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Nutrilite health assessment results

Did PastaQueen’s health assessment reveal that she’s made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Find out behind the jump.

Nutrilite Health Assessment


Disclosure: Nutrilite paid for all expenses related to this health assessment.

My Nutrilite health assessment arrived in the mail last week, bound in a snazzy spiral booklet that made me nostalgic for middle school geography reports. (My favorite? Bolivia: A World Within a Country which featured Lake Titicaca. *snicker* Yes, my sense of humor is stuck in middle school too.) The health assessment was offered to everyone who attended the Nutrilite Blogger Event last month. After undergoing a zillion and one tests over the past two years in search of the source of the headache from hell, throwing a bone density test and a body fat analysis into the mix felt like ordering an appetizer.

A few days after receiving the report, I had a one-hour phone consultation with Dr. Duke Johnson, the Medical Director of the Nutrilite Center for Optimal Health, who is a specialist in chronic diseases. He’s also a speaker and author of The Optimal Health Revolution.

Dr. Duke Johnson

The results were divided into four sections: Fitness results, blood analysis, BCoR score, and bone density. The results of these tests determined the contents of a fifth section, titled “Risk factors.” First off, Dr. Duke emphasized that the aim of the report is to help you achieve “optimal health.” This is defined not just by being free of disease, but by eliminating risk of disease. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to meet these standards, and in fact a bodybuilder who uses steroids that has caused a heart attack before the age of 40 wouldn’t qualify. I was glad to learn the assessment was taking a holistic view of health, and I wasn’t going to get a point knocked off for every stretch mark on my belly. The goal of the report is to help identify and correct habits that increase your risk for chronic disease.

Fitness results

The fitness section of the assessment measured my grip strength, flexibility, resting heart rate, body composition, waist-to-hip ratio, and blood pressure. My grip strength and flexibility were scored as average. My resting heart rate was above average and my blood pressure showed no risk for heart disease. (Score two points for the beta blockers!) However, my body composition was, uh, predictably problematic. I felt bad for the guy at the body composition station (a.k.a. the “How fat are you?” station). He was as popular as a tax collector. Using the most lenient standards for a desirable body fat percentage, I’m 12% off. Using a more strict standard, I’m 19% off. So, yeah, I got some work to do there. On the positive side, while I would make a buoyant life preserver, my waist-to-hip ratio was well below the risk area. This is because I’m pear shaped, so I don’t have much abdominal fat, which is the fat that is more metabolically active and a risk indicator of heart disease.

Blood analysis

I have a blood analysis done every six months at the headache clinic I visit. I also had two or three blood panels done the first year of my headache, so I wasn’t surprised when my blood work came back looking fairly stellar. Still, there were two problem areas.

I’m low in Vitamin D, scoring in the “insufficiency” range, and not too far from the “deficiency” range. My allergist made a similar observation last year, at around the same time of year. This is not a surprise because Vitamin D is synthesized by your skin’s exposure to the sun, and Indiana is the home of the long, grey winter. Dr. Duke told me that even if you’re getting the FDA recommended daily allowances of nutrients, your body can often benefit from receiving more than those minimums. The allowances were created during World War II to ensure that the food being shipped to the troops overseas wouldn’t cause any deficiency diseases, like lack of Vitamin C had once caused scurvy in sailors. Of course, you can also get too much of a good thing, so it’s best to find a balance. I’m going to start taking some Vitamin D supplements, since this is the second time it’s been recommended to me.

I’m also going to start taking Vitamin D because it’s supposed to help with the other issue, a higher than usual fasting insulin level. The blood analysis looked at both my glucose and my insulin level after a 12-hour fast. My glucose level scored well within average, but my insulin level was unusually high. There is some debate over the importance of measuring the insulin level, and I’m not an expert on this so I can’t really give you deep insight into the issue, but this site offered some information about the tests. I’m sure some of you will tell me why the insulin test is complete bullshit, and then some of you will comment to tell me why those people are complete morons. Work it out amongst yourselves.

Part of me wonders if the water with lemon juice I drank right before the test could have boosted my score, but when life hands you a lemon, I don’t want to blame the lemon. According to Dr. Duke, a high insulin level can be a sign of growing insulin resistance, which ultimately can lead to type II diabetes. I was rather surprised by my insulin score since I eat fairly well and exercise. I don’t know if this is a medical trait leftover from my years of morbid obesity, or if it’s a result of my current lifestyle. Anyway, my grandmother had type II diabetes, and I’d rather not lose a foot, so I’m going to watch this. I was also surprised to learn that Vitamin D and magnesium have been shown to help lower insulin levels. Dr. Duke’s book also includes a list of 22 ways to decrease insulin resistance. They gave me a free copy of the book at the event, so I’ll have to look that up and report back to you on it.

BCoR score

The BCoR stands for “Body Composition Health Risk Score” and is a formula developed by Nutrilite. It’s an attempt to take a comprehensive look at someone’s health to determine if they are obese and if that obesity is putting them at risk for chronic disease. It is calculated using a person’s body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratio. I liked that Nutrilite wasn’t focusing on any single one of these obesity indicators, since you can find flaws in any one of them. The BMI can score extremely muscular people as obese, and can score thin people with low muscle mass and high abdominal fat as normal. The BCoR formula is still being tested to see if it is a more accurate predictor of risk, and I’ll be interested to hear their results.

My BCoR score placed me at risk for chronic disease, but if I manage to lose the 40 pounds I gained during the horrible, headache years, I’ll reduce that risk significantly.

Bone density

My bone density was measured by a device that did an ultrasound on my foot. The results were printed in a multi-colored graph which shows that my bone density is within acceptable levels, but is slightly lower than average. I was a bit surprised by this because I’d hoped my bone density was still at the levels it must have been when I was morbidly obese. Bone density can be increased by strength training, so morbidly obese people usually have denser bones than their thin counterparts because they lift more weight simply by moving around. I suppose like everything in your body, if you don’t use it you lose it, so whatever high density I once had is gone. Bone density only drops as you get older, so I should add some strength training to my exercise routine to help increase this.

Risk factors

The final section of the report summarized the results by listing what my risk factors were for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (all of which I’ve mentioned above). They recommended that I reduce these risk factors to increase my optimal health.

Final thoughts

The health assessment was interesting, and I respected the balanced approach taken in interpreting the results. At no point did Dr. Duke try to sell me any Nutrilite products, but with my permission he told me which supplements he’d recommend (like Vitamin D, magnesium, etc.). Those supplements were only recommended on top of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

After visiting Nutrilite and talking to Dr. Duke, I was reminded of the book review I did last year of Toxic Fat by Barry Sears, which talked in-depth about inflammation and the idea that inflammation is what causes most chronic diseases. I had never encountered that concept before, but it’s something Nutrilite and Dr. Duke mentioned several times, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a concept that continues to gain attention in the press.

And, hey, I got a snazzy spiral binder, and all I had to do was give them a vial of my blood!

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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17 Comments

jennywenny • December 4, 2009 at 11:07 am

Interesting! Nutrilite makes me shudder a little but it did sound like they had sensible ideas.

I heard about the inflammation thingy on the bbc radio 4 food program and thought it was interesting. They’ve mentioned it a few times and the theory is that our omega 6/3 ratio is way too high because we’re eating way too much grain and not enough fish etc.

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Quix • December 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Interesting for sure. Cool that they weren’t totally pushing things on you. It’s nifty to get a full “this is where I’m at and what I should do”, at least imo. I love numbers and tests and analysis so I would totally go through something like that if it didn’t cost 6 bajillion dollars. Minus the bloodwork. I hates the needles.

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Evita • December 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Hi Jenette

I enjoyed reading your take and experience with your results. I got my results too and there were a couple unexpected surprises too… I will be writing about it next week :)

By the way I would still love to feature your wellness journey so far on EvolvingWellness.com if you are still up for it!

Have a great weekend :)

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Tiffany S. • December 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Sounds like you’re receiving the results with a level-head and that makes me happy. As far as body composition goes, I hope you still take great pride in where you came from because I think that’s what really counts. I really don’t think there is enough research on weight-losers while most studies are run on chronically obese, average weight or people who’ve lost a few lbs. I just don’t think they know enough about people who’ve lost a great deal of weight to recalibrate tests/offerings for them.

I also believe in Vitamin D – many here in the PNW are deficient in it (and they think that may be why we have the highest rate of MS, but they really don’t know). My trainer shakes out her bottle and takes as many pills as the bottle deems to giver her (unless it’s like 10) – so some days she has one and some she has 5. I’ve tried it and I average about 3 a day (when I remember).

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • December 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

A snazzy binder with your name printed on it, don’t forget that!!!

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samiam0002 • December 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Sounds interesting! I recently was diagnosed as getting migraines after a nasty 10 day headache and thought of you and all of your trials and tribulations in that arena. My Dr. asked me to read an interesting book called The migraine brain. I realize there is a high probability you’re already familiar with the book, but if not you might find it interesting.

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shuanta • December 5, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I went to my doctor earlier this month, miserable with fatigue and stomach problems. That stuff turned out to be a gluten intolerance. But she ran a battery of blood tests and found that I was woefully low in vitamin D. She told me that where we live, high in the mountains, even during the summer it’s hard to get enough vitamin D because of the angle of the sun. She perscribed me a once a week 50,000 iu (ui? you know…unit) vitamin D vitamin. It was a huge green horse pill. I was shoked at how much better I felt with in two or three weeks. My doctor told me it helps control hunger as well. Bonus?

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Ani • December 5, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Ditto on the Vitamin D in the PNW comment.

I also read an article that the specific Vitamin D you’re supposed to take for long-term use is Vitamin D3.

The article is entitled “Vitamin D and You: Answers to Common Questions” written by Michele Riordan, RN and Shannon Heitritter, MD in the New England Journal of Medicine 2007:357:26-81

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Lydia • December 5, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Jennette: very interesting. Thank you for sharing all that. If you don’t mind the oilyness of it, drinking a tsp. of cod liver oil each day gives you what you need in Vitamins A and D, plus the Omega 3 fatty acids that are so good in terms of the inflammation issue you mentioned. I have nothing to do whatsoever with these folks, but in Louisville the Rainbow Blossom stocks these different flavors that make the stuff more palatable. It is not bad, and it is extremely good for you. If you already knew all that, sorry!

My otherwise very healthy husband was just diagnosed at 36 with MS, and we’ve started to take the Vitamin D issue very seriously. Please do take your Vitamin D, however you get it, in the cod liver oil or however, since Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to MS vulnerability.

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Freddy • December 6, 2009 at 12:56 am

Wow, are you going to live…lol. Sounds like you did get some good information from your trip. Hey like GI Joe says “knowing is half the battle”

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Jo • December 7, 2009 at 12:04 am

@Tiffany S. – On Vit D – you are right about PNW being a really bad place to be relative to vit D.

Check out the Linus Pauling Institute for more info on the many benefits of vit D. Hint: not just bones.

It appears that anyone living above the 45th parallel is in danger of getting Vit D deficiency. As for overdosing – to the best of my knowledge, there is no known toxic limit.

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H Greene • December 7, 2009 at 3:27 am

Thanks for the information. Good to see all these things. I just wonder how to keep track of all the FDA recommendation. Do they release these recommendation in a periodic way or when ever they feel like creating an awareness for public at times? Nice to see how you track your health. – H. Greene

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Sagan • December 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

That is SUPER fascinating. I find these kinds of tests really interesting for what we can learn about our bodies. I’m going to be getting a metabolic analysis done soon, and I’m really looking forward to that. There are so many ways that we can learn more about ourselves and from that, change our lifestyles so that we are as healthy as can be!

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Roni • December 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I am also low on the vitamin D and had the same talk about insulin. Apparently I’m also low on iron.

Thanks for reminding me I have to write my post too. ugh.

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Alex • December 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I also have insulin resistance. I go to an endocrinologist yearly who first discovered this and asked me if anyone in my immediate family had had diabetes type II. When I said yes, he told me to watch it, as insulin resistance is kind of like pre-diabetes, and if I didn’t find a way to bring my insulin down, I’d end up with diabetes later in life.

There’s a study I read from Yale that 40% of American women’s pancreas’ over react to sugar by producing too much insulin, call it genes, or just eating too much sugar, but Yale recommended that the best way to combat it was to eat carbs in very small amounts stretched over hours. So basically eating low carb, high protein snacks every few hours.

Anywhoo, very interesting post!

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Kelly • December 9, 2009 at 12:22 am

Very interesting post. A lot of people I know don’t get these kinds of tests done because they don’t want to know the results. I would rather know there’s something I need to work on now before it becomes a bigger issue later in life. Some of these tests can literally be life changing. The residential facility where I work has a test that predicts the chances of type II diabetes within the next 5-10 years. Knowledge is power…good for you for finding all this out and thanks for sharing with us.

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Holly • December 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

From what my neuro dr says (i have MS) most everyone is deficient in Vitamin D if they were checked!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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