Janine Buisman Wilcox Naturopathic Doctor
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Nutrient Testing 101

We don't need to guess! I'm a huge fan of labwork. It can give us really valuable information and insight about where systems aren’t functioning well, and where to start treating.


The tests I run most in my patient population are nutrients, sex hormones, thyroid panels, and glucose metabolism markers. The test(s) I choose completely depends on the patient’s health history and signs and symptoms; these better indicate if any systems are off allow me to create a strategic treatment plan without guessing.

Labwork is not covered by OHIP but is often covered by supplemental health insurance plans. Even without coverage certain markers are totally worth it to create an effective plan without the added worry, wasted time, energy and money!

The nutrients I assess most frequently are ferritin (iron storage), B12, and vitamin D. Knowing these numbers in the context of a complete blood cell count coupled with a thorough health history allows me to dose them accurately for the symptoms and conditions that we’re treating.

Vitamin D is key for immune function, bone health, and mental health. The daily recommended dose of Vitamin D is quite safe to take long-term, but if you’re deficient it’s not enough to get you up to sufficient levels.

Iron can actually be harmful and can cause inflammation if it’s too high and may cause significant fatigue, weakness, hair loss, difficulty with concentration, etc. if it’s too low.  I typically look at ferritin, however it’s important to look at this in correlation with symptoms and a CBC (complete blood cell count), as ferritin can be falsely elevated with infection or inflammation.  The normal range for ferritin (iron storage) is 5-272 ug/L, however “normal” does not always indicate that it is optimal for function.

B12 deficiency can cause significant fatigue, mood changes, nerve issues, decreased cognitive function, etc. B12 deficiency is easy to treat if we know that it’s present.

I’ve seen dramatic changes in patients’ mood, energy, immune function, and fertility by addressing these nutrients! There are many other nutrients that are important, but these are the three I test most frequently as the lab results are reliable and so treatable!