Routine and Specialty Laboratory Testing
An Overview

Routine Laboratory Testing

Routine blood work includes a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, and lipid panel. These profiles assess general blood cell health, basic chemistries, liver and kidney function and glucose and cholesterol status. Basically this is the blood work that should be done at the minimum every year in conjunction with a yearly physician visit.

Other common labs we run include the following:
- Urinalysis
- Thyroid function
- Women’s wellness panel (Estrogens, Progesterone, LH, FSH, Pregnenolone)
- Men’s wellness panel (Testosterone, PSA)
Many others as determined by the physician.

Specialty Laboratory Testing

Food Sensitivity testing (blood)

This test is used to measure your immune system's response to certain food markers. If a high immune response is found for a food, than there is a very high likelihood that you are currently sensitive to that food. Almost everyone who has lived on a standard American diet (high carbohydrates, high meats, high processed foods, low vegetable intake) are sensitive to certain foods. Having a high immune response to many foods also suggests chronic gut inflammation or even "leaky gut". In an inflamed gastro-intestinal track, larger foods particle pass into your blood stream inducing an immune response because your body does not recognize larger food proteins as normal. Symptoms that are common with food sensitivities are wide ranging but commonly include, headaches/migraines, joint pains, anxiety, depression, weight gain, weight loss, irritable bowel, chronic diarrhea, constipation, reflux, indigestion,...the list goes on. The results from this test can be used as a guide to help get your GI system healthy and functioning properly. Knowing where to adjust your diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Visit the well balanced blog for the latest entry concerning food allergies and food sensitivities.

Comprehensive Stool Analysis and Parasitology (stool)

Not everyone's favorite test, but again, one of the best ways to assess and measure gastro-intestinal health. This is a three day stool sample collection. Elements checked include a culture of the good bacteria and bad bacteria in your intestines. We always want to see only good bacteria living in our patient's guts.

Beneficial bacteria help process, digest, and assist in the absorption of nutrients. They also help reduce intestinal inflammation and help keep the immune system strong against any bad microbes that may find their way in. An overpopulation of the bad bacteria can have the opposite effect - leading to indigestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, food sensitivities and allergies, depressed immune function and so on.

Intestinal yeast and evidence of any parasites are also included in this test. Many other gut health markers are checked whose results all add to your overall gut health picture. A healthy body starts with a healthy diet and healthy gastro-intestinal system, which is why it is so important to discover any imbalances or discrepancies here.

Micronutrient testing (blood)

A body that is low in any particular vitamin or mineral is not functioning at optimum. This lab test assesses the level of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients in the body. There are so many reasons why having this knowledge is so valuable. Medical science is finally catching up to what nutritionists and biochemists have known to be vastly important in every metabolic process in the human body - vitamins and minerals. A deficiency or even a level in the lower range of normal can manifest as various symptoms ranging from fatigue, decreased alertness, depression, anxiety and so on. I should also mention that sometimes having too much of a vitamin or nutrient can be problematic as well.

Neurotransmitters (urine)

This specialty lab measures the levels of neurotransmitters in the urine. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, glutamate, glycine, taurine, and metabolites are all assessed. Similar to assessing hormone levels, checking the levels and ratios of these neurotransmitters will help determine the proper line of treatment for mood disturbances, sleep problems, anxiety, fatigue, memory, even some ADHD type symptoms. This is an easy, non invasive test that provides invaluable information.

Cortisol (saliva)

Cortisol is an important hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is an essential part of a normal stress response system. Good for dealing with short term stressful situations, but can be detrimental if chronic and long term. Adrenal glands can become fatigued from producing cortisol at elevated levels over an extended period of time. This can lead to extreme fatigue, sugar and salt cravings, waking up not feeling refreshed, afternoon crashes in energy, mental fatigue, and if left unchecked can lead to Cushings type situations. This test requires a saliva sample at 4 different times throughout the day to track whether or not your cortisol follows a normal curve of production.

Lipoprotein Particles (blood)

This is an important test for anyone who has or has a family history of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of developing dangerous cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and even heart attack is to reduce modifiable risk factors. While diet and exercise are always helpful, including an in depth analysis of the specific types of cholesterol and lipids in the blood can lead to implementing specific treatments to improve overall cardiovascular health.