Optimal - The Blog

March 17, 2023

Timeframe for Ordering New Lab Results


What is the timeframe for which you'd run a report on labs? In other words, when would you request additional bloodwork because the results are too old?


Using labs from within the past year and older labs for comparison is a good starting point for a fairly healthy person. The frequency of ordering follow-up blood work depends on an individual's condition, medical history, and what you are monitoring.

The frequency of blood testing depends on the acuity of an individual’s presentation and what condition you are monitoring. Intensive care units may draw labs two to three times per day, while fairly healthy people may only have blood work done once per year.

If available labs are older than one year, a current comprehensive set should be ordered and incorporated along with past labs into a functional blood chemistry analysis. Older lab results reflect an individual’s “metabolic history” and help identify trends toward or away from dysfunction.

If dysfunction is identified, labs can be repeated every 3-6 months to evaluate the efficacy of specific therapies and changes in nutrition, lifestyle, etc. For many individuals, a 6-month schedule would effectively monitor health and response to therapy. Once someone is stable and healthy, annual monitoring may suffice.

If monitoring a specific condition or set of biomarkers, the frequency of monitoring may vary. For example, if monitoring red blood cell biomarkers, including a CBC or hemoglobin A1C, labs should be rechecked in 3-6 months as the average lifespan of a red blood cell is 120 days.

Labs must be obtained more frequently if an individual has blood loss or an acute condition requiring closer monitoring. Remember that having blood drawn or even anticipating it can be stressful, so it is important not to over-test. This applies to fingerstick blood testing as well (Lorenz 2021).


Lorenz, Tierney K. “Autonomic, endocrine, and psychological stress responses to different forms of blood draw.” PloS one vol. 16,9 e0257110. 3 Sep. 2021, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257110

Pedlar, Charles R et al. “Blood Biomarker Profiling and Monitoring for High-Performance Physiology and Nutrition: Current Perspectives, Limitations and Recommendations.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 49,Suppl 2 (2019): 185-198. doi:10.1007/s40279-019-01158-x 

Sikaris, Kenneth A. “Enhancing the Clinical Value of Medical Laboratory Testing.” The Clinical biochemist. Reviews vol. 38,3 (2017): 107-114. 

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Tag(s): Biomarkers

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