Nutrient Tests Update

test iconJust to let you know that I have been updating my nutrient testing recommendations for you in the light of new research and consequent changes in the lab tests offered.

One of the main changes is doing zinc now in plasma rather than white or red blood cell. Four of the labs have said the same thing: that their tests suggest plasma methods are now good enough to find zinc levels effectively and that this method has overtaken red blood cell methods.

I have still kept the red blood cell Doctors’ Data Minerals 1 test because some of you may need it for comparison purposes and it’s a good test anyway. But, from now on my main mineral test recommendation will be the Toxic & Essential Elements in blood from Genova. Why? Because, rather cleverly in my view, they measure the different minerals in different ways according to which method is most effective for each mineral. Clever.

I’ve summarised my recommendations for you in an updated Nutrient Testing FAQ. Here’s the general gist:

Nutrient Tests Overview

This blog post might help generally: Which Lab Tests Are Best?

This is a really complex field and you would think it would be so easy! The fact is that different nutrients are best tested in different ways. However, there are some good all-rounders. 

There are basically two main ways of testing nutrients: functional testing using amino acid analysis and metabolic testing to find functional issues with nutrient use in the body OR testing actual levels in blood, urine or hair etc. Nutreval below does both. I am often asked to choose between the different methods. Put simply: I can’t. It is like comparing apples with eggs, or something like that! They do completely different things, but both will give you an idea of where nutrient levels might be an issue. 

Functional Tests

I rate the Nutreval and the ONE Test, which is a smaller version of the Nutreval, but often gives people a good indication of what’s going on. I like these particularly because they give you a suggested supplement level protocol based on your results – people find that useful! Check the sample reports on the test pages and see what you get with each one. In effect, Nutreval includes body level testing as well as functional testing, extra antioxidants and fatty acids on top of everything you get in the ONE test.

Body Level Tests

This is quite complex and there seem to be dozens of ways of looking for nutrient levels. To make life even more complicated, different tests are best for different minerals. 

My main recommendation nowadays for minerals is Genova’s Toxic & Essential Elements Blood Test because it measures the different minerals in the different ways, which I think is rather clever of them. (Incidentally, you can do this via Urine too but I think blood is better myself for the main minerals; this one might be useful if on a chelation programme though eg, for toxic metals). 

I would combine the Elements blood test with the Vitamin Profile and  Vitamin D status for a comprehensive look at nutrient levels, maybe adding the Anaemia Profile and Essential Fatty Acid Balance too if necessary (ie. fatigue, inflammation, pain, neurological issues present). 

As an all-rounder and particularly good at assessing antioxidant status, Spectracell is a cutting edge test using intracellular white blood testing. I have had good results with it. 

You can also use hair testing, but I find that best for looking at the heavy metals (see below) and for the mineral ratios eg. of zinc and copper or calcium and magnesium, for example.


I told you this was complex! If in doubt, go for an overall test – either the ONE, Nutreval or Spectracell OR the Toxic & Essential Elements (blood), Vitamin Profile and Vitamin D. Add things like Anaemia or Fatty Acid levels as needed. 

On the page, I have also included a summary of toxic metal testing eg. for mercury etc.

Hope that helps with this complex testing field!

Meditators Keep More Little Grey Cells

Meditators lose less ‘grey matter’

Meditation may help us hold on to more ‘grey matter’ in the brain, and keep us mentally sharp as we get older, a new study has found.

People who have meditated for years seem to lose less of the brain’s grey matter—the tissue that contains neurons—than those who didn’t, say researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

When they looked at the brains of 50 long-term meditators, and compared them to 50 non-meditators, they found significant differences in the amount of grey matter between the two.  “We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions (of the brain) that had previously been associated with meditating.  Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain,” said lead researcher Dr Florian Kurth.

Each group was made up of 28 men and 22 women aged from 24 to 77, and those who meditated had been doing so for between four and 46 years.  MRI scans were used to monitor the brains of the participants, and although all the older people in the trial displayed some loss of grey matter, it was far less in those who meditated.

(Source: Frontiers in Psychology, 2015; 5: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01551)

Change In Test Order Process: What Does £0.00 Mean?!

You will notice quite a few price changes on the shop from today – and a lot of them now come up as £0.00. This doesn’t mean I have managed to get them for free, sadly! Essentially, I have changed my agreements with the two key labs I work with and they will be taking the payment now (usually when you return samples) instead of me charging up front. There are a lot of reasons for the change I won’t bore you with; suffice to say my life will be a bit easier and you can still get your tests OK so: result :)

It does mean that some of the prices have changed. Sadly I can’t keep the discounts currently for Nutreval etc that I managed to get – we haven’t ordered enough of them to keep the agreement – but most of the price changes are down rather than up, whilst the vast majority haven’t changed. I will keep my eye on the levels of Nutreval etc and get the discount back if I can, of course.

Here’s the message I’ve put on the Test FAQ for you:

Update Feb ’15: Change in Order Process – £0.00 Prices!

Summary: order a £0.00 test and you pay the lab rather than me. Simples.

You will notice that some of tests now come up as £0.00. This does not mean they are free, sorry! I have changed the order process for some of the key labs to streamline a bit and cut my workload down! Tests from Regenerus (Cyrex, Doctor’s Data, ALCAT, Infectolab, Labrix, Spectracell etc) and Genova will now be listed at £0.00 with the recommended retail price on the page still so you can see how much it is (this is subject to change but they should be about right). 

You do your order which will come up as ‘No Payment Required’ (unless you are ordering other tests that aren’t zero of course, which you pay for as normal). I will place your order with the lab as usual and then the lab will send the test kit to you and arrange payment. You usually pay when you return your samples, but the lab will advise. Your results will come to me as usual and I will analyse and email for you as normal; it’s just the taking payment side that’s changed. Note: labs will reject samples or not release results until payment is made.

Hope that all makes sense and thank you for bearing with me. There are quite a few shop changes coming up because my shop server company has decided to do an upgrade – which usually means a bit of jiggery-pokery for a while so apologies in advance and thank you for your patience!

Male trees increase causes more hayfever

Male trees increase causes more hayfever:

What’s In Your Food? The Shocking Truth…

find iconThis is just too depressing for words if you are sensitive to foods, additives and the like. Joanna Blythman has done a great expose article about food industry ‘tricks’ in The Guardian and, quite honestly, anyone with sensitivity issues should have their head in their hands after reading this. It confirms why I have been following what I call my AIP Purity diet now for over a year – no processed foods touch my lips. Although, as Joanna shows, even that innocent-looking apple could be covered in NatureSeal, a coating containing citric acid (anathema to anyone corn-sensitive like me) to keep it looking ‘healthy’. No wonder I have to peel my apples.

Honestly. Although I don’t know why I’m surprised. Joanna describes the massive job she had trying to get manufacturers to divulge their industry secrets about food manufacture. It took me two years to research the TGF (grain and dairy free) supplements master list for the same reason. And what I found was that most of the suppliers in actual fact had no clue what went into the producing of their ‘natural’ supplements. I certainly opened quite a few eyes with my delving and even managed to get labels and products changed on the back of it.

Read this if you dare.

Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat

Think you eat only healthy, unprocessed foods? Think again. Joanna Blythman went undercover and discovered that even your fruit salad is not what it seems

Ear Syringing: A Thing Of The Past?

Saw this snippet today which suggests that when you next ask your GP surgery to sort your ears out, they may not do it anymore:

Action on Hearing’ mag. Winter/Spring 2015.  ‘Ask the Experts.’

Question:  Previously my GP would remove ear wax by irrigation, but I’m now told this service is withdrawn for ‘legal reasons’ & I’ve been referred for microsuction.

Answer by Louise Hart, Audiologist:   The decision not to irrigate is being taken by more & more GP surgeries nationwide & it’s because of patient safety.  If done incorrectly, or when there are contra-indications to doing the procedure, then syringing or irrigating can cause significant damage to the ear. 

If the wax has not been softened enough and/or pressure of the water is too high, then the eardrum can be perforated.  In the most severe cases, it may also traumatise the cochlear, causing permanent nerve damage.  Most GPs are not ENT-trained, & neither are the nurses, so any potential issues are much harder for them to diagnose prior to syringing.  Some areas now have ENT (ear, nose & throat) clinics to deal with less complex cases which are run by GPs who do have ENT training.

There you go!

New 21 Day Meditation for March

For anyone following me in the Healing Series of posts, just a quick note to say that there is another Deepak Chopra/Oprah Winfrey 21 day meditation challenge starting in March. Here are the details:

Manifesting True Success

Oprah and Deepak have joined together, once again, to create an ALL-NEW 21-Day Meditation Experience for you. Manifesting True Success will help you create deep, authentic, lasting, rewarding, and soul-filling success in your life.

Over three million people around the globe have participated in Oprah and Deepak’s transformational and acclaimed 21-Day Meditation Experiences, with exceptionally meaningful results:

“Deeply insightful, grounded, and thorough guided experience that has been expertly curated by two of the most influential spiritual leaders of our time.” – Patheos

The benefits of meditation are life changing. Guided by Oprah and Deepak, you will be able to:

  • effectively manage and release stress and anxiety

  • enhance focus, memory, and the ability to learn

  • improve creativity and problem solving

  • cultivate a deep state of peace and wellbeing

It’s free to participate in Manifesting True Success! Register today to achieve meaningful NEW accomplishments in your life. Your transformation awaits!