The other lab testing
Much of what we consider lab testing is dedicated to finding pathology in our body. It is really focused on finding very big imbalances in our system that may indicate that we have one or another disease. There is nothing wrong with having this kind of lab testing available, it is great to have this kind of testing available.
However most people don’t feel at their best and yet there is nothing to indicate the reason why in the lab testing they undergo. Imbalances generally need to be pretty high to show up in lab work. In other words there is usually an active disease process, the same process that may have been going on for years when the blood work was coming back normal.
Many companies have for years working hard on laboratory testing that we would refer to as functional lab testing. This is testing that looks for imbalances that are not diseases yet but show that there are changes that could be made to prevent future disease.
Because the results that come back from this testing are less extreme than the testing that shows an actually disease, the results can be more vague and more open to interpretation or misinterpretation. However on the positive side functional lab testing can also take us from a state of just surviving and getting through the day to a state of real wellbeing.
I know this because I have experience this myself. Even though I was years into practice as a naturopathic doctor, I still did not feel really well. Of course I didn’t really know this myself. Because I was not as bad as I had been in the past with ulcerative colitis symptoms I thought I was ok. I didn’t realize that I was just functional and not really at the optimal level of function.
There are a few tests that really helped me get to a state where I was not just making it through my days but actually feeling really well. Now of course I had done all of the normal lab testing on myself and never found much very interesting, but I was not feeling well. I wasn’t sleeping because I really couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight, if I was to try I would just lay in bed tossing and turning. And then the mornings were just torture because even if I seemed to sleep enough time I never woke with the feeling of being really rested. I had actually forgotten what that even felt like.
I can’t say that I ever felt really happy. Even when things were pretty good with life I found things to worry about. In fact feeling good never really even ended up feeling that good, because I knew it was just a brief break in not feeling well and a state of anxiety or fatigue or both would soon return.
For me this began to change when I started learning about the functional lab testing that could give me insights into what was out of balance in my system. The first testing that I did for the testing for hidden food allergens. That showed me that even though I was eating a diet that I thought was healthy it was not healthy for me. I was having an allergic reaction to eggs that I didn’t even know about. I thought that eggs were healthy, but my body was fighting them like they were a bacterial or a virus. Every time I was eating that food my body was acting as if I had a flu or a cold.
You know how hard it is too sleep if you are not feeling well. The flu would be a lot better if you could just sleep through it, but all of that inflammation keeps you system worked up and fighting against you. The signals that the body uses to trigger all of this discomfort are called cytokines. The signals that the body sends when you have a food allergen that you don’t know about are exactly the same ones that your body releases when you are sick. We call these food allergens hidden food allergens because they can take up to a month to show up after you eat the food and by that point there is little connection or association to the food that caused it, making it very hard to figure out that a food was even starting the process in the first place.
The next big improvement came for me when I did brain chemistry testing. This testing shows you have the gas pedals and brake pedals of your brain are working. For me the testing showed that I was all gas pedal and no brake pedal. So this showed up in chronic inflammation that never wanted to turn off and a brain that never wanted to turn off. It may seem good to have an active brain, but a hyperactive brain does not think as well as a calm brain. It thinks a lot but not as well. Functional testing is amazing.