Whether working with a CEO looking to get his "life in balance", or an entrepreneur trying to get her business off the ground without burning out, or a working mother training for her first triathlon, there are 3 tests I will always ask for at the beginning of the High Performance journey and at several points throughout:
1. Comprehensive blood & saliva tests, which go far deeper than the common test doctors ask for
2. Twice a day blood pressure measurement for 1 week (especially with CEOs and entrepreneurs)
3. (Optional but recommended) A daily home blood glucose test
What exactly? Why? And how do I use the info?
Let’s start with the blood test
The What & Why
- Lipid profile, including vLDL
- Hormonal panel, including DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen and Insulin
- Blood sugar: fasting glucose and HbA1c
- Thryoid, including T3/T4, Free T3/T4
- Inflammation: hsCRP, Fibrinogen, Homocysteine
- Essential nutrients, including Magnesium, Vitamin D, Potassium, B12, Ferritin
9 out of 10 times, I will find something in the blood test that explains one or more of my client’s complaints, including emotional and mental performance ones.
What I’m looking for is anything that indicates that the body is out of balance, which ALWAYS results in impaired physical ability, mental / cognitive capacity, lower energy levels, reduced resilience, depression, irritability, and much more.
Some of the examples I encounter often:
- Low total cholesterol and HDL almost ALWAYS correlate with reduced brain function (this has been demonstrated by hundreds of medical studies over the years).
- High levels of vLDL (as well as hsCRP, Fibri and Homocysteine) always indicate a high levels of inflammation wreaking havoc on the body.
- T3/T4 imbalance is often associate with gut inflammation, and therefore affecting energy levels, immunity strength, weight gain/loss & more.
- The vast majority of people are deficient in both Magnesium and Vitamin D, both of which are critical for hormonal, brain / nervous system and cardiovascular health.
- Low testosterone in men is often caused by a combination of low total cholesterol (the precursor for testosterone and Vitamin D). This results in significant increase in risk of heart diseases, reduce resilience and brain function, and an increase in irritability and mood swings.
How do I use the info?
It of course depends on the individual and what I can glean from the tests, but the general rule of thumb is: there is ALWAYS a reason when something is out of balance.
Your body doesn’t just “decide” to produce more or less cholesterol, DHEA or Testosterone; your thyroid doesn’t just “magically” start to malfunction, etc…
I’m ALWAYS looking for the underlying reason, and then begin to work with the person in question to address that problem. This starts with changes to nutrition habits, lifestyle, stress management techniques, supplementation and (when needed), working with a medical professional in the event of a pathology.
What about blood pressure?
The What & Why and How
For the vast majority of people, rising blood pressure is a result of one of (or the combination of) 2 things:
- Physiological factors: something wrong with your body, minerals, diet, etc.
- Psychological factors: stress, anxiety, distress
By monitoring blood pressure on a frequent basis (sometimes daily), I’m able to achieve 2 of my primary goals for High Performance:
- Assess whether the nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, and other “physiological” protocols I’m applying are working and how to optimize them.
- Assess whether the stress management, lifestyle changes, emotional control and other psychological tools are working and how to optimize them.
I will ask for blood tests every 6-9 months, since it often takes that long to see significant changes (and because detailed blood tests are expensive and sometimes not covered by insurance).
Blood pressure tests are very cheap and can be done at home at any time with minimal skill.
Note: the other tool I use daily in addition to blood tests is Heart Rate Variability. I’ll write a separate post on that soon.
Daily Glucose Home Test
The What & Why and How
For the vast majority of people, high blood glucose is also result of one of (or the combination of) 2 things:
- Physiological factors: insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), bad diet, etc.
- Psychological factors: stress, anxiety, distress, which cause continuously elevated cortisol levels, leading to “dumping” of glucose into the bloodstream.
Why is this important? Well because if I’m working with someone who has their diet “on point” and blood tests show no insulin resistance, but fasting blood glucose remains high on a regular basis, I can start focusing more on the “psychological” aspects of the problem and address potential causes such as “sleep quality”, “anxiety”, “relationships”, “burn out”, etc.
Note: “high blood glucose” in my mind is NOT ABOVE the typical ranges printed on lab results: for example, typical lab results say that a result of 100mg/dl is “in range, normal”. But countless studies have shown that there is a BIG difference between “in range, normal” and “optimal”. The difference between 80mg/dl (optimal) and 100mg/dl (normal) can DEFINITELY be felt in terms of energy levels, brain function, vitality, and so much more.
My Bottom Line
But the BOTTOM LINE for me for all of the above is NOT to fix a problem or complaint: it’s to FIRST fix the problem / complaint, but then CONTINUE to monitor and work to achieve HIGH PERFORMANCE.
Doctors’ “clean bill of health” means “absence of disease”. My “clean bill of health” means (i) functioning at your max potential, and (ii) continuously raising that potential.
Disclaimer: Tony Hchaime is not a doctor or healthcare professional and none of the advice given here or elsewhere by Tony Hchaime can or should be construed as medical advice.