FUNCTIONAL TESTING

WHY TESTING IS IMPORTANT

 

In clinical practice, guess-work can be an expensive and ineffective method when approaching a health condition. Blind-sighted experimentation with various supplements and diets may produce good results sometimes, although often it does not address the underlying root cause and turns out to be a waste of money. 
 

To save my clients' time, money, and efforts, I explain that in many cases a small investment in functional lab testing is the best way to move forward. Often, people invest a lot of time and money into supplements based on guess-work and self-diagnosis, and then later become disgruntled that they have not seen any positive results. Many times, people are actually wrong in their self-diagnoses, and do not have the technical expertise to identify what is really occurring. And there is no point in spending money on supplements to correct a problem, when that problem doesn't even need to be corrected in the first place. 


So, how can we identify what is actually going wrong in someones body? The answer is by gathering data. Testing requires a small investment, but provides

an objective picture of how things are working in the body. Are there intestinal parasites? Chronic infections? Metal toxicity? Poor blood glucose control? Stress-hormone dysregulation? Persistent inflammation? These are all questions that can only be answered through testing. 

 

Instead of wasting your time and your money, the information gathered in this way can guide my therapeutic decisions and allow me to devise a protocol which is 100% suited to your individual biochemistry - without any of the guess-work.

 

So for anyone who is interested in learning about this side of things, I have briefly detailed some of the main tests which I use with my clients below: 

ORGANIC ACIDS

This is a urine sample test which measures a type of biological substance called an "organic acid". Organics acids are products of biochemical reactions and can provide valuable insight into the rate and efficiency of various processes.

What does this test measure?

  • Cellular energy production - how well cells produce energy from food

  • Some vitamin markers (B6, B12, Folate, Biotin, Vitamin C) and liver detoxification

  • Small intestinal bacterial and fungal metabolism (including clostridia, candida)

  • Amino acids and Fatty acids oxidation products

  • Oxalates and Methylation indicators

  • Neurotransmitter metabolites (dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin)


When would I recommend this test?

This is an extensive test which covers multiple areas, so I would likely opt for running this test in many different cases. Some examples would include: chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue, cardiovascular disease (any), IBS or any other gut-related symptoms, anxiety, fibromyalgia, autism,  diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insomnia, and other psychiatric conditions

COMPREHENSIVE STOOL ANALYSIS

This is a stool test which involves collecting one or three day's worth of stool and then sending it off to the laboratory of examination. It uses various forms of technology, including culturing methods and PCR DNA analysis. 

What does this test measure?

  • Protein digestion

  • Fat digestion

  • Inflammation in the digestive tract

  • Beneficial short-chain fatty acid production

  • Approximate estimation of gut bacteria (diversity and abundance)

  • Pathogenic presence

  • Parasitology

 

When would I recommend this test?

This test is most suited for people suffering from any form of digestive dysfunction such as IBS, Chrohn's, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation/diarrhoea. I would also recommend this to other clients who may not experience digestive symptoms, but who present with autism, psychiatric condition, and autoimmune disorders.

As a nutritional therapist, my job is to help people to investigate the root causes of their health problems, and then to provide them with effective strategies to work on the underlying imbalances and improve their health. I am based in Stafford (UK), and also consult with people virtually via Skype.

 

Nutritional therapy focuses on the utilisation of foods, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle interventions as complementary strategies to be implemented alongside primary medical treatments. In other words, my advice is not meant to replace that of your doctor's advice, and as a nutritional therapist I am not qualified to "treat" you or your condition. 
 

DRIED URINE COMPREHENSIVE HORMONES (DUTCH)

This is a urine sample which is later dried at the laboratory and analysed for hormone content. It provides an approximate measurement of various hormones and the products of hormone metabolism, and can provide valuable insight into potential hormone imbalances.

What does this test measure?

  • Adrenal hormones and their metabolites (cortisol etc)

  • Sex steroid hormones and their metabolites (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S etc)

  • Melatonin

  • Oxidative stress

  • Neurotransmitter organic acid markers (dopamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline and serotonin)

  • Vitamin B12, B6, and glutathione 

 

When would I recommend this test?

This test covers a wide range of markers and is useful in many different scenarios, since hormonal imbalances are frequently found in people who are not diagnosed with any established hormonal condition. Examples of when I would use this test include "adrenal fatigue", chronic fatigue syndrome, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS,  prostate conditions, cadiovascular disease and insomnia, amongst many others. 

BLOOD MINERALS & METALS

This blood test utilises state-of-the-art technology known as inductively coupled plasma/mass spectroscopy. It measures 15 different elements including beneficial minerals and potentially toxic metals. It can provide valuable insight into mineral-pair imbalances (such as zinc-copper ratio) and heavy metal toxicity, and can guide me in making decisions on the best therapeutic strategies moving forward. 

What does this test measure?

  • Nutrients: Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Lithium

  • Toxic metals: Arsenic, Cadmium, Cobalt, Lead, Mercury, Silver, Strontium

 

When would I recommend this test?

I would recommend running this test for people who I suspect have come into significant contact with metals and present with chronic symptoms of heavy metal toxicity (which span from anxiety to IBS to neuropsychiatric dysfunction to cardiovascular disease etc).

OTHER TESTS

Other tests that I may choose to run include:

  • CVD profile

  • Food immunoglobulins

  • Full thyroid panel

  • Full blood count w/ HbA1c

  • Erythrocyte transketolase (vitamin B1)

  • Genova ONE & NutrEval

  • Genova ION panel

 

OUR TOXIC MODERN LIFESTYLE

The latest research suggests that most chronic disease is related to the way that human beings live their lives, not genetics. Genes can be switched "on" or "off" depending on environmental factors which influence them. 

 

These factors include:

  • The foods that you consume

  • The chemicals that you come into contact with

  • The electromagnetic radiation your body encounters 

  • Your exposure to light and darkness, and the timing of exposure

  • The frequency and intensity of physical activity

  • The frequency or severity of stressors in your life and how you cope

Whilst specific genes may predispose someone to developing a certain condition, how those genes are expressed is primarily determined by the dietary and lifestyle choices we make in our daily lives.

Humans seem to be optimally adapted to living within the natural environmental conditions present on planet Earth. Our natural habitat involved living in-tune with nature's cycles of night and day, seasonal variation, and earth's electromagnetic field. Furthermore, hunting and gathering for natural, whole foods and clean water occupied large portions of our daily routines. 

In contrast, humans today have become completely disconnected from our environment:

  • Our modern-day lifestyles foster disordered biological rhythms (such as artificial lights at night), which disrupt our body's ability to coordinate healing and regenerative activities.

  • Man-made pollutants and toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, and plastics are present in our food, water, and appliances. These toxins accumulate in the human body, burden our detoxification capabilities, and have been linked with practically every disease know to man. 

  • Food processing effectively destroys a food's nutritional content, leading to a high-calorie + low-nutrient poison that depletes the body of it's own stored nutrients. Obesity, type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer's etc swiftly ensue. 

  • Cell phone towers, Wifi routers, and mobile phones emit abnormal radiation capable of inducing permanent damage to DNA and acting as an excitotoxin in the central nervous system. 

The above list could go on and on, and it certainly does not paint a pretty picture. It is actually a miracle that the body manages to survive through an onslaught of all of the above factors. Fortunately, the body is resilient and will do it's best with the limited resources available to it. However, short-term survival will always be prioritised instead of long-term optimal function. And if these suboptimal conditions are maintained for long enough, then chronic and degenerative illness is allowed to manifest.

THE POWER OF NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE

 FOR CHRONIC DISEASE

 

 

Whilst much of our toxic exposure is unavoidable, there are many things which we do have some control over. First of all, the food/drink that we put into our mouths may be one of the single most important factors in working towards health. 

Nutrition is the body's main way of acquiring the tools necessary to "clean up the mess" caused by toxic exposure, stress, and general wear-and-tear. Furthermore, a higher toxic load requires higher nutritional density.

 

This means that eating (and being able to properly digest) the right kinds of foods is extremely important... perhaps more so now then ever before in our history!

Furthermore, as part of the overall "clean up", optimising sleep, managing stress, and manipulating our immediate environment to reduce toxic exposure is also 100% necessary.


So in light of above, my role is to guide you through this process. My training has endowed me with the ability to identify imbalances, both through comprehensive symptom analysis and private laboratory testing, and advise you on how to bring those factors back into balance so that optimal function can be restored.​​

Instead, what I can do is support you on your road to recovery through the appropriate use of botanical herbs, supplements, and through advocating the consumption nutrient-dense foods. There may also be certain food groups and items that I advise you to avoid if I believe this is appropriate in your individual case. 

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