My blood tests came back normal, but I don’t feel good. You are not alone if you can relate to this. Standard Lab tests will identify significant pathology and can identify red flags that indicate serious illness.
They may not allow us to identify subtle changes in the body before a full-blown disease has developed. This is where Functional medicine testing can be useful.
Functional Medicine Lab Analysis provides more precise answers and treatment options for chronic disease. The data from these tests helps both the practitioner and the patient gain insights into why someone is feeling off.
Most routine labs lack specificity in pinpointing the exact cause of underlying dysfunction. Every patient has unique biochemistry, genetics, and root cause of their health condition. Functional labs help identify these more specifically.
Functional medicine practitioners use results from these labs, patient history, and symptom reviews to evaluate underlying body system imbalances holistically. These labs are a vital piece to a thorough functional health assessment. This allows Functional Medicine Practitioners to reverse or stop disease progression altogether.
This article will review some of the main functional medicine lab testing we use in practice. This is based on seeing thousands of patients over more than a decade.
1. Dutch Test
The majority of people we see in the clinic are exhausted, anxious, and burned out, spending their time juggling family duties, work, and other life challenges that are thrown their way. They are often not aware that they are suffering from a hormonal imbalance, presenting with symptoms such as abnormal menstruation (heavy/painful periods), PMS, menopause, headaches, decreased sex drive, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, depression, breast tenderness, endometriosis, fibroids, and hormonal weight gain.
The Dutch test is a must when identifying underlying hormonal imbalances and how to manage better your symptoms of menopause, PMS, weight gain, heavy painful periods, infertility, migraines, headaches, and more.
The DUTCH test is the most advanced and comprehensive test to evaluate your sex and stress hormones. In addition to measuring hormone levels, this test also takes into consideration metabolites (metabolites are breakdown products of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA) and specific nutrients (which are necessary for our body to use the hormones).
It also identifies any adrenal (stress hormone) dysfunction via cortisol, cortisone, and DHEA testing. DUTCH testing can evaluate the process of estrogen detoxification and may be a helpful tool in understanding the root cause of estrogen dominance, breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroid, PMS, etc.
The importance of these groups of hormones is that they play a vital role in many aspects of our lives. If left unbalanced, they can wreak havoc in our bodies and leave us feeling anxious, tired, moody, and fatigued, among many other things.
The DUTCH test now also looks at markers for neurotransmitters B12, B6, and glutathione.
Learn more about the Dutch test here.
2. GI Map Test
Think of this test as a map of your gut microbiome (gut bacteria). This advanced test looks at microbes that cause disease or disrupt the normal microbial balance, which can contribute to your gut symptoms and more systemic chronic health issues.
This advanced test uses DNA qPCR technology to quantify and identify imbalances in your gut bacteria (good versus bad bacteria), yeast, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other microorganisms. It detects indicators of digestion, absorption, inflammation, and immune function.
The results of this test help us determine the root cause of your health issues. This allows us to make personalized functional medicine plans that improve symptoms and reduce long-term health risks.
By measuring your Zonulin levels, this test can also determine whether you have increased intestinal permeability or a”leaky gut“, which is a common contributor to autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
This test is beneficial for those suffering from:
- Gas, Flatulence
- Abdominal Pain
- GERD, reflux, acidity
- Poor Skin Conditions
- Chronic Anemia
- Autoimmune Disease
- Mood Disorders, Anxiety, Depression
- Diabetes, Weight Loss
- Brain Fog
Learn more about GI map Gut microbiome test here.
3. MAXGEN DNA Test
Your genes control how your body responds to fats and carbohydrates, your metabolism, your emotional response to food, and habits that control weight management. They also influence your neurotransmitters, energy production, and the repair of damaged cells. Maxgen DNA test reveals your genetic predispositions related to fat and carbohydrate metabolism, eating behaviors, and potential vitamin deficiencies. It also helps uncover your body’s secrets in relation to blood sugar, cardiovascular markers, and factors contributing to obesity or weight loss. It provides insights into VO2 Max and cardiovascular health, your body’s response to exercise and stress management, and a closer look at your antioxidant production. This DNA test empowers you to take control of and optimize your health by providing you with greater awareness about your genetic makeup and enabling you to make informed health decisions. Information from your genetic test results is helpful in
- Making proactive and preventive choices about your health
- Recommending screening for certain diseases at an earlier age or more frequently than typically recommended if you are at an increased risk
- Creating personalised nutrition and lifestyle choices
- Personalising supplements where needed for nutrient deficiencies
- Providing extra support, if needed, for methylation and detoxification
Learn more about the MAXGEN test here.
4. KBMO Food Sensitivity Test
Food sensitivities cause various diseases ranging from digestive symptoms, skin conditions, headaches, fatigue, infertility, arthritis, autoimmunity, and weight gain.
Food sensitivities have surged by over 50% in adults and children in recent times. It is beneficial to consider food sensitivity testing when a patient experiences persistent symptoms of these and other chronic health issues.
The patented Food Inflammation Test (FIT Test) is unique in its ability to measure both IgG and Complement C3d simultaneously. Simultaneous measurement of both IgG and Immune Complex containing C3d (IC-C3d) offers twice the signal, enhancing sensitivity compared to tests that solely measure IgG using conventional conjugates.
Other food sensitivity tests focus solely on IgG and overlook the measurement of IC-C3d, which plays a significant role in food sensitivity. As a result, the Food Inflammation Test (FIT Test) improves clinical performance.
Measuring these multiple pathways enables us to eliminate false positive results commonly associated with IgG only food sensitivity testing.
Learn more about the FIT test here.
5. Organic Acid Test
Organic acids are present in urine from clinically normal individuals. They are the product of the body’s metabolic pathways. People with chronic illnesses and neurological disorders often excrete several abnormal organic acids in their urine.
The Organic Acids Test is an essential profile for anyone seeking additional information related to underlying gut derived bacterial and fungal toxins, as well as evaluating for less known metabolic imbalances such as mitochondrial function.
Treatment(s) based on OAT assessments can often lead to improved energy, sleep, and mental health conditions, as well as reduced attention and concentration problems, chronic pain, ADHD, ASD, and digestive issues. Anxiety, Depression, Diabetes, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Neurological Disorders, Obesity, Optimizing health, Psychological Disorders, VulvodyniaThis test provides insights into important areas related to:
- Gut HealthInfections and Dysbiosis
- Inflammatory diseases and the effects of systemic inflammation
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Neurotransmitter status
- Detoxification indicators
- Metabolic disorders
- Macronutrient breakdown
- Nutritional status
- Methylation dysfunction
This makes organic acid testing a valuable tool to assess the functional need for essential nutrients, diet modification, antioxidant protection, detoxification, and other therapies.
The Organic Acids Test (OAT) provides a comprehensive nutritional and metabolic snapshot of an individual’s overall health. The OAT measures 76 organic acids from one easy-to-collect urine sample.
|Candida Detection||The OAT offers insights into metabolic activity and tissue invasion along the gut lining.|
|Clostridia Toxin Evaluation||It assesses toxins linked to clostridia bacteria, including HPHPA and 4-cresol, which can impact brain dopamine levels and trigger cognitive issues.|
|Informed Treatment||The OAT helps differentiate between candida and clostridia, guiding tailored treatment plans to avoid exacerbating digestive and neurological issues.|
|Oxalate Monitoring||High oxalate levels, found in various foods and linked to candida, aspergillus mold, and metabolic imbalances, are evaluated. Oxalate can lead to pain and mineral imbalances.|
|Mitochondrial Assessment||The OAT identifies mitochondrial imbalances caused by toxins, common in chronic health disorders.|
|Neurotransmitter Insights||It assesses dopamine and norepinephrine levels, crucial for focus, mood, and nervous system function.|
|Serotonin Balance||The OAT checks serotonin levels and identifies potentially toxic compounds like quinolinic acid, crucial for mental health support.|
|Folate Metabolism||It evaluates folate metabolism, which impacts DNA function and cognitive health.|
|Nutritional Markers||The OAT measures nutritional markers such as B vitamins, vitamin C, CoQ10, and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC).|
|Glutathione Assessment||It evaluates glutathione levels, a powerful antioxidant essential for brain health, immune function, and detoxification.|
Selected Case Studies:
- Sam was always feeling fatigued and struggled with mood swings but he couldn’t pinpoint the cause. After undergoing functional medicine testing, it was discovered that Sam had underlying nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. With a tailored functional medicine plan, including nutritional adjustments and supplements, Sam regained his energy and mental clarity.
- Lila had persistent eczema that conventional treatments couldn’t alleviate. Through functional medicine testing, it was revealed that she had food sensitivities and environmental triggers. With a personalized approach that included nutritional changes and natural skin care, Lila’s skin issues cleared up.
- Oliver suffered from mysterious digestive problems for years. After comprehensive functional medicine testing, it was determined that he had underlying gut inflammation and microbial imbalances. A personalised functional medicine plan, including probiotics and a leaky gut program, led to a healthy digestive system. Now, he enjoys a variety of foods without discomfort.
Functional medicine testing offers a comprehensive perspective on overall health that generally goes beyond what conventional lab tests provide. While conventional lab tests identify major issues, functional medicine lab analysis delves into nuances of the body and identifies the root causes of health conditions. It helps a functional medicine practitioner provide a personalized treatment plan to understand and manage chronic conditions.
Please note that a Functional Medicine doctor will recommend one or more of these labs for your particular needs based on their assessment of your symptoms, health history, examination findings and a variety of other factors.
If you are ready to embark on the journey of holistic health by delving deep into the root causes of your health issues and understanding the intricacies of your body, we are ready to help you.