It’s World Health Day, and I thought I would drop a few lines about the most beneficial step I have ever taken to improve my well-being. It’s not fun. I skipped out on it for years, and I bet you have too. Getting a blood test is pretty much on par with moving, taxes, and…what’s another terrible thing you don’t want to do? Mine is going to Coachella.
Anyway, you can buy all the vitamins, superfood powders and supplements you want. But do you even need them? As trendy as wellness is at the moment, we’re not talking about a one size fits all approach here. Netflix recently released a documentary series ‘The User’s Guide to Cheating Death,’ and the episode on genetics provided a compelling argument regarding medical testing that I’ve thought about a lot. Essentially, we should think about our genetics like a deck of cards. To win at a card game, like poker, it would be pretty hard to win if you didn’t know what cards you were playing with. Genetic testing – even a simple blood test – is the best way to find out the hand you’ve been dealt.
A routine blood test should be included in your annual checkup with your primary care physician. Contrary to popular belief, it shouldn’t take a long time and it shouldn’t hurt, if your phlebotomist knows what they’re doing. While your doctor can call out high and low markers in your test results, it may be worth consulting a holistic health practitioner or a nutrition consultant to really understand what your results mean, and how you can use food and supplements to get your health back on track. Just like getting an x-ray, it’s the only to get a feel for what’s actually going on inside your body. So instead of reaching for a cheap multi-vitamin, or crazy expensive adaptogen herb blends, start with a simple blood test.
If you need more convincing, there might just be companies in your area that come to your home to take your blood. My functional medicine specialist in San Diego set me up with Blood Dispatch; I pick a day and they give me a two-hour window for a professional phlebotomist to come to my place to do the deed. Shout out to Teresa who tapped my teeny tiny veins like it was nothing! Hot tip: you’ll probably need to fast for 10-12 hours before your draw, so scheduling it first thing in the morning is the way to go. After you’re bandaged up, do something nice for yourself, like snuggling with a puppy. You’ll forget about the needle in no time.