Self-Tests and Lab Checks to Pinpoint Hidden Weight Gain Triggers

Understanding and addressing the underlying causes of weight gain can greatly improve the effectiveness of your exercise, nutrition, and supplements. Fortunately, there are self-assessments and laboratory tests that can help you uncover the reasons behind excessive weight gain.

Your Self-Assessment: Evaluate Your Health and Lifestyle

Here are some factors to consider when assessing the contributing causes of your weight gain:

  1. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) and understand where it fits on the BMI chart.
  2. Check your blood pressure to see if it’s within the normal range.
  3. Evaluate your exercise regime, ranging from no exercise at all to moderate/vigorous exercise.
  4. Analyze your diet: what percentage of your total diet is raw food? Aim for at least 50%.
  5. Examine your digestive health for signs of constipation or bowel dysbiosis, such as gas, bloating, and foul-smelling stool. Consider a liquid cleanse and probiotics.
  6. Assess your liver health and consider a biliary system cleanse and a consistent cleansing diet.
  7. Consider external factors such as environmental exposure, personal care products, hormones, and medications that could be impacting your hormonal balance.
  8. Reflect on possible toxic emotions from relationships or life experiences that could be impacting your overall well-being and weight management.

Basic Lab Tests: Check for Metabolic Syndrome and Hormone Levels

Here are some laboratory tests your doctor can perform to help identify potential weight gain contributors:

  1. Reduced fasting HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) and elevated triglyceride tests can indicate metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.
  2. Elevated blood sugar, Hb A1c, and fasting insulin levels can point to type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity through abnormal metabolism.
  3. Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells to regulate metabolism and hunger. You can have a standard test to check leptin levels (CPT code 82397). To normalize leptin levels: avoid eating after 6 p.m.; eat two or three nutrient-rich meals daily and minimize carbohydrates.

Further Lab Testing: Investigate Hormone Levels

There are additional blood and saliva tests your doctor can perform to further investigate hormone levels that could contribute to weight gain:

Blood tests:

  1. Thyroid: TSH, free T3, free T4, thyroid antibodies (anti-TPO, thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAbs) and thyroglobulin antibodies), and reverse T3.
  2. Growth hormone (GH): a low IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor -1) level detects GH deficiency.
  3. Estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone (ask for 4-hydroxyestrone and 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone levels, which increase cancer risk).
  4. Progesterone.
  5. Testosterone: free and bound (you could have androgen excess, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
  6. DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate).
  7. SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin).
  8. Pregnenolone (precursor to estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA).
  9. Aldosterone.

Saliva tests:

  1. Cortisol excess (adrenal hyperplasia, high stress levels).
  2. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, interplays with cortisol levels.

By identifying the root causes of your weight gain, you’ll be better equipped to address them with targeted lifestyle changes, improving the effectiveness of your weight management efforts.