Without making this post one hundred pages long, I want to review what functional lab testing is and why it is important. I also want to give you a few examples of some functional lab tests that I like to run on clients.
Functional lab testing (versus conventional testing) helps evaluate how well your body is (or is not) functioning on a spectrum of health rather than diagnosing a disease. Functional lab tests help us gain a better understanding of what is going on with our body’s ecosystem. It doesn’t just focus on one or two markers; it dives deeper into how our cells are functioning together. For example, if you go to your primary care physician (PCP) and they run a conventional thyroid panel, they will most likely run TSH and T4 blood markers; however, a full thyroid panel tests TSH, T4, Free T4, T3, T3 uptake, total T3, reverse T3, free T3, and thyroid antibodies. This full panel provides a comprehensive view of your thyroid function and what pathways may or may not be working efficiently.
Your typical conventional blood panels (which are very important) that your PCP will run are:
1. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
2. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
3. Thyroid Panel (TSH and T4 normally)
4. Lipid Panel (cholesterol, fasting)
5. Liver Panel (total protein, ALP, AST, AST, GGT)
6. A1C / Glucose (sugar)
As a functional medicine practitioner, I look for optimal lab values. Anything outside of those optimal values can show patterns and markers that spot trends towards disease. If there are certain markers that are high normal or low normal then I will put the puzzle pieces together, getting to the root cause of one’s health concern. A few tests that I like to run depending on individual symptoms and previous conventional test results are:
1. Hormonal Panel (test: Precision Analytical DUTCH)
2. Adrenal Stress Test (test: Precision Analytical DUTCH or LabCorp DHEA)
3. Stool Analysis (test: Diagnostic Solutions GI-Map or Genova GI-Effects)
4. Metabolic Test (test: Spectracell)
5. Organic Acid Test (test: Great Plains OAT or Genova OAT)
6. Lyme Test (depending on the area) (test: ELISA and Western Blot or GLD)
7. Gut Health Analysis: SIBO (test: Genova SIBO)
I recommend starting with the conventional lab tests your PCP will be able to order for you and if you find your labs are normal, but you still feel “off”, then looking into functional lab testing might be the next best step.
If you would like more information or would like to schedule a consult to review lab-work, please contact me and we can discuss more.