Functional Medicine Testing Can Help With
How is Functional Medicine Testing different from traditional lab testing?
The trouble with this is that many people might not have an actual disease, though they are experiencing chronic symptoms or early signs of disease. Functional medicine testing looks between the lines. It assesses patterns of imbalance that can cause troublesome symptoms, but has not become a ‘disease state’ yet. It is ideal, though, that one address these imbalances before they become a disease, for at that point it can become much more difficult to reverse without lifelong medications, surgeries, treatments.
What types of testing are available?
Functional Adrenal Stress Profile (with estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and melatonin) – This test evaluates the Cortisol circadian (24-hour) rhythm along with DHEA to provide an accurate assessment of adrenal function. It helps to reveal problems adapting to environmental, emotional, mental, and physiological stressors and to assess the impact of chronic illness on adrenal function. Reproductive hormones can also be measured for patients having any kind of hormone-related symptoms.
Expanded Chemistry Profile Plus – This is ten different tests rolled into one!! Checks blood counts (ruling out anemia and immune dysfunction), liver and kidney function and mineral levels. It also screens gluten intolerance with anti-transglutaminase and anti-gliadin antibodies, blood sugar dysregulation with fasting insulin, glucose and amylase, and candida (yeast) overgrowth. A full thyroid screen is included with TSH, free T3 and free T4, as well as checking RA factor and ANA, common markers of auto-immune disease. No single test has ever given so much information!!
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM TESTING
Gastrointestinal Pathogen Screen – GI infections pose an increasing threat to the U.S. and all other countries. This problem is especially insidious due to the fact that an absence of GI complaints and/or symptoms does not rule out the presence of these potentially life-threatening infectious organisms. This GI Pathogen screen determines the existence of abnormal bacteria, yeast, fungus, and parasites.
Helicobactor Pylori Stool Antigens – This test detects the presence of H. pylori micro-organisms in the stool. It frequently finds infections that may not even show up on the blood test, making it a vital part of the GI analysis.
Food Allergy Test – This test measures immune response to 90 different foods. It is used when multiple food sensitivities exist, and can help direct nutritional programs. IgG reactions are measured, which are slower and more subtle than IgE reactions.
Gluten intolerance testing – checks for anti-gliadin and tissue transglutaminase levels which indicate auto-immune gluten reactions. While blood testing may not be sensitive enough to pick these things up, this stool test is highly sensitive to give a true evaluation of gluten sensitivity status. – Stool
Candida DNA and Candida Antibodies – Detects Candida DNA in the bloodstream which is an indicator that intestinal barriers have broken down allowing yeast to enter the bloodstream and stress the immune system (“leaky gut”). Candida antibodies are also measured to differentiate the degree of Candida involvement in your body.
3 Day Female Hormone Panel – measures estradiol, progesterone and testosterone on each of three days and DHEA-S on one of the days. It can be used to establish baseline levels of sex hormones and also to monitor the efficacy of adjunctive hormone therapies. This panel is chosen over the 1 day sample for women is early menopause who are no longer cycling but who’s hormones may still fluctuate day-to-day.
Expanded Pre-menopausal Hormone Panel – saliva samples are collected every other day throughout the cycle, allowing for a map of the entire cycle to be analysed for estrogen and progesterone levels, timing of events etc. This test would be chosen for a pre-menopausal woman who is still cycling and experiencing issues such as PMS or infertility.
Male Hormone Panel – This profile provides a snap shot of male sex hormone levels from a single saliva collection. Cortisol, DHEA-S, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione, progesterone and estrone are measured. It is ideal for men who are experiencing hormone-related symptoms due to a decline in hormone levels around their 40’s and 50’s.
INFECTIONS AND IMMUNITY
IGeneX Lyme and Coinfection Panel – These tests include IgG and IgM western blot tests with IFA to diagnose Lyme disease. PCR tests are also available which look for the DNA of the bacteria in the blood. Coinfection testing includes Babesia duncani and microti, Bartonella henselae, Rickettsia and Erlichia.
CD-57 – an immune marker that tends to run low in patients with Lyme disease, this lab test can help diagnose Lyme disease as well as track treatment progress over time.
Antibody testing – antibody testing helps to detect the presence of infections according to the immune cells reaction to them. IgG and IgM testing can be performed for many different infectious agents, including mycoplasma, viruses such as Epstein Barr, Cytomegalovirus and other herpes family viruses.
Immune Function Profile – This test provides an analysis of cell-mediated and humoral immune responses, including T-helper: T-suppressor ratios, Natural killer cells and immune complexes. It provides detailed information about the function of the immune system.
TESTING FOR TOXICITIES
Mold Antibodies Profile – This test gives immune markers to five different molds indicating mold exposure. Under certain conditions, many molds produce mycotoxins, natural organic compounds that initiate a toxic response in humans.
Heavy Metals – A hair test can be a useful baseline of how much metal is being excreted from the body, and how much is sequestered in the tissues. Urine and stool metal tests are usually done either with a challenge (giving a chelating agent to provoke elimination of metals and then measuring how much actually comes out) or as a periodic measurement once chelation therapy is underway.
Urine Neurotransmitters – in cases of depression, anxiety, insomnia, lack of focus/ concentration, OCD, autism and other neurological issues, it can be helpful to measure neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals in the brain that affect mood, behavior and cognition. Examples are serotonin, dopamine and GABA.