Common Functional Medicine Tests

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What are functional tests?

Many people with no diagnosable disease are given a clean bill of health, but the person still does not feel well. Functional medicine testing gives us deeper insight into the root cause(s) of your health challenges so we can help you feel your best even in the event you own or before you build a chronic disease.

While some health issues are easy to diagnose and treat the cause, others seem to make your doctor play a thinking game. The origin of your discomfort in more straightforward cases is apparent, and the treatment strategy is relatively simple. Regrettably, not every ailment is so simple to treat or identify what is wrong.

In situations like chronic fatigue, brain fog, or inexplicable dry skin and hair loss, individuals typically go from physician to physician and try a variety of medications and treatments without having the ability to find out the genuine cause or find a remedy for their signs.

Functional laboratory testing is different from the traditional testing your typical physician may order because it helps assess how well your body is or is not working on a spectrum of wellness instead of simply diagnosing a disorder.

See: 5-Element Functional Medicine is it really simplifies things

Need for functional tests

One factor that functional medicine has grown in appeal over the last decade is its capability to efficiently treat illnesses and symptoms that traditional doctors cannot detect correctly.  Minor dysfunctions and imbalances across the system can build up and affect each other so that, with time, they finally appear as various symptoms that manifest as an unidentifiable lousy health. Quite often, the root cause is less obvious. You might not be able to pinpoint one dominant symptom, but you just feel “off.” Perhaps you’ve been suffering from general achiness, unexplained fatigue, sleeplessness, chronic bloat, bizarre random headaches, or a mixture of vague symptoms. When this occurs, it may be to hunt for this one hidden illness, dysfunction, or lack, but this type of investigation is often fruitless because each system in the body is connected to others. That means numerous vague health issues are nearly always multifactorial.

The secret to this is the holistic, partner-based method that functional medicine offers. Functional medication practitioners view themselves as partners with their patients, recognizing that each patient has a unique and private physical ecosystem that is impacted by genetic, environmental, and mental elements. Functional medicine is also rigorously science-based and uses laboratory screening.

See: Conventional Medicine vs Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine Lab Tests

Functional medicine practitioners conduct a good deal of laboratory tests for their patients. One of the principal reasons is that labs and tests are unique for identifying specific problem areas. The results can help direct the treatment recommendations in a significant way. Each individual’s genetics, biochemistry, and health situation are unique. Labs can highlight this with specific tests more efficiently than overall symptom identification. That is why talking to your doctor about testing is an excellent place to begin regaining your good health.

There’s a possible drawback with this approach, however. A number of these tests may not be covered by insurance (though you should always call and check to be sure). Generally speaking, the standard practitioner likely will not be ordering these tests or be comfortable making them a part of your treatment program. They’re trained to follow specific standard procedures that involve fitting sets of symptoms to certain lab tests and pharmaceuticals. If you do not fit the traditional model of a patient warranting a particular trial or set of tests, your physician may tell you that the evaluations aren’t justified. You might demand them, but many men and women are uncomfortable with this because of this.  Working with an integrative or functional medicine doctor who is well-versed in the available laboratory evaluations may help.

See: Integrative vs Functional Medicine

Functional medicine vs. conventional medicine tests

If you do not want to pay for a series of tests out-of-pocket through a physician, another alternative is to purchase the labs yourself. Many firms have at-home evaluations you’ll be able to buy, administer yourself, and send in to be processed. You also won’t have the advantage of interpretation from a physician who knows you and has examined you, but it can be a beginning as you search for answers. A number of these tests have a detailed description of your results and/or a health plan based on your results.

Conventional medicine and blood tests are geared towards diagnosing illness once it is present, not avoiding it in the first place. Functional medicine testing is different. Physicians who are trained to examine a patient’s blood chemistry within a functional range take a look at outcomes through a much more narrow lens, noting results within a smaller-sized “typical” variety, in addition to examining markers suggesting a “high normal” and “low typical.” This allows them to discover extremely subtle modifications and imbalances in blood chemistry indicative of the start of the illness, enabling the patient to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to prevent potential health issues from progressing.

What’s even much better, and usually missing from traditional laboratory tests, is that functional blood tests reveal patterns that not just foreshadow prospective issues, but discuss why particular symptoms exist.

See: Functional Medicine For Hypothyroidism

Common functional tests

Functional lab testing offers deeper insights into your health issues so you can treat the source of your symptoms.. These are some common tests you can explore for your lingering health issues. Each test can cost from $200-$600 or even more, so it’s best to consult with a functional medicine doctor.

Blood or urine tests: To screen for or monitor specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases, gluten sensitivity, IgG/IgE food and environmental sensitivities, vitamin/nutrient deficiencies, chronic infections, heavy metals, and lyme disease and its co-infections.

Advanced stool testing: To screen for beneficial standing, pathogenic bacteria, yeast overgrowth, parasites, intestinal inflammatory markers (like in Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease ), dysbiosis, leaky gut, and antibiotic-resistant genes.

Breath testing: For small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Hormone testing: via saliva, serum, and/or pee to evaluate hormone and adrenal levels such as testosterone, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA.

Food Sensitivity Testing: Many individuals have hidden underlying food intolerances from dairy items, eggs, or other foods like and cranberries, garlic, and bananas. One method to determine food sensitivities is by doing a removal and obstacle test, which is a lengthy procedure, and few have the patience for it. A finger-stick test assesses 96 different foods. This antibody food sensitivity test is perfect for people who may struggle with delayed reactions/sensitivities to particular foods. It evaluates for IgG reactions which are delayed up to 72 hours after consuming the food and may manifest in general tiredness and malaise to skin breakouts to headaches. This test is different from food allergies, mediated by IgE cells, and manifests as rashes or swelling immediately after the food is eaten.

Gut permeability test: Research is finally starting to show that many chronic and autoimmune disorders can be linked to gastrointestinal issues. When your gut lining is damaged because of stress, poor diet, drugs, and other causes, it can result in undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins passing into the blood vessels, resulting in a cascade of chronic inflammation which may pop up around the body, causing a considerable selection of symptoms. This is usually called leaky gut syndrome. You can find out if this is happening to you and causing your symptoms) with a gut permeability lab evaluation.

Adrenal stress index: The 24-hour adrenal stress index is a saliva test that monitors your cortisol levels during the day, leading to a general evaluation of the operation of your HPA axis. Dysfunction on your adrenal glands may be at the root of a massive array of symptoms associated with fatigue, nervousness, depression, blood sugar imbalances, brain fog, weight gain, irritability, diminished libido, and difficulty sleeping.

A complete thyroid panel: The thyroid gland affects many parts of the body’s system, the thyroid gland affects even more. Every cell in your body requires thyroid hormones to operate, but thyroid disorder can be tough to identify. Thyroid antibodies offer you the most accurate picture of your thyroid health and rule out potential autoimmune thyroid issues. This may explain why you might be experiencing thyroid disorder symptoms, like hair loss, tiredness, weight gain, dry skin, and depression, although your doctor told you that you don’t have a thyroid issue.

Gluten intolerance testing: Gluten intolerance is common but misunderstood in the west. Many individuals can be gluten intolerant without having the medical diagnosis of Celiac and without having the extreme digestive symptoms connected with Celiac.

Sex hormone labs: All of us need balanced estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to maintain optimum health. The ratios are slightly different in each of us, but all of the sex hormones are needed. If and when they get out of the right balance,  diverse symptoms can result, such as anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, mood problems, low libido, infertility, acne, and much more.

Inflammation tests: Chronic systemic inflammation is a factor in virtually every health issue now. Whether or not a cause or a symptom of inflammation is certainly a culprit in autoimmune conditions, cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain fog, fatigue, and even weight gain. As with other tests, the functional medicine reference range to ascertain what lab results are normal or abnormal is more rigorous than traditional reference ranges, so it is possible to know earlier that inflammation is becoming an issue for you.

Genetic testing: There’s one aspect of health that’s predetermined, but although you might not have the ability to change it, you can do a whole lot to affect how your body reacts. Specific genetic mutations can make you more vulnerable to particular nutrient imbalances, medication reactions, and other medical problems. Technical genetic laboratory tests will lay out all your potential genetic flaws for your functional medicine practitioner to translate. This could enable you to intervene, balancing risk factors with natural medications and lifestyle changes.

Nutritional deficiency testing: Nutritional evaluations are readily available and developed to help with the management of symptoms connected to dietary deficiencies. Research studies recommend that even a balanced diet plan may not provide all the necessary nutrients. This test supports evaluating a patient’s nutritional needs by identifying dietary deficiencies that might be associated with complicated persistent conditions. Your test outcomes help your doctor develop personalized supplement suggestions and guide therapeutic protocols to accomplish optimum health.

Each person is unique, so the particular mix of labs your practitioner runs might differ according to your doctor’s assessment of your specific health case, health history, and previous laboratory work. However, these labs may create a base of knowledge on which you may build as you work towards sustainable health and purposeful health restoration recovery that lasts.

Functional lab tests are readily available just by written order of certified healthcare providers through an approved set of scientific laboratories. Depending upon the test, many laboratory profiles can be completed from the comfort and convenience of your own house utilizing supply packages that we deliver straight to you. Each package consists of a complete set of instructions, consisting of instructions for any necessary fasting or withholding of medications and supplements.

See: IBS Treatment With Functional Medicine