Functional Medicine Testing

How does Functional Medicine lab testing differ from traditional blood work, as done by my physician?

The western medical establishment is disease-oriented, while the functional medical practice is wellness-oriented. When your traditional physician runs standard blood work, they are looking for an already established disease process e.g. hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, cancers, diabetes, polyps, colitis, etc.The trouble with this is that many people might not have an actual disease, though they are still experiencing chronic symptoms already.

Functional medicine lab testing aims to prevent disease before it happens by assessing patterns of imbalance that without intervention will end up yielding chronic disease. It looks between the lines. It assesses patterns of imbalance that can cause troublesome symptoms, but has not become a ‘disease state’ yet. It is ideal, though, that one address these imbalances before they become a disease, for at that point it can become much more difficult to reverse without lifelong medications, surgeries, treatments.

Functional medicine testing can be used to identify:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Digestive, absorptive, and metabolic dysfunction
  • Toxic exposures and ability to detoxify
  • Inflammatory responses and triggers
  • Imbalances in neurotransmitter metabolites and amino acid precursors
  • Hormonal imbalances—adrenal and thyroid functioning
  • Disturbances of the gut microbiome
  • Genetic susceptibilities such as methylation (MTHFR) and detoxification issues

Why doesn’t my insurance always cover these tests?

Insurance companies base their coverage on diagnosis codes for established disease processes. They are happy to cover cardiac surgeries, and expensive procedures and hospitalizations but often won’t cover innovative testing that can save the patients and insurers millions of dollars We do not submit to insurance directly. Upon request A superbill can be provided, upon request, for submission to an insurance carrier or Flex Spending.

Functional laboratory tests available include, but are not limited to the list below. Some are used routinely to evaluate our patients while other tests may be required depending on individual needs.

GI Effects Function Profile (includes both the Microbial Ecology & Chemistries profiles)

This test is a thorough look at the gut. It assesses bacteria, fungus, and parasites. In addition, it tests for markers of inflammation and malabsorption. This is an essential test for those with IBS, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis), and autism spectrum disorders.

Comprehensive Hormone Testing

For both women and men throughout all stages of life, these tests will help to evaluate the balance of hormone levels in the body to help direct use appropriate support of supplements, bio-identical hormone therapy, and lifestyle recommendations.

Comprehensive Female Hormone Profile

This includes following:

Cycling Female Hormone Panel: The Female Hormone Panel is a non-invasive test consisting of 11 saliva specimens collected during specified time periods throughout the menstrual cycle. It provides a dynamic mapping of the free fraction levels of Estradiol and Progesterone throughout one cycle. In addition, the cycle average of Testosterone and DHEA are measured. This test includes also includes an additional five FSH and five LH measurements. This test is important for menstrual irregularities and fertility.

Menopause Hormone Profile: The Menopause Hormone Panel provides measurements of six key hormones: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Progesterone (P), Testosterone (T) and DHEA, DHEA-S. This test is essential for determining an appropriate protocol for optimal hormone balancing during menopause.

Estrogen Metabolism Testing: This is a urine test that measures estrogen metabolites that indicate how well your body is detoxifying and eliminating estrogen. This is important for women with a history of breast cancer, at risk for breast cancer, or interested in prevention.

Comprehensive Male Hormone Profile

As men age, their levels of testosterone begin to decline, usually beginning around the mid-40s. This heralds what is commonly known as andropause, the male counterpart to menopause. While this is a natural part of aging, the decline in testosterone production by the testes can be more precipitous in some men than others. Excessive weight gain, stress, lack of exercise, and many medications further contribute to a man’s ability to manufacture testosterone, resulting in even lower testosterone levels and leading to symptoms of andropause. These symptoms may include low libido, irritability, depression, loss of muscle mass and strength, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, erectile dysfunction, sleep disturbances, osteoporosis, and adverse changes in the blood lipid profile. The solution to the problem may not be a simple case of restoring testosterone levels. This profile will provide a more suitable method to assess a patient’s overall hormonal status, giving a better picture of the hormone imbalances that are causing symptoms.

Comprehensive Stool Analysis

Assessing gut function is a pillar of all function health programs. The test looks for markers of inflammation and malabsorption making it an essential test for those with IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune issues and weight problems.

Micronutrient Testing

Nutritional deficiencies are often at the root of many chronic diseases and sjewymptoms such as mood disorders, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fibromyalgia, and fatigue, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also be used to optimize health and fitness for athletes.

Adrenal Stress Profile

This test is a measure of an individual’s response to stress. It is also an important tool for pointing to adrenal imbalances that may be impacting a patient’s health in the forms of fatigue, mood disorders and autoimmune disease.

Organic Acid Testing

Provides a view into the body’s cellular metabolic processes and the efficiency of metabolic function. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates that are produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, neurotransmitter breakdown, or intestinal microbial activity.

Advanced Celiac Profile

Celiac disease is an immune mediated response to gluten in wheat and other grains that affects not only the gastrointestinal tract but may be related to other body symptoms. Standard Celiac screening only picks up patients with full blown celiac disease and tissue damage but often miss many patients with gluten sensitivity causing other symptoms.

Advanced Cardiometabolic Testing

Traditional cholesterol testing is not adequate to assess an individual’s true risk factor for heart disease. Advanced cardiometabolic testing can reveal these risk factors and direct preventive care.

Heavy Metal/Essential Element Testing

We live in a very toxic world where we encounter chemical and toxins on a daily basis. Evidence suggests that chronic toxic element exposure can adversely affect: energy levels, reproductive function, cancer risk of all kinds, neurological development and function, respiratory, cardiac, liver, and immune functions, cognitive and emotional health and degenerative conditions.

Food Sensitivity Testing

This test measures levels of IgG antibodies specific to anywhere from 30-200 foods causing patient reactions. IgG antibodies are associated with “non-allergic” or “delayed” food reactions that can worsen or contribute to many health conditions. It may also indicate the presence of leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues.

Neurotransmitter Profile

This test analyzes the six main neurotransmitters involved in proper mood and cognitive function. This test is essential for mood, sleep and memory disorders.

Telomere Testing, a window to your cellular age

Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serve as a cap to your genetic material. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere will become shorter. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter life span for a cell. Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.

Genetic Testing

Your DNA holds the key to what works best for you. Many factors affect an individual’s overall health and wellness, including nutrition, exercise, and body weight as well as predispositions to a number of health conditions. Some of the Genetic test we offer:

Healthy Woman DNA Insight® is a comprehensive general health and wellness test that analyzes a variety of genetic markers that can provide with valuable information about a woman’s dietary and nutritional needs, optimal exercise regiments, potential response to a number of medications, as well as the risk of developing a number of common health conditions. Women face additional health circumstances and challenges such as pregnancy, menopause and other gynecological conditions. Thus it is important for her to understand how her unique genetic profile may be affecting how her body utilizes energy and nutrients, as well as how it responds to certain foods, diets, and exercise regiments.

Healthy Weight DNA Insight® is a comprehensive health and wellness genetic test that provides a unique combination of information regarding nutrigenetics, medication response, and a number of common health conditions. Being at an unhealthy weight increases an individual’s risk of developing many serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Fortunately, obesity is reversible with close monitoring of nutrition and appropriate exercise. In addition, an individual’s genetic makeup can influence how his/her body utilizes energy and nutrients, responds to exercise and medications, and affects the risk of developing certain health conditions

Pathway Fit® A good diet isn’t always the right diet. Our genes reveal why two people can eat the exact same foods and experience differences with weight loss. By analyzing over 80 genetic markers Pathway Fit® can tell the diet that’s right for you. A recent study showed that people who ate a genetically appropriate diet experienced 287% more weight loss over 12 months than a control group. Mediterranean or low-carb diet? The research shows while they both might be good, only one works best for you.

DNA testing with Cardiac DNA Insight® analyzes patients’ DNA to identify specific genetic variants associated with an increased risk of developing certain heart-related health conditions such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation and myocardial infarction. This test also provides insight into patients’ potential responses to eight classes of commonly prescribed medications that are used to treat heart-related conditions or are known to affect the cardiovascular system.

Mental Health DNA Insight® analyzes patients’ DNA to identify specific genetic variants that can affect how they respond to over 50 psychiatric medications [see tab below] indicated for major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, seizures, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and other neurological disorders.

CancerIntercept® Detect is a blood-based non-invasive test that can be used as a tool by physicians for the detection of circulating tumor ctDNA. Presence of increased levels of ctDNA and distinct mutations in the covered driver genes has been seen in many cancer types when disease is developing or is present. This test is available for patients that are at high risk to develop cancer in their lifetime. There are a number of conditions that may put an individual at an increased risk of for the development of cancer, including but not limited to:

  • Known predisposition to a hereditary cancer syndrome (i.e. the individual carries a BRCA1 pathogenic variant)
  • A family history of cancer (i.e. a mother and grandmother diagnosed with colon cancer)
  • Lifestyle choices (i.e. a lifetime history of heavy smoking)
  • Environmental exposures (i.e. extensive exposure to radiation)

BreastTrue® High Risk Panel is a next-generation sequencing test that detects mutations in eight high-risk breast cancer susceptibility genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2. In addition, the test includes deletion/duplication analysis of the BRCA1/2 genes by MLPA. Recent studies of breast cancer survivors have shown that approximately 70 percent of the mutations identified were BRCA1/2 mutations. Approximately 4 percent had germline mutations in other cancer-susceptibility genes, including high-risk genes. These additional high-risk genes include CDH1, CHEK2, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, and TP53. BreastTrue® High Risk Panel analyzes all of these genes.

Carrier DNA Insight® is a comprehensive preconception and prenatal carrier screening test. Carrier DNA Insight® follows the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations, and screen patients for more than 120 recessive genetic diseases. Carrier DNA Insight® provides physicians with information about the risks of inherited diseases of their patients’ future children.

All test kit samples are collected off-site (most are home kits, some require a blood draw at a referred certified lab, or home blood draws can be arranged). The kits are then sent to various fully CLIA certified lab testing facilities.