By Dr. Jean-Luc Le Provost
Here we are again, it’s a new year and new health and weight loss goals go hand-in-hand. Often we are advised to see our doctors before we start a weight loss program and this is sage advice. So arm yourself with the following guidelines to make your visit a little more worthwhile for your weight loss goals.
Request from your doctor the standard blood work plus a few extra tests that could make a big difference in weight loss. Hormone testing could help you reach your goals sooner and help keep the weight off. If your hormones are out of balance you can be fighting an uphill weight loss battle.
First, request that they perform a more extensive thyroid test, one that includes TSH, T4, and Free T3.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is a standard test and usually the only test medical providers run on your standard office visit. But this test alone can fall short of giving you the right answer as to how well your thyroid, thus your metabolism is running. Testing the T4 and Free T3 levels will give you and your doctor a more accurate answer as to how well your thyroid is really functioning.
It is not uncommon to see a normal TSH and have other thyroid values out of range. Imagine trying to lose weight if your metabolic furnace is set too low – you could always be fighting the bulge. These simple tests can help you avoid the “there is nothing wrong with your thyroid” answer.
Second request for men, and women, should be your sex hormones.
Your first sex hormone tests should be Testosterone Total and Testosterone Free labs. These are very important tests and again, often missed during your routine exams. Low testosterone can go for years without being properly diagnosed. This can contribute to a series of health conditions that impact the quality of life in your later years. This is true for both men and women!
Proper testosterone testing, evaluation and treatment can help with fat loss, increase muscle mass and increase bone strength as well as mental clarity, energy and sexual function. Testosterone is major player in our overall health, especially as we become older. You owe it to yourself to see where you stand.
In addition to testosterone are other “sex” hormones; DHEA, estrogens, estradiol, progesterone, and pregnenolone. Many of these do play similar roles as testosterone and you could benefit from getting them tested in addition to your testosterone.
The best place to start is by simply asking your doctor to run the tests for you. If your physician does not feel comfortable treating you for any conditions associated with hormone balancing then find a physician that specializes in hormones. With your test values in hand, ask for a professional consultation. It is advised to get a few medical health professionals’ opinions and keep your general practitioner aware of your health ambitions.
You owe it to yourself to get your levels tested. This proactive approach can significantly affect your weight loss and your future health. Please see our website blog at drleprovost.com for more information on hormone testing and treatments.