Running your annual blood work is not enough. If you have something wrong with you, it is very unlikely (unless you’re in a disease-based state) that it will show up in blood work.
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 specialists such as dermatologists who ran additional testing, and nothing ever showed up. Technically, there was “nothing wrong with me” right?
However, I felt terrible – my skin was a mess, digestion was off, I had no energy whatsoever and I reacted to pretty much every food that I put into my body.
I am not discounting blood work; you absolutely need to do it and I consider it part of the foundation of an overall integrative medicine practice. However, remember that just because your blood work is within range does not mean you are fine.
Blood is a homeostatic fluid so it will take from every part of the body in order to keep your levels balanced and bring you back to homeostasis.
For example, if your body doesn’t have enough calcium, it will pull it from the bones or if it doesn’t have enough fatty acids, it will pull it from the organs. At some point, it can get imbalanced and there will be an impact on the red blood cells due to the lack of oxygen, a lack of iron, inflammation in the arteries, thyroid issues, cholesterol, etc.
Remember, all of these things only go wrong once you’ve been imbalanced for too long.
Conventional medicine is absolutely incredible as an allopathic form and looking at a disease-based state but what about the previous stages before that?
You don’t have to run functional medicine lab tests but it’s important for you to know that these are available to you. Low energy, skin issues, digestive issues, premature wrinkles and thinning hair are all correctable when you look the sub-clinical lab tests.
They do not diagnose diseases, but they do look at underlying root cases that eventually lead to diseases in the body.
WHAT FUNCTIONAL LAB TESTS ARE AVAILABLE?
1. Food sensitivity test
This looks at reactions from an igG perspective. This means that it doesn’t test for an immediate response but a delayed response that causes low levels of inflammation.
If you continue to eat the food that is causing inflammation, it will start to build up in the body leading to migraines, joint pain, brain fog, fatigue and skin issues.
2. Organic Acid test
Not only does this look at candida and bacterial overgrowth in the gut but also looks at neurotransmitters, mitochondrial function for energy, glutathione for the liver and all of the B vitamins.
Remember, it will be very hard to make oxygen inside the red blood cells if you don’t have enough B vitamins!
It also tests for vitamin C and this is something I see people deficient in over and over again in my practice. We all know how important this is for the immune system, having more energy and fighting colds easier. It is absolutely vital for healthy skin, hair and nails too!
3. Hair tissue mineral analysis test
This looks at heavy metals in the body and this is extremely important because it can show as a host of symptoms in the body.
Apart from that, it looks at the “fight or flight” autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system) by assessing your minerals.
A lot of the times, people with allergies or asthma have very high copper levels versus zinc so it leads to an inflammatory-based issue. This has been studied extensively and has been documented numerous times.
4. Saliva hormone-adrenal test
It will test your cortisol production over 24 hours! 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 a saliva-based test.
If you have no cortisol production, that could sometimes be even worse than having high cortisol!
It will also assess progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and estrogen.
If you have trouble losing weight, infertility issues, low energy or hair loss, this is the one to run!
5. Omega 3 Test
An Omega 3 test is one of the most overlooked lab tests and it’s a shame because it is the simplest way to figure out if your body is inflamed from an improper ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3.
You’re supposed to have higher Omega 6 than Omega 3 but ideally a 3:1 ratio and I’ve seen levels as high as 20:1 on people that are extremely inflamed!
6. Stool test
This is an in-depth evaluation of your microbiome and it will look at beneficial and imbalanced flora, inflammation, digestion and absorption markers and more.
This test is great to check for parasites and H. pylori. However, it isn’t the best test for candida because yeast often dies off by the time the stool arrives to the lab.
MY ADVICE TO YOU
Continue to run your blood work but start looking deeper into your health because that’s when you find out the hidden underlying root causes that eventually lead to diseases if they’re not addressed at the early stage.