Functional Medicine is an alternative therapy that focuses on getting to the root cause of a person’s disease instead of just treating symptoms. While there are many similarities between Functional Medicine and traditional medicine, one of the biggest differences is that Functional Medicine usually requires multiple lab tests to find underlying causes of disease, whereas traditional medicine may only require one or two. The following are some of the most important lab tests used by Functional Medicine practitioners.
Functional Medicine vs. Traditional Medicine: The Need for Functional Medicine Lab Tests
Functional Medicine is an alternative therapy that focuses on getting to the root cause of a person’s disease instead of just treating symptoms. While there are many similarities between Functional Medicine and traditional medicine, one of the biggest differences is that Functional Medicine usually requires multiple lab tests to find underlying causes of disease, whereas traditional medicine may only require one or two. The other main difference reference ranges: Traditional medicine looks at averages when reading the results of a test to check for pathology. Functional medicine uses optimal ranges, the ranges we expect to see in healthy individuals, as well as pathological values.
How Medical Tests Are Performed
Like most diagnostic medical tests, functional medical lab work focuses on using blood, urine, hair, and sometimes even stool. Like traditional medical tests, they’re there to determine if there are any sorts of pathologies currently going on. More importantly, functional medicine lab tests are there to see how well your body is functioning.
Your doctor may suggest you undergo Functional Medical Lab work or Functional Nutrition to help find the root cause of your health condition. Doctors can also be trained in Functional Medicine and specialize in a wide range of conditions, from environmental sensitivities to chronic pain to allergies and more. We have a Functional medicine lab with on-site staff that can draw blood and collects samples for testing so patients don’t have to wait days before getting their results back!
Relevance of Lab Tests in Conventional Medicine
“At a time when lab tests guide more than 70 percent of medical decisions and personalized medicine opens new windows to wellness, clinical lab professionals play an increasingly important role in today’s healthcare system,” said ACLA President Alan Mertz. “From early detection and diagnosis of disease to individualized treatment plans based on a person’s unique genetic makeup, clinical lab testing is key to improving healthcare quality and containing long-term health costs.”
Functional lab tests are necessary as a type of treatment approach that has been demonstrated to reduce high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, and depression in many patients with these diseases by finding root causes and removing triggers that contribute to these chronic health issues. Testing often focuses on digestive problems, hormone regulation, and overall immune function which can all be directly connected to many chronic health issues including fibromyalgia and cancer. Functional lab tests are also beneficial because they can show why other treatments like drugs or surgery aren’t working for some patients by identifying hidden food sensitivities or autoimmune reactions that are limiting treatment effectiveness, despite adhering to a strict diet and exercise program with guidance from functional medicine practitioners.
Role of Functional Medicine in Detecting Hidden Causes of Disease
Traditional medicine seeks to find a direct link between specific biomarkers and the illness or disease being treated. Functional medicine seeks to uncover more information on genetic mutations through the process of functional lab work and functional nutrition. Based on a person’s health history and any other symptoms that may be apparent, functional medicine practitioners use information gathered from testing to determine which modalities are needed to detect hidden causes of disease that may not be evident without further examination. These lab tests can be highly specialized like heavy metal exposure testing or less technical by analyzing one’s gut microbiome, antioxidant status, blood sugar balance, vitamin D level, bowel function pH test, and others depending on what your practitioner finds most important to get a handle on at the time.
Optimal Treatment Begins with Comprehensive Testing
We are all used to getting our annual lab tests, but these leave a lot of important information out. These traditional, basic well-check labs look for simple markers but do not check into anything further like iron issues, liver problems, and inflammatory processes. With Functional Nutrition, we can uncover the root cause of illness and find the missing piece that may be causing your symptoms. Functional medicine relies on assessing the underlying causes of disease and is designed to restore your body’s natural healing process rather than suppress it with drugs or surgery. Our state-of-the-art testing provides extensive testing including metabolic profiling, inflammation assessments, immune function panels, heavy metal toxicity screens, hormone levels, and more. You deserve better care!
Introduction to the Labs
A person’s lab work can be a good indicator of how the body is functioning and what might need to be done to make it function better. Functional lab work looks at not only the standard tests, but also how well the liver, kidneys, and other organs are functioning in relation to other systems in the body to determine if there is something going on with them that could be causing issues with other parts of the body system as well.
When Should I Get Tested?
A functional medicine doctor will often suggest a work-up of basic labs on your initial appointment to get a better picture of your health. They are looking for patterns, imbalances, and deficiencies that may not be detectable by any other means.
Traditional doctors are more focused on symptoms, which can result in false diagnoses or misdiagnoses that could lead to improper treatment and additional harm down the line.
The following are some of the most common tests recommended by functional medicine doctors
Where Can I Get A Complete Package of Testing?
Like most Functional Medicine practices, Dr. Jason Nardi and Canopy Natural Medicine offer a wide variety of tests, both functional and traditional. Unlike many traditional doctors who take one lab test at a time, the team at Canopy will order them all at once. When there are more than ten different lab tests ordered, this is called an Integrative Panel – Click here to see a sample report. If you have been told that you need to take only certain labs or not enough labs by your doctor, we would love to chat with you about how an Integrative Panel might work for you.
What Should I Eat Before Having My Blood Drawn?
If you are going to have your blood drawn, drink lots of water, and eat an easy-to-digest meal of protein and complex carbohydrates before the appointment. Your doctor will have better instructions when they order your testing.
Where Can I Get Support on Going Through the Process?
The first step is to contact a doctor who practices functional medicine, who will take blood and other samples to test you for biochemical imbalances that may be adversely affecting your health. Your doctor will order a full lab test panel, which is the most complete way to identify those imbalances without having to individually test each area of the body. Your testing results will help determine which natural treatments are best suited for you, including dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments like adding certain supplements to your diet or eliminating others.
Why Choose Canopy Health?
Dr. Nardi at Canopy Natural Medicine is Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition and the Diagnosis of Internal Disorders and Diseases. With over a decade in the field of natural medicine, Dr. Nardi and his staff will help you make the right choices in your care and future health. Whether you’re looking to overcome chronic illness or maintain wellness, they offer individualized treatment plans to suit your needs. Give us a call and see if Functional Medicine is the right choice for you!