Diving deeper into your unique biochemistry is a component of our Healing Hypothesis, and it is necessary for developing your customized protocol.
Here’s the scenario: You feel awful yet all your lab work looks fine. Your doctor tells you you’re fine, sends you on your way, maybe with a prescription for something to help with some symptoms, and you are otherwise led to believe your health problems are all in your head. Sound familiar?
It does to me. When I decided to finally see a doctor about my GI issues, I had all the necessary testing done, including a colonoscopy. Everything about my gut came back normal. Nothing about my gut was even remotely normal.
Standard, conventional labs do not take into account functional status. Many imbalances can precede abnormal findings on standard, conventional labs. This is why we need to explore the functional needs of your body, and why you don’t feel well even with normal looking labs.
We can use functional testing to identify these imbalances and resolve them to help you feel better.
As an example, some of the testing I use often in my practice evaluates overall functional nutritional status to determine personalized supplementation needs for a variety of nutrients including antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, digestive support and others. With this testing, we can:
Identify imbalances that may precede abnormal findings on standard lab panels.
Identify functional needs for specific nutrients, diet changes, antioxidants, and detoxification, and other interventions.
Determine personalized nutrient recommendations based on biochemical individuality.
This functional testing uses a combination of direct and functional markers in order to arrive at your nutrient needs. Some nutrients are directly assessed and others are assessed based on markers found in biochemical pathways that are associated with nutrient needs (functional status).
What does this mean? Basically, standard, conventional labs tend to look for example at blood levels of certain nutrients. You can have adequate levels of nutrients in your blood, but that doesn’t show us if your body is using those nutrients. By looking at markers found in biochemical pathways, we can identify if those nutrients are actually functioning.
Do you see the difference? Just because the nutrient is there, doesn’t mean it is working, or functional. This is particularly pertinent if you suffer with chronic and complex health problems, yet your lab work routinely looks in range.
Remember that nutrient imbalances and insufficiencies adversely impact a wide range of body functions and can produce an even wider range of symptoms. Identification of and targeted interventions for these problems can improve your health, combat chronic health issues, and prevent additional health issues in the future.
Another functional test I use in my practice is a poopy test. This is different from standard, conventional stool testing. The latter looks for particular infections, which of course is helpful. Often, these infections are ruled out (you don’t have any), however you still are sick.
The stool testing I use takes things a few steps further, and helps to identify the root cause of many gastrointestinal symptoms including gas, bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation, among others, and it can be used to evaluate folks with a clinical history that suggests a gastrointestinal infection or dysbiosis (abnormal gut bacteria).
Research associates a dysbiotic, or imbalanced gut microbiome with multiple disease states both within and outside of the GI tract. That means you can have impaired gut health and not even have gut related symptoms.
Functional stool testing gives us insight into your digestive function, intestinal inflammation, and the intestinal microbiome. It allows us to assess multiple functional areas that may be contributing to the symptoms you have, and the information the testing provides can be used to develop and guide targeted interventions to address your health issues.
Your symptoms will improve as functional imbalances and insufficiencies we identify become normalized through targeted diet, lifestyle, and supplementation interventions.
There are countless other functional tests we can use to appropriately assess your health status. Based on our work together, we will determine which will give us the information we need to develop your unique plan.
For you to heal, we need to address your health holistically. This concept of our Healing Hypothesis takes us out of the gut for a bit and into the rest of your life.