Posts Tagged by omega-3

Wellness FX: The Road to Optimizing My Health

I was recently given the opportunity to try out WellnessFx and receive a biomarker analysis.  A what?!?  Well it’s a simple blood test that gives you a baseline measurement of many of your basic health functions, including cardiovascular, inflammation, metabolic, hormones, liver, kidney, electrolytes, and nutrition.  That’s a lot and I was excited!

WellnessFX has many services, but their Baseline service offers the following:

WellnessFX Baseline is our foundational service, which includes double the diagnostics of the typical physical and personalized care from a member of our professional healthcare team. Now you’ll have the insights and expert to make meaningful improvements to your health.

This includes the blood draw (only 3 viles, so don’t get scared!), a full analysis of the results, and a consult with a WellnessFX healthcare practitioner.  The reason why this interested me was because of the inflammation marker information you receive.  Because of my ulcerative colitis and the fact that I am prone to tendonitis, I knew this was going to be higher than normal.  I just wanted to see by how much and hopefully get some tips on how to improve that.

The process was easy.  I created an account online and made an appointment for a blood draw at a local LabCorp.  I’ve had some not so fun blood draw experiences due to tiny veins, so I’m always a bit apprehensive going it.

Going in…not my favorite thing!

Thankfully the technician was wonderful and I hardly felt a thing.  I was in and out of there in 10 minutes.  I tried to get some pictures of the whole process, but was quickly told that would be a HIPAA violation and to put my phone away…yikes!

My results came only 5 days later via email and at that time I was able to set up my phone consult with a WellnessFX physician.  I was happy to see that the time slots for the consult were all day, including in the evening so I would be able to speak freely in the privacy of my own home.  I set my time for 2 days later and couldn’t wait to start the road towards optimizing my health.

Let’s first look at the good news.  My liver and kidney functions are all normal.  My electrolytes are also in a good range, which includes many of the minerals that help keep your body in balance.  Overall, my cardiovascular health is good, including my cholesterol which is very good at 153.  My family has a history of low cholesterol, so I had expected that, and the physician was pleasantly surprised by this.  Here is where we start moving into the not so good…

Cardiovascular Health

As I predicted, my hs-CRP (general inflammation marker) levels are very high.  Ideally, this number should be under 1 and my level is 3.32.  Here is some additional information on this marker from WellnessFX:

High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or HS-CRP, measures inflammation in the body. There is a link between inflammation and many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer. Higher levels of HS-CRP have shown an increased risk of many chronic diseases, while lower levels have been associated with a lower risk.

So chronic disease…check!  It’s not clear whether this number is so high due to my colitis or some other issue, but it is something that I am definitely going to try to work to bring down.  Recommendations from the physician included cutting out gluten from my diet, increasing my intake of vitamins A, C & E, begin taking Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and eating more curry, tumeric and coffee fruit.

Another area that needs improvement is my Vitamin D level.  Optimally this number should be over 30 and I am at 26.3.

Bone & Minerals

It is interesting that this level is low because it could be playing a part in my high inflammation marker.  Here is what WellnessFX has to say:

While for a long time Vitamin D has been known to support calcium absorption, it has more recently been understood to influence immune system health and the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin D deficiency is typically treated with increased sun exposure and supplements.

I definitely do not get enough sun and that just gets worse in the winter living in the Northeast, so that makes sense.  This is an easy fix to increase my levels by taking a supplement, and the physician recommended 10,000 IUs a day.

The last area that I need to improve is my glucose level.  This was surprising to me since I have never had an issue with this before.

Metabolic Markers

The optimal range for glucose is between 50 and 100.  My level is 111, so I am only at moderate risk for issues like diabetes, but this is still something to watch.  The physician didn’t seem too concerned about it at this time, but recommended I stay away from high-glycemic foods as a precaution.  This blood test required a 12-hour fast, which I did, but something I ate the day before may have played a factor in the higher than normal number even with a fast.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of detail the test and the physician went into.  I left the consultation with two pages of notes full of valuable takeaways to improve my health.  The next day I picked up some supplements to begin (hopefully!) improving some of these issues.

New Supplements for a New Me!

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for more answers on how to improve their overall health and wellness.  It’s nice to know that with the right information and small changes to your exercise and diet routine, you can make BIG improvements to your overall well-being.  What biomarkers would you be most interesting in getting the results for?

Full Disclosure: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own.

Friday Feast: Chia Seeds

Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia!

Chia seeds are making a comeback in the world of super foods.  You probably know them best from your childhood Chia Pet, but they are actually very good for you to eat!  They are an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important nutrients.

The history of chia goes back to Aztec and Mayan cultures in Mexico where they were used to not only sustain hunger, but medicinally to relieve joint pain.  Today, chia seeds are increasing in popularity as more and more people are realizing the benefits of to adding them to your diet.  The seeds don’t have much flavor, so you can add them to cereals, yogurt, or my favorite is to throw a tablespoon in my morning smoothie.  Because of this, you can get off of those wonderful nutrients without even noticing!

An interesting thing about chia seeds is the gel that they form when added to water.  I know this may sound gross, but it is actually a really good thing.  The gel can help you feel fuller longer by slowing down the process of how digestive enzymes break down food.  The gel can also be used to balance your blood sugar, relieve heartburn, and even make low fat baked goods.  That’s right, I said baked goods!  Chia gel can replace up to half of the butter in a recipe for a low fat version of your favorite cupcake.  Chia Guinness cupcakes anyone??

So, why not give chia seeds a try?  They are inexpensive and because they are high in antioxidants, they last a very long time.  Plus, because insects aren’t a fan of the chia plant, they are almost always organic and that’s a good thing!

Raw Chia Seeds

Do you cook with chia seeds?  What are some of your favorite uses?

Sources: Dr. Andrew Weil, My Chia Seeds, whereverthere