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What is Functional Lab Testing?
Functional lab testing helps evaluate how your body is functioning on a range of information relating to your body’s ecosystem instead of diagnosing a specific disease. The results of functional labs can help immensely in finding the root cause(s) of challenges to your health such as hormonal imbalances, gut problems, skin concerns, etc. Testing may include blood, stool, urine, saliva, or hair samples to give insight into a variety of systems including:
The primary objective of deep-diving into functional lab testing results is to look for any disruptions within your body- finding any deviation from optimal results and adjusting them. Your body is complex and there may be different root causes that may show up as symptoms. For interpreting results, most standard lab reference ranges are very wide allowing disease progression to possibly go undetected. Functional medicine optimal ranges are usually much narrower, allowing practitioners to foresee possible dysfunction so they may intervene early with nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle adjustments to help patients prevent disease. Most functional medicine doctors have a theoretical functional range, performing a 25% difference rule off the top numbers of standard ranges. For more information on functional lab analysis, feel free to check the Let Go & Grow website right here!
For lab testing, we use the company Professional Co-op to run a personalized, comprehensive bioscreen through blood and urine. Although our office does not accept insurance at the time, as a courtesy, we are able to provide superbills to submit for reimbursement or that can work towards your deductible- this applies to lab testing as well! In our private practice, we recommend several markers for patients to gain insights that are key to guiding their care:
- ABO Grouping and Rho(D) Typing
- Bio-Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
- Lipid Panel with Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
- Iron, Serum with Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), % Iron Saturation, Unsaturated Iron Binding Capacity (UIBC)
- Magnesium, Serum
- Phosphorus, Serum
- Uric Acid, Serum
- Thyroid Panel with TSH
- Triiodothyronine (T3), Total
- Total; Thyroxine (T4), Free, Direct
- Triiodothyronine (T3), Free
- Thyroid Antithyroglobulin Antibody
- Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibody
- Reverse T3
- Hemoglobin A1c
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP), High Sensitivity
- Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxycalciferol
- Fibrinogen Activity
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential and Platelet Count
- Urinalysis, Routine
- Insulin, Fasting
- Pregnenolone, MS
- DHEA, Serum
- Vitamin B-12, Folate
When structuring and personalizing diets for patients, looking at functional medicine imbalances is one of the filters that I typically bring my patients through and the information that we collect can help determine the best foods for them to eat and supplements to take. Before making dietary recommendations, I look at these four factors:
- Blood, Nervous System and Genetic Typing
- Functional Medicine Imbalances
- Eastern and Western Medical Basics
- Your personal preferences and the reality of your situation
For more information about this, feel free to check our article on diet personalization right here. After doing this initial lab testing, we can also go over options to test thyroid panels, food sensitivities, SIBO, gut microbiome and digestive function, and more.
Comprehensive Bioscreen: Add-Ons
Allergen Profiles, IgE & IgG (blood test)
When someone has a food allergy, their immune system produces something called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in response to the consumption of certain foods. This response is usually immediate and these IgE antibodies may cause the skin to break out into hives, wheezing, vomiting and other allergic reactions such as throat tightening. When someone has a delayed food allergy, these are immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody reactions. These delayed food allergies are often called food sensitivities. With IgG reactions, your immune system produces IgG antibodies that can lead to inflammatory processes and the symptoms can appear up to three day after the consumption of particular problem foods. It is harder to identify exactly which foods cause problems because of the delayed responses, but testing and trying an elimination diet may help.
Celiac Disease, Complete Panel (blood test)
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by an inappropriate immune response to gluten (a protein found in wheat) and related dietary proteins in rye and barley. Celiac disease antibody tests help diagnose and monitor this disease along with a few other gluten-sensitive conditions in people with signs and symptoms including anemia and abdominal pain. These tests detect autoantibodies in the blood that the body produces as part of its immune response. For more on celiac disease antibody tests, check here.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Antibody Test (blood test)
The EBV test is to help diagnose infectious mononucleosis. EBV is a virus that typically causes an infection that is very common, resulting in mild to moderate illness. According to the CDC, most people in the United States are infected by EBV at some point in their lives. This virus is highly contagious and easily passed from individual to individual. It is present in the saliva of infected individuals and can be spread through close contact such as kissing and through sharing utensils/straws/cups/etc. Several tests for different types and classes of EBV antibodies are available. The antibodies are proteins produced by the body in an immune response to several different Epstein-Barr virus antigens. During an initial EBV infection, the level of each of these EBV antibodies rises and falls at various times as the infection progresses. Measurements of these antibodies in the blood can help in diagnosis and typically provides the healthcare provider with information about the stage of infection and whether it is a current, recent, or past infection. For more on the EBV antibody test, check here.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) (blood test)
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a type of protein produced by cells in the prostate. The prostate is a small reproductive gland that helps make semen, the fluid that transports sperm from the testicles through the penis during ejaculation. Healthy prostates create low levels of PSA. An elevated level of PSA may indicate a problem with the prostate. A PSA test can determine if you have high levels of PSA in your blood. Normally, PSA is produced and released within the prostate gland, where it helps make semen and plays an important role in fertility. Only small amounts of PSA move out of the prostate and into the blood in healthy people, but several prostate conditions can cause higher levels of PSA in the blood. For more information on the PSA test, check here.
SARS-CoV-2 Semi-Quantitative Total Antibody (COVID-19), Spike
On May 19, 2021, the FDA issued a safety communication reiterating that “antibody testing should not be used to evaluate a person’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19 at any time, and especially after the person received a COVID-19 vaccination.” Visit here for more information about the FDA’s statement. For more on the antibody test, check here.
Zinc (blood test)
Zinc is one of the most common minerals found in the human body and is considered an essential mineral because the human body cannot produce it on its own. Most people with underlying health conditions do not get enough zinc through their diet and some people may need supplementation to provide optimal amounts. This test is to monitor exposure to zinc in the body. If an individual is suspected of a nutritional deficiency (especially in enteral or parental nutrition, critically ill patients, cases of diabetes or delayed wound healing, growth retardation, etc.), then a practitioner may recommend testing zinc levels. For more information, check here.
Organic Acids Test (OAT) (urine test)
We also recommend and use Great Plains Laboratory for ordering the Organic Acids Test. Here is more information on their website about the OAT, which also includes a sample report. They have an OAT booklet with a great overview on the test as well as clinical significance and applications for certain disorders. An Organic Acids Test offers a comprehensive metabolic picture of an individual’s overall health by providing an accurate evaluation of intestinal yeast and bacteria. Abnormally high levels of microorganisms can cause or worsen behavior disorders, hyperactivity, movement disorders, fatigue, immune functions, and more. Many people with chronic illnesses and neurological disorders often excrete several abnormal organic acids in their urine and these high levels could include oral antibiotic use, high sugar diets, immune deficiencies, acquired infections, as well as genetic factors.
Organic acids are chemical compounds that are released in the urine of mammals that are products of metabolism (the sum of chemical reactions in living beings by which the body builds new molecules and breaks down molecules to eliminate waste products and produce energy). If abnormalities are found using the Organic Acids Test, treatments can include supplements or dietary modifications. Upon making these changes, many patients have seen improvements such as decreased fatigue, regular bowel functions, increased energy, concentration and alertness, improved verbal skills, decreased abdominal pain, and more.
At Home Lab Test Options
Genova Diagnostics GI Effects Comprehensive Profile (stool test)
This test is a group of advanced stool tests that provide immediate information for the management of gastrointestinal health by offering insight into digestive functions, intestinal inflammation, and the intestinal microbiome. Their detailed reports will show “functional imbalance scores” that can help direct therapeutic recommendations with support options. Biomarkers are split into the categories of: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolite imbalance, and infection. Genova has been the first labratory to introduce an Inflammation-Associated Dysbiosis score and a Methane Dysbiosis score by using published microbiome data analysis. To find out more information about the GI Effects Comprehensive Profile, check here.
Tiny Health (stool test and/or vaginal test)
Tiny Health’s microbiome testing focuses on parenthood (including preparing for parenthood), infancy, and toddlerhood. Tiny Health’s tests are the first on the market to use metrics specifically designed for babies, but they also do regular adult testing. The Tiny Health team has compiled a rich database of high-quality research with strong associations that link specific species with the development of atopy and progression through atopic march. They can also track strains across families and even identify whether or not your probiotic is actually colonizing the gut.
Viome: Gut Microbiome Testing (stool test)
Viome tests offers great health insights, food recommendations and supplements formulated for your microbiome. This precision nutrition company offers the world’s first at-home mRNA gut and health tests that can provide an in-depth analysis of your microbial, human, and mitochondrial gene expressions in order to recommend extremely precise, personalized food and supplement recommendations. These tests can reveal how your gut microbiome health is impacting other areas of the body and include over 30 subscores related to gut microbiome health, biological aging, cellular function, immune health, energy levels, stress response, and more.
Having these insights are powerful because you can take empowered action to see which natural foods and supplements are tied to specific scores, helping you decide what foods should be avoided and what foods are your superfoods. Supplement recommendations can also be decided precisely based on results and appropriate dosages for nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, food extracts, herbs, amino acids, prebiotics, probiotics, etc.
DUTCH Hormone Testing (urine test)
The DUTCH test stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. This test is done by measuring small amounts of urine on filtered paper four times a day. The DUTCH TEST measures hormone metabolites from the dried urine samples. The DUTCH test measures reproductive and adrenal hormones as well as melatonin and oxidative stress. The hormones measured in the test include:
23andMe (DNA genetic test)
23andme is a home-based saliva collection kit that provides a detailed genetic report, backed by science. After collection, your genetic data is analyzed, and they generate your personalized reports based on well-established scientific and medical research. Their goal is to connect you to the 23 paired volumes of your own genetic blueprint, bringing you personal insight into ancestry, genealogy, and inherited traits.
True Health Labs (comprehensive tests)
True Health Labs allows you to order lab tests yourself at affordable prices. You can build your own lab test panels and after checkout they will send over a lab requisition form for you to take to a local draw center. All stool, urine, saliva and hair samples can be self-collected at home and sent off. Your results will be sent to you via an encrypted email for security purposes. Results typically take 3-4 business days but more complex tests could take up to 2 weeks to finalize results.
Everlywell (various testing kits)
Everlywell is a leading digital healthcare company that provides convenient and affordable support for health and wellness through insightful at-home lab tests, supplements, virtual care, and products that support a full spectrum of care. People can choose from tests such as Food Sensitivity, Food Allergy, Celiac Disease Screening, Metabolism, STDs, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Women’s Fertility, Thyroid, Sleep & Stress, and Vitamin D and Inflammation. Prices start at $49 and are covered by FSA and HSA accounts. Kits are mailed to your door with everything you need to collect a sample within minutes and drop it in the mail for testing at CLIA-certified labs.
- What Is Functional Medicine?
- A Practical Guide To Supplements- Favorite Brands, Philosophy & Function
- The Heart Based Practice, A Simple 3 Min. Meditation
- Diet Philosophy: Drop The Dogma & Discover What Works For YOU
- Diet Philosophy Part II: On Personalization
- Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet
- Resistant Starch Made Practical
Resources From Dr. Brooke Stuart / Let Go & Grow®
- For more holistic resources, sign up for our Free Let Go & Grow® Membership, where you will receive instant access to the heart based practice, a simple 3 min. meditation, a wellness workshop designed to optimize mental health & well-being, and so much more.
- For Let Go & Grow Publishing House books including the LG&G Holistic Guide Book, LG&G Journal, and the children’s book series Let’s Grow With Zo, check here.
- For more information, support and a tried and true springboard that can help you address the fundamentals and unlock your power to heal, make sure to schedule a free holistic consultation and check out our Let Go & Grow® Mind Body Reset, a 6 week reset program. To learn more about holistic healthcare and working with Dr. Brooke in private practice, check here.