When was the last time you had a Doctor do a thorough check up on you? Or perhaps you haven’t been feeling well for quite some time- but your lab work keeps coming back “normal”, and you don’t know what to do!
In this article, I’ll be discussing the value of functional lab testing to optimize your whole-health. These medical tests can give a powerful glimpse into your gut health, levels of inflammation, hormonal balance, toxin load, and more. Functional lab tests when accompanied by a detailed health history- can get to root cause of a health condition so you can stop playing the guessing game, and get back on track with your health.
Conventional Versus Functional
Naturopathic Medicine is an incredible holistic philosophy that emphasizes the use of natural and nutritional remedies, individualized for your specific health concerns. This is truly an integrative and complementary medicine that delves deep into understanding your unique physiology. The goal? To get to a root cause of a nagging health concern, and to help you feel your best for years to come.
The basic blood tests that most of us experience with our general practitioners monitor for levels that are out of range. These tests are useful and still important, however, the lab ranges on these tests are quite wide. Once your blood work has already hit an abnormal range- this may already indicate disease. However, functional lab testing brings attention to physiological markers that point towards the probability of disease. This means functional lab ranges helps us to start treating or preventing health issues before they occur. They are a central part of integrative and naturopathic health care, to support you to thrive and not just pacify symptoms of a disease.
Your Gut Feeling
We’ve all heard the catchy phrase, “you are what you eat.” However, holistic health philosophies say something a bit more accurate, “you are not what you eat, but what you digest, assimilate, and absorb.” Besides looking at specific, smaller and optimal ranges for your standard blood work, naturopathic doctors also consider a range of functional tests that look at you and the symptoms you’re experiencing in a holistic way. Some of these tests include comprehensive stool analyses, which give information about your individual microbiome, gut inflammation, candida, parasites and much more. Another popular test looks into food sensitivities, which reveal if your body is having an inflammatory reaction to certain foods you’re consuming.
Many people struggle with digestive discomfort that can affect energy levels, skin, immunity, respiratory health, emotional well-being, etc. Using a comprehensive stool analysis and food intolerance testing can be helpful tools to reset your system for perfect gut-health.
Harmony of Hormones
These powerful little messengers act like a symphony in your body- and control much of your physiology. When things are feeling off, it’s an important aspect of your health to investigate. If you’ve been having low energy, anxiety, irritability, painful periods, weight gain, or hair loss, a urinary hormone panel will be helpful to understand your sex-hormones and stress-hormones. Hormones can go off balance for many different reasons- but with an accurate snap-shot from this functional test- a Naturopathic Doctor can create a treatment plan with correct supplementation, diet and lifestyle recommendations that help your hormones sing more in tune!
Let’s talk about toxins! Functional testing provides unique and valuable information on your body’s ability to detox as well your level of toxic burden. Through blood work, hair mineral analysis or urinary organic acid metabolites- a detailed picture of your overall health will be drawn. Once we understand your unique balance we know where to add nourishment or to help you to detox. With health concerns such as fatigue, brain fog, skin issues, or even developmental concerns in children, toxin-load should be investigated. While many of us are striving to live a very low toxin lifestyle: organic, using non-toxic skin and household products, we are, unfortunately, still often exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals from the environment. Talking about toxins with your doctor, and testing for them is an excellent place to start enhancing your life and longevity.
Optimize Your Health
Naturopathic Medicine advocates for person-centred and individualized health care. Functional lab testing provides an intricate snapshot into your unique physiology to support you to live at your best health. Consider adding to your health regimen by seeking out functional lab tests with integrative and holistic health professionals, today!
Want to know more about functional testing? Hear much more and get to talk to Dr. Sairupa and Dr. Shirley at this event.