Life Extension Magazine®
Four vials for blood testing with technical overlay

Issue: May 2018

New Annual Lab Test Sale

Dr. Scott Fogle answers questions about the benefits of various lab tests and outlines exciting changes and additions to the Annual Lab Test Sale.

By Dr. Scott Fogle, ND, Physician.

Scott Fogle, ND
Scott Fogle, ND

Dr. Scott Fogle is the Executive Director of Clinical Information and Laboratory Services at Life Extension®, where he oversees the company’s laboratory division and scientific and medical information. In this interview, Dr. Fogle outlines the exciting changes and additions to Life Extension’s Annual Lab Test Sale, and explains the benefits of various tests.

LE: Why is the Annual Blood Test Sale now being called the Annual Lab Test Sale?

SF: We are changing the name because we now offer so many tests other than blood tests alone. Since we now offer urine, saliva, fecal, and DNA tests, calling it the “Blood Test Sale” confused some of our customers.

LE: Last year you introduced some breakout new tests.

What you need to know

The science behind monitoring one’s health through lab testing is accelerating exponentially, and Life Extension has kept up to date. Some of our new tests include genetic analysis of exercise capability, weight loss and response to psychiatric medications.

SF: During last year’s annual sale we introduced several new tests—such as the Neurotransmitter Panel, Adrenal Stress Profile - Saliva, Food Safe Allergy Combo Panel, DNA Genetic Cancer Risk Profile, and the ApoE Genetic Test for Alzheimer’s and Cardiac Risk—and all were very successful. The Neurotransmitter Panel and the Food Safe Allergy Combo Panel were the most popular.

LE: Are any new genetic tests being offered this year?

DNA Weight Management Panel
DNA Weight Management Panel

SF: Yes, we launched three of them just before the Annual Lab Test Sale, and the most popular by far has been the DNA Weight Management Panel. Everyone knows how challenging it can be to lose weight. What is special about this genetic test is that it identifies what diet plan is likely to provide the best results based on your unique DNA.

This test helps take the guesswork out of dieting by looking at your genes. For example, based on your results, a report might have this specific suggestion: Eat a diet low in carbohydrates, particularly low in refined carbohydrates, instead of a low fat, Mediterranean, or any other type of diet.

LE: Does the test also predict your genetic potential for weight gain and weight-loss regain?

SF: It does, which is beneficial to know. It helps people understand why they may struggle more than others with weight loss and with gaining it back after a diet. It lets them know that they need to have a more focused plan and to maximize the other important results from the report to get the best weight-loss results and to keep it off.

LE: Does this test include any insights into the best exercise program for your genetic type?

SF: Yes, it tells you whether endurance or strength will help give you better results. It also reveals how your HDL, blood pressure, weight, and insulin sensitivity will respond to exercise.

It essentially helps you customize your own weight-loss program. After all, what better way to figure out what is likely to work best for you than asking your own genes!

LE: What about the other two DNA tests you mentioned?

Lab Tests  

SF: Both of these unique DNA tests are especially good for people taking medications. It shows how an individual may or may not react to a drug and helps determine the most beneficial dose.

The Mental Health DNA Insight® Profile provides information about how your body is likely to respond to 50+ psychiatric medications, such as SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and more. The Pain Medication DNA Insight® Profile reveals how your body is likely to respond to pain relief medications such as opioids, NSAIDs, and methotrexate. Both of these tests are very helpful for people who feel they react differently to medications.

In an ideal world, everyone would take these tests before taking these drugs to help minimize side effects and to more quickly determine the most beneficial dose. Most doctors still operate under the trial-and-error approach: They prescribe a dose, have you report how you feel, and then make adjustments.

That approach is outdated and very inefficient—especially since we have the technology to test and make more accurate dosing suggestions right out of the gate. This is especially important for pain and psychiatric medications.

LE: Are there other new innovative tests?

SF: We are pleased to be able to offer a SIBO Home Breath Kit now, too. This is a hot topic in alternative medicine circles, in scientific research, and even with some forward-thinking gastroenterologists.

SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This condition occurs when certain bacterial populations proliferate too much in the small intestine. Healthy strains of bacteria are beneficial, but when unhealthy strains grow and expand too much, it leads to problems like gas, bloating, abdominal pain/distention, cramping, brain fog, and more.

LE: How is this test done?

SF: It is a breath test. The gasses produced by the overgrowth of bacteria go into your bloodstream and are exhaled through your lungs. For this test, you drink a lactulose or glucose solution and then collect your breath into a special tube at specific intervals. It takes about three hours to complete, and you have to consume a special diet 24 hours before the test. It can be tedious, but people with these GI issues are more than willing because they want to get answers as to what might be going on in their body.

LE: What about fecal tests?

SF: We are introducing the Toxic Metals Panel (Fecal), which helps identify the presence of heavy metals in the body. Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury are very toxic and are hard to avoid as our soil and waterways become increasingly contaminated.

It’s important to note that testing for heavy metals and how they contribute to illness is very complicated, and is best done by working with a doctor who is an expert in the area. There is no perfect way to test for heavy metal toxicity. Every test has its pros and cons. For example, the blood test for metals is very good for recent exposure, but is not great for chronic exposure.

What makes the toxic metals panel beneficial is that it reveals how many metals are moving through you and out of you. For many toxic elements, fecal excretion is the primary natural route of elimination from the body. The results of fecal elemental analysis can help you identify and eliminate dietary exposure to toxic metals, while also assessing the body’s natural excretion of metals.

LE: Is the Omega-3 Index test beneficial for those taking or not taking omega-3 supplements?

Omega-3 Index test  

SF: It is good for both. Those not taking omega-3/fish oil or eating healthy fish should check their baseline omega-3 index to see if it is in the desirable or concerning range. Those taking omega-3/fish oil supplements should take the test to see if they need to adjust their dosage up or down. You want to target a range of 8%-12% for your omega-3 index score.

LE: You offer two Omega-3 Index tests, the complete and the plus. Which one is best for most people?

SF: Most people only need the Omega-3 Index Plus version. The Plus version provides the critical Omega-3 index, the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, the arachidonic acid (AA) to EPA ratio, and the Trans Fat Index Report. You can use the results to make adjustments in supplementation and diet.

The Complete version offers a very detailed fatty-acid breakdown. While most people don’t need this, it is helpful for those who want to see an extensive list of the fatty acids in their blood. In addition to what’s tested in the Plus version, the Complete version includes over 20 individual fatty acids.

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LE: What is the most unusual test Life Extension offers?

SF: That would be the HLA-DR Mold Genetic Testing. Suzanne Somers interviewed Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker about mold, and he mentioned that this is an especially important test for individuals that are sensitive to mold and other chemicals.

HLA stands for human leukocyte antigen, which is a system that genetically encodes for special proteins that reside on the surface of your white blood cells. These special cell surface proteins, known as major histocompatibility complexes, are responsible for the regulation of your immune system. They help your immune system know the difference between you and foreign invaders. However, some people’s HLA complex encodes for specific cell-surface proteins that makes them much more sensitive/reactive to mold and chemicals.

Dr. Shoemaker’s data indicates that about 25% of the population is much more sensitive to mold than the other 75%. That means if four people work in a mildly moldy building, three will have no significant problems, but one person will feel utterly miserable. They are all exposed to the mold, so why does only one person feel so bad?

Dr. Shoemaker ties that back to specific HLA differences between people. The same is true for chemicals and even other reactions. This fascinating test is growing in popularity to help people sensitive to mold and other chemicals understand why they are impacted more than others.

blood tests  

LE: What about the incredibly popular Male and Female Panels. Their value is unprecedented in testing. Will their price be going up this year?

SF: I could not agree more about their value. I work hard to make sure our customers get the best price possible. Last year a customer put our prices to the test. He went to both major labs and got them to price out the panels. He wrote us a special thank you letter for our price when he found out that one lab was going to charge him $606 and the other $1,873 for the same tests as in our male and female panels that we offer for $199 during our Annual Blood Test Sale (now called Annual Lab Test Sale).

LE: So the price will be the same affordable $199 during the Annual Lab Test Sale?

SF: Yes, and for no additional charge we are adding another innovative test that’s not usually done by conventional doctors—which means you’ll be getting even more value out of the male and female panels. The test is called ApoB, and it is often promoted by leaders in cardiovascular research.

ApoB provides the total non-HDL cholesterol particle number, meaning all the particles that are not HDL (such as VLDL, IDL, and LDL particles). Surprisingly, a standard cholesterol test reveals nothing about actual particle numbers. It tells you the amount of HDL and LDL cholesterol in your blood, but it does NOT tell you if that cholesterol amount is carried by a large number of small particles or a small number of large particles.

This distinction is important, because the research is clear that the higher the ApoB number (particle count), the higher your cardiovascular risk. For example, a high ApoB in young adults predicts coronary artery calcification in midlife. This makes ApoB an important test for further assessing cardiovascular risk. If it’s high, the NMR LipoProfile should be considered as a next step.

Lab Test Sale  

LE: Are there any important updates to popular tests?

SF: Yes, the popular Neuro-transmitter Panel now tests three additional neurotransmitters for no additional charge. It now includes glycine, histamine, and PEA (phenylethlyamine), making it even more comprehensive and an even better value.

Also, the Complete Hormone Profile (dried urine) now includes important thyroid hormones at no extra charge. This urinary hormone profile is one of my favorite tests and is especially helpful for those with difficult hormone issues.

Neurotransmitter Panel—Measures 9 important neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitter Panel—Measures 9 important neurotransmitters.

LE: Finally, were there any surprises with the new tests offered last year?

SF: I was pleased that customers took advantage of the new tests and used the information to customize a health plan for themselves. But the one test I thought would have been more popular was the DNA Genetic Cancer Risk Profile. I suspected everyone would want to know their cancer risk, but it turns out most people were fearful of knowing.

That is unfortunate since knowing your risk gives you powerful actionable information. I want to stress that just because you might have higher risk does not mean you will get cancer! But knowing allows you to institute a plan of action to help mitigate that risk.

People who found out that they had a higher risk quickly turned it into a positive and developed a customized plan to help reduce that risk that turned them into even healthier people. This amazing Cancer Risk Profile provides life-empowering information, and I want to see more people take advantage of its important information.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.