Functional laboratory tests help to evaluate your health status by measuring how your body is functioning, rather than simply looking at markers of disease.
A functional test will typically involve the laboratory analysis of a blood, saliva, breath, urine or stool sample.
Most test samples can be collected in your own home, but attendance at a designated laboratory is sometimes required.
The following is a selection of some of the tests available to you:
A healthy gut is the foundation to good health whereby your gut is the central hub of your whole body. Indeed, digestive disorders are associated with many conditions that manifest far from the gastrointestinal tract.
Digestive complaints are very common and often a prime motivator for consulting a nutritional therapist. Fortunately, a variety of non-invasive tests are available to assess specific gastrointestinal imbalances, as well as evaluate your digestive health and function. These include measuring the balance of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ gut bacteria, digestive enzyme levels, the presence of parasites, H. pylori infection, bacterial or fungal overgrowths, and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract.
Tests are also available to assess the status of, and differentiate between, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD). Intestinal permeability can also be measured whereby increased permeability is associated with many systemic disorders, the malabsorption of nutrients, and a number of chronic gastrointestinal imbalances.
Food and environmental allergens have been implicated in a wide variety of conditions affecting virtually every part of the body. Symptoms can range from the discomfort of bloating and diarrhoea/constipation, to more severe illnesses such as arthritis and coeliac disease.
A number of antibody profiles are available to assess your body’s reaction to a wide range of foods and food additives. Your reaction to other potential allergens in the environment such as pollen, animals, and house dust mites can also be evaluated. Some lab tests target the causes of immediate (IgE) allergic reactions, while others measure the sources of delayed (IgG) reactions. These ‘delayed’ reactions are frequently referred to as ‘intolerances’, which may not appear for days after exposure to an antigenic or allergic substance.
Functional laboratory tests are also available for assessing problems with Candida albicans, gluten (coeliac profiles), and lactose intolerance.
Practically all systems in the body are controlled by hormones, which are chemical messengers that regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. A poor diet, stressful lifestyle and exposure to toxins may disrupt our hormonal levels, resulting in profound adverse effects on health. A range of functional tests are available to evaluate our different hormones, including:
A nutritional and lifestyle can subsequently be devised to help rebalance your hormones.
Nutrient deficiencies or excessive levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury or cadmium can instigate a vast array of health complaints, including fatigue, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, infertility, and behavioural disorders. Long-term imbalances in these substances is also associated with many serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
A number of comprehensive nutritional assessments are available, ranging from basic measurements to more sophisticated evaluations. Examples include organic and amino acids to assess your vitamin and mineral status, protein adequacy, cellular energy production, and neurotransmitter processing.
These tests inform individual dietary and supplementation requirements, and they underpin very specific nutritional programmes with subsequent monitoring of treatment success.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in developed countries, and the association between cardiovascular disease and certain metabolic disorders has been recognised since the 1940s.
The clustering of metabolic risk factors in a single individual is now referred to as Metabolic Syndrome, and it is now thought to affect 20-30% of the population in industrialised countries.
The main clinical features include:
These features can pave the way to diabetes and heart disease, and are associated with other problems such as fatty liver, kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and cognitive decline in the elderly.Genetics and environmental conditions such as diet, sedentary lifestyles and progressive weight gain, play an important role in the development of these conditions. For many years elevated cholesterol was the main focal point of treatment and prevention.
Recent research, however, has revealed new biochemical makers which function as major modifiable determinants of cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk. A number of tests are available to measure these significant indicators of risk, meaning that dietary and lifestyle changes may be adopted to decrease the risk of incidence, as well as slow the progression of these diseases.
Many other more specialised laboratory tests are available, including:
Whilst lab tests are not always essential for nutritional therapy to be effective, they can be exceptionally useful in identifying what may be contributing to your health issues. Furthermore, a personal targeted therapeutic programme can subsequently be devised for faster and more successful outcomes. Laboratory tests are also a very useful way of monitoring your progress.
Working in collaboration with a number of UK medical laboratories, NutriLife Clinic will ensure that the most appropriate test is selected for you and your individual health requirements.
Please call Janine at NutriLife Clinic on +44 (0)7956 848 002 for further information on a specific functional laboratory test or to discuss your health concerns in general.