Diagnostic tests – Why bother?


There’s a saying in elite sports – what you can’t measure you can’t improve

This applies to all aspects of training, performance and of course nutritional programming which should be as individualized as your training program and tactics.

The key question when considering a test is:

‘Will this test change what I do?’ ‘will it change the way I manage my diet’

If the answer is no then save your money.

Let’s look at the example of fish oil supplementation.  An often overlooked area of health and performance.

If you never eat oily fish and never supplement with a quality fish oil then its very likely to assume that your omega3:6 ratio will be out of balance. This is the ratio of omega 3 fat compared to omega 6 fats (vegetable oils).

You could save your money on the test and just invest in purchasing fish oils. If you’ve taken fish oils for a while you should look and see how much you need to continue taking to sustain a good level of omega 3 vs omega 6 fats in the red blood cell.

If you are a nutrition geek, however you may like to take the test to get a baseline and then retest 12 weeks later to see how much you have improved. Anyone who has supplemented longer than 6 months with fish oils should get this test done.

Always after a period of supplementation it’s often wise to test finances depending, then to make a decision on increasing, maintaining or decreasing your levels of supplementation.

At the elite level testing also becomes vital for ensuring optimum function and insurance against any deficiencies. Make no mistake testing can be a minefield; you’ve got to ensure the test is relevant and important to your performance before investing time and money.

In my Sports Nutrition Course one of the modules deals with the tests that I use, we cover the pros and cons of each test and which providers I’ve found to be the most reliable over time.  Sometimes, the most popular companies don’t provide the most reliable results as I’ve found out from experience.

These are some of the most common test that I regularly use with myself and my clients.

  • Food Intolerance tests
  • RBC Magnesium
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vit D status
  • Iron Levels
  • Zinc status
  • Adrenal tests – Cortisol and DHEA

Stool tests for nasties lurking in the bowel and to assess bowel flora health

You can spend time searching around the internet looking for testing companies and suppliers and doing your own research or you can get my recommendations and candid views on the relative value of the different tests.

My vision for the Sports Nutrition Course is for it to be an ever evolving resource that is continually updated as new discoveries and methods come to light, so once you have access to it, you’ll be able to access it for life.

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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