Hormones and Your Health

The Connection Between an Imbalance and Weight Gain

The statistics concerning adult obesity in the United States are alarming. According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 20 percent in all states. A diet high in fat and sugar, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, is usually to blame. But for some people, both men and women, there is no obvious reason for the additional pounds. These people are eating healthy and getting exercise, yet they still seem to be gaining weight. In that case, there is a possibility that hormones are to blame.

Hormonal Havoc

As we age, hormone levels adjust and can cause hormonal imbalances. This can lead to a number of issues including:

  • Weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes

Testing your hormone levels can help explain persistent weight problems and help you avoid the associated medical issues. The first step is to purchase the Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit at your local Any Lab Test Now location.

Taking the First Step

The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit is the first step to getting answers and it can be done in the comfort of your own home. You’ll have to fast for 12 hours for the results to be accurate. It consists of a simple dried blood spot test and a saliva test. Using these, the test measures bioavailable hormone levels. The kit is wide-ranging, testing in nine critical areas:

  • Estradiol (E2) – this is basically a form of estrogen. It is present in both women and men.
  • Progesterone (Pg) and Testosterone (T) – these are hormones that are found in both men and women that help regulate gender and the associated sexual functions.
  • DHEAS (DS) – helps in evaluating your adrenal gland function.
  • Diurnal Cortisol (Cx4) – helps determine your level of cortisol, a steroid hormone released by your adrenal gland.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – checks your body’s production of TSH, which helps regulate how your body uses energy.
  • Vitamin D (D2, D3) – low levels of this vitamin may lead to weight gain according to some studies.
  • Insulin (In) – this measures your insulin production. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and used by the body to transport and convert glucose into usable energy.
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – checks your blood glucose levels and can detect pre-diabetes.

If you’ve experienced unusual weight gain, are struggling with obesity, or are having difficulty losing weight, the cause could be hormonal havoc.

Results Put You in Control

Test results will usually take between five to seven business days after you return your specimen to the lab. Your results will pinpoint specific hormonal imbalances that can contribute to excessive weight gain and obesity. The comprehensive report also matches your tested hormone levels with reported symptoms so you and your doctor can determine what steps to take so you can achieve optimal health. It’s time to take your health into your own hands with the help of Any Lab Test Now.

Shortage of the Sunshine Vitamin

It’s hard to imagine it, but even in the middle of summer, there are people who aren’t getting enough sunshine in their life. There could be all kinds of reasons why, but the most likely one is because they are being wise and listening to the well-placed warnings from their dermatologist about skin cancer. So, they slather on sunscreen, suit up in long sleeved shirts and pants and basically avoid the sun when possible. But some doctors are seeing an unintended consequence to this advice: vitamin D deficiency.

What is Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, D is unlike any other vitamin. Your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But, your body can’t make other vitamins; you have to get them from the foods you eat.

Basically, when your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces vitamin D and sends it to your liver. Your liver then changes it to a substance called 25 OH D. When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels you’ll basically be talking about the amount of 25 OH D you have in your blood. You can also get vitamin D from supplements or even small amounts from the foods you eat.

Vitamin D at Work

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your bones strong. Your body needs it in order to absorb calcium. If you don’t have enough, your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. In children, this is called rickets. In adults, it’s known as osteomalacia. Researchers are also looking into the role that a vitamin D deficiency plays in:

  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes

Are You at Risk?

A lack of sun exposure due to sunscreen use isn’t the only risk factor for a deficiency. Some people are just more inclined to it. According to the Vitamin D Council, people at risk for D deficiency include:

  • People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun exposure you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person.
  • People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound or work nights and spend the day sleeping.
  • Older people, because they have thinner skin and may not be able to produce as much vitamin D as younger people.
  • Pregnant women and breastfed-only infants.
  • People who are overweight.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are so vague you might not have a clue. They can range anywhere from tiredness and general aches and pains to a pain in your bones and weakness. Some people don’t even have symptoms at all.

Testing to Know Your Levels

Testing to find out your levels of this important vitamin is as simple as going to your local Any Lab Test Now location. The test you’ll want to ask for is the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D). It’s a simple test that requires no fasting and results generally take between 24 to 72 hours. Our experts have found that people who take the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D) will also request one of the following relevant tests as well:

If your levels are abnormal a trip to your doctor is in order. They can talk to you about safe and sensible sun exposure and supplements. Having plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” can really be the key to feeling sunny every day!

Safety First! Any Lab Test Now Offers Lab Tests for Athletes

As an MMA fighter, boxer or other combative sports competitor or athlete, you already know that achieving peak performance means taking care of your body and health first. Vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances and other health problems can affect your success in the ring and even put you in danger of injury. That’s why many athletic organizations go so far as to require lab testing for their athletes — to make sure they are healthy and fit to compete and won’t be placing themselves in harm’s way.

The good news is, if you need required lab testing before your competition, you can get your results quickly and easily at Any Lab Test Now. Your local Any Lab Test Now location can provide your lab results before your next big fight or other athletic event, with no appointment or insurance necessary. You’ll have your results in 72 hours or less. We are proud to be the Lab Testing Provider for MMA and other combative sports fighters, getting fighters the results they need without the wait or the hassle.

MMA, Boxing and Other Combative Sports

The Fighter Panel at Any Lab Test Now is specially designed to meet the lab test needs of MMA fighters, boxers and other combative sports athletes. To be eligible to compete, many combative sports fighters are required to present their test results to their state athletic commission. The Fighter Panel includes tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. These tests will ensure your immune system is not compromised and that you are ready to fight.

While certain tests are required for competition, others are simply recommended for peak health, safety and performance in the ring, including:

Make sure you’re taking care of your health first to become the athlete you were always meant to be.

Other Athletes

If you aren’t a combative sports athlete, you may not need the same required lab testing that competitive fighting requires. However, many competitive athletes will still benefit from establishing a baseline for their health and fitness goals. Your baseline will help you improve your performance and let you know what might be going on when something doesn’t feel quite right. Common lab tests for athletes looking to monitor their overall health include:

As an athlete, your health is crucial to staying safe, fit and high-performing on the field, court or fighting ring. Stay at the top of your game by taking care of your health first. Schedule a lab test appointment online or call the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn what testing options are right for you.

 

Keeping Mom Healthy

Mother’s Day is around the corner, on May 14th. We usually give Mom a card or maybe take her to brunch. This year, you can do a little more to show your mom that you love her and want to spend many more Mother’s Days with her by talking to her about her health.

Navigating a Checkup

In fact, it’s a good idea to do an annual check-in with Mom before her annual checkup. Write down any of your mom’s questions so she can take them with her. Visit Any Lab Test Now to help provide answers she wants, quickly and easily. These will help her identify what she needs to talk about with the doctor.

Talk About Healthy Basics

Some basics to good health remain the same no matter what our age! Talk with your Mom about:

  • eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • exercising 30 minutes a day,
  • getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night,
  • not smoking,
  • wearing a seatbelt and
  • not texting while driving.

These are all good reminders when it comes to living a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. To add even more encouragement, perhaps you could tackle one or two of these together or create a challenge with the whole family.

Changing Vitamin Needs

There are some things that do change as Mom ages. Not all of them are things we’d think about. Did you realize the vitamins you take should change as you age? A mom in her 30s still needs to be sure to take folic acid every day, whereas a mom who is older and has gone through menopause doesn’t.

Once a woman has reached 65, she should be sure to add vitamin D into her daily regimen. Along with exercise, adequate levels of vitamin D can help prevent falls. If you aren’t sure that your mom is getting enough, you can suggest she have the simple Vitamin D Test done at Any Lab Test Now! Getting enough Vitamin D can be tough — especially if you follow a strict vegan diet. Other than fortified milk, not many foods have it.

Why is Mom Tired?

Being worn out and tired is just par for the course of motherhood, right? Not necessarily. Instead of letting Mom think that she has to spend 18 (or more) years exhausted, make sure there isn’t an underlying nutrient problem, such as iron deficiency anemia. In fact, the most common symptoms of this are fatigue and weakness. A woman who has anemia is tired because her blood isn’t getting enough oxygen to her body.

Any Lab Test Now has an Anemia Panel that can determine if Mom has an iron deficiency. Then, she and her doctor can come up with a plan to have her feeling more like herself again. The solution is usually a combination of iron supplements and adding iron-rich foods into her diet. No, she isn’t going to put liver on your dinner plate. Lentils, tofu, green leafy veggies and dried fruits are all great ways to get more iron in your diet.

Your mom spends a lot of time taking care of you. This Mother’s Day, take a little time to take care of her. Help her take charge of her health care needs and get the answers she seeks so that she can continue spending happy, healthy days with you and the family.

The Dangers of Being Vitamin D Deficient

Sunny days can make us feel amazing. Studies have proven, time and again, that a little sunshine can have a serious positive impact on your mood and mental state. And the good news is the sun can also be your best source for vitamin D! But what you may not know is that if you’re using lots of sunscreen, you may actually be vitamin D deficient regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.

Applying sunscreen daily is highly recommended for preventing skin cancer, and it’s a great idea to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen can also block beneficial UV light that allows the skin to make vitamin D. So if you are being too careful in the sun, you may actually be causing more harm than good.

You’ve Heard of it, But What is it Really?

Vitamin D plays an important role in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body needs for important processes such as the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc – all nutrients your body needs to survive.

The sun is your body’s best and most efficient source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or UV light on exposed skin, but it can also obtain the vitamin from plants, supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin. If your body does not get enough vitamin D, you will develop a vitamin D deficiency.

Some people may be more susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, diet and other factors. Sunscreen blocks UV light from being absorbed by your skin, which is why people can sometimes over-protect themselves from the sun. People who are obese, have dark skin and those who are older than 65 are also at higher risk. Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, bone pain, general aches or even frequent infections. However, some people show no symptoms at all.

A long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for any number of dangerous and even deadly health problems including coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen over time. This is why it is important to know your vitamin D levels so you can take the steps to correct or prevent a vitamin D deficiency.

What Can You Do About It?

A vitamin D deficiency can be treated with increased sun exposure as well as vitamin D supplements. To reach your necessary vitamin D levels, try getting at least ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day — but make sure to apply the sunscreen after that!

If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to get tested to find out for sure. Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Test is a great place to start if you’d like to find out more about your vitamin D levels. By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need, you can begin taking the first steps towards better health.

 

Are You Winter D-ficient?

Vitamin D, more popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for your health. It is a fat soluble vitamin that interacts with over 200 genes in your body. Your body produces Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. It’s also naturally present in a few various food items and supplements and can be absorbed that way.

It’s important to test your Vitamin D levels because if they are not satisfactory your risk for coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus and calcium deficiency rises. Many other health issues can come from a lack of Vitamin D as well.

A sufficient range of Vitamin D is between 30 and 100 ng/mL. Check out what the Vitamin D Council talks about in regards to having a Vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes if you are deficient, symptoms can go unnoticed. They can include tiredness, general aches and pains or more severe pain. These symptoms can be common for various different issues, which is why it’s so important to get tested to make sure you know what is going on in your body.

Deficiency can be common in the winter months, because you may not be getting as much sun as compared to the summer months. That’s why it’s important to Take Control of Your Health® and test your Vitamin D levels to learn where your levels are.

Getting in the Spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week

Going to college is a great experience. It is the time when you finally get to study the subjects you are really interested in and when you begin to work towards your future career. You are the one and only responsible for what comes next for Y-O-U, including meeting deadlines, paying bills on time and of course taking care of your health.  Welcome to adulthood!

Now let’s talk about the process to get into college. Yes grades, tests scores and a comprehensive entry essay are a given; but the other side of this process believe it or not comes down to your health. Are your immunizations up to date? Have you been tested for venereal diseases? Some institutions may also require you to take a drug test. All these elements combined and perhaps an interview will determine whether you get in or not.

Next… Congratulations you got accepted! Now the grind begins, you are on a roll and burning the midnight oil has become part of your daily routine. You figured “why not I’m young I’ll catch up on Z’s once I graduate!” Ask yourself do these activities affect my overall health and wellness? The answer to that question is YES! Let’s be honest that midnight oil being burned is not just due to studying and once you graduate the time to catch up on Z’s decreases. It has been reported that some of the main health concerns on campuses across the country include lack of sleep, infectious diseases, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise.

The time to Take Control of Your Health® is now! You might ask yourself, but “how do I do that?” Perhaps doing the good old buddy system could work.  ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be that buddy you need to help you stay on top of things and make sure you’re healthy. We have the tests that you don’t have to study for including titer testing, STD testing and overall wellness checkups. Plus, we have B-12 shots that can help you boost that energy after those all-nighters.  Get in the spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week, increase your awareness about the importance of staying healthy, fit and get educated on how to do it.  Visit www.anylabtestnow.com to find additional information on how to Take Control of Your Health® and visit a location near you.

What’s Up With That?? What’s Good For Me Can Also Be Bad For Me?

There’s a reason why your momma always told you to “drink your milk” when you were a child.  You’ve seen the milk commercials – it builds strong bones.  Then, when you started becoming the sunbathing god or goddess on the beach, your mother’s mantra changed to “wear your sunblock”.  Both good for you, right?

Well, yes and no!  Who would have thought that sunblock would also inhibit our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D?  The good news is if you use sunblock, you are protecting yourself from the negatives associated with sun exposure – skin cancer, wrinkly skin, unwanted aging and sunburn.  The question is, is your body getting enough exposure to produce a sufficient amount of Vitamin D?

It sounds silly to get a Vitamin D test in the summer when you’ve got a great tan going on; however, it may be the smartest thing to do to ensure you are not deficient if you are taking care of your skin through sunblock protection.  Who wants Vitamin D deficiency when you are older?  Now we have to deal with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension – whew!  The list goes on.

Lucky for us, if we just get tested periodically, we will know if we have a deficiency, then can take care of it in a number of ways, from combining a Vitamin D rich diet with supplements, or seeking guidance from our physician or nutritionist.  So, I’m not going to end this with “break a leg” (caused from Vitamin D deficiency); take control of your health, even in the summer.

Vitamin D Deficiency Addressed Again


vitamin D pillsThere has been an annoyingly large amount of back and forth over whether we should be taking large amounts of vitamin D to compensate for unrecognized deficiencies of the critical mineral.  First, most of us weren’t getting enough, then we were so, don’t worry and don’t take too much.  A new study has recommended screenings, specifically of the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, not the active levels, for specific groups that are at risk of severe vitamin D deficiencies.  These groups include the obese, those with malabsorption issues, african americans and pregnant/lactating women.

The study, conducted at the Boston University School of Medicine, includes new guidelines for screenings for levels of vitamin D that should be that should be present in the blood.  Generally a level of 30 ng/mL has been considered acceptable, but the recommendation is that clinicians should aim for a target level of between 40-60 ng/mL.  Many feel that the guidelines of 400 IU daily of vitamin for children and young adults and 600 IU for adults through the age of 70 is conservative because so many people are deficient and don’t realize it.  Regardless of the current guidelines, getting tested to check your level and making sure you are getting the minimum couldn’t hurt.  Obviously, the medical community is still battling this one out and we still don’t have a clear answer.  Until they figure it out, don’t sit around and assume you’re OK.  You’re the one who cares the most about your health so it’s up to you to be sure you’re getting the nutrients you need.