Determining Your Ideal Wellness Routine—Through Your Blood
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Determining Your Ideal Wellness Routine—Through Your Blood

Can blood work help provide a road map for our beauty and lifestyle choices?

By Fiorella Valdesolo
Fri, Aug 27, 2021Grey Clock 4 min

Blood work is a standard component of annual physicals, but what if it were also commonly done at facialist appointments? Such is the case when you book a session with Bay Area–based skin-care specialist Kristina Holey. The results of clients’ blood panels help Holey, who does all of her consultations in tandem with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner Justine Wenger, guide her choices for holistically treating their skin concerns.

The human blood system interacts with the entire body—organs, tissues and all. “It supplies nutrients and oxygen, removing CO2 and other waste products, and it’s also a medium through which all our tissues and cells communicate via a bewilderingly complex chemical cross-talk,” says Paul Clayton, a medical pharmacologist and fellow at the Institute of Food, Brain & Behaviour, affiliated with Oxford University. The most basic blood panels cover metabolic function, lipids (or cholesterols), iron, thyroid and, sometimes, vitamin D. But they can get far more granular and include a comprehensive thyroid, zinc, B vitamins and ferritin. If hormones are suspect, then Holey looks at a reproductive hormonal panel for any imbalances. Blood panels can also identify toxic exposures and markers for cellular function, which can give you an idea of your cell’s ability to repair damage, says Chika Okoli, a functional medicine physician at the New York City location of the Well, a wellness facility that consistently uses blood work.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF BASE

“During Covid consumers became more conscious of their health,” says Lola Priego, founder and CEO of Base, an at-home diagnostic system that relies on blood and saliva testing. A physician reviews all results before uploading them to the Base app, and the Base medical advisory board oversees the algorithms giving users nutritional, supplemental and lifestyle suggestions. In addition to finding conditions like hypo- or hyperthyroidism, elevated cholesterol and diabetes, looking at blood data can help to address issues like sleep quality and chronic fatigue, Priego says. The clinical laboratory market experienced growth throughout the pandemic. Base, for example, launched and raised a $3.4 million round of funding during this time, while London-based blood-testing brand Thriva raised a $4.8 million extension to its series A funding in May 2020. “The so-called ‘lab on a chip’ technology is developing rapidly,” says Clayton, adding that Theranos, the failed blood-testing company, is an example of how badly things can go wrong. “It’s eventually going to become something like what Theranos promised but couldn’t deliver,” says Clayton. For the time being, most of these companies outsource to established labs to get the results.

The state of our blood can also affect our skin. Without healthy circulation and microcirculation, the skin, like any other organ, doesn’t function as well. “It leads to accelerated aging of the skin and reduced elasticity, hydration capacity and probably immune function,” says Clayton. Holey frequently looks to blood tests for guidance when troubleshooting a skin symptom. She says she sees correlations between anemia and perioral dermatitis or rosacea, while low vitamin D levels sometimes connect with psoriasis and eczema, and high cholesterol and poor digestion with breakouts or seborrheic dermatitis. “I am not an M.D., so it is never about diagnosing,” says Holey, who studied engineering and cosmetic chemistry. “If what I am seeing topically lines up with my hypothesis given what I see from labs, then I can better direct to the most appropriate M.D. or specialist.” She encourages her skin clients to keep up with annual blood work. “You can start to see trends or catch low or high levels from year to year,” says Holey. “It’s like starting a library of your health.”

“The so-called ‘lab on a chip’ technology is developing rapidly.”

— Paul Clayton

In the practice of TCM, blood plays a critical role. “We are constantly thinking about how strong the quality of blood is and how well it moves throughout the body,” says Sandra Chiu, acupuncturist, herbalist and founder of Lanshin, a Chinese medicine clinic in Brooklyn. But the method by which blood is evaluated is radically different from Western medicine’s approach. “We often look at, or ‘read,’ the skin to ascertain the state of blood,” she adds. For example, says Chiu, in eczema when the skin is dry and itchy, that is considered excessive heat in the blood manifesting on the surface; when skin is dark red or almost violet, as is the case with rosacea or some types of cystic acne, that means there is significant stagnation. Looking at the blood, via the skin, helps guide Chiu’s treatment approach.

Getting the details of my own blood work served as a guide for me as well. After I submitted blood and saliva samples to Base, my results were transmitted a few weeks later via the company’s app, along with an invitation to set up a consultation to discuss them. Some of the information was unsurprising: My HbA1c (blood sugar) levels were elevated, which meant I should cut back on refined sugars and carbohydrates, and my cortisol levels were wreaking havoc on my sleep, so I needed to reduce my stress levels, relax and meditate. Discovering that I was low on vitamin D—and learning how to improve that score with exercise, diet and supplements—did pinpoint a possible source of fatigue, brain fog and dry, patchy skin. While blood work can certainly offer helpful data in regard to our health and beauty choices, Holey cautions against letting it be our only guide. “Take it all with a grain of salt,” she says. “What we have really learned is that blood work is just one piece of the puzzle.”

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The waterfront residence is one of Port Stephens’ finest homes.

By Kanebridge News
Fri, Aug 12, 2022 2 min

In the coastal township of Salamander Bay — nearby to Port Stephens — comes a unique home crafted to take full advantage of unbroken ocean vistas across three levels.

With one-of-a-kind flair, the stunning 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 3-car garage home of 52 Randall Drive Salamander Bay is nestled on a private 577sqm plot, optimised through intelligent design to take advantage of the Port Stephens landscape and lifestyle.

Within the home sees the typically coastal textures of natural oak floor and timber feature walls take hold while stone and tiled adornments add layers of luxury.

The open plan living, kitchen and dining areas incorporate a fireplace and near floor-to-ceiling glass that opens to create a seamless indoor-to-outdoor dining and entertaining space on the home’s top floor.

The heart of this area is the kitchen, centred around a marble-topped island, state-of-the-art European appliances and an attached bar area, with built-in refrigeration, accompanied by a butler’s pantry.

Also here comes a grand outdoor spa, central to the balcony, while another outdoor entertaining area with a pizza oven is found on the middle floor.

Downstairs once again comes a second living space replete with the perfect wine cellar — cooled by the natural rock foundation of the home — offering an array of entertaining options

Of the home’s accommodation comes a private and luxurious master retreat with expansive ocean views, a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite, here, speckled with grey terrazzo tiling and timber joinery vanities.  A further four bedrooms are found throughout the home along with two family bathrooms rounding out the offering.

Less than a five-minute walk from nearby amenities of shops, restaurants, cafes and beaches the home offers the best of the Port Stephens area.

The listing is with PRD Port Stephens’ Dane Queenan (+61 412 351 819) and Erin Sharp (+61 499 912 311) and is heading to auction; prd.com.au