The Healthy Living Profile

Dr. Jennifer Luis, B.Sc., B.Ed., N.D.

Dr. Jennifer Luis, B.Sc., B.Ed., N.D.


As the Fall starts sweeping in, many of us are keen to get back on “the program”. To some this means cutting out evening ice cream treats, reducing the bubbly or re-starting at the gym (again). How can we assist and help you target the areas that need the most support.

Lifelabs has put together a 35 + blood test panel which gives an excellent overview of where you are currently at. The aptly named “Healthy Living Assessment” is a quick and easy way to evaluate, nutrients, electrolytes, liver, kidney and gall bladder function as well as blood sugar and cholesterol markers. When a Naturopathic Physician evaluates laboratory findings, we look for optimal ranges as opposed to just the reference ranges. Reference ranges look at a wide scope to rule-out disease. But what about where the best place to be in the range is? This is optimal.

Let’s look at iron levels for example. The best representation of iron storage is measured by ferritin. The reference range for an adult female is 15 – 225 ug/L, over 200 points! If ferritin is below 15, it is considered too low and labelled as low iron or iron deficiency. What if the level is 25? The optimal ferritin level for women is around 100 ug/L, so it becomes obvious that looking only at the reference range could lead someone to be undiagnosed with low iron.

Naturopathic Physicians also look outside of the box at labs and symptoms. The enzyme alkaline phosphatase is commonly tested to assess liver function and bone metabolism. The traditional concern is when this enzyme is elevated above the reference range. But what if it is below the range? Often this is ignored and classified as insignificant. If you look at the biochemistry of how alkaline phosphatase is made, zinc is found to be a significant cofactor – in fact it cannot be made efficiently without it. Thus low levels indicate a zinc deficiency. Clinical signs of zinc deficiency are white spots on nails, reduced senses of taste and smell, acne and frequent colds and flus. Correlating symptoms and laboratory findings together helps to determine which dietary changes and supplements should be included or excluded.

This month, we are promoting our healthy living assessment along with a review of diet, supplements, stress and exercise to help formulate new programs for optimal wellness. Please call or email for more information.