INTERPRETING YOUR BLOOD TEST RESULTS
Fasting Blood Sugar (BSL): Normal levels of blood glucose are between 65 to 110 mg/dL. Individuals with Syndrome X may have unstable, fluctuating blood sugar levels. As the condition progresses, blood glucose levels can become too high. A fasting blood glucose elevated level may indicate Syndrome X. A blood sugar level over 124 mg/dL may indicate diabetes. The patient should be referred to their GP, who will perform a glucose tolerance test and HbA1c test.
Fasting Insulin: This can detect the degree of Syndrome X the patient suffers with. The patient should consume their regular diet, and not begin a low carbohydrate diet until after the blood tests have been performed.
Fasting insulin levels should be below 130 mg/dL. The more over 130 the patient’s level, the greater the degree of syndrome X; and the more important it is to strictly limit carbohydrate intake.
Total Cholesterol: Make sure you are aware of whether or not the patient is taking cholesterol lowering medication. Elevated insulin can stimulate the liver to produce greater amounts of cholesterol. So this test can tell us the degree of syndrome X the patient suffers with, and also the health of their liver. It is very common for those with a fatty liver to have elevated cholesterol and/or elevated triglyceride levels. If cholesterol levels are elevated this is a risk factor for heart disease.
People with syndrome X usually have low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
Total cholesterol should be between 148 to 171 mg/dL. It is not desirable to have very low levels of cholesterol, because cholesterol is required for the production of cell membrane, steroid hormones, vitamin D and bile.
Triglycerides: This is the main form of fat stored in the body, and is manufactured in the liver. High levels increase weight gain, and are a major risk factor for heart disease. Triglycerides make the blood thick and sticky, and increase the risk of clots. Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrate, as well as alcohol increase the liver’s manufacture of triglycerides. Elevated triglyceride levels are indicative of syndrome X. Normal levels are between 9 to 177 mg/dL. The lower they are the better.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): TSH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the thyroid gland to manufacture T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. The normal range for TSH is 0.30 to 2.00 mIU/L. Elevated levels of TSH indicate hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid gland). If the TSH is elevated, the patient should be referred to their doctor who will test levels of free T4, free T3 and thyroid auto-antibodies. Under-active thyroid gland always causes weight gain, and a very slow metabolism. Patients with this condition may display other signs and symptoms such as: hair loss, fluid retention, dry skin and hair, muscle weakness, constipation, poor tolerance to cold and depression.
Abnormally low levels of TSH may indicate hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid gland).
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): FSH is produced by the pituitary gland, and stimulates the ovaries to manufacture oestrogen. An FSH level of 20 IU/L or greater, on two separate occasions may indicate menopause. If the FSH level is over 30, menopause has definitely arrived. High FSH levels may also indicate premature menopause, or ovarian failure due to other causes. It is valuable to know the patient’s FSH level, because many women notice weight gain for the first time when menopause arrives. This is because the loss of the female sex hormones causes the metabolism to slow down. This can be helped through hormone balancing, using either the natural phyto-estrogens, or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
Free Androgen Index (FAI): This test measures the free amount of ALL the body’s male hormones (androgens). It is called the FREE androgen index because it measures only the amount of hormones that are free (active), and therefore unbound to blood proteins.
Elevated FAI levels may be indicative of –
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Carrying excessive weight in the trunk and abdominal area (upper level body obesity).
The excess androgens are made in the fat tissue, the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Male hormones have an anabolic (body building) effect; they can make the patient appear more masculine. Symptoms such as acne, facial hair, and scalp hair loss may also be present with high FAI levels.
It is possible to reduce the level of FAI through weight loss, increasing the quantity of phyto-estrogens in the diet, or the use of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.