Q&A 7/26/22 Simple Lab Tests that Can Make a Big Difference

PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS:

03:19 Simple Lab Testing

04:18 Ideal Functional Ranges

07:20 White Blood Cells

10:25 Hemoglobin

12:06 RDW

14:17 MCV

15:13 Platelets

20:05 hs-CRP

20:55 Homocysteine

21:19 D-Dimer

23:25 Fibrinogen

24:09 GGT 

24:48 Ferritin

25:49 Can high platelets lead to menstrual cramps

Transcript from Webinar:

Welcome to another edition of “Ask Dr. Neiters” here on Tuesday, the 26th of July 2022. I have a couple of announcements: Next week (next Tuesday) will be my last episode of “Ask Dr. Neiters” for a while. I’m behind on my book. I need to get that out. I’m determined to get that out on time. Also, believe it or not, doing the PowerPoints for the questions actually takes quite a bit of time. Plus, there’s time with me, you know, talking to you through this, plus Kathryn’s time. It’s actually rather time consuming, so we are going to take a break. We are going to focus on the book. When the book is finished, we will be back in here. We will contact you and let you know (if we have your contact information) and let you know when we are going back on the air.

So next week is the last week. And next week I’m going to take on a discussion about what’s often called energy healing. That’s such a huge, huge term. Basically all healing is energy healing. Whether you do it with drugs, with an acupuncture needle, or you do it with your hands; it’s all energy healing.  We tend to break it down into a few categories.

People see, for example, acupuncture and moxibustion as energy healing, which they are, but a particular branch.  Then they see devices like pulsed electromagnetic fields, using red light therapies, using infrared therapies, negative ion generators, biomats, etc. see that somewhat differently, and we really do, too.  In our clinic we have a lot of those devices. The core of our work is still acupuncture and herbs, but we have a lot and I mean a lot of other devices that we use for particular conditions.

Then you can get energy healing that is either spiritual or qigong practice, etc.. Distance healing, which I’m not going to talk about. What I’m going to talk about is that central piece that using devices to change your energetic flow and what that means. How effective are they, you know, are some of them just pure trash? Are some of them brilliant devices that are life changing?  I’m going to go into a breakdown of those different types of energy healing.

Now, the advantage of those is that you can do them at home. You know, you just you pay a one time fee and you set them up at home. Some of them are expensive, some are very inexpensive, and then you can use them. I personally sleep on a mat that does five different energy conversions. I’ll call them, and I feel so much better when I use it. Anyway, I’ll talk about all these next week.

But the bottom line is next week is our last “Ask Dr. Neiter’s” Tuesday webinar in a while. Be sure to tune in and ask all your questions, etc..

03:19 Simple Lab Testing

Today I’m going to go into one of my favorite topics which is lab testing. Simple, simple, simple, simple lab testing. At some point, I’ll go into more complex lab testing in terms of Dutch tests, microtox tests, OATS tests, stool testing, food intolerance, etc., but what I’m going to talk about today are simple, simple blood tests that most of you have gotten. Many of you get them quite frequently and your doctors go over them.  I have some information here for you.

If you read our newsletter today, Dr. Grisanti pointed out several things, all of which I was already aware of because of the book that Kathryn and I are working on, and many of them I’ve been aware of for years.

04:18 Ideal Functional Ranges

These are the ideal ranges. We’ve talked before about U-shaped curves and J-shaped curves, and that there is a sweet spot for any of these labs. Then as you start to go higher or lower from these sweet spots, mortality increases.

Now for me, if you have a test that’s in the so-called “normal range,” the reference range for any of these blood tests, and if you get a little bit outside that sweet spot, but you’re still in a normal range, you could have four times the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Now, to me, that is not normal. I don’t want my patients to have four times the cardiovascular risk. So I’m going to talk about a few things that I recommend that you look for on your labs.  If you have had labs, go back and look at the older ones. If you are going to get new labs, take a much closer look, because what I’m going to tell you is very simple. The five in particular tests that I’m going to talk about, pretty much every patient I see has had these tests done, and we are looking at thousands of patients.  Not one of those patients has ever come to me and said, “You know, my doctor said that this test that’s in the normal range is actually increasing my mortality when it’s in this range that I’m at.”  Not one. I don’t mean very few. I mean none – out of thousands. You have to know so that you can take action if you’re outside of these ranges.

We have given you some references at the end of our newsletter, so I recommend that you either keep those or print them out so that you can take them in to your medical doctor. If you are outside of these “normal” ranges so that you can give them to your doctor. Hopefully that helps you. And if it doesn’t, if they happen to see that a few times, it might change how they look at lab tests and maybe save hundreds of their patients.

If you take a normal, normal, normal CBC (CBC means complete blood count), it costs about $5. So if your doctor doesn’t want to run it, say why? I mean, this is less than a $10 test. Why wouldn’t you run it? In a CBC, there are several tests. One test estimates your actual blood volume, another catalogues your red blood cell types and shapes, etc..  A third test, estimates the quantity of white blood cells. 

07:20 White Blood Cells

Now the white cells, of course, are the cells that are protective. They’re the cells that attack foreign invaders and some specific white cells attack some specific foreign invaders.

Eosinophils, for example, get activated when there are seasonal allergies. If the levels are really high, then they could be attacking parasites. Neutrophils are first responders. When you get sick in the very beginning of the illness, the body doesn’t know what’s wrong. So it activates the neutrophils that attack everything foreign basically. And then over time, if it identifies that you have Epstein-Barr, it’s going to increase monocyte counts of it recognizes other infections, it will increase lymphocyte counts.

And you can use those ratios actually to tell what types of chronic issues you might have. I’m not going to go into that today. Today, what I’m looking at are things that are increasing your short term risk, now. That’s the typical this is from one of the major labs in our area, and this will be consistent throughout the country.

They say that white blood cells should be less than 10.8. That’s 10.8 thousand. Now, the truth is. White blood cell accounts of nine and it’s 9000 actually. But above nine. You have an increased risk of heart attack above nine. Even that, though, that’s in this so-called normal range. You can see why I don’t call that normal.  I don’t want our patients dying four times the rate they would likely die if they were within the range of 3.5 to 6. If they’re under 3.5, they could have a variety of different blood illnesses and cancers, etc. But at any rate, they’re not producing enough white blood cells and I don’t want it over six, even if it gets up to seven or eight, you’re generally seeing some form of hidden or occult infection, for example. It might be a bad tooth, could be any low grade infection.

Now, it’s even worse than that. The top quartile of normal. So if you take 10.8 and you go up to 75% of that value, the death rate, the mortality rate over the next ten years is 50% higher. And that’s particularly important for women. They actually have a little more of it. That’s been studied a little longer. If your WBC is a above nine, four times the death rate.

10:25 Hemoglobin

Second number we’re going to look at is hemoglobin. Now, hemoglobin is absolutely critical. Every red cell is packed with thousands of hemoglobin molecules and hemoglobin carries iron. It attracts iron and carries it so that you can get iron throughout your stream.

So hemoglobin is a very good marker for anemia. The standard range on Common Labs is 11.1 to 15.9. But one of the things about having higher hemoglobin is that you will also have higher blood pressure and tiny differences in blood pressure. I’m not sure I said that right. It will increase your blood pressure and tiny changes in blood pressure. When you look at large studies, 70, 80, 100,000 people, they’re looking at changes in blood pressure of 1 to 5 points as being very statistically significant.

The standard for the lab that I’m talking about here is 11.1 to 15.9. Now the healthy range is 13 to 16. In males, 13 to 16. And this is one of many tests that males and females have different sweet spots in that U-shaped curve. So for males, it’s 13 to 16. For females, 13 to 14. It’s a very small range.

12:06 RDW

Another number. I’ve never heard a doctor ever mention this to a patient in a good way, in a bad way in any way is RDW. RDW is a measure of bandwidth. It’s comparing the number of small blood cells to the number of large blood cells. Small blood cells are iron deficient. So you’ll get iron deficiency anemia or micro static anemia. Large blood cells are often caused by low folate or B12 levels. There are other things, but those are the two most common. 

If you have a high RDW, it means that your blood is either throwing out different size blood cells, which is I mean, there should be a little variation, but not a huge variation or you’ve seen a recent change. So someone that’s anemic and starts doing iron or whatever else they’re going to get over their anemia may see a short term increase in RDW because they may start putting out normal size cells alongside those older tiny cells.

And so to see an RDW that increases and you know, the reason that’s okay or if I give someone folate and B12, I would expect to see a short term change in their RDW. But if it’s longer term, then we’ve got a problem. And so that rate is 15.4. Generally my rate is 13. I want the RDW under 13. Anything above 14.5 significantly increases cardiovascular risk, but actually anything over 13 also increases risk factors just not quite as significantly.

Now these are tests that are done every day and my patients are never told to look for these things. And when I say never, I mean never. So you’ve got to be on top of these things.

14:17 MCV

MCV That’s mean corpuscular volume. So you’ve got the red blood cells, the erythrocytes that are sometimes called corpuscles. And so the mean corpuscular volume is the average size, the average volume of the red blood cells.

And again, I mentioned if they’re too small, a patient is often iron deficient or has iron deficiency anemia. And if they’re too large, they often have B12 and/or folate deficiency. The range that is given by a lot of labs is 80 to 100.  Particularly you want to be under 100 on those labs. Functional range is 84 to 90. And so when I say a functional range, it means if you’re outside of those ranges, you have a higher mortality risk, high 84 to 90.

15:13 Platelets

The one I’m doing the most work on right now. Preparing and getting the book out is platelets. I had a patient come in the other day. She’d had a miscarriage, a couple of miscarriages. She had a blood test done, and her platelets came in at right around 420. And she said, Yeah, I went to my OB-GYN. They said, I’m fine. All my tests are good. Well, I then pulled up a study that I had showing that high platelets are a major, major cause of early miscarriage, which makes total sense.

So platelets are clotting mechanisms. They’re cells involved in creating clotting in the body. Well, if you are pregnant, you want the blood to flow very freely from the placenta into the fetus. And in fact, a lot of women are put on some form of anticoagulant, usually aspirin, but sometimes stronger things to make sure that that blood flow remains high enough. And so if you have a high platelet count, you’re going to have a greater chance of clotting.

Also, kind of secondarily, high platelets are a sign of inflammation. If you’re pregnant, you don’t want to have inflammation that just causes massive problems now. We’ll see a platelet count recommendation in most labs to be under 450. We start to see increases in mortality above to 280. My ideal range is to 225 to to 275. And in the book, probably my clearest and most beautiful U-shape graph is around platelets and you see a tremendous increase in mortality as soon as you get over to 280 and if it’s over 400, there’s a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. It doubles your risk.  Yet I’ve never had a doctor worry about it. So stay on top of that.

So those are the tests that I most want you to be aware of that are going to be on any complete blood count that you get. But I want to do a quickie here on tests that you should have done if you’ve had COVID. And in most cases, you should have done if you’ve just been vaccinated against COVID. These are things that can be very significant.

Now, there are studies from several in the U.S. there’s studies from New Zealand, studies from South Africa, from Israel, from Germany, showing that if you give blood thinners to someone who has been hospitalized with COVID or has had moderate to severe COVID, they have a much lower mortality risk. They have particularly a dramatically lower risk of creating blood clots.

Why every patient isn’t given these, I think is horrible. I’ll just call it horrible. So you want to check yourself to see if any of these risk factors are being created in your body.

So the first is just that basic CBC and what are we looking for? We’re looking at those five tests that I just talked about. And if any of those are out of balance, you get to somebody who understands those issues. You can get to a functional medical doctor. They’re very, very good, but very expensive. There are some chiropractors and some acupuncturists that do functional medicine, and for what you need, in most cases, there will be about a third to a quarter of the price and can treat it just fine.

Now, if you need drugs, they’ll have to send you to the functional medicine doctor. But I treat these five things every day, every single day, and we can generally handle them without having my patients to go out and get the drugs. So get a CBC, got those five tests, get a metabolic panel, just a simple metabolic panel, and see if your liver enzymes are elevated, if your kidneys are damaged at all. Just basic stuff. And again, for the CBC and the metabolic panel, we’re talking about around 20 bucks. We now can get tests very inexpensively. We belong to a couple clubs, I’ll call them. We pay them a fee every year and then we get very low cost tests, but really about 20 bucks for those two.

20:05 hs-CRP

Now, if you have been. If you’ve had COVID, if you’ve been vaccinated, if you have any cardiovascular risks, you should also have an hs-CRP, that’s high sensitivity C-reactive protein, CRP is released in response to inflammation and stress. There is a whole body, CRP, which measures inflammation in total and then the high sensitivity measures, inflammation in the heart and arteries. And so that’s a very, very good test because COVID just tears up the arteries and the heart, as do the vaccines.

20:55 Homocysteine

Then another inflammatory test is homocysteine. A homocysteine is a general overall marker for inflammation. But what it does beyond that is homocysteine levels give you markers for increases in dementia risk. So you want to do that one.

21:19 D-Dimer

And then two of my favorites. And it’s my opinion that everybody that has COVID particularly long COVID should get these two tests. One is called a D-dimer. This is used by medical doctors who suspect deep vein thrombosis. So that’s a blood clot in the large, deep veins. Now, with COVID and vaccine injuries, often we don’t see that. What we see are micro clots that the entire body or certain organs are filled with tiny, tiny clots that don’t even show up on ultrasound. They’re too small, but will kill you. D-dimer measures the breakdown products of blood clots. And so it doesn’t matter if they’re big or small, if they’re breaking down, the d-dimer will go up.

Now in China, as opposed to the US, where I know of no hospitals doing this, when patients showed up with COVID symptoms, they tested them for COVID if they tested positive, The second thing they tested was the D-dimer.  Then they quartile them and treated them based on their D-dimer scores. If they were in the lowest quartile, they were given some herbs, supplements and sent home. Thinking they’re going to be OK. If they were in the next quartile up. It was expected that they would probably need hospitalization.  If they were in the third quartile up, it was expected that they would need a lot of hospitalization and be very sick.  If they were in the top quartile they were expected to have a very high likelihood of death. So they saw this as an incredibly important test. I do too. Now I can’t do it when people get checked into the hospital, but I will do it when they get out of the hospital, particularly if they have symptoms still remaining.

23:25 Fibrinogen

A test that is really kind of a paired test with d-dimer is fibrinogen.  So we’ve got fibrin. And fibrin is basically what is the fundamental structure, really the framework for clots you get fibrin and fibrinogen is involved in that process of creating the blood clot. So if you do fibrinogen and d-dimer, you’re getting the beginning of the blood clot and the end of the blood clot. And those two things together are fabulous, absolutely fabulous.

24:09 GGT

Other tests that I recommend are GGT, gamma-glutamyl transferase.  That’s a liver enzyme, but it’s a liver enzyme that’s often not tested for in the metabolic panel. They will check AST and ALTA, which are primarily liver enzymes. But you also want to check GGT.  Spike proteins have an affinity for the uterus and for the liver. They will can affect any organs. But those are two of the biggies. They find big changes in the uterus and big changes in the liver. So get a GGT.

24:48 Ferritin

The last test would be a ferritin test. This is a nonspecific test. Ferritin is the chemical that basically protects you from having too much free iron and oxidation in your system. But if it’s too low, you’re not going to be able to think straight. Most ADHD sufferers have very low ferritin levels, and if it’s too high, it’s a marker for inflammation and in some cases really severe inflammation. 

So CBC metabolic panel, HCR, CRP, fibrinogen, d-dimer, homocysteine, GGT, and ferritin. Okay, now those will all have to be ordered separately. Well, the CBC and metabolic panel your doctor will probably order, but you may have to pay out of pocket for the others.

So, Kathryn, any questions?

25:49

Can high platelets lead to menstrual cramps?

Yes, platelets are a marker for inflammation. So whether and there have been studies showing that when platelets come down, menstrual cramps get better. Now, that’s very clear. Whether the platelets themselves are causing the problem or whether the platelets are a marker for the problem is a little bit less clear. But the bottom line is if you give anti-inflammatory supplements that lower the platelet count, then menstrual pain will go down with it.

Okay.

So good one to check.

Yeah. It’s a very important thing to check.

Someone said, “I asked my doctor for the tests because they are recommended, especially because of long-COVID. Their doctor said they didn’t need them. What should I do? I got the CBC, Chem-14, and TSH.

Well, it’s interesting. It’s so funny. One of my patients who is a long COVID sufferer, she’s seeing a doctor at Stanford that created a long COVID profile. He actually gives you a grade a point score on it to determine how bad the long COVID is. And I recommended a couple tests for her and for my patient. And so she read his response and she said, so what do you think about these two tests? And he wrote back and said, they’re really stupid or something like that.

Well, for him they are, because that’s not what he’s treating. He’s not treating the blood clot aspects of it. I was asking about D-dimer. He’s treating the inflammatory molecules, he’s checking the interleukins, etc., which is a completely different ballpark.  So doctors tend not to be very well educated on this level, to be honest with you. I have found so many patients with high d-dimer levels, I mean, literally high enough that they would be in the third quartile up in China, meaning they thought this was very serious and their doctor wouldn’t even look at it.

So you may have to order those yourself. If there is someone in your area that you like who does some functional medicine or at least orders labs, they don’t have to do a lot of functional medicine I would go to them. You can go to life extension institute or search for lab tests online and order them yourself.

Okay.

Now you’ll pay a little more for them because you know you don’t belong to their club. So you might pay a little more than I quoted you a few minutes ago, but they actually have fairly good prices.

Okay. What would those supplements be that you mentioned?

For …  Platelets?

I think so.

Hard question to answer. There are many people. Certainly Western medical doctors, many functional medicine, medical doctors that have protocols and for any condition. They just have a list of things they’re going to do. I don’t have that. Because I actually practice Chinese medicine along with it, to me, every patient is an individual and so it really depends on what else I see. For example, we have a whole series of herbal formulas for menstrual cramps and we have herbal formulas for other menstrual conditions, and we now know from research over the last 50 years that those are effective at lowering platelet levels. Now, they didn’t know that, the Chinese, but they’ve been using it for 2000 years. They just knew they worked.  So a lot of the things that I would use would be traditional Chinese medical herbs. I would add Serra peptides which breaks down fibrin deposits and I would add natto kinase which makes the blood flow better, doesn’t clot as easily and is anti-inflammatory. So those are the things I would start with.

Okay. Well, I’ll be back here next Tuesday. Same bat channel, same bat time, 3:00. And I’m going to talk about energy, medicine devices. Okay. And I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

I’ll tell you what I recommend, what I don’t recommend, and please bring your questions. So again, pulsed electromagnetic fields, red light therapy, yellow light therapy, blue light therapy, infrared therapy, ion negative ion generators, biomats, CES ear clips. So anything you want to ask about or conditions that you want to ask about that you think one or another device, you know, that we might know a device. For example, the new CES ear clips have FDA approval to claim to help insomnia and they’re getting approval for depression. And that’s been my experience already with my patients.

Okay. All right. Well, have a great week and I will be back next Tuesday. And if you’re interested in the heart, which I hope you are, check in with me on Monday. All right. Thank you. Be happy. Be healthy.


REFERNCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6224537/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11590089/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323134019.htm
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.045102
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/01.CIR.84.2.613
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcvm.2019.00109/full
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193565
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4261384/


Dr. John Nieters L.Ac, DAOM, is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, functional medicine, writer, teacher, and leader in the community. In this episode, John talks about his experience with the importance of finding your vision and purpose in life, in order to create the right goals for you.

Disclaimer: Dr. John Nieters received his Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture degree from Five Branches. His use of “doctor” or “Dr.” in relation to himself solely refers to that degree. Dr. Nieters is a licensed acupuncturist in California. This video is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Nieters and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. TheBalancingPoint.net, Alameda Acupuncture, and Dr. John Nieters L.Ac, DAOM are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

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