Blood tests can tell you a lot

In July this year, I decided to invest in some blood tests with Thriva, an online blood test company.

I didn’t have any specific concerns but I wanted to check up on my cholesterol and thyroid, and also to see if my Vitamin D levels were in a good place to support my immunity.

Their website has a sweet and simple survey that guides you to choose blood tests based on your height, weight, age and health goals.

As it was my first time I decided to go ahead with a fairly comprehensive blood panel.

  • Cholesterol
  • Thyroid
  • Liver Function
  • CRP (inflammatory markers)
  • HBA1C (early detection of diabetes)
  • Iron
  • Vitamins B9 and B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6

Thriva sent out a home testing kit, which was very simple to use.

I sent my blood sample in the prepaid envelope and waited.

July Blood Tests

When the results of my blood tests came back I was relieved to see they were pretty good overall.

My Vitamin D results were even ‘optimal‘!

(I put this down to the good quality Vitamin D that I used at the start of lockdown.)

But, I did come away with one main area to work on: my intake of fats.

This showed up in two of my blood tests.

  1. Omega-3 and Omega-6 balance
  2. Cholesterol profile

The medical doctor analysing my results explained that overall my positive cholesterol levels were helping to balance my ‘bad’ cholesterol.

But, as my Omega-3 was slightly low and my Omega-6 was slightly high, it was suggested that I take a fish oil supplement, which would also help my cholesterol levels overall.

Essential Omegas

Omega-3 is essential for many biological functions.

  • Hormone production
  • Brain function
  • Eye health

It’s also linked to better sleep and mental health and is thought to help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer.

In simple terms, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in your body.

On the other hand, omega-6 fats promote inflammation.

Long-term, low-grade (chronic) inflammation can put you at risk of things like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.

This is why it’s important to have the right balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats.

My Plan to Increase Omega-3

I decided to focus on eating oily fish every week, such as mackerel, sardines, anchovy and salmon.

Walnuts are already one of my favourite nuts, so they are now my go-to for snacking.

Chia and Flaxseed also contain Omega-3, but I find them harder to include in my diet so I decided to focus on walnuts instead.

Algae is the source of Omega-3 in fish, and I’ve been using Aquasource blue-green algae supplements for more than 20 years.

On reflection, I realised I hadn’t taken any supplements (except Vitamin D) for a few months, so I ordered a new supply.

  • Oily fish at least weekly (sustainable sources)
  • Walnuts for snacks
  • Blue-green algae daily
  • Homeobotanicals to support my liver
  • Homeopathy to balance cholesterol

My Plan to Decrease Omega-6

This has taken a bit more effort!

To avoid eating processed vegetable oils I’ve focused on reading labels a lot more!

As a result, I’ve stopped consuming oatcakes, oat milk, most savoury snacks and milk chocolate.

On my label-reading journey, I also discovered how many foods contain palm oil, which I found quite shocking.

Cadburys chocolate and Nairns organic oatcakes both contain palm oil. I had no idea.

  • Cut out oatcakes and oat milk
  • Cut out milk chocolate
  • Cut out savoury snacks
  • Reduce all oils in cooking

Most of what I eat is home-cooked, but I’ve tried to reduce my overall vegetable oil consumption while still using olive oil and coconut oil in moderation.

I am intolerant to cow’s dairy produce, but I’m not affected by butter and cream so I continue to enjoy them occasionally.

November Blood Tests

Thriva offers a subscription where you can choose how often to have your blood tests and also what to include on the panel.

I opted to have new blood tests in October, and this is what I chose to have tested.

  • Cholesterol
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6
  • Vitamin D
  • HbA1c
  • CRP

The results of my blood tests came back this week and I was delighted with them!

Normal Cholesterol, HbA1c and CRP results was a great result, plus and I’ve increased my Omega-3 and decreased my Omega-6!

My Vitamin D levels have reduced slightly, but are still in the normal range. I know I need to keep an eye on my Vitamin D as it’s winter and light levels are lower.

Vitamin D supplements are essential during the darker months as they support many normal functions including sleep, mood and immunity.

Overall I couldn’t be more pleased!

My New Plan

It is great to see my progress through my blood tests, and I’m really motivated to keep making positive changes.

Here’s my new plan.

  • Eat oily fish regularly
  • Eat walnuts regularly
  • Take blue-green algae daily
  • Take Vitamin D daily
  • Avoid vegetable oils
  • Avoid processed foods

The Thriva portal gives me a place to update my health profile and to make a health plan for myself.

Blood Tests and Symptom-tracking

Your blood can tell you a lot about your internal health.

Thyroid and endocrine panels, cholesterol, iron and B12 levels are blood-tests I often recommend.

Homeopathy and botanical herbs are the main supports I offer, but I will also suggest dietary changes and food supplements when needed.

Blood tests and symptom-tracking are helpful ways to see progress and the impact on your well-being.

Small actions and small steps build-up to solid progress over time.

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  • Balance your hormones
  • Feel calm and energised
  • Have nice clear skin
  • Get a good night’s sleep

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