The Importance of Lab Work in Understanding & Improving Mental Health

At Thrive for Life Counseling, we understand that mental health is a complex interplay of various factors, and gaining insight into the biological aspects is crucial for comprehensive care. While traditional talk therapy remains a cornerstone, integrating laboratory testing can provide a deeper understanding of the physiological factors influencing mental well-being. In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of three key types of lab work: hormonal testing, neurotransmitter testing, and nutritional deficiency assessments.

Hormonal Testing

Hormones play a pivotal role in regulating mood, energy levels, and overall mental health. Imbalances in hormones can contribute to symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, and anxiety. Hormonal testing can include assessments of cortisol (the stress hormone), thyroid hormones, and sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.

Cortisol levels, for instance, can provide insights into the body's stress response. Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which may contribute to conditions like anxiety and depression. By identifying and addressing hormonal imbalances, we can develop targeted interventions to restore equilibrium and alleviate mental health symptoms.

Neurotransmitter Testing

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that facilitate communication between nerve cells in the brain. Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, are linked to various mental health disorders. Neurotransmitter testing can provide valuable information about these imbalances, guiding personalized treatment approaches.

Low serotonin levels, for example, are associated with conditions like depression. Understanding the specific neurotransmitter imbalances allows for the development of targeted strategies, such as nutritional interventions or medications, to rebalance brain chemistry and improve mental well-being.

Nutritional Deficiency Assessments

The role of nutrition in mental health cannot be overstated. Deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals can impact brain function and contribute to mood disorders. Lab Work assessing nutritional status, including levels of vitamins B, D, and omega-3 fatty acids, can offer valuable insights.

For instance, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of depression. By identifying and addressing nutritional deficiencies, we can implement dietary changes or supplements to support mental health and enhance the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

Personal Experience

At Thrive for Life Counseling, I believe in leading by example when it comes to recommending strategies for well-being. Following my autoimmune diagnosis in 2017, I've been committed to maintaining a proactive approach to my health. Regular lab work has become an integral part of my routine, offering insights into my hormone levels, nutritional status, and the management of celiac disease.

Sharing my personal experience, I've detailed my health journey after the autoimmune diagnosis in a previous post . Ongoing assessments have been invaluable, serving as a compass in my quest to enhance both physical and mental health.

Encouraging clients to take charge of their health, I routinely suggest collaborating with their physicians for comprehensive lab tests. Key markers include:

  •  CBC

  • CMP

  • A1C

  • Lipid Panel

  • Albumin

  • Total Protein

  • Vitamin D

  • B Vitamins

  • Magnesium

  • Thyroid  panel (T3, T4, TSH, reverse T3, anti-thyroglobulin, & thyroid peroxidase antibodies)

  • Ferritin 

  • Celiac screening


  • Full hormone panel

This data allows us to pinpoint specific deficiencies and tailor supplement regimens for improved well-being.

In addition, I emphasize the importance of investigating food sensitivities, a common contributor to health and mental health concerns. Clients undergoing this testing process often uncover sensitivities, enabling them to make targeted dietary changes. Understanding the intricate connection between the gut and the brain, I've witnessed how addressing inflammation in the intestinal system can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Beyond standard tests, I've found specialty tests to be valuable in assessing overall health including:

Prioritizing your health is a journey, and these tests provide valuable insights to guide you on the path to well-being. Remember, personalized care is key, so consult with your healthcare professional to determine the best approach for your unique needs.


At Thrive for Life Counseling, our commitment to holistic mental health care extends to incorporating lab work into our assessment and treatment approach. Understanding the intricate connection between hormones, neurotransmitters, and nutritional status allows us to tailor interventions to each individual's unique needs. By addressing these biological aspects, we empower our clients to thrive mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you're seeking a comprehensive and personalized approach to mental health, consider the benefits of incorporating lab work into your journey towards well-being.

For more information on the topics discussed in this blog, check out Thrive for Life Counseling’s health and nutrition resources.