Wellness lab testing helps you to screen for potential red flags that could compromise your health over time. Many patients come in assuming that comprehensive labs are done at their yearly physical, but often this is not the case. Complicating matters, normal reference ranges given with basic blood work do not necessarily reflect optimum levels for wellness.
What are normal reference ranges?
Reference ranges are used to interpret your blood test results and can tell you whether your levels are normal or abnormal. Normal reference ranges are a range of values that are considered normal. These values are usually based on the range that 95% of the population falls into.
Why are normal reference ranges problematic?
There are a number of limitations with normal reference ranges.
What are optimal reference ranges?
Optimal ranges are based on clinical guidelines and scientific evidence. An optimal range is better linked to health and longevity. A great example of this is vitamin D. The traditional vitamin D range is between 35 and 125 nmol/L. This range is only based on the relationship between vitamin D, your bone health, and your risk of osteoporosis. However, vitamin D is important for many other things, like muscle and immune function. When taking this more comprehensive look, the optimal range for vitamin D is between 75 and 100 nmol/L.
Normal reference ranges are still helpful, and allow health professionals to make informed decisions about your health, but for those looking to optimize their health and wellness, optimal ranges should be used.