Want to achieve better health and fitness? Contact Melanie to learn more about the coaching packages that give you one-on-one personal coaching for the best you!

Contact Melanie


See what classes, seminars, or local and national events are happening this month.

Events Page


Melanie is regularly posting new and tasty recipes with the healthiest foods on earth. Check back often for ideas on making yummy meals and delightful treats that have health benefits.


Going to the grocery store or farmer’s market and not sure what to buy to achieve your best health or how to purchase good, quality food on a budget? Melanie’s food buying guide for healthy meals and snacks is here to help!

Basic Lab Tests to Ask Your Doctor to Order & Lab Ranges

I always tell my clients and students that some of the best lab tests that really tell us what’s going on in our body aren’t run by conventional doctors and aren’t typically covered under insurance.  Such a shame.  But, that doesn’t mean standard lab tests that most doctors run are not useful.  They can certainly tell us some important things.  However, one flaw with some of the tests are the lab ranges used.  Some of the ranges include sick population to get averages, and don’t reflect what is optimal.  For instance, for vitamin D, the doctor will say you are okay as long as you are at 30.  Okay is not the same as optimal.  Optimal for vitamin D is more like 50-60.

Because I commonly get questions about tests to ask for and lab ranges, I thought I’d share some info with you on what labs to request and what sort of numbers to look for.  These are all labs that any conventional doctor should be able to run, and labs that are most often covered by insurance (but check with your doctor or provider).  This is to meant to give you a general idea, but we are all unique individuals. so what may be high for you, might not be a problem for someone else.  We often need to look at the big picture.

*I am not a doctor, nor have I played one on TV.  This information should not be construed as medical advice in any way, shape, or form.  Healthy

LAB:  CBC plus Differential plus Platelet – Common lab test that includes things like white blood cell count, hemoglobin, and red blood cell count.

Notes on Lab Ranges – For the most part, you can go with the standard lab ranges.

LAB:  Comprehensive Metabolic Panel – Common lab test that includes things like glucose, potassium, and sodium.

Notes on Lab Ranges – For the most part, you can go with the standard lab ranges, but see my note below on glucose.

LAB:  Lipid Panel with Ratios – Common lab test that includes total cholesterol and triglycerides.  *Uncommon – If you can get it, ask for an NMR profile or Apo B test.

Notes on Lab Ranges – My problem with cholesterol numbers is too immense to cover here.  What you should be particularly concerned with from this panel is not total cholesterol, but HDL and especially triglycerides.  For women, you want HDL to be above 60 and for men, above 50.  Triglycerides should be below 100.

LAB: 25-OH Vitamin D – Common lab test that tells you your vitamin D levels.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Most labs suggest 30 – 100 ng/mL as okay, but for optimal health you don’t want too high or too low.  I would suggest 50-60 ng/mL as optimal.

LAB:  Inflammatory markers & heart disease risk – These include Homocysteine, Highly Sensitive C-Reactive Protein, and Fibrinogen Activity.  These give you an idea about how much general inflammation you have, and can be markers for risk for heart disease.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Homocysteine should be below 7.2 µmol/L.  CRP should typically be below 1.0 mg/L.  Fibrinogen should probably be between 200-340 mg/dL

LAB:  Iron and Ferritin – Iron is commonly tested, but ferritin is not.  Ferritin levels are definitely something women need to have checked.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Range for ferritin is definitely too low.  You want ferritin to be at least 50, if not higher (although not above the lab range usually).

LAB:  Blood sugar profile – This includes fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and hemoglobin A1C.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Fasting glucose would be best between 70-85 mg/dL.  Fasting insulin would be best under 3 .  Hemoglobin A1C should probably be below 4.5%.

LAB:  Vitamin B-12 – This tests your vitamin B-12 levels.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Vitamin B12 levels are best 450-500 ng/L or pg/ML and higher

LAB:  Thyroid panel – Most docs only run a TSH, but to have the true picture of what’s going on with your thyroid (and to have a better idea how to fix it), you need a full panel which includes – Free T3 & T4, Total T3 & T4, T3 Uptake, Free Thyroxine Index, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies (TPO and thyroglobulin).

Notes on Lab Ranges – TSH range is way off from optimal.  Most functional med docs agree that TSH needs to be between 1.0 and 2.0.  Ranges for the other numbers differ from lab to lab, and I prefer to work with an individual directly about their thyroid panel results.  If antibodies are high, you just might have Hashimoto’s.

LAB:  Male and Female hormones – This includes testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA.

Notes on Lab Ranges – Hormones depend on your age and many other factors, and this is something I prefer to discuss one on one.  If you test low by normal standards, please do not immediately jump to taking hormones.  Many things can be done to boost your levels naturally.

***Ask your doctor for anything else you can get covered under insurance!  That’s not invasive…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.