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LABORATORY TESTS

 

Because we are all genetically different, each of us must come to understand our own personal biological blueprint. Because we are all unique there is no one size fits all for diet, supplements, medication, or anything else. Other than to eat a biologically active, unrefined, nutrient dense diet free of chemical additives and one that is alive with natural enzymes, there isn’t a particular diet or supplements that I recommend. I do, however, recommend that you do further research on your own biology in the form of specific laboratory testing to truly find the right diet, supplements, and medications for you.

FOOD SENSITIVITY

The first test I recommend is a food sensitivity test. I believe that this test should be given to everyone simply as a matter of course, for if one is eating foods that they do not tolerate, they will have either physical and/or emotional symptoms that won’t go away no matter how healthy their diet is, nor how suppressive their pharmaceutical are. Even one symptom can be caused by a food that is not tolerated. Therefore, if you have any of the symptoms described on the food sensitivity symptoms page, it is important to be tested. Although you can do an elimination diet, it is very difficult, especially if you have more that one or two reactive foods, or if you react to unusual foods that are not easily identified.

Because many tests for food sensitivity are inaccurate, it is best to spend the extra money to get the best test possible. The lab that I have total faith in is ImmunoLabs. Their test is about $300 but many insurance agencies will pay for it if it is doctor prescribed. The results will tell you whether or not you have food sensitivities and what foods, preservatives and chemical additives to avoid if you do. You will also receive a list of foods you can eat, along with several days worth of meal plans, and a liminated wallet size card with all your allergic foods on it to give out when you order foods at restaurants.

METABOLIC TYPING

Another test that is good to do is to discover your metabolic type. Everyone has a unique metabolism that requires it’s own specific diet. Some people require a primarily meat based diet, for they need that kind of protein. Other’s require a more vegetarian diet. Other’s a combination. Many people do not do well with grains, wheat in particular, which you can discover through your metabolic type. Some people thrive on live juicing, other’s on cooked food. Eating the right kind of diet for you can help you improve your health. 

A good place to discover your type is Mercola.com, which is an excellent website for holistic information in general. Dr. Mercola has devised a computer program that will aid you in discovering the diet that works best for your biology. All you do is answer a few questions for a modest fee. There are other more expensive programs on the market as well. I haven’t used them all, so I can’t tell you which one’s are the best, so check them out through google and see what works best for your pocketbook.

HAIR ANALYSIS

Another test I highly advocate is a hair analysis. A hair analysis will tell you what your concentration of heavy metals are, as well as your mineral content and ratios. It will tell you how many metals are being stored in your tissues. A blood test will only tell you what is currently in your blood, but will give you no indication of what is stored in your body. A good one can also tell you what your metabolic type is, as well as numerous other things. The cheapest one’s give the least amount of information. The best one I have found is drlwilson.com. It is expensive, but the information you get in return is invaluable. There are also some other good one’s on the market. Obviously, I haven’t checked them all out, so do your research and choose the one that meets your needs. . 

NUTRIENT PANEL TEST

Another test I consider essential is either a nutrient panel test, or an organic acid test, which can tell you what nutrients you are deficient in, as well as multiple nutrient deficiency patterns. Generally, one single nutrient has dozens, if not hundreds of effects upon the body. If any one of them are out of balance, it can produce a whole host of unrelated symptoms that seem to have nothing in common. Discovering which nutrients are in short supply, even marginally, and then correcting them can completely change both your physical and mental health.

Is it possible to lack adequate nutrients if you eat a healthy diet? Absolutely. That’s because some of us may have a genetically inherited tendency to need more of a particular vitamin or nutrient  than other people. This is called nutrient dependence. When one is nutrient dependent, they may need many times the normal amount that would be adequate for other people. Though I have no proof, I believe that certain diseases that run in families might be caused by nutrient dependence. When you can discover which vitamins or nutrients you are dependent on, it is possible that by supplementing them and then doing all that is necessary to detoxify and nutrify in general, you can avoid what may seem to be a genetically predestined disease to live a longer, healthier life. Because it would be impossible to discover this on one’s own, doing this kind of testing is imperative, especially if you are dealing with a chronic disease that runs in your family.

Also, to supplement nutrients you don’t need can do as much damage as good, for it can throw your whole body out of balance. Because good quality supplements are expensive, if you are supplementing nutrients you don’t need, you are wasting your money. Testing, therefore, will actually save you money in the long run, and can also prevent you from unknowingly creating health problems in your future by supplementing the wrong nutrient. Also, some insurance companies and Medicare will pay for this kind of testing if your doctor orders it. 

Spectracell Laboratories  does a great test called MicroNutrient testing, which is a blood test that tests over 31 vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Diseases that are most commonly linked to nutrient deficiencies are arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism/substance abuse, behavioral disorders, mood disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, macular degeneration, diabetes, obesity, immune system disorders, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and osteoporosis. However, most chronic conditions have a nutrition related component, so if you’ve got a chronic condition, think about getting a doctor or healer who is in alignment with these principles and getting a nutrient panel test. Spectracell laboratories has a listing of physicians on their website, which will aid you on your quest.

Several different labs do Organic Acid testing. This single test tests for a variety of different issues related to organic acids, which are compounds that are produced within the body in the course of metabolism. The test reveals an individual’s metabolic strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, it tests for the B vitamins, vitamin C, and some minerals and amino acids. It also tests for exposure to a variety of toxins and for the body’s ability to detoxify itself. It tests for methylation insufficiencies, mitochondrial energy, and specific dysbiosis markers for bacterial and yeast overgrowth. It also tests for certain neurotransmitter deficiencies, one’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and fatty acids, and a variety of other nutrients like CoQ10, alpha lipoid acid, carnitine, acidophilus, and others. Different labs focus on different things, so check around for the best organic acid test for you.

You should especially consider an Organic Acid test if you or your child has a developmental disorder, autism, hyperactivity, obesity, depression, anxiety, seizures, chronic fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, toxic exposure, and any form of dysbiosis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and/or diarrhea.

For both tests, you will need not only a doctor’s prescription, but also a doctor who knows enough about nutrition to read and understand the results. There is a lot to know about nutritional healing. Finding this kind of doctor will be the most challenging part of your search, for these kinds of doctors are not a dime a dozen. In fact, they are few and far between. That is because, even though good nutrition is the foundation of good health, most doctors are not trained in nutrition.


NUTRIENT ABSORPTION


If you are not absorbing the food you are eating, it won’t matter how great a diet you have. Therefore, if you have any digestion problems at all, including cramping, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea, it is good to discover the reason why. If your problem stems from low stomach acid or not enough enzymes, it can be simply fixed after a trip to the health food store. Other causes, however, such as candida, parasites or bacteria in the gut may need the help of a doctor or alternative healer before the problem can be solved.

There are several tests that can be taken to determine if the Candida, seen at left, is the cause of your problems. Besides the Organic Acid Test mentioned above, they are a Serum Candida Antibody test, a Serum Candida Antigen Titer Test, or a Stool Candida Culture.

Parasites and bacteria in your intestines can also be tested for. Each type of bug needs a different treatment. Testing can identify which bug or bugs are a problem for you and what you need to do about it. However, watch out for false negatives. I have read that 80% of the tests given for Lyme disease are false negative, which means a delay in diagnosis that can last years, or even decades. There are both herbal therapies that can help, as well as pharmaceuticals, depending on your philosophy and what your body can handle. Whichever you choose, both before and after tests should be given to determine the effectiveness of your treatment.   The same is true if you have an overgrowth of bacteria in your intestines.  This, too, may need testing and treatment before you will feel better.

THYROID

Another test you might need is hormonal testing, in particular the thyroid. Most thyroid function tests done today are not accurate. That is because the tests are inadequate as they only test one hormone. Testing should include all the thyroid hormones (TSH, free T3, and free T4), and thyroid antibodies. Most doctors just check TSH, which is inadequate to identify mild problems. Because fluoridated water effects thyroid functioning, and since 60% of the cities in America are fluoridated, many people today suffer from low thyroid. Also, heavy metals, other industrial pollutants, and undiagnosed food sensitivities can effect thyroid activity, as well.

If you have any of the following symptoms of low thyroid, it is good to have an accurate test. Symptoms are: fatigue, sluggishness, trouble getting up in the morning, depression, memory loss, insomnia, dry and/or itchy skin, eyes, or hair, constipation, fluid retention, menstrual problems, premenstrual syndrome, hair loss, cracked and chipped fingernails, low sex drive, weight gain, tinnitus, muscle aches and cramps, migraines, inability to concentrate, arthritis and joint pains, allergies, asthma, elevated cholesterol, ulcers, abnormal throat sensations, inability to tolerate heat or cold, low self-esteem, frequent colds, sore throats, yeast or urinary tract infections, lightheadedness, easy bruising, acid indigestion, flushing, cold hands or feet, poor coordination, infertility, hypoglycemia, increased skin infections or acne, changes in skin pigmentation, prematurely graying hair, excessive tiredness after eating, carpal tunnel syndrome, blurred vision, hives and bad breath.

Because the thyroid governs our metabolism, when it slows down it can produce a dizzying array of seemingly unrelated symptoms. When thyroid system function is too low, one’s metabolic rate slows down and your temperature drops. One can then develop any or all of the above symptoms. If you have a thyroid test which is normal, but consistently low body temperature, you may have Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, which is often completely reversible with the proper treatment and care. For more information there are many fine websites that can provide it.

When I asked my doctor to check all the hormones my thyroid produces, he looked at me like I was crazy and refused to do it. He also became irate, as he did not want his professional opinion questioned. Because I had had a benign tumor on my thyroid twenty-five years earlier and had many symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, including low body temperature, I thought his irritation was unreasonable. Also, my father suffered from low thyroid, which was not discovered until he took the test for all the hormones the thyroid produces. When I finally had an accurate test, I discovered I had the same problem, and had probably had it for all the years the inaccurate tests told me my thyroid was normal. If low thyroid is your problem, it is well worth the effort to find a doctor who is willing to give you an accurate test as you will feel so much better when you do.  If you consciously work at healing your body through detoxification and nutrification, frequently hormone medication can eventually be discontinued, as your entire body, including your thyroid, will function better on its own.

SEX HORMONES

Other hormones to be tested, especially if you are suffering from the effects of menopause, or if you have problems with your menstrual cycle or periods, are your sex hormones.  After I started getting hot flashes during menopause, I went to my doctor and told her I wanted to take bio-identical hormones. Through a saliva test, I discovered which of my sex hormones were out of balance. I then took her prescription to a compounding pharmacy to get it filled. A compounding pharmacy is a pharmacy that makes many of their own medications from scratch. Bio-identical hormones are not made from pregnant mares urine (premarin), or any synthetic chemical created in a chemists lab. Rather, they are made from natural substances that are bio-identical to the body, and, as far as anybody knows, do not cause cancer. A compounding pharmacy will compound the exact medication you need to improve your symptoms. Synthetic or animal hormones typically have unwanted side effects, like cancer, which pose a threat to human health.

INFLAMMATION

If inflammation is your problem, you will probably find that it is greatly improved by avoiding reactive foods, getting rid of heavy metals and other toxins, eating a high quality metabolically appropriate diet, taking appropriate supplements for your nutrient dependencies, balancing your digestive tract, and getting adequate exercise and sleep. If this alone does not clear up the problem, you may have a chronic, low grade infection somewhere in your body that needs to be addressed. Testing for inflammation may include a C-reactive Protein Test, which is a generalized marker for inflammation. Markers for autoimmune disease are ESR, Anti-CCP, TPO, and ANA. You may also need to be tested for a variety of viruses and/or bacteria.

NEUROTRANSMITTERS

Another little known test that one can have is a neurotransmitter test, which will test all the neurotransmitters to see what one is low in. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that transmit messages over the synapses of the nerves, which are everywhere in your body, but particularly in your brain and gut. Without an adequate supply, the messages simply can’t get through. There are nutritional ways to increase one’s neurotransmitters without ever taking a drug. Since neurotransmitters are created out of amino acids, one can take specific amino acids to improve their deficit. However, one needs to know what they are doing, so working with a physician or other alternative healer who specializes in this kind of testing and who is in alignment with a nutritional approach to healing is imperative. Most doctors probably haven’t heard of this kind of testing and may not be interested. Click here for some links that can connect you to the appropriate resources.

 

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Disclaimer: I am a psychotherapist who believes that disease can be improved using natural methods of detoxification and rejuvenation. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. I do not advise that people discontinue using their prescription drugs without the consent of their doctor. For all matters that relate to your physical health, please contact your physician. This cleanse is not intended for use by children, pregnant, or lactating women except under the care of a physician. Since herbs can interact with, and sometimes replace medications, check with your physician before using them. 

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