Why do we need functional lab tests in the first place? Well, running blood tests – which is the conventional method for finding out what’s ‘wrong’ – does not highlight health issues unless you have already reached a disease-based state.
When I was going through my own health issues, my medical doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me because my blood work was ‘normal.’ I was then referred to dermatologists who, despite the very visible skin issues, insisted that after running tests there was ‘nothing wrong with me.’
So, if there is nothing wrong, why was my skin a mess, why did I have poor digestion, why did I not have any energy and why did I react to most foods that I put into my body?
I don’t wish to discount blood work and diminish its necessity, because it is part of an overall integrative medicine practice. However, just because your blood work is medically ‘in range’ does not mean you’re fine.
Conventional medicine is incredible as an allopathic form for those at a disease-based state, but what about all the stages before that and how do we stop ourselves getting to that state in the first place?
Check out my previous blog post on “How did the disease take place?” to find out more about the 6 stages of the disease process.
This is why I recommend functional lab tests so often – they will pick up imbalances, toxicities and pathogens in your body which indicate the root cause(s) for the symptoms that you are experiencing. The symptoms could be low energy, low mood, hair loss, stomach pain… the list goes on.
If your blood work doesn’t show you at a diseased state, these symptoms are so often dismissed, leaving you feeling confused and helpless. This doesn’t need to be the way! Functional lab tests don’t diagnose diseases, but they can highlight underlying root causes for symptoms before they develop into ”diseases”.
WHAT TEST CAN YOU TAKE AND WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE THEM?
FOOD SENSITIVITY TEST
So many of us suffer digestive issues and symptoms that suggest a reaction to the foods we eat. I would just like to point out that we will always be sensitive to inflammatory foods such as processed and fried foods because they are not good for our gut!
The food sensitivity test analyses your sensitivity to 88 common foods, from an igG, igE and igG4 perspective.
As a result, you are able to identify and address food allergies and food sensitivities, which can play a huge role in chronic health issues.
IgE-mediated food allergies can lead to hives, anaphylaxis, or digestive issues while delayed food sensitivities (IgG and IgG4) are linked to sinus problems, acne, gas, bloating, fatigue, constipation, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and even depression.
Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities is also absolutely essential to heal leaky gut.
It is very difficult to pinpoint what you’re sensitive to from and IgG perspective because of the delayed response. You might be having the headache, skin rash, fatigue or joint pain today from a food you ate 3 days ago!
TIP: Before running this test, add in all foods that you’d like to test beforehand. Eat each of those foods 1-2 times minimum for 2-3 days before testing.
ORGANIC ACID TEST
This test can assess how well your digestive system is functioning. Plus, it will highlight vitamin deficiencies, indicating what supplements you may need to add into your diet.
Additionally, the test will look for candida and bacterial overgrowth in the gut, neurotransmitter levels and mitochondrial function for energy.
Knowing your nutrient and vitamin levels and looking for bacteria/yeast overgrowth is vital for a healthy immune system and glowing skin and strong hair and nails!
HAIR TISSUE TEST
The hair tissue test looks for minerals and heavy metals in the body. Do you regularly suffer from headaches? Does your mind sometimes feel foggy? Are you overly forgetful? Do you suffer from inflammatory-based issues like asthma or allergies? You might be suffering from heavy metal toxicity.
This test can also be a good indicator for your stress/anxiety levels as it can assess the ‘fight or flight’ autonomic nervous system by testing your mineral levels.
COMPREHENSIVE HORMONAL TEST
Stress can display itself in many forms, but it will always show in your hormone levels. The disruption that stress and anxiety causes on your hormones and nervous system leads to mental health issues, poor sleep, weight gain, acne and so much more.
The test will measure also measure your sex hormone imbalances such as estrogen and progesterone, which could be a good indicator for WHY you’re suffering symptoms of PCOS or painful or irregular menstrual cycles.
Remember, conventional doctors rarely look at progesterone and when they do, they look at it (and estrogen) individually. However, we shouldn’t be looking at sex hormones in isolation! For example, a woman with estrogen dominance can show “normal” levels of estrogen and progesterone if evaluated separately. It’s all about the ratio!
This at-home saliva test will look at your cortisol production at four different times of the day.
On blood work, it is only tested once, and you don’t get to see the total output of cortisol for the day.
If someone has low energy in the morning but plenty of energy before going to bed for example, their diurnal rhythm is not right, and this would show up in this incredible test.
It will help identify the root causes for insomnia, unwanted weight gain, digestive issues, mood issues… Stress can be a huge factor for developing lots of health issues and your cortisol levels can help identify whether this is true for you.
This powerful test is the simplest way to test your inflammation levels based on your ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3.
Ongoing inflammation can lead to a number of other troubling health issues if left undetected.
3-DAY STOOL TEST
This test gives an in-depth evaluation of your microbiome; it will look at your bad/good bacteria ratio, i.e. an imbalanced flora, inflammation, digestion and absorption markers.
It will also identify any parasites, pathogens or H. pylori. However, if you are looking for candida overgrowth then I don’t recommend this test as the yeast is often dead and untraceable by the time the stool arrives at the lab.
Are you constantly stressed, do you suffer from loose stools, bloating, gas, constipation, unexplained pain and/or headaches? Do you try to live a healthy lifestyle but still suffer these symptoms? This is most likely down to your microbiome and imbalances in your intestines, but you won’t know what is out of whack unless you test!
This test looks for mycotoxins, pollutants, and mould in your body. These toxins can be present in your home, vehicle, or office, resulting in you being exposed to these environmental pollutants daily, which damages your health without you knowing!
If you have seasonal allergies, often feel congested or have blocked sinuses, experience sensitivity to light or large swings in mood and appetite, you may have been over-exposed to these mycotoxins, and I would recommend taking the Mould Test.
Hormones could be the root cause of your weight gain – you just need to test for it.
Hormones are vital for regulating weight, metabolism, insulin, fat storage and blood sugar. If you suffer from hormonal imbalances then this will inhibit your ability to lose weight, making it much harder for you to maintain a slim/healthy weight (even if you ate a low caloric diet!).
This could be down to estrogen and progesterone imbalances, low testosterone, low DHEA, high OR low cortisol, vitamin D3 deficiency, high insulin, high TSH or high HbA1c. This test will look for any of those eventualities to help you identify the root cause for your weight struggles.
Toxins cause many people to struggle to ever get completely ‘well.’ Every day we are exposed to a vast range of toxins, many of which are known to be carcinogenic. This could be from environmental pollution, pesticides from food, mould, plastic, tap water, medications, household chemicals, perfumes… the list continues!
The body was never made to deal with this number of toxicities as they just never used to exist. So, you’re not equipped to deal with thousands of man-made chemicals.
The lab test will present your total toxic load, which will help you assess how to address your current toxicity level. This will also be a good indicator of how effectively your body is managing to detox these harmful chemicals.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Test, don’t guess! If you’re suffering a whole host of symptoms and doctors consistently tell you that your levels are ‘normal’ then you need to identify the root cause(s) for why you’re feeling the way you do.
Constantly feeling unwell, looking unwell and having poor health affect your everyday life is not ‘normal’ and you don’t have to just manage or live with these horrible symptoms.
Functional lab tests are an incredible way to understand your body and how it’s functioning, to offer your systems, the helping hand they need to get well again.
If you’re still unsure on what tests to get based on your symptoms, it is worth working 1:1 with an integrative health practitioner, such as myself, to help guide you in the right direction.