Functional medicine knows that you are a unique individual, with unique genes, microbiome, and triggers that cause imbalances in the underlying body systems designed to keep you well. Gluten for example, may cause one person to have headaches, another person to have brain fog, and another to have bloating. Where and how you break is unique to you but the underlying causes of chronic illness are the same. Body systems are not functioning optimally.
- People with similar underlying causes can have completely different symptoms
- People with similar symptoms can have completely different underlying causes
Test. Don’t Guess.
Functional labs are designed to identify hidden infections, the presence of toxic chemicals or heavy metals, and nutritional deficiency necessary to drive our innate body system that are designed to keep use healthy. The testing does not diagnose disease; it helps to give insight into the causes of disease. It is years and years of dysfunction before disease appears. By testing and correcting the underlying mechanisms that cause disease we can often reverse and/or slow the progression of disease, your conditions will improve, and the quality of your life will improve.
The number of labs recommended will depend on your individual situation including the number of issues you struggle with and the length of time you have been experiencing them, but the range is 1-4 lab tests. To get a good understanding of the health of your body systems I highly recommend 3 foundational labs. Most labs can be done in the privacy of your own home, except for the ION Profile listed below, which does require a blood draw. Lab companies will send you the test kits, with collection vials (saliva, urine, blood, or stool) with prepaid return packaging.
- HPA/Adrenal Stress Profile
- Organix Acids Comprehensive Profile
- ION Profile w/40 Amino Acids (This is the Organix Acids Test on Steroids)
HPA/Adrenal Stress Profile
Because the adrenal glands are responsible for so many critical functions, even a minor impairment in their function can have a negative impact on the entire body. A chronic disruption, one that persists over time, of normal adrenal function can undermine immunity and metabolism, leading to debilitating health conditions. Adrenal dysfunction syndrome, also referred to as adrenal exhaustion or adrenal fatigue, is one of the most undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and mistreated health problems. Laboratory testing is the only way to scientifically determine how well the adrenal glands are performing. When we talk about adrenal dsyfunction we are really talking about the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, both the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are in your brain, this is why this is really important.
This testing is inexpensive and convenient. With the HPA Stress Profiles, you will collect four or more saliva samples over the course of a day. The results will show the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and DHEA.
Some of the most common symptoms of adrenal stress are: Fatigue, brain fog, depression, sweet cravings, decreased sex drive, insomnia, poor memory, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome, weakened immune response, recurrent infections, unexplained nervousness or irritability, inability to lose or gain weight, and joint or muscle pain.
The Organix Acids Comprehensive Profile
The Organix Acids Comprehensive Profile is one of the most valuable, cost-effective tests to measure whether your body is getting and using nutrients to drive optimal health. This is a simple urine test that looks at complex biomarkers from various metabolic pathways. These biomarkers give an overview of several major systems in the body and an analysis of nutritional deficiencies in the body. If I could only run one lab test, this is the one I would use. It tells us how well your body is converting food into energy and how well your body’s energy production machines, mitochondria, are doing. It also measures markers that assess intestinal health, neurotransmitter activity, and detoxification demands. Accumulation of specific organic acids in urine often signals a metabolic insufficiency, inhibition or block. This abnormality may be due to a nutrient deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficit, toxic build-up, or drug effect.
Here is a nice blog on what this test can show you. Although he focuses on Depression and Anxiety there are many other issues this test is good for.
Conditions That Could Benefit From Organix Acid Testing
- Sleep abnormalities
- Mood and brain issues
- Bloating, Gas & Distension
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blood sugar instability
- Joint pain
- Acid Reflux
- Skin issues (Eczema, Rosacea, Acne)
- Accelerated Aging
The Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus (GI-MAP)
This test was designed to assess a patient’s microbiome from a single stool sample, with particular attention to microbes that may be disturbing normal microbial balance and may contribute to perturbations in the gastrointestinal (GI) flora or illness. The panel is a comprehensive collection of microbial targets as well as immune and digestive markers. It screens for pathogenic bacteria, commensal bacteria, opportunistic pathogens, fungi, viruses, and parasites. It primarily uses multiplex, automated, DNA analysis to give integrative and functional medicine practitioners a better view into the gastrointestinal microbiome.
The GI-MAP measures pathogenic organisms that can cause hospital-acquired infections (HAI) such as C. difficile or norovirus, food-borne illness such as E.coli or Salmonella, and common causes of diarrhea such as Campylobacter, Shigella, and rotavirus A.This panel measures viral causes of gastroenteritis, unavailable by other common stool tests. It measures parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Entamoeba histolytica. The GI-MAP analyzes Helicobacter pylori and its virulence factors. It can detect opportunistic pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Proteus mirabilus, associated with autoimmune molecular mimicry. It includes a panel of single-celled, amebic parasites such as Blastocystis hominis, Dientamoeba fragilis, and Entamoeba coli. Fungal organisms such as Candida, Geotrichum, and Microsporidia are also measured. Finally, the GI-MAP measures standard markers of immunity, inflammation and digestion including lactoferrin, secretory
immunoglobulin A (sIgA), anti-gliadin antibody, and pancreatic elastase 1.