565. Biomarkers to Determine Metabolic Health


Dr. Martin shares his favourite tests to determine if you are metabolically unwell. When requesting a blood test from your doctor, be sure to ask for testing of the following:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) 
  • Triglycerides
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Fasting glucose or A1C
  • Fibrinogen
  • Homocysteine

Into today’s episode, Dr. Martin explains each test and shares the optimal range you should be in. He explains that many of the tests are not routine, so you need to ask your doctor.

He continues to stress the importance of vitamin D and shares how doctors got it wrong, saying cholesterol is a bad thing!


Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Good morning everyone and, once again, welcome to another live, soon to be podcast. Good to have you on with us this morning. Now, let me just say this, here's the test that Dr. Martin loves. Here's the test that I want to look at, very quickly, vitamin D levels, get it done, very important. Your body is a human solar panel, every cell in your body needs vitamin D, every part of your body needs vitamin D, and the more they study vitamin D, the more they realize, holy moly, it's really not a vitamin, it's a hormone.

Tony Jr. likes to call it a biomarker. It's a biomarker. Vitamin D is essential, okay guys? Vitamin D numbers, in the United States, should be optimized, I'm not talking about normal vitamin D, optimized vitamin D is above 60. I like it above 60, in that 60 to 100 range. If someone is fighting cancer, I really like to get their vitamin D up into that 100. In Canadian equivalent, let me just bring it over to Canada, the Canada numbers for vitamin D would be 150 to about 225. In that range there is optimized vitamin D.

You know how many people are low in vitamin D? Probably 80% of the population. 80% of the population. You know where they're extremely low in vitamin D? Surprisingly, Florida. You know why? They don't go in the sun, they're scared of it. It's the boogeyman, especially my generation and even my parents' generation. They bought that on vitamin D, oh, I'm going to get skin cancer. Ooh. Brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of sunscreen. They've been around a long time for about 40, more than that, 50 years, and I'm telling you, they scared the life out of people in terms of getting in the sun, and they got kids.

Listen, let me just say this, I don't want you to burn either. Don't burn in the sun. Don't burn in the sun, but get your sun. I talked to you even, was it yesterday? It may have been the class that I was giving at the University of Tennessee yesterday. I was telling them about melatonin. You need vitamin D for melatonin. Your body makes melatonin. Get in the sun and take your sunglasses off, at first, 10, 15 minutes, let the sunlight come into your eyes. That's vitamin D and it helps you to make melatonin.

Then turn your stinking computer off an hour or so before going to bed so you don't get that blue light, because then your body will stop producing melatonin, and then when you get into bed, complete darkness, and then melatonin goes up, your body produces melatonin. People think melatonin is a supplement. Yeah, it's like vitamin D. You can take it as a supplement, but melatonin, your body makes, and the higher your levels of vitamin D, the more melatonin you make. The problem with a melatonin supplement is that your body, after a while, sort of gets used to it and then it really doesn't work that effectively.

Look, I'm not against melatonin, but I'd rather you get melatonin from the sun. Vitamin D, American numbers above 60, optimized. Canadian numbers above 150, optimized. You want that, otherwise you really are not getting the full benefits of vitamin D, and you saw yesterday, if you were on the video when I showed you that live Pac-Man, remember? The white blood cell chasing the bacteria around? Remember your white blood cells don't work properly without vitamin D, so get your levels tested.

They should do it routinely. It should be part of every blood test, but medicine is dragging their butt because for years and years and years, they just don't realize the benefits of vitamin D. Isn't it funny, when the former president of the United States got COVID, the doctors team that surrounded him, give him vitamin D. Why isn't that everywhere? Everybody should be given vitamin D. You want to keep these schools open? Give the kids vitamin D, but they don't do it.

The other one is B12. Now I talked to you about B12. B12 is a finicky vitamin. Large structure vitamin. A lot of people are deficient. Estimated that over 80% of the population do not have adequate levels of B12. Your brain don't work without B12. Your nerves don't work without B12. I'm going to talk to you about another test in a minute called homocysteine, and homocysteine will go up if your B12 isn't high enough. I'll talk to you about that in a second.

Everything in your body, again, B12 is an essential vitamin. By the way, B12 is only found in red meat. It ain't even in chicken, and today people are so extremely low in B12. Now, what numbers do? They have between 200 and about 600 in the blood test. Those are what they call the ranges of B12, 225 I think it is. You want to get your B12 levels between 800 and 1200. That's what I like. Now it's optimized. I saw a B12 test yesterday and it was flying high, it was 700 and something.

I told the person, I said, "It needs to go up." "Oh, my B12 is too high." "Nah, it's a water soluble vitamin. Your body knows what it needs." A lot of people are anemic and they have B12 deficiency anemia, and rarely ever will a doctor ever talk to you about that. Isn't it funny that the doctors in the 1950s and the early '60s, you went in and you had low B12, they didn't even test you. Oh, you're tired? Here's some B12. They give you a shot of B12.

My wife's a nurse and she used to give B12 shots like no tomorrow. It was just part of medicine, and today, eh. Doctors don't know anything about B12 anymore. They don't talk about it. They don't understand it. It's not a medication. I hate to be negative, but that's true. People are walking around with extremely low levels of B12, which isn't good for them at all. Now CRP, C-reactive protein. What's that? That is an inflammation test, C-reactive protein. Get it done. Sometimes with medicine, if you don't ask, you don't get. You need to ask. You need to ask, so ask for a CRP.

Now, the ranges are below zero to infinity, but here's how to read them. You want to be zero or below, no inflammation in your body. Now remember, CRP, C-reactive protein, is silent. A lot of times when people think of inflammation, they think of pain. Yeah maybe, but not always. You know what I think of inflammation, inflammation is, it's not Houdini, first of all. It doesn't just show up, there's always a reason for it, could be high insulin resistance, high circulating insulin, could be leaky gut, it could be oxidative free radical damage. Things like that will cause auto-immune and whatever, but people don't realize that's an important test.

Really, your inflammation markers should be zero or under, that's optimized. If it's one, you got inflammation. One to three, you have inflammation. You need to start changing your diet, and making sure you're on an anti-inflammatory diet. You know what that is? Eggs, meat, and cheese, but above three, you're at serious risk. Inflammation is now damaging your blood vessels. First thing that happens with inflammation, it goes after blood vessels. Someone with diabetes, for example, they're going to get damage from their blood vessels, but they should get their CRP done. Their C-reactive protein.

Let me give you another test. Triglycerides. I talk about this all the time. I talked about it earlier this week about metabolic syndrome, and one of the things you look for to find out if you're in that 88% of the population that is not well metabolically is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome, if you have high triglycerides. In Canadian numbers, high triglycerides, especially in women, anything over one. In the United States, so if it's over one in Canada, it's 100. Anything over 100 in the United States, for what? Triglycerides. Remember, triglycerides, three fat balls.

It's not cholesterol that's dangerous, it's triglycerides are dangerous and you make triglycerides when your liver, the suitcase, the Costco parking lot is full. When there's no more place to park sugar, your body empties the liver to some extent on its own by sending in fat balls, onto your liver, into the bloodstream. Extremely dangerous for many-a-thing, myocardial infarction. You know what that is? Like a clot, because you got fat balls going through your blood vessels. That's what triglycerides are. They're not good. They're not good, so check your triglycerides.

Again, this is a test that goes with it, when you look at your lipid profile, when you look at a blood test. Now if every time you get a blood test, make sure your doctor is doing lipid profile. Now they're going to look at cholesterol, but you look at triglycerides. You look at your good cholesterol. All cholesterol is good, but especially HDL, because remember what HDL is, H-D-L, High Density Lipoprotein is what takes those triglycerides and hitches their wagon to them and pulls that out of your body. The more your HDL is elevated, the better it is.

Now, if you show me your HDL alone, to me, it doesn't mean much. I want to know what your triglycerides are and your HDL, because that proportion is really, really, really important, because where you're in trouble is when it's upside down. People have high triglycerides and low HDL, that's not good. You want to have high cholesterol, HDL, and low triglycerides. It's a teeter-totter. Almost invariably, if triglycerides are high, your HDL will be low, and it's diet, guys. It's sugar.

Remember, 85% of your cholesterol is made in your liver. You can't live without cholesterol. Your liver makes it for you. God gave you a liver to make cholesterol. Oh, cholesterol is so bad for me. No, it's not. My generation and my parents' generation went hook, line, and sinker, cholesterol, like the sun, is bad for you. Cholesterol. Doctor Martin, I eat cereal every morning because it's got a heart on the box. Yeah. It's got a heart on the box because you know when you eat it, you're going to have a heart attack, because it don't have cholesterol in it. Eat your bacon and eggs and leave the toast behind.

The higher your HDL is, the better it is. You have more FedEx trucks on the highways. Okay, use Amazon trucks, I don't care. You want trucks on the highways, HDL, to latch on, hitch their wagon to triglycerides and pull them out of your body. That's what cholesterol does. Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming the police because they're at the crime scene. They're not the bad guys. Of course, they're in your blood vessels. They're not the bad guys, so HDL.

Here's another one, fibrinogen. Let's do fasting glucose first. If you get a fasting glucose test done, it's really important. Understand my training here, so doctors are always looking at what is normal and what's abnormal, but there's a lot in between that. I'm more interested in, for example, in fasting glucose. Fasting glucose, optimally, your sugar should be fasting, about 5.0, that's optimized. Now that's in Canada, that is equivalent to about 87 for my American friends. That's optimized.

You want to be optimized because, as one of my gurus, when you study nutrition in a post-graduate level, is you study or at least you should, you study the works of a Dr. Kraft, who was probably the number one guy on diabetes. You know what he used to say? He didn't like pre-diabetes. He said, "No, if you're a pre-diabetic, you are a diabetic," because his theory was, and he's right, is that your body is unbelievable, it will do everything it can to keep you away from diabetes, because remember insulin, right? What's insulin's job? It sees sugar in your bloodstream and it says, you get the stink out of there. You ain't staying there, babe. You can't stay. You can't stay there. You can't park there.

Traffic cop, you get your stinking car and move it. You're in a no parking zone. That's sugar, guys, and insulin will do its job. You, out, out, out. I got to take you out of the bloodstream. That's how toxic sugar is. Ideally, you should be at about 5.0 fasting. I'm talking about fasting glucose, an eight hour, 12 hour fast, minimum. If you're a 5.0, you're ideal, man. You're ideal. Risky is, anytime you get on fasting 5.5 and higher, in Canada, which would be 100 in the United States. If you got 100 for your fasting glucose in the United States, you're really now in trouble. You're on the Titanic and you really are going to hit that iceberg. You need to turn that ship around.

Most people are never told, because those are normal numbers. They're in the normal range, but doesn't make it good. Then if you get into sixes, anything into a six, you literally, in fasting, you're a diabetic. You're a diabetic. In the United States that's 110. Glucose, guys, when you get a fasting glucose test, if you want to get averages, which is an A1C, I like looking at that too, because that'll give you an average, and there, you better be under 5.5 on the average A1C. Oh, it's normal, doc. It's not normal. It's not normal. It's 5.6, 5.7. That's all right, isn't it? Nah, it's not. You're in trouble. Your body's trying to tell you, but you're not listening. Don't be like Linda. Listen, Linda, listen.

Here's another test that I was going to talk to you about, fibrinogen, that's a clotting test. Again, I'll post these numbers after, optimized, you should be at 235. You don't want to be above 235, and you're at serious risk if you're above 350. What is fibrinogen? It is a protein that is made in your liver and it's part of your clotting factor, and you don't want to be clotting. One of the ways to keep that down is to drink water. It will lower your fibrinogen. Here's another test, homocysteine. That is an amino acid, and as long as it's low, there's no issue, but if it gets high, it can be destructive to the heart, to the brain.

High levels of homocysteine are not good, and you know what keeps homocysteine down? Vitamin S, steak, B12. If your homocysteine is high and very destructive to your brain, very destructive to your heart. You see the importance of B12? But if your B12 is up, it takes your homocysteine down. Get that test done. The numbers will be posted after. It should be ideally optimally under eight. Anything over eight you're now at risk, and it usually means your B12 is low.

I talked to you about the tests that I like, the vitamin D, the B12, the C-reactive protein, your HDL, and your triglycerides, those are key, key, key, because I'll tell you something. If your triglycerides are high, you know what? You got fatty liver. Now, I like looking at liver enzymes, the doctor ordinarily will get that done. Get your liver enzymes tested for sure, but you know what? You know how you know your liver is getting gummed up with fat? Just look at your triglycerides or your HDL, it tells a big story. It's part of what we call metabolic syndrome, and 88% of the population have metabolic syndrome, 88. Only 12% are healthy metabolically, and remember, it's food. It's food.

My name is Tony and I'm a carboholic. It's food. I'm going to post these. I'll post that chart. Great. Now, tomorrow will be Thursday, will not be tomorrow morning, it'll be tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM Eastern, or is a Daylight Saving Time? I don't know what to call it. 4:00 PM, we are going to do the session tomorrow afternoon. Friday is question and answer Friday. If you haven't got a copy of our number one best seller, The Reset, get your copy today and get one for your friends. Makes a great gift. Makes a great gift.

We appreciate all the support. Become a member of the Martin Clinic Facebook group, private group. Very good group. You get a chance, say hello to Brandi. Today just had a baby, baby number two for Brandi, of our management team. Tremendous. Love you guys. Talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

Back to blog