickly oxidized and excreted by the body,26 which limits its efficacy. Until now, those seeking to capture vitamin C’s optimal health benefits have had no choice but to consume it several times throughout the day.|