My personal lab test results—and what I’m doing about it…

Back in January I shared the list of blood tests I’d be running on myself to support my prevention and longevity goals. Then I got sidetracked with topics I really wanted to write about sooner—like statins and hormones—but I did do my bloodwork as promised. (FYI, if you’re also strapped for time, Quest has a great at-home blood draw service for $55 I recommend.) I’m excited to finally share some of my results with you.

The research says: It’s estimated that less than 10 percent of Americans undergo preventative healthcare screenings, including blood tests. To me this is one of the most problematic stats there is when it comes to public health.

Here’s why: cancer is on the rise in younger people, over 30% of Americans live with metabolic syndrome, 12% have diabetes, and nearly half (48.6%) of people have some form of heart disease.

Lifestyle factors can help prevent these outcomes—if we catch signs of the disease early. Considering ultra-processed foods make up nearly 60% of our diets and most adults don’t meet the minimum physical activity guidelines (less than half get enough cardio and less than a quarter meet the minimum threshold for strength training, according to the CDC), understanding your baseline health through preventative screenings can be a game changer.

Many patients and friends I talk to today want more testing. Thanks to podcasts from biohackers like Peter Attia and Max Lugavere, services like Everlywell and Function Health offering cash pay labs, and direct to consumer MRIs marketed by celebrities including Kim Kardashian, there is a growing appetite for more data in our hands. I personally think the number of Americans undergoing preventative healthcare screenings each year should be 90% or higher.

At the same time, there’s been a backlash against doing preventative testing—or even getting an annual physical—in recent years. Only 1 out of every 5 visits to the doctor is focused on preventative care and less than a quarter include lab tests, according to the CDC.  

Cost and time are real barriers to getting a check-up—I get it—but so is the hesitation to know what’s going on under the surface. Just because you don’t test, doesn’t mean there’s no reason to.

The diseases that are killing us at the highest rates—heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer, the “Big 4”—are all highly modifiable or reversible diseases that develop slowly over years if not decades.

These diseases are far more likely to kill you if you’re symptomatic by the time you discover them. Diabetes, for example, has to be relatively advanced before symptoms like fainting from low blood sugar, loss of sensation in feet and hands, and vision loss, happen. But if caught early, diabetes can be totally reversed.

It’s also a problem if you’re like me and trying to live a fast-paced, high-energy, healthy life. I don’t want issues with blood sugar, hormones, inflammation, or nutrient deficiencies to keep me from being at the top of my game or to stop me from being the parent and doctor I want to be. Especially if those issues can be prevented with early intervention.

Some things can’t be prevented of course, but a lot can. I see too many people feeling foggy, anxious, tired, or irritable (and seeing this as normal) when I know it doesn’t have to be this way.

This is why I started looking at my functional labs every year since I turned 32. Here’s a snapshot of my labs this year and what they’re telling me about my health—what’s working and what I can improve.

My results:

Overall my results are pretty great—heart health, nutrients, thyroid and blood sugar—check, check, check, check. All fell within normal ranges, which is awesome and affirming because I live the Parsley life.

What my labs show I could use more of, however, is weight training, protein, and testosterone. I may be doing well overall at 42, but I also see some concerning numbers that I know I need to get on top of if I want to be feeling this good at 52.

  • Nutrients and Toxins: Optimal Vitamin D3 – 52 B12 – 450 Folate – 578 Ferritin – 37 RBC Magnesium – 5.8 Mercury – undetectable Lead – 1.0
  • Inflammation: Optimal ESR – 2 hsCRP – < 0.3
  • Heart Health: Mostly Optimal LDL – 95 ApoB – 77 HDL – 79 Triglycerides – 51 Homocysteine – 8.1
  • Blood Sugar: Optimal Hemoglobin A1C – 5.2 Fasting glucose – 82 Fasting insulin – 2.4
  • Thyroid: Optimal TSH – 2.3 Free T4 – 1.3 Free T3 – 3.3
  • Testosterone: Normal, but Suboptimal Total testosterone – 19 (borderline) Free testosterone – 1.3 (low) SHBG – 177 (high)

What this tells me is that I’m making pretty good testosterone but it could be better. I’d love to see my total T > 25.

More importantly, my free testosterone is low because a lot of it is bound to a protein called SHBG, which for me, is too high. SHBG goes up in pregnancy, with aging, in certain conditions like HIV and liver disease, and with a low fat or low protein diet

  • Liver Function: Optimal AST – 18 ALT – 25 GGT – 18

What about hormones like estrogen? I didn’t test hormones this time for two reasons:

First, hormones like estrogen are more accurately measured in urine or saliva than blood. I plan to do the advanced DUTCH hormone test that we offer at Parsley, which will not only look at sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, it will also give me a full review of my adrenal health including DHEA and a 5-point cortisol curve.

One way to think about adrenals is as the Queens of our matriarchal biological society, meaning they are often the key driver of how our sex hormones behave. Testing gives us a more accurate and comprehensive view of our health.

Second, as I’m still cycling, doing hormones on Day 21 of my menstrual cycle is the best time to test estrogen to progesterone ratios, which have implications for concerns like PMS and fertility. I wanted to get my labs done and not wait for day 21, since I knew I’d want the DUTCH to look at my other hormones anyway.

What I’m doing with my results to support longevity hormone balance and anti-aging Build lean muscle mass. I recently started reformer based pilates which has been helping me build muscle and rebuild my core strength after kids. I am obsessed with Annie at Le Petite Studio who has transformed my core! Based on my labs, I’m going to add weight training 1-2x a week with a trainer. Now that I’m in my 40’s, it’s time to put muscle “in the bank.”

  • Increase protein intake. I’m not a huge meat eater and so I probably only get around 50-60 grams of protein a day, which is too little to build muscle. To increase my intake, I’m going to add more hard boiled eggs, smoothies made with Parsley’s Rebuild Clean Protein Powder, and ensure my lunch has a protein like salmon, tofu, eggs, or beef. Today I ordered Thai with the team and I got the “extra protein” option with both tofu and shrimp in my stir fry.
  • Lower SHBG and free up more testosterone with supplementation. Supplements that have been shown to potentially lower SHBG while increasing free Testosterone levels include Zinc, which significantly improved testosterone levels (and sexual function) in a recent study of postmenopausal women, and stinging nettle, which has been shown to weakly bind SHBG, freeing up more testosterone.
  • Continue consuming plenty of olive oil, nuts and seeds, low mercury fish and fiber. These super foods create optimal conditions for hormone production, low inflammation and ideal cardiovascular health. No major dietary changes needed, but a reminder to lean into these foods even more.
  • Add specialty tests including the DUTCH test. I also plan on getting a thyroid ultrasound for the nodule found on my full-body MRI, and a biopsy if necessary.

The Takeaway: If you’ve been avoiding doing labs or seeing a doctor, I hope this inspires you to start taking action and gives you a list of tests to ask for.

We offer all of these tests at Parsley (through your insurance) and give you personalized guidance on what to do with your results. Set up your free consultation call with a Parsley advisor if you want to learn more.