The most important medical tests for your mind body and gut

Here are the diagnostic tests that can shed light on your metabolism and help you maintain your optimum weight so you can still enjoy being a foodie without resorting to drastic diets. If your GP in the UK does not offer these, keep going back and describing your symptoms in more detail. They can’t argue with the NHS website guidelines so be sure to refer to these.  (For non UK readers, if there are no official guidelines in your pick the best official version.) As soon as you start mentioning blogs and forums doctors aren’t likely or don’t have time to take you seriously.

Many people end up believing it’s normal to feel tired and stressed, or blame themselves for digestive problems because they’ve over indulged. Women can so hard on themselves for lacking discipline in eating, or become terribly sad that as they get older they can’t keep the weight off. Yet some standard diagnostic tests might hold the key. At the very least these tests will provide a valuable health profile.

I have kept the information brief and provided links with more information because I want you to read this and take action. (There are other tests too but again I’ve picked the ones most relevant to weight and digestion). Even if your GP’s initial diagnosis is wrong, this is a starting point to take care of yourself.

Thyroid Function

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Depressed? Maybe it’s your thyroid 

If you are even borderline hypothyroid you will put on weight. The longer you put off the test, the harder it is to get rid of that weight. The symptoms of hypothyroidism overlap with many female hormonal issues. So your doctor (especially in the UK) may say your condition is post-natal depression, the peri-menopause, or the menopause.

Investigation Note: Ask for a print out of your results even if you are told the results are normal. The reference ranges vary around the world and the UK’s are very strict. This means you might be normal in the UK but hypothyroid in Belgium.

Cholesterol Levels

Heart problems aside, an elevation in artery-clogging cholesterol can be an indication of something else not being quite right. It’s one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism so if you’re eating habits are healthy, and there is no family history of high cholesterol then something else in the body might not be at its optimum level.

Investigation note: One can be skinny and have high cholesterol. As we get older we all need to keep an eye on this.

Vitamin D Levels

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Depressed? Lacking in energy? Maybe you need sunshine and vitamin D

 

Lack of vitamin D will  make you feel depressed, tired, achy, craving comfort foods and resisting exercise. If you’re lacking in vitamin D you can take supplements or use a spray, and eat more vitamin D- rich foods like mackerel and eggs. And you’ll be motivated to get outside in search of (even weak hidden) sun rays which mean you’ll move and be more active.

Investigation note: Busy doctors mistake the symptoms for depression and prescribe antidepressants.  But lack of vitamin D creates the feeling of depression and wanting to hide from the world. Prompt your GP to send you for a blood test.

Food Intolerances

Excessive burping and passing wind, sudden urges to go to the toilet, frequent bouts of diarrhea, tummy aches, intense cravings and rashes — these are all symptoms of food intolerance. The longer you blame yourself for loving your food too much, the longer you spend damaging your gut. A simple blood test can reveal exactly what’s going on. Note that once you repair the gut, you can reintroduce the offending ingredient in small amounts so (unlike food allergies) an intolerance is not forever.

Investigation note: Intolerance blood tests are not available on the NHS.

Gluten Sensitivity

Modern food has changed. It’s not bread per se that’s a problem, but the changing nature of flour and bread-making.  There are higher levels of gluten in modern flour, and commercial bread is made with chemical yeast and several chemical additives. In time the body rebels.

Investigation note: There is a gluten allergy test on the NHS for coeliac disease, but this doesn’t measure sensitivity. This explains more.

Stool Analysis

How are you digesting your food? Are there enough digestive enzymes to help you process your food?  Are there parasites (from travel and pets) feeding on what you eat and depriving you of nutrients? Is there a candida yeast infection causing cravings and tiredness? A comprehensive stool test can reveal the answers. Note that the symptoms for candida yeast infection include fatigue, a foggy mind, depression, digestive issues, and intense cravings.  Most GPs will diagnose the condition only when the main symptom is vaginal thrush.

Investigation note: The NHS stool tests are for serious disease but won’t provide the above profile. However, be sure to have the NHS test as a starting point.

For tests unavailable on the NHS, take your time, do your research and find a nutritional therapist who uses diagnostic tests. I appreciate this isn’t possible for people who simply don’t have the means to go privately, so I recommend studying the symptoms of various conditions and taking time to research what help is available. I recommend Dr Amy Myers . Her site has sound information and many free and low-cost resources.

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