Functional Lab Testing for Hormone Health: Diving Deeper and Treating Root Cause
Every successful journey needs a good map, so your road to good health needs the data to ensure you will reach your destination. Think of it this way: If you don’t know the root cause of a problem, you don’t know the best starting point and route to follow. Here at Innovative Wellness Inc., we personalize a “whole-person-approach” to revitalize your health and wellness longevity. A thorough evaluation of your overall health is essential to plot your road to success.
Conventional medicine typically focuses on just one aspect of that journey. Testing is narrow in scope and focuses on a specific symptom, so any treatment plan lacks the complete data necessary for a holistic approach to healing.
In contrast, functional lab testing has the ability to look at the entire body. That’s because our health isn’t a collection of siloed processes, but rather a complex network. Here at Innovative Wellness Inc., we examine your overall health which allows us to take a step back and look at the big picture, and clinically evaluate where the gaps are. A treatment plan is therefore comprehensive instead of merely focusing on getting rid of one symptom.
Again, getting to root cause, filling the gaps, and the goal is to bring the body back to balance and harmony. Remember, our body was born with these hormones, and they all have functions to help our body work at its best. As we age, our body’s normal cellular production and function starts to decline, and we then become more at risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dementia, weight gain, insulin resistance, changes in energy and recovery, sleep, decreased immune function, etc…
What Is Functional Lab Testing?
Over 23 years ago, when I first started doing hormone management with patients, I was traditionally just doing blood tests, and became frustrated when my patient’s outcome was not improving to quality of life. That is when I did a deep dive and started studying health at the cellular level and root cause.
Just as the name implies, functional lab testing aims to determine how your body is functioning as a unit. The comprehensive testing that we do here at Innovative Wellness Inc., are:
Comprehensive Urine Hormone Testing
Comprehensive Gut Testing
The data gathered through these tests helps determine the impact of nutrition, stress, environment, hormones, genetics and more on your body. It can also assess the state of your microbiome - the bacteria in your gut. As a result, you have more information to determine the underlying causes of most health issue.
Key Functional Tests
Here at Innovative Wellness Inc., we personalize care and will determine the best tests for you, since there’s no set formula for testing. Some of the most common and informative tests include:
The impact of your hormone levels on your overall health - both physical and mental - is far-reaching and often underestimated. Unbalanced levels of cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, androgens, insulin and thyroid hormones can all impact your wellbeing in ways that can be difficult to diagnose through standard tests. Debilitating symptoms like weight problems, mood issues, sleep issues, and fatigue can continue unnecessarily without targeted hormone testing.
It’s often important to have a complete panel, instead of focusing on one, since you want to see the balance of different hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and progesterone. Through our comprehensive urine testing, we can evaluate not only the total amount in your body, but how it is metabolizing, being utilized, and excreted in the body. It shows where the gaps are and where we need to focus treating.
Gut health assessments
Our gut is known as the “other brain of our body”.
Here at Innovative Wellness Inc., we get to the root cause of your gut health. Every human is completely unique and requires specific nutritional considerations for optimal health. These needs are dependent on a variety of factors including genetics, diet, lifestyle and environmental influences.
Over the years, treating patients with symptoms of reoccurring urinary tract infections, bowel issues, difficult with weight management, menopausal symptoms, I started to question, “why are these symptoms becoming reoccurring or difficult to manage?” I then started to dive into learning about gut health and what I learned, and still question, is why this is not taught in traditional medicine? Fact is that 70+% of our immune system runs through our gut, and this is the place that nutrients are broken down and distributed to our body for metabolizing, energy, healing, and overall health.
This is another frequently overlooked function with broad implications on your health. In fact, science is only now starting to recognize that your gut health greatly impacts a broad range of common health issues, including immune function, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Even your cardiovascular health is impacted by the microbiome. Modern lifestyles and diets harm your gut by disturbing the delicate balance of bacteria, leading to inflammation and malabsorption of essential nutrients. Tests to gage your gut health include:
We have integrated the first steps for testing gut health with the Epigenetic Biomarker Panel (EPB) from a specialty lab that is a simple and fast urinary metabolomics panel quantifying over 60 epigenetic and nutrient dependent metabolites. The results provide detailed information on how the body is metabolically and nutritionally balanced thereby allowing for highly specific, personalized therapeutic strategies, including personalizing what diet, nutrients and supplements your body may need to function optimally. This test can give us detailed information about nutrient levels, food sensitivities, and how the body is detoxing and metabolizing.
Deficiencies in essential nutrients can lead to many health issues, especially if they are not being metabolized correctly through the gut. Common symptoms include unexplained fatigue, brain fog, mood disorders, and more. It’s important to check your levels regularly, since they can change easily depending on what else is going on in your life - even if your diet remains the same, stress can affect levels of many nutrients, including magnesium and iron.
Food sensitivity assessments
Sensitivities to certain foods can have a profound impact on your overall health, but they’re notoriously difficult to diagnose on your own, in part because there is a wide range of possible reactions. Tests that can focus in on possible sensitivities include elimination diets with careful records and blood tests evaluating factors such as immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.
Here at Innovative Wellness inc. we have a nutrition coach that help you evaluate and manage your nutritional goals and improve nutritional wellness longevity.
Exposure to toxic substances such as pollutions, preservative and fillers in our foods, heavy metals, molds or pesticides is another impact to our health, particularly with regards to autoimmune disorders and digestive issues. But, despite the risks, testing for exposure is often overlooked. Methylation is the complex process that removes toxins from your body, and some people have a genetic variation that impacts this process, putting them at greater risk for high levels of toxins. MTHFR genetic testing is one test that can indicate if your body’s detox processes are working as they should.
When our body is not methylating or metabolizing correctly, it really impacts our overall health. So starting with gut testing is the key!
Tests for inflammation markers
Inflammation is often a sign that something is amiss in your body, but most standard checkups don’t evaluate for signs of inflammation. Markets to test include:
Elevated inflammation markers don’t necessarily tell you what’s causing problems, but they are a sign to do more testing - and that information can be invaluable. One study found that people with elevated levels of c-reactive protein have an increased risk of heart attack, by as much as three times. If the CRP is elevated, we also may consider doing a Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel test, which is a blood test that further evaluates a more comprehensive assessment for cardiovascular risk that standard lipid panels do not calculate or measure. Again, getting to the root cause.
No matter how good your diet is, a problem with how you metabolize nutrients can lead to health issues.
One important factor in these tests is that they can spot potential issues before they become problems. For example, monitoring HgA1c and glucose levels can help diagnose insulin sensitivity before you develop prediabetes or diabetes. A holistic practice will watch for trends in order to suggest changes before a problem develops.
Interpreting Results: We need to hear your story
Numbers can tell a story, but they need to be interpreted properly. Just looking at the numbers from testing and only reacting if they fall out of “normal” range can lead to missing the point of the story. After all, the goal for testing should be to determine all of the factors influencing your health, and to determine if you can improve any aspect for optimum health. Aiming for so-called normal ranges will detect the presence of disease, but may not prevent disease from developing. Looking at optimal levels, and using functional tests, can help ensure optimal wellbeing and help prevent disease, and other symptoms that may be affecting your quality of life.
Functional testing helps determine the underlying cause of health problems, and will help you develop a roadmap to a healthier you. We have a team approach with services and resources to optimize your health.
Live the quality of life you deserve! Book online or call us today to schedule a consult: 925-954-8209
Blottière HM, Doré J. Impact des nouveaux outils de métagénomique sur notre connaissance du microbiote intestinal et de son rôle en santé humaine - Enjeux diagnostiques et thérapeutiques [Impact of newly developed metagenomic tools on our knowledge of the gut microbiota and its role in human health: diagnostic and therapeutic issues]. Med Sci (Paris). 2016 Nov;32(11):944-951. French. doi: 10.1051/medsci/20163211009. Epub 2016 Dec 23. PMID: 28008834.
Aron-Wisnewsky J, Clément K. The gut microbiome, diet, and links to cardiometabolic and chronic disorders. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2016 Mar;12(3):169-81. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2015.191. Epub 2015 Nov 30. PMID: 26616538.
Vojdani A, Vojdani E, Kharrazian D. Fluctuation of zonulin levels in blood vs stability of antibodies. World J Gastroenterol. 2017;23(31):5669-5679. doi:10.3748/wjg.v23.i31.5669
Ridker PM. Cardiology Patient Page. C-reactive protein: a simple test to help predict risk of heart attack and stroke. Circulation. 2003 Sep 23;108(12):e81-5. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000093381.57779.67. PMID: 14504253.
Lopresti AL. The Effects of Psychological and Environmental Stress on Micronutrient Concentrations in the Body: A Review of the Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2020;11(1):103-112. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz082